Free Marketing Ideas

Tough economic times are creating tighter budgets, but this is no time to quit your marketing efforts. Luckily, some of the best marketing strategies can be implemented with little to no cost. This article will show you how you can grow your business without spending a penny.

Start Networking Online

Networking is easier than ever with the advent of social media. Connect to customers, friends, professionals in your industry, people with related interests and more.

  • LinkedIn – Set up your professional profile on LinkedIn. This is a network of business professionals where you can connect with others, showcase your expertise, get recommendations and more.
  • Facebook – It’s no longer for college students. Facebook is open to everyone, especially businesses. You can set up a free business page, and your customers can become “fans” of your business. Also, consider Facebook advertising—it is very targeted and not too expensive.
  • Twitter – Announce your sales and special deals with a Twitter account where interested people can “follow” your status. You can also announce new articles/blog posts or company news and events.

Offer your Expert Advice

Show your expertise by giving your professional opinions and advice via comments on blog articles and in forums. This will help to get your name out there and gain a good reputation. (Be sure not to sound like spam. Just giving good advice with your company name as a signature is enough.)

Start a Company Blog

A blog is the perfect way to communicate with your target audience one-on-one. Write interesting articles that your customers are interested in. For example, if you own a clothing boutique, you can write articles about the latest fashion trends. If you don’t have a website or can’t afford to integrate a blog into your existing website, consider setting up a blog at Blogger or WordPress. Allow users to comment on your articles, and reply to their comments to keep the discussion going. A blog is a simple way to give a company personality and credibility.

Get Listed In Online Directories

A listing in an online directory will enable your customers to find you when they are searching for your company or the products/services you offer. Several places online will list your business for free. Here l’ve listed my favorites.

  • Google Local Business Center – Set up a local listing with Google. You can include pictures with your listing for free, so consider showcasing some of your products or your work. Google also lets you set up a coupon on your Google Maps listing.
  • Yahoo! Local – Set up a local listing with Yahoo! by clicking on the “Add a Business” link.
  • Merchant Circle – At Merchant Circle, you can not only set up a listing with details and photos, but you can also write blog articles and network with other businesses in your area.
  • Insider Pages – Insider pages allows you to add photos and coupons to your listing.
  • Yellow Pages – Some people still turn to the Yellow Pages, but now they do it online.  Set up your free listing.

Other Low Cost Marketing Ideas

While these ideas aren’t completely free to implement, they are very inexpensive.

  • Send out email newsletters. Email marketing is much more affordable and effective than direct mail, and you can easily track its results. Just be sure you are sending your emails to people who opted in. Get people to sign up for your emails via a signup form on your website or in your store.
  • Advertise online. Begin a pay-per-click campaign on Google and Yahoo!. Target customers by choosing specific geographical areas and search terms. You can create multiple ads to see which messages are generating clicks. Results are measurable, and you can adjust your campaign message without additional costs.
  • Generate media coverage. Is your business doing something new or unique? Are you hosting or participating in an event? Send out press releases to local media outlets and to online sources such as PR Web. PR Web will distribute your news release to top sites like Google and Yahoo! News.

The web offers huge potential for your business. Online marketing methods are much more cost effective than traditional media. Take a little time to implement one of these tips each day, and you will soon see the business it brings.

Do you have other marketing ideas? How have you successfully marketed your business with a tight budget? Which methods generated the most business?

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Third Party Resources

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Calvin said on September 3, 2009:

Here’s an in-expensive concept we like to use on the Alabama Business Today radio show. We ask top people to be guests on the show. Then we promote the guests in radio ads and on our website ( Because our guests look good, we look good by association. Also, our guest provide us with a good deal of word of mouth promotion because we provide them with a positive experience.

Mandy Porta said on September 15, 2009:

That’s a good strategy. I’m on the board of the American Advertising Federation of Baton Rouge and we try to get quality speakers for our luncheons and workshops to speak on various marketing topics. This provides value to our members and helps to build awareness. We are working on getting Gary Vaynerchuk here; that’s a big feat and will certainly get some attention. Thanks for sharing!

Tom Crowle said on January 24, 2011:

I would say SEO should be at the forefront of your marketing plan. I specialise in SEO ( and I come into contact with businesses that are still focusing all their attention on off line media. The list above is a good start at generating more traffic to your site but to maximise the efficiency of the links to your site you need to at least read up on anchor text for SEO purposes.

Stuart @ SEO Chester said on February 8, 2011:

Great post, very informative. Like Tom mentioned above it’s amazing how large the online marketing campus still is really as so many businesses are still yet to dip their toes into marketing their business online. In the UK the one thing I would advise is for businesses to stop throwing money down the drain on traditional off-line marketing and GET ONLINE! grin

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