Heights Platform 21 FREE Ways to Advertise Your Business Online

21 FREE Ways to Advertise Your Business Online

10 minute read

Starting a profitable online business is no picnic. You work so hard to build the perfect product or offer a great service to your customers, but without marketing, your business will likely fail.

The internet is a highly crowded space, so promoting a business online can be hard and expensive.

Today we will share our top strategies to promote your online business for free, or at a very low price. Keep reading below to learn how you can start advertising your small business today for 0 dollars!

The marketing strategies we will cover today are best suited for small online businesses, whether international or local businesses.

Whether you are selling online courses or you are a coach, service provider, e-commerce store owner, freelancer or creator, these free promotion ideas can help you spread the word about your business and start getting new potential customers without breaking the bank.

21 Ways to Advertise Your Business for Free (or at a Very Low Cost)

There are tons of ways to promote a product or service online. Today, we cover the best marketing strategies you can leverage for free or at a really low price to spread the word about your business.

Let's start by looking at marketing ideas that you can do 100% free:

Completely Free Marketing Ideas

#1: Join and Interact with Relevant Online Communities

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We love this idea because it lets you interact with your potential customers directly, and it is a pretty personal marketing strategy.

Compared to other ways to advertise, it can be pretty time-consuming, though. However, if done well, it is a simple way to attract new customers with free advertising and build a strong relationship with them.

All you need to do is look for online communities that are related to your business niche. For example, if you sell online courses teaching people how to train your dog, then you should look for online communities, social media groups or pages that focus on dog training.

When you find these communities, join them and start interacting with the members. The key here is to build a relationship and provide valuable content and information before promoting your business.

Many online communities have strict "No self-promotion" rules, and for a good reason: they want to keep the content of the community valuable and engaging for their members.

So once you join, try to look in the conversation for opportunities where you can help others, answer their questions or provide feedback. If you own a business, then you are most likely an expert in the topic or niche that your business revolves around. This means that your input will be highly appreciated by members of the community.

After you have provided enough valuable content and helped out in the community, you can think about promoting your business. Depending on the community rules, you may approach this in different ways.

Some communities have a space dedicated to self-promotion and allow members to post there, while others may prefer you to contact the community admin.

In general, it is a good idea to contact the owner of the community and get their approval before promoting yourself. This allows you to build a relationship with the admin that could be beneficial for future promotions and get their approval so you don't accidentally get banned from the community.

How do you convince the community owner to let you promote your business?

This depends on the community you are trying to advertise in. Here are what we recommend:

  1. Check the community rules and plan your promotion accordingly
  2. It might help to offer a special discount to the members of that community only: this may convince the community admin to let you promote, as members are getting an exclusive deal
  3. Consider promoting a free tool or lead magnet: while this might sound counterintuitive, you could promote a free lead magnet in the community (such as a downloadable guide) and only ask for email addresses. This way, you can contact those potential customers in the future via email marketing.
lesson imagePhoto by Maxim Ilyahov on Unsplash

Reaching out to blogs that rank businesses in your field is an ingenious way to get noticed by potential customers who are already interested in services or products like yours.

The process is simple: search on Google for articles listing top businesses in your niche, such as "Top 10 eCommerce Web Design Agencies" (if you're a web designer specializing in e-commerce sites for example).

Once you've found a relevant post, look for the information of the author or the website's editorial team (their name and email address), and contact them.

In your email, politely ask if they would consider including your business in their article. Often, they might request something in return.

A cost-effective strategy is proposing a backlink exchange, where you feature their blog on your site or offer them an affiliate link to your services.

This not only helps in getting your business featured but also strengthens your website's search engine optimization through backlinks.

#3: Start a Blog for Your Business

lesson imagePhoto by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Blogging is an effective, completely free way to boost your business's online visibility.

The key here is consistency and patience, as it takes time to build an audience and see tangible results.

It's important to learn SEO basics and conduct keyword research to ensure your posts will rank well on search engines.

Aim to publish articles that provide genuine value to your readers, embedding subtle promotions of your services or products towards the end of the posts.

This approach not only helps attract potential customers but also establishes your business as a thought leader in your industry.

Learn more: How To Increase Blog Traffic for Online Course Creators (And Get More Sales)

#4: Create Content on Social Media Platforms

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Social media channels offers a powerful, free platform for promoting your business. The trick is to generate content that resonates with your audience, whether it's through engaging Instagram reels and posts, insightful tweets, or TikTok videos.

Focus on creating value-driven content that entertains, informs, or solves a problem for your followers. This approach helps build a loyal community around your brand on social media accounts, making it easier to introduce your products or services in a natural, "non-salesy" manner.

Learn more about this:

#5: Start a YouTube Channel

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Launching a YouTube channel is a fantastic way to promote your business at no cost.

What you do here is essentially create videos that offer valuable information, tutorials, or insights related to your business niche.

Consistency is key to growing a YouTube channel, as is engaging with your audience through comments and community posts.

YouTube not only helps in building an audience but also significantly boosts your SEO efforts, as videos often rank highly on Google search.

#6: Use Email Marketing

lesson imagePhoto by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Email marketing is an effective tool for maintaining customer engagement and driving up sales.

Your email marketing strategy should focus on sending out emails that are informative and valuable, incorporating promotional content with educational or entertaining information.

This balance keeps your audience engaged and less resistant to sales pitches. Remember, the goal is to add value to your subscribers' inboxes, not to overwhelm them with advertisements.

Learn more about email marketing strategy:

#7: Create Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are free items or services provided in exchange for an individual's contact details.

Examples include ebooks, webinars, or discount codes. The idea is to distribute these lead magnets through your website, social media platforms, or online communities and collect email addresses.

These contacts become part of your email marketing campaigns, where you can nurture leads and eventually convert them into customers.

#8: Contact Leads with Cold Email Marketing

Cold emailing involves contacting potential customers who haven't interacted with your business before.

This strategy requires research to identify and target individuals or companies that fit your ideal customer profile.

While cold emailing can be a hit or miss, personalizing your emails and offering clear value can significantly increase your success rate.

The downside of cold emailing is it can be time-consuming, and there's always a risk of low engagement rates or being marked as spam if not done correctly.

#9: Build Your Own Community

Heights Platform Community

Creating a brand community is a powerful way to engage with your audience and promote your business in a more indirect way.

Platforms like Heights Platform allow you to build a community where members can interact, share experiences, and learn from each other.

You can keep the community engaged with posting regular updates, sharing valuable and relevant content, and planning interactive events. As your community grows, it becomes a great way for promoting your products and services to a group of people who already know you and trust you.

Learn more about this:

#10: Start a Podcast

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Podcasting is a growing medium that offers an intimate way to connect with your audience.

Starting a podcast allows you to delve deep into topics relevant to your business, offering value through informative and entertaining content.

The key here is to balance promotional material with genuine insights and stories that resonate with your listeners.

Growing a podcast audience from scratch requires consistency, quality content, and effective promotion across other media channels.

#11: Be a Guest on Podcasts or Write Guest Blog Posts

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Guest appearances on podcasts or guest blogging are excellent strategies for reaching new audiences for free.

To do this, start by researching podcasts and blogs within your niche and reach out to the owners with a pitch that highlights what value you can bring to their audience of listeners and readers.

While some may request payment for guest slots, you can often negotiate other forms of exchange, like sharing your audience with them or offering expert insights on a topic they haven't covered yet.

#12: Answer Quora Questions

Quora is a question-and-answer platform where you can establish authority by providing insightful answers to questions related to your business niche.

While direct promotion is frowned upon on Quora, you can subtly include your business as part of a broader, valuable response. This strategy can drive traffic to your business website and increase your brand's visibility online.

#13: Promote in Your Email Signature

An often-overlooked strategy is to use your email signature as a promotional tool.

Include a link to your website, a recent blog post, or a special offer under your email signature, so that everyone you interact with by email will see it.

This passive promotion strategy can spark interest among people you're already communicating with, potentially leading to new business opportunities. Plus, it's 100% free, and it takes only a few seconds to implement.

#14: Ask Your Customers to Give You a Review

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Positive reviews are crucial for small businesses.

What many new business owners forget to do is simply ask their existing customers to review their business.

So, reach out to satisfied customers and encourage them to leave a review on your website or on popular review platforms.

These online reviews enhance your business's credibility and can significantly influence prospective customers' decisions.

#15: List Your Business in Online Directories

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An online directory is a website or platform that compiles and organizes information about businesses within various industries, making it easy for users to find and learn about companies. These directories typically include basic details about businesses, such as their name, address, contact information, type of business, services offered, and sometimes reviews and ratings from customers.

Online business directories can range from general listings that cover a wide range of industries to niche directories focused on specific sectors or markets.

An online business directory is a valuable resource for increasing your business's online presence.

Research directories relevant to your industry and list your business there. Ensure your listing is complete and accurate, as these directories can significantly improve your SEO and help potential customers find your small business more easily.

Low-Cost Marketing Ideas for Online Businesses

Now that we have covered all the completely free ways to market your business with online advertising, let's see a few more marketing ideas you can do today, which are not exactly 100% free but come at a really low cost (generally under $100).

#16: Leverage Affiliate Marketing

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Affiliate marketing is a fantastic strategy for promoting your small business without upfront costs.

Essentially, it involves partnering with individuals or other businesses who will promote your product or service. In return, you pay them a commission for each sale that they generate.

This performance-based approach means you only spend money when you make money, making it a cost-effective method for growing your business.

To get started, you can find affiliates by reaching out to influencers or bloggers in your niche, or by joining an affiliate network.

Some platforms, such as Heights Platform, offer a built-in affiliate program specifically designed for online course creators.

This makes it easier for you to manage your affiliates, generate their unique affiliate links and track their performance without the need for extensive setup or external software.

#17: Attend Networking Events in Your Industry

Attending industry networking events can be a powerful way to meet new people and promote your business.

These events - especially if in-person - provide an opportunity for word of mouth marketing and can help you build valuable connections within your industry.

Look for events in your area or online, such as webinars or virtual conferences.

While some events are free, others may require a small investment, usually not exceeding $100 for a ticket. Remember, the relationships and visibility you gain from these events can be invaluable for your small business growth.

#18: Start a Social Media Contest

Social media contests are a great way to engage with your audience, attract new followers and get tons of free advertising.

By offering a prize, such as one of your products or a free service, you can encourage participation and spread the word about your business.

Make sure to comply with your country's regulations regarding contests and giveaways. Promote your contest across your social media platforms and email list, asking participants to follow your page, tag friends, subscribe to your YouTube channel, or sign up for your email newsletter.

This not only increases your reach but also builds your community, and you can use free tools to plan your contest.

#19: Leverage User-Generated Content with Brand Ambassadors

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User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful promotional tool.

You can encourage your satisfied customers to share their experiences with your product or service on social media. You can also collaborate with brand ambassadors (loyal customers who are enthusiastic about your brand) to regularly create high-quality content featuring your business.

This authentic content can improve your brand’s visibility and credibility, and help attract new customers. Offering incentives or recognition can motivate more users to become brand ambassadors.

#20: Partner With Other Small Business Owners

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Partnering with other businesses can open up new promotional avenues.

Look for local businesses that offer complementary services or products rather than direct competitors.

For example, if you sell fitness equipment, you could partner with a health food store or a personal trainer.

Reach out to potential partners with a proposal that outlines the mutual benefits of the partnership.

Collaborations can range from co-hosting events to cross-promoting each other’s services, helping both parties to expand their customer base and increase brand awareness.

#21: Plan an Online Event

Hosting an online event, such as a webinar or conference, can significantly boost your small business’s visibility.

Choose a topic that’s relevant to your target audience and consider inviting guest speakers who are well-known in your industry to attract more attendees.

Then, promote your event through social media, email marketing, and on your website.

Online events not only position you as an authority in your field but also provide an opportunity to engage directly with potential customers.

During the event, you can promote a special offer to attendees to attract new customers to your business!

How to Promote Your Business With Free Advertising Options

In conclusion, starting and promoting an online business in today's digital age doesn't necessarily require a hefty marketing budget.

By leveraging the 21 cost-effective strategies we covered today, from joining online communities to creating compelling content on social media and hosting online events, you can significantly increase your brand's visibility and attract new customers without spending a fortune.

Remember, the key to successful marketing lies in consistency, patience, and offering genuine value to your audience.

If you are a small business owner and you want to learn more about marketing efforts and promoting your online business, check out these articles from our blog: