Looking for simple ways to grow your business for free? Read on! Here are 10 ways you can advertise your business for free online. As a busy business owner, your time is valuable – many of these tips are set-and-forget, so you do them once, and reap the benefits for years to come.

If you’d like help setting up any of these, get in touch here.

1. Coffee & Creativity

We get it. At the end of a lonnnng day, the last thing you have the brainpower for is creative content. That said, it is important to be present on your socials. Some of my best performing clients on paid ads have an active social media presence, as people click to the page to see recent posts and get to know you before contacting you.

So how do you break that creative block every single day? You don’t! The trick is to bulk create content and have a plan in place. Grab a coffee and spend a few hours plotting a mix of quotes, before/after pics, reviews, offers and blogs (I probably wrote this 3 weeks before you’re reading it with a cappuccino.) Once you get the creative juices flowing, you’ll find it easy to map out a month of social posts and blogs for your social profiles.

*Fresh mountain-grown coffee from the hills of Colombia not essential.

If you’re feeling stuck, take a look at competitors to see what they’re posting and how many people are engaging with each post type. Pinterest and Instagram are a great source for inspiration using hashtag searches, or good old Google Images.

When you’re ready to put your posts together, use free tools such as Canva to set up a bank of designs to post with your text. There are plenty of free stock video and image sources too such as Pexels, but take photos through the month of your own work to keep it authentic.

2. Super Scheduling

Once you have your posts planned, you can schedule them for the entire month in one go. Doing it this way saves time and allows you to ensure there’s no repetition, as the content is fresh in your mind. It’s time consuming posting to individual channels, but this also allows you to update Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, even Google my Business with one click, giving you maximum social presence with ease.

Hootsuite offers 5 scheduled posts free, but there’s a small cost to schedule further in advance – it’s worthwhile though for the time you’ll save, and there are some great reporting options to see which posts get the most engagement. SocialBee is another good option for around half the price, but shop around to find the one for you. Most scheduling tools have a free trial so you can find your favourite.

3. Get Google My Business

Google My Business is often overlooked, but it’s a great free source of traffic and advertising for your business. Here are some interesting stats on why this is worth 5 minutes of your time to complete:

⁃ The average business is found in 1009 monthly searches, with 84% of these from discovery searches.

⁃ Google my Business Listings with photos are twice as likely to be considered reputable, they also attract 35% more clicks.

49% of businesses receive more than 1,000 search views per month.

⁃ A typical business gets 59 actions on their listing every month.

⁃ On average, businesses receive more than 100 calls each month from their Google listing.

It’s easy and free to create a listing on Google my Business – take the time to write a good description and add photos, as these will increase your chances of being seen for relevant local searches.

4. Hashtag for Your Life

Hashtags are an important way to categorise your posts and to be found for relevant searches. On TikTok ads, you can even target people who are watching videos with a specified hashtag. There are some great websites which will help you find relevant hashtags for your posts. As with keywords, some hashtags are more competitive than others, so aim for a mixed bag of highly competitive but relevant hashtags, longer tail niche hashtags and some middle-of-the-road ones.

The hashtags you use will add your presence to the Instagram Explore page, so plan some hashtag groups into your strategy. People use the Instagram Explore search function in the same way they use Google search, with over 200 million users checking their Instagram every day.

5. Engage With Your Community

This can feel like a chore, but it’s important to be connected to your local audience if you offer local services. Engage on local spotted pages, post before/afters and mention any free slots you have for the month – people will tag friends who’ve been looking for your services in these more conversational posts.

Ask friends and family to keep an eye out for people posting ‘recommendations’ posts to Facebook looking for services you offer. This can be a really easy, free way to boost your business.

Example Facebook recommendations post

6. Boost With Business Directories

Let’s face it, some directories look like they’ve been built by a 5 year old, but it’s worth posting your business information to them all. Each one will be working on building their own authority and SEO, in turn this will left your chances of appearing in search results and pushing the competition lower down the page.

Simply search for business directories online, and add yourself to any free ones you find. Whilst Google my Business, Bing, Yell, Yelp etc are key, the others may just help you dominate the search results for brand specific searches. You’re also adding to your credibility by increasing your online presence.

7. Utilise Free Selling Sites & Groups

If you sell a product, make the most of free selling sites including Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, Schpock and eBay – just one listing can lead a viewer down a rabbit hole to your social pages, and then on to your website.

There are plenty of Facebook groups which allow selling too, especially around Christmas time. Be present – be everywhere – the more eyes on your business, the more chance of a sale!

8. Brush Up on Your SEO

SEO, aka search engine optimisation, is so crucial for your business to be found online. It’s how you push up the organic search results and appear for relevant searches. Unfortunately, SEO is another language, and thanks to the ever changing goalposts of Google, it’s hard to stay on top.

WordPress has some great SEO plugins such as Yoast which will guide you through improving your page content to improve your SEO performance. Using a traffic light system, you can move from red to green as you add in-page links, reword copy and weave in your keywords naturally – it’s a quick win to improve your site’s SEO performance for free.

9. Collect 1st Party Data

You may have heard about the iOS privacy updates impacting the use of cookies and the ability to target using 3rd party data. If not, in a nutshell we’re losing more ability to target ads based on people’s interests and behaviours every day, so now is the time to do something to prepare for future marketing tactics – we can’t rely on cookies forever!

Zero and first party data are what customers have told you about themselves, or actions they’ve taken that teaches your about them. This data is golden and can be used to create audiences for ads and email marketing. Run giveaways on your socials, collect customer email addresses when they enquire or purchase (with permission to market), and if you’re running ads, test lead ads where you ask questions alongside collecting their email address.

Image: MediaVine

This all helps you to form a database of information about your customers to send them relevant future offers, aswell as finding similar lookalike audiences.

10. Go Viral!

Ok this is easier said than done, but it works! Whether you run a tagging competition on Facebook, clean your way to fame on Instagram Mrs Hinch style, have the TikTok skills of Ryanair’s social media team, or share hot tips on YouTube, cracking one of these opens the brand awareness floodgates (for free!)

If you need help planning your advertising strategy, get in touch! You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest for more handy tips to boost your business.