7 Free or Low-Cost Advertising and Marketing Ideas for Your Small Businesses

By Scott Vollero

If you own a small business, it’s a good bet your marketing budget is small as well. But, did you know there are a lot of creative ways to market and advertise that don’t cost a fortune? Here are 7 of the most effective free or low-cost, yet powerful, ways to advertise your business.

  1. Have a contest. Nothing brings potential customers in more than the possibility of winning a prize. You can easily run a simultaneous online and in-house contest, accepting entries from both locations. The prize should be something of value and preferably a product or service you offer. Add contest details and entry instructions to all of your current printed material as well as your website and social media channels.
  2. Run a charity event. Perhaps you can collect non-perishable food for the local food banks or supplies for the nearby animal shelter. Is someone in the neighborhood ill and struggling with paying medical bills? How about hosting a fundraiser? Partner with other businesses in the area to help defray the modest cost of the event. Ask for community volunteers to play music and entertain.
  3. Let your personality shine. Become the face of your business. Put your picture on your website, social media channels and printed advertising material. Include pictures of team members. Prove to onlookers there are friendly people behind the scenes ready to serve.
  4. Partner with another non-competing small business to advertise. Design two-way printed advertising material and split the cost. If you and your partner both send out invoices, place partner advertising material in with the invoice to widen each business’s reach. If both businesses have storefronts, display partner advertising handouts on counters.
  5. Host a customer appreciation/bring a friend party. A party is a great way to show current customers how much you appreciate them. And, if your customer brings a friend, you have a prospective customer in the works.
  6. Conduct a survey. Ask your customers to fill out a printed and/or online survey. Ask what their favorite websites, magazines and newspapers are. Ask how you can better serve them. Offer a gift, discount or chance to win a prize when they complete the survey.

“The feedback you receive about websites. reading materials and service improvement gives you a better idea about where to put your advertising dollars and how to better meet customer needs.” – Scott Vollero

  1. Post trending and related product or service content on your website and social media channels. Content is an important advertising element if you have an online presence. Adding relevant and informative content, such as latest trends and how-to advice solidifies your expertise with current customers and shares allow you to reach a wider audience.


Scott Vollero is an international entrepreneur and expert in the precious metals and automotive parts recycling industries.