Guide

Free advertising

8 free and low-budget advertising ideas for small businesses

Free advertising is a great way to reach audiences on a budget, through creative strategies such as social media, word of mouth, and search engine optimization. Discover eight types of free advertising to inspire your campaigns.

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What is free advertising?

Free advertising is the process through which a brand or business finds creative or resourceful means such as social, word-of-mouth, or user-generated content (UGC) to reach audiences while on a budget. No matter the size of your company, whether you’re a large or small business, these examples of free marketing can help to improve your strategy and expand your brands without expensive campaigns or paid social.

To advertise for free, you need to be willing to experiment and work hard. It’s not the easiest form of advertising, but it can be a great way for small businesses to get started even without a huge marketing budget. And there are certainly many ways to promote your business for free, such as with social media, email promotions, or even word of mouth. There are also ways Amazon Ads can help you advertise on a budget. For example, Amazon Ads offers Posts (beta), a free way to use images to share your products. You can also create a Store on Amazon for free to showcase your brand and reach a broader audience. These are just a few cheap, effective ways to showcase your products, but that’s not all you should be thinking about. Here are eight ideas for cheap and free marketing.

Types of free advertising

1. Content marketing

Content marketing is a broad term that includes types of content that promote your brand such as blog posts, photos, or videos. Content marketing is a component of inbound marketing, which appeals to customers through articles, photos, and experiences, rather than merely text-based ads.

Since there are many forms of content, there are also many ways to create it, often for free. For example, do you have writers on your staff who could craft articles about your products? Or do you have aspiring social media gurus who would be willing to source UGC? Creating content related to your brand and products is an easy first step toward reaching your audience with your brand messaging.

2. Social media marketing

Social media marketing is important because it’s a way of reaching your audience where they are already consuming content. Social media advertising could include reposting UGC featuring your brand, creating a hashtag tied to a new campaign, or even building an immersive house from Cheetos that encourages interaction and social sharing.

To get started with social media and digital marketing, make sure your brand has profiles on all relevant pages, such as a LinkedIn page, Facebook business page, and a page for your business for Instagram. You could also consider sites such as Yelp or YouTube, if you want to share photos and videos of your brand, for example. Once you have your social media pages set up, make sure to post frequently and interactions with customers, taking note of events, holidays, or popular social trends as an easy and cheap way to improve engagement.

3. Email marketing

Email marketing, similar to social media marketing, is another way to experiment with interactive marketing. Email is one of the earliest and most basic ways to communicate directly with your customers, sending them newsletters, promotions, discounts, follow-ups, new products, and feedback requests. Being conversational can be beneficial in email marketing, as a way of displaying your brand voice to customers without sounding overly corporate.

4. Search engine optimization (SEO) marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important component of marketing, and a way to make sure your brand is getting attention from customers browsing for products. A cheap way to get started is to claim the profiles and domains for your brand name, ensure your location and hours are updated on maps, and create a website. This will all help improve your ranking and ensure you show up in search results.

SEO is also a way to use digital analytics to measure the performance of your brand. For example, you can see where you stand and what the search volume is for related keywords and products. This can help you optimize your ad campaigns without spending a ton of money. For even more free help with measurement, Amazon Attribution offers metrics and insights on how non-Amazon marketing channels perform on Amazon.

5. Word-of-mouth marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is positive communication about your brand between your customers, potential future shoppers, or other audiences. It can be trickier to quantify and measure, but it still could be hugely beneficial to improving your brand reach. For example, you could start by responding to reviews and answering questions from customers online, improving your interactions.

You could ask colleagues willing to be brand ambassadors, sharing on social or with their friends. It’s also a great way to experiment with creative in-person marketing, such as by featuring your brand and products at classes, events, or fairs.

6. Creative marketing

Creative marketing, also known as “guerrilla marketing,” is a way of using surprising or unique ideas to reach customers. While it may not be completely free marketing, it’s a way to get the most out of your budget by making an impact with merchandise, pop-up attractions, or experiential marketing.

7. Video marketing

There are tons of ways to use video marketing beyond just online video ads. For example, you could host webinars or live video streams to create a sense of urgency around your new product releases. It’s free to create a livestreams on Amazon using the Amazon Live Creator app, and you could also use free social media videos from UGC, or use live events as a catalyst for creating organic content. Especially if your audience has a high consumption of video, reaching them where they are with your own video marketing could be greatly beneficial.

8. Customer referral programs

Customer referral programs, giveaways, and discounts are all ways to encourage repeat visitors, drive customer retention, and improve brand loyalty. A customer referral program is also a free way to grow your audience, such as by encouraging word-of-mouth recommendations or sharing coupons. For example, technology tool Quartile recommends the Brand Referral Bonus program as a way to help engage with shoppers.

Free digital marketing courses

To get started with advertising, Amazon Ads offers marketing webinars, courses, certifications, boot camps, and videos in our free learning console. Here are four digital marketing courses to help start your education about free Amazon Ads products.

Here’s how to start using Posts (beta), a free way to use images to showcase your brand.

Find out how the free offerings from Amazon Attribution can help you measure your success.

Create your free Store on Amazon to immerse your audience in your brand’s messaging.

Learn even more about how to engage your shoppers with additional Amazon Ads products.