10 Free Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

10 Free Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

Alex Sleeper

Every business has it challenges, and for many that’s marketing. It’s costly, time-consuming, and requires consistency to drive results. Traditional agencies can cost thousands per month to run your social media, email marketing, and digital ads – and for a good reason; developing and maintaining a winning marketing strategy takes considerable experience and effort.

But, when you’re trying to grow on a budget, traditional agencies or in-house experts are sometimes out of the question.  

So, how do you generate brand awareness and leads for free?  

We’ve created a list of 10 creative and resourceful ideas to market your business on a budget.

#1. Post social media content

In a world where the average user spends at least 2.5 hours per day on social media, this tip should come as no surprise. Posting to your company’s social media page(s) is not only free but also effective; and as such, this tactic has cemented itself as the cornerstone of any digital marketing strategy.

In fact, it’s become so rudimentary that users are unpleasantly surprised when they’re researching a brand and their social media presence is nil; it’s like having a dating profile with no information on it.

The impact your social media presence has on your lead funnel is undeniable. The good news – social media content is easy to DIY.  

Here are some content ideas per social media platform:  


  • Timely, industry-specific articles 
  • Blogs  
  • Thought leadership posts  
  • Company Photos  
  • Polls  



  • Designed images 
  • Company photos  
  • Industry articles  

Creating social media content doesn’t have to be time-consuming in the age of AI. For instance, you can create graphic designer level images for your company pages instantly with Canva’s brand-new integrated AI

#2. Utilize a free SEO tool

SEO is another foundational digital marketing tactic. The goal of SEO is to outrank your competitors for the #1 spot on the search engine results page (SERP) for keywords related to your products and services. Tools like Google’s Keyword Planner can help identify those relevant keywords at no cost. 

Google offers numerous free SEO tools for business owners, such as PageSpeed Insights and Search Console. But, if you’re looking for a comprehensive list, you can find 27 free SEO tools here.

SEO plays a major role in your online visibility. The greater your visibility, the more website traffic you’ll enjoy. And, depending on the keyword, these visitors are high-intent, purchasing-focused buyers that more likely to convert.  

Start optimizing and building your lead funnel with our simple 5-step SEO guide for small businesses.  

#3. Set-up Google My Business

Another of Google’s free SEO tools, Google My Business is a free business profile that allows businesses, big or small, to manage their online presence on the search engine.

You can create or claim your Google My Business page and start sharing your posts, updating your website, adding your address, or sharing special offers.  

#4. Attend local networking events

Connect with other small business owners in your area by attending free networking events. Not only does networking amplify your business’ presence in your community, but it’s also a great way to connect with like-minded people who are keen on supporting local businesses, leading to cross-promotional opportunities.  

You can find digital networking communities on platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook. However, if you’re looking to build bonds in person, we recommend joining a professional organization such as your local chamber or other entrepreneurship clubs.  

#5. Host webinars or workshops

From 2019 to 2020, the number of marketers hosting webinars jumped 15% due to the pandemic’s digital-only lifestyle. Now, three years later, webinars are still on trend. They help businesses attract potential customers who are already contemplating concepts relevant to purchasing, or in the ‘consideration phase’ of the buying cycle. 

Webinars are an opportunity to demonstrate your domain expertise and educate your audience on topics relevant to your industry; in other words, it’s an opportunity to provide your prospects with something valuable to their work at no cost to you (other than time).  

#6. Apply for business awards

Local magazines often have numerous awards businesses can apply for and, potentially, win. For small businesses in particular, winning awards magnifies your brand’s presence in your community, exposing your company to a wider audience. Additionally, local publications often rank businesses by niche, which is another avenue for SMBs to boost their visibility for free.  

#7. Develop a referral program

Word-of-mouth will always be powerful. Encourage your current customers to refer friends, family, colleagues, or other businesses in exchange for incentives. And it’s easy to get started, all you have to do is ask your current customer base to get involved.  

#8. Content Marketing

Start a blog on your website and publish articles on platforms like Medium or LinkedIn. Share your industry expertise and insightful stories from the years; case studies, for instance, are powerful for buyers to understand your process as well as the outcomes they can expect.

Over time, this tactic will establish you as a thought leader in your field and drive organic traffic to your website. While it can be time consuming to write meaningful content, it’s crucial to SEO and building your brand’s credibility.  

#9. Engage on Quora and Reddit

Professionals have valuable knowledge about their work, and it can be used to help market your business for free. Answer questions relevant to your business or industry on platforms like Quora and Reddit to establish authority and direct traffic to your site. 

#10. Share educational videos

The demand for video content is unceasing. Platforms like Tik Tok and YouTube, with their billions of active users, reflect the hunger people have for video. Easy to consume and hard to look away from, video content can be readily produced on your phone or webcam and edited using free tools like iMovie. Everyone has a camera in their pocket – use it. Educational video content allows you to connect with your prospects in a personal way and, above all, gives them the type of content they crave.  

Extu offers budget-conscious marketing

Here’s a free marketing idea: Extu. Our partner base has exclusive access to powerful, lead driving marketing for a fraction of the cost. Expertly crafted contents pairs with our proprietary automated marketing platform to propel partner business growth, with minimal effort and investment.