Small business online advertising: best cheap and free methods

How do you advertise a small local business online?

Advertise a small local business through paid or organic traffic sources. Paid Facebook advertising is one of the primary ways to target local customers. Businesses can also use Facebook pages or groups, YouTube, Instagram, blogs, and email marketing to promote their business.

Imagine, bringing in new customers because you have an online marketing system. You can send out one post on Facebook and bring in thousands of dollars in revenue.

Using the internet to market your local business can be very beneficial!

Luckily for you, I’m going to show you some tactics for marketing your small local business. I’ll even show you some of the most effective advertising strategies. You can then decide if you want to hire an ad agency or use these tactics as part of your marketing strategy.

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How do you advertise a small local business online?

Advertise a small local business online by building a loyal following. Either pay for advertising to get leads faster or work towards building a customer base slowly through organic traffic. Use Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, blog content, and email marketing to reach customers.

The best thing you can do for your local business is build a list of customers. Your list is full of people who you can reach out to at any moment to generate sales.

For example, maybe you own a hair salon. What if you built your Facebook page to 100k followers? 

You could create a coupon or deal that gave customers 20% off their next haircut. Customers have to buy this deal upfront. 

Let’s assume your haircuts are normally $40 and 1% of your following bought the coupon for $32. You would make $32k for simply telling your following about a deal!

Whatever you decide to do, it’s easiest to focus on one strategy and get good at it. The easiest way to build a following is through paid traffic. However, you can always build a following for free, but you’ll need to be patient.

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Facebook marketing

Marketing with a Facebook page is one of the easiest ways to get started. Simply start a Facebook page with your business, invite your friends, and ask friends to share. You should be able to get a couple hundred followers doing this.

Now you can use Facebook and interact with others as your page. You should start engaging with other local pages to build a following. Comment on news articles, have discussions with other commenters, etc.

There are plenty of local Facebook groups that can help boost your reach. For example, there are plenty of ‘mom groups’ for my local area. Parent or mom based stores should join these groups and partake or even reach out to the group owner for advertising.

Most Facebook group owners aren’t trying to use their group as a business. They just wanted to create a community around a specific interest. Therefore, most Facebook group owners would be happy to let you advertise your business.

At the end of the day, Facebook makes their money through advertising. Facebook is really good about identifying local people and their interests. So you can always kick off your Facebook marketing with paid ads.

Facebook advertising can be learned in an afternoon. You don’t have to get fancy, just advertise your page or business to your local community.


YouTube is great about hosting video content. Video content can easily be shared across email or other social media. It will be hard for you to market your local business solely on YouTube, unless you ship products outside your community.

YouTube shines for small business owners when they provide a product. For example, someone who has a sign business and can ship custom made signs to customers.

You might start making videos of you making custom neon signs. Show off your work, tell people how signs are made, and make the videos interesting. Your video watchers might subscribe and ask for custom signs themselves.

Not only can you sell your products through YouTube, but you can earn ad revenue. Some business owners find monetizing their videos makes them more money than their own products.

Video just makes a great marketing tool. You can share your videos across your other social media platforms or include them into emails.


Instagram is similar to YouTube in terms of marketing strategy. However, you create visually captivating photos which include your products. You can include a link in the photo descriptions to where they can order the products themselves.

Blog content

Blog content is great for small businesses who specialize in consulting. However, starting a successful blog takes hard work and results are often delayed. Therefore, don’t start blogging unless you’re ok with blogging for the long haul.

So how can a blog help your small business? What if you were a Certified Public Accountant trying to start your own CPA firm.

You could start a blog that gave away helpful tax help. Write articles around common tax questions like, “what’s a 1099?” or “how do I pay my taxes?”

The goal of your blog should be to optimize your articles for Google Search or Search Engine Optimization. Ranking an article on the front page of Google can bring in customers every single month.

So let’s assume you wrote the article, “what is a 1099?” It ranks on the first page of Google and 1,000 people per month read that article. At the bottom of the article, you wrote something like, “taxes are hard, but we love doing them. Contact us for tax help.”

If 1% of people reading your article converted into clients, you’d get 10 clients every month. Obviously, this is just an example – but you get the point.

Blogging is great for generating business leads!

Email marketing

Email marketing works for any business. Your goal is to get as many people as possible to sign up for your email list. Whenever you have a sale or something awesome to say, send it to your email list.

Email has the best rate of conversions than any other source of marketing. Customers are more likely to see your emails than they are a social media post.

There are many ways to incentivize people to sign up for your email list. For example, you could make an “email club” for your Food Truck. 

Tell people they’ll get special deals every single month. Make sure your customers understand, these are exclusive deals not found anywhere else. The more exclusive and better deals, the better your sales will get.

What is the most effective advertising for small business?

Email marketing is the most effective advertising method for small businesses. Not only does email marketing perform better than social, but you own your email list. Social media websites like Facebook have been limiting reach of page owners and can shut down your accounts at any time.

As Facebook has gotten more popular, individual page owners have their content seen less. More advertisements are seen, which are taking the place of your Facebook posts. 

You could post something on Facebook, but there’s a chance someone will miss your sale. When you send an email, the email hits customer’s inboxes and is hard to ignore.

Facebook posts are still a good way of reaching customers, but email performs better.

However, you’re still going to need a way to get people to sign up for your email list. Building a strong Facebook page can help you get people to sign up for your email list. Every now and then, ask your followers to sign up for email deals.

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Summary: Small business online advertising

As you can see, there are many ways small businesses can advertise online. Paid advertising is a quick way to reach customers, but online advertising doesn’t have to be expensive. You can also target customers with organic traffic sources.

Email is the best performing marketing strategy for small businesses. More customers will read your emails than social media, leading to greater conversions. More conversions means more money in your pocket.

Most business owners should own a Facebook page. Facebook is still one of the best ways to find local customers. You can use Facebook ads, groups, and pages to market your business.

YouTube and Instagram are some of the best social media websites for selling products. You can build a fanbase around your business. Give your followers a way of ordering your products and ship them to your customers.

Blog content is a good way to market your consulting services, but you have to be patient. Learn search engine optimization and help people solve problems around your services. Tell your readers that you can solve their problems, when they hire you.

John is the founder of TightFist Finance and an expert in the field of personal finance. John has studied personal finance for over 10 years and has used his knowledge to pay down debt, grow his investment portfolio, and launch a financial based business. He is committed to sharing content related to personal finance based on his experience in his career, investing, and path towards reaching financial independence.