Promoting your business is an expensive affair and if you were to only rely on paid advertising, you could be looking at increased spending but not proportional returns. The solution is to use free advertising methods for generating leads and paying customers without spending on paid advertising.
But how do you figure out which idea is worth your time and which one will simply end up wasting your time? We’ve done the legwork and put together a list of the best free advertising ideas that will help you promote your business as well as pro tips on how you can utilize them to the fullest.
Here’s what we cover:
Free advertising is a cost-effective method to advertise a brand and make it recognized. Businesses must look to use it apart from the paid channels to boost reach and conversions.
So, here are 15 highly actionable free advertising ideas that you can use for enhancing your brand.
1. Make product reels on Instagram
More than 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business, making it the social media platform of choice for over 25 million businesses worldwide. With Instagram pushing Reels, you cannot ignore the short-form video wave. It is one of the best free advertising ideas to grow your business.
Reels are one of the best ways to push out your product on social media, reach new customers and convert existing audiences into paying clients — without spending a dime on advertising. The great part here is that they also give you a lot of creative freedom to showcase your product. Here’s an example from Nykaa announcing their Natural cosmetics being available in the United States. The video uses a simple concept of someone moving across time and being in the United States to announce the news.
To create Reels for your business, start by planning out your video marketing strategy. You want to include a mix of fun and educational content that aligns closely with your brand. If you take a look at Nykaa’s Instagram page, you’ll see that they’ve adopted the same strategy for their Reels.
Once you know the kind of videos you want to create, you can easily bring them to life using InVideo’s Instagram editor. With hundreds of templates and access to a stock media library, you can get super creative with your Reels. Just ensure that you use trending audio from the Instagram music library to improve your chances of going viral.
2. Hop on TikTok trends
Consistent and timely posting is the key to better engagement and brand growth.
Hopping on social media trends helps you stay on top of your viewer’s minds and be relevant. They also help with the account reach and let you be discovered by a larger audience.
While Instagram is more preferred by businesses when it comes to short-form videos, every trend that starts on Instagram is born on TikTok. This is a platform that can give you a first-mover advantage. Again the flexibility to get creative here can give you new ways to market your products without spending money on advertising.
Here’s an example of a TikTok video from Dunkin’ that promotes their chocolate croissant using reference from the hit Netflix show Emily in Paris. This was a great use of something that was trending and using its reach to push out its product.
To create a great Tiktok, it’s important to grab the viewers’ attention from the start and get to the point quickly. To make the content interesting add your spin to popular trends, use trending audio, and collaborate with influencers, besides being consistent and entertaining the audience.
3. Answer questions on Quora
Quora is a community-driven platform that works by allowing people to ask questions as well as answer them. The fact that there is no fee attached makes it a great free advertising idea. It has been used in the past by creators, experts, and brands to advertise their products and services.
The platform gets over 300 million monthly visitors, giving you a ready audience to market your products and services to. In addition to that, well-researched and insightful answers are also often up on top of Google search results. This gives you a great chance to get high-quality traffic consisting of prospects actively looking for solutions.
Here’s an example of a Quora answer from the Duolingo English Test. The answer is concise, provides value, and also tells readers why a test is a good option for anyone looking to take an English test which makes readers want to sign up for it.
To create Quora answers that don’t seem to be spammy or salesy, you want to genuinely provide answers to people’s queries. Once their problem is solved, you can find organic instances to talk about your brand and products. Be sure to not use too many links as that can get the answer marked as spam. And don’t add links to your brand website unless needed as Quorans see answers with too many links as spammy.
You can also add videos to your answers to make them more engaging and easy to understand. This will make your answers more relevant and attract more upvotes.
It’s easy to create such videos using InVideo’s online video editing tools. If you’re giving tips on a subject, you can use the template below. Replace the text, images, and videos with your own and you will have a compelling video ready in minutes.
4. Share your brand story
Something that paid to advertise can often miss out on is building a connection with a brand’s audience. An ad is seen as an ad at the end of the day. This is where using social media platforms to share your brand’s story comes into play.
Brands that can build a personal and emotional connection with their audience have a higher return rate and tend to do better business over time, which is why sharing stories is one of the best free advertising ideas to leverage.
Here’s an example of a brand story video from Warby Parker. It talks about how the brand was born and goes in-depth about how each of its glasses is made in the form of a story. The video highlights the efforts that go into manufacturing the product and testing to show customers that a lot of care goes into building and assembling each pair of glasses. This helps customers connect with the brand easily and trust them more.
To create such videos you first need to weave a story around your brand’s origin and ethos. Create a script first, storyboard it, and only then get to filming and editing. For the editing stage, you can use pre-made templates from InVideo and replace the media with your own.
5. Ask for video referrals
Video referral is a process of getting existing customers to refer your services to another prospect through a video.
88% of customers trust referrals and 72% say it helps the brand’s credibility. So, asking customers to share a video referral is a great way to earn social proof and help other prospects trust your brand.
This video by The Baby dietitian talks about the baby food brand Once Upon a Farm and highlights how all the meals use fresh organic ingredients. The fact that she is a baby dietitian adds to the credibility and authenticity of the brand and compels people to check out the products.
To encourage more customers to post referrals, you can create a rewards program that offers additional discounts and offers to refer customers. This will also help you retain them and compel them to make further purchases.
Once you have the videos from your customers, you can polish them using InVideo’s online video editor. Adding an outro to such videos with links to your social media as well as your contact details can be super beneficial. You can use this template to create an outro.
6. Create Tutorial videos
A video tutorial is a quick way of walking your audience through a solution they want for their problem. For instance, if you’re selling microwave ovens, your tutorial videos could be anything from showing your customers how to use an appliance to teaching them how to bake cakes.
Video tutorials are extremely popular because they show people how to go about doing something. This also gives you organic opportunities to position your product or service as a solution to their problems, making it more likely that they will become paying customers.
Here’s an example of a tutorial video from the keyword research tool Ahrefs. In this video, Sam talks about how you can use different types of email outreach and validation tools to find email addresses and validate them instantly. The tips are actionable and help Ahrefs attract prospects who want to scale their business.
To create tutorial videos, start by understanding your audiences’ pain points and where they find it difficult to use your products. Create a narrative that helps solve these and then film a tutorial that showcases the process instead of just talking about it on camera. You can use InVideo templates and the editor to put everything together and create a compelling video even if you’ve never edited one before.
7. Host podcasts and interview customers
A great free advertising idea is to host podcasts where you can invite customers who have had success with your product to talk about their journey. This is a great way to provide value while also subtly pushing your product or service.
Giving away this information helps you build your authority and also gets more people to trust your brand. Also, you can repurpose this content in various smaller videos and posts, which will in turn help you repurpose your content for a more consistent content strategy.
One example of this is ClickFunnels’ radio podcast where Dave, the co-founder, and CEO interviews the best online marketers to give their listeners actionable and valuable marketing insights. In this particular episode, Dave is interviewing Jeff Banek, a three-time recipient of the 2 comma club award which is given to ClickFunnel users who made more than $1 million with the software.
Since Jeff used ClickFunnels, he’s going to talk about how he achieved success using the software, and this is free marketing for the company.
To make the most out of podcasting, regularly connect with the community and identify people who have had huge success with your product. While you’re interviewing the person, appeal to their sense of self-worth by allowing them to speak about themselves on your platform and make the whole conversation about them while also providing value.
8. Show BTS on social media
BTS (Behind the scene) content is a fun way of giving your audience a sneak peek into your company’s workings. This is a great move to showcase transparency and thereby build trust.
This video by Alexa Chung is a BTS at Dior’s haute couture which shows how Dior dresses are made and highlights the efforts of expert craftsmen — further cementing the ethos that Dior stands for.
For creating behind-the-scenes videos for your social media, a great idea is to start documenting your processes — how the product is being built, how the team functions, how colleagues interact, etc. You can then have a stream of BTS content regularly by putting together these snippets. You can then bring these to life using InVideo’s online video editor.
9. Host/Appear on podcasts
Appearing as a guest on other peoples’ podcasts is a great free advertising idea. It allows you to showcase your expertise, connect with newer audiences, and build authority in a space all while providing value to listeners.
As a business, this means you’ve got a new way to reach your customers, connect with them, and become a part of their routine. Also, Findings from a Spotify study reveal two captivating statistics that highlight the effectiveness of podcasting as an advertising medium-
- 54% of podcast listeners say they’re highly likely to purchase from a brand they have heard before being advertised on podcasts.
- 81% of podcast enthusiasts have reported taking action such as browsing information about a product online, interacting with a brand on social media, or talking about a business with other people.
For example, Neil Patel offers 10-minutes of actionable marketing advice on his Marketing School Podcast. This helps boost his brand awareness by educating his prospects and helping them convert into leads.
To appear on podcasts, you want to create a solid network. Communicate with those in your community on channels like Twitter and LinkedIn. Form genuine connections as well as publicly talk about the journey of your brand. Doing this will help you get more inbound leads and invitations to appear on podcasts as an expert.
10. Collaborate with businesses with similar target audiences
Collaborations act as a powerful tool to build connections and scale your business. When you collaborate with businesses that have a similar audience or customer demographic, collaborating with them can give you ready access to their customers. And these are people who are more likely to convert into paying customers for your brand. Also, your brand can use this collaboration as an opportunity to understand customer needs and expectations carefully and improve your products to solve them.
For example, Adidas collaborated with Arizona Iced Tea where Arizona Iced Tea’s unique branding style onto Adidas sneakers in an exclusive collection. The two companies got a lot of influencers to promote the brand too.
If you also want to collaborate with another brand and tell your audience about it with a video, create an attractive one using InVideo.
11. Find opportunities to guest post on other blogs or magazines
Guest posting on other blogs can help you reach new audiences and build authority in your niche. You can utilize guest posting as an opportunity to position your brand or product in the industry and also amplify your website traffic. You can also write guest posts for magazines and reach new audiences that way.
Greg Nunan, a digital marketer from Australia has built up a lot of authority by guest posting on other online marketing sites and using it to establish himself as a thought leader. Here’s a snippet from the guest blog he wrote on video marketing on Bizzmarkblog.
To find publications and websites that accept guest posts, start by identifying the ones in your niche and reaching out to them. Make sure to analyze the readership and the previous articles before you begin writing. Alternatively, you can reach out to PR reps to find suitable publications. Once you have an alignment you will need to create a blog post that provides value to the reader while also establishing you or your brand as an expert.
Several media houses also have YouTube channels and accept video publications. Although more time and resource-intensive to make, these can help you grow faster and build better brand authority. To create videos for guest posting, you can use a tool like InVideo that comes with a robust editor, thousands of templates, and millions of stock assets, making it easier than ever to create videos quickly and easily.
12. Have an opinion and voice your values online
Brands can transform a transactional relationship with their customers into one that declares value. So, every time a customer buys something from that brand it means supporting their ideas as well.
But your customers will never come to know of that idea if you don’t voice it online. So, if you stand for a cause, make it obvious, if you support a particular political leaning, post about it. Make your stand clear. While this might put off people in one segment, it will gain massive respect from people who stand on your side of the line. This strategy works well in creating long-term loyal customers
A good way to make your values noticed is also to voice opinions about what’s relevant or in the news (especially in your space.) Pick one side that resonates with your brand’s values and make a statement.
Just after that, you’ll see the audience divide into two groups to support or detest you. And having positive and negative views is a good sign, as neutral reactions can be a sign of brand fatigue.
A good example of such polarizing content was when IBM stood up to support the #blacklivesmatter movement. The CEO Arvind Krishna sent a letter to congress on racial justice reform, stating that the company will no longer sell or develop general-purpose facial recognition technology as it is found to be less accurate in identifying black faces.
13. List your site on Google My Business
Businesses with Google My Business (GMB) listings stand a higher likelihood of being discovered on Google than those who’re not. This means more organic traffic and discoverability from your target customers.
Apart from helping your business get traction, GMB listings help your customer verify that you’re a legitimate business, provides social proof in the form of reviews, and tells them how to buy from you.
So, if you haven’t created a GMB listing or updated it yet, do it right away as you’re missing out on free and valuable real estate for SEO and making it hard for yourself to rank on Google.
Here’s an example of a GMB listing from Hotel Bel-Air. The listing shows the ratings contact details and FAQs as rich snippets in Google results.
However, when you click the listing, it gives more detailed information like reviews, photos, about, online features, and shows popular attractions around the hotel’s location.
This helps the customer get more information on the business and helps them make a purchase decision.
To create a Google My Business listing that gets your business discovered easily, sign in to the GMB manager, add your business details, enter your location and contact information, verify your listing, and customize your profile with pictures of your listing. Here’s an in-depth video that explains it better:
If you have a product or service like this hotel above, you can also add videos to your GMB page. This gives you more traction and makes the user experience more interactive. To create these videos, you can take the help of a tool like InVideo which comes with thousands of templates to help you create such videos in minutes.
14. Take part in networking events
Participating in events plays a significant role in growing your business because it allows you to meet other people in the industry who can give you valuable insights and help you grow your business.
It also gives you the chance to educate your prospects about the product and boost awareness of your business if the event allows you to have kiosks or some other tech aid.
For example, NVIDIA took part in the CES 2022 event to promote its upcoming products. The company made a sneak peek video that gave users hints on the performance and specs of each gadget that they’ll bring to the event.
You can register for similar events and local meetups in places where your customers hang out and run a similar teaser video about what you’ll bring to the event. There are a lot of creative ways to experiment with it by running campaigns on the event's hashtags, targeting people who showed up in the event later, filming the event to create campaigns later, etc. To understand how you can do this, we recommend you check out our blog on this topic.
15. Hold giveaway contests
Hosting giveaways is a great free advertising idea because it helps boost visibility as well as brand recall while creating a community of those who are aligned with your product or service.
It also improves your brand image since users are likely to share your contest and their gifts (if they win) on social media, giving you a boost in reach and engagement.
Here is an interesting example of a giveaway contest from the Kimpton Hotel. It runs weekly caption contests where the best caption is awarded a prize. This is a fun strategy because this not only gets people talking about you but increases your organic reach which is difficult to achieve these days.
To create a giveaway contest like Kimpton, create a low-barrier entry point that encourages people to participate in your contest. For example, you could ask your followers to tag friends, simply comment on a letter, or place a guess to win a prize.
A great way to boost your giveaway is to post videos instead of static images. You can create these using templates on InVideo. All you need to do is replace the existing media with your own and you’re good to go.
Now that you have a long list of free advertising ideas in your arsenal, it’s important to look at some practices that will ensure you get the best return for your time and effort.
Tip #1 - Publish content consistently
Content marketing is not a one-shot wonder. It is a long-haul game. If you’re spending time creating and editing content, you also need to maintain a constituent schedule to build a rapport with your target audience as well as ace the platform’s algorithm.
Create a marketing calendar as you would for social media or blogs. Include the websites and the time slots where the content is scheduled for publishing. Take a step further by including the key goals and objectives of each piece of content.
Tip #2 - Invest in video marketing
According to a HubSpot study, 54% of the customers prefer watching regular video content from the brand or business they like. The reason is obvious, video is a lot more engaging than static posts. As a result, even marketplaces like Amazon are incentivizing customers to put up videos of their products and the popularity of short-form video platforms like TikTok is on the rise.
If you want to utilize free advertising resources, then the video should be at the top of your list. You can use a tool like InVideo to create stunning videos in minutes, even if you’ve never edited one before. And if you want to learn more about video marketing, make sure to check out this in-depth video we have on our channel:
Tip #3 - Consider search intent before creating a content piece
While search intent forms the heart of your SEO strategy, it applies to your other content as well. While a lot of SEO professionals form a keyword-centric strategy, it's important to know the rationale of your customers before searching for a specific keyword.
Search intent is of four types:
- Navigational: Looking up for something for the first time
- Informational: Researching to know more about a specific topic
- Transactional: Looking to make a purchase
- Commercial: Doing extensive research including pricing and competitor details
Use the search intent to create information that’s relevant to the intent of the buyer. If the intent is that of buying, focus on creating the bottom-of-the-funnel content pieces that direct buyers straight to the purchase or demo of your product. However, if the intent is more informational and top of the funnel, you can consider creating lead magnets to capture prospect information, to nurture them further down the funnel.
Tip #4 - Update your content regularly
The quality of your content is going to determine the success of your brand. While a well-researched, value-packed post will help you rank higher and get discovered easily, it’ll continue giving you benefits only if it’s updated regularly.
In other words, recency plays a big factor in ranking on the first page of Google because it wants to provide updated information to its users. So, apart from helping your SEO and providing recent information to your users, it also helps improve your authority and credibility which eventually translates to an increase in revenue.
To keep your content fresh and get a steady stream of traffic, take a look at posts that are performing well and update them with more information, delete outdated posts, and combine posts on similar topics so your posts don’t compete with each other and lose the chances of ranking on top.
Tip #5 - Leverage data to create a feedback loop
Advertising your business is not a once-done-and-over thing. You’ve to constantly work at it and identify areas of improvement so that your brand can get new customers and keep the older customers coming back for more.
The best way to do this is to leverage the data and insights from the content you put out to see what type of content performs well with your audience. Once you’ve set a campaign, you should also set the KPIs to check if your efforts are being rewarded.
For instance, if you’re putting out videos for your campaigns, then you need to track how your videos are performing- what’s the total number of views, play rate, watch time, engagement rates, retention, etc. These metrics will help you understand how your video campaigns are performing so that you can use them to improve your next campaigns.
To choose the right KPIs, take a look at your business goals first and choose the ones that align directly with your business goals. For instance, if your business goal is to get more sales, then you’ll focus more on KPIs like conversions and ROI.
Also, consider the stage of growth your company is in. If you’re just starting with a new product, you’ll want to focus on KPIs like views and engagement since your goal is to build more awareness for your product. If you’re already established you’ll focus on metrics like conversions so you can think about scaling your business. Lastly, when you’re expanding, you’ll focus on metrics like the Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) and Lifetime Value (LTV) of a customer so you can focus on bringing down the cost of acquiring customers and utilizing the resources to scale your business.
While paid advertising is important if you want to stand out against the competition, you can do so much just with the free resources we’ve listed before. Start by leveraging these free advertising ideas to your leverage and once you get to a point where your brand is generating revenue, only then consider incorporating paid advertising methods.
But regardless of the advertising ideas you adopt, you will need to practice consistency, optimize your content for user experience, and leverage data to ensure you’re making the most of your investment. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive insight into how to advertise your business for free, check out this blog.
And if you prefer learning via video, definitely check out our YouTube channel, where we share daily video creation tips and tricks, the latest video trends and ideas, and help you make more money as a video creator.