Best Places to Advertise Your Small Business on The Cheap

9 min read(Last Updated On: February 11, 2018)

Hey, it’s Hoz here with a brand new Ask Hoz session, and in today’s session, I’m going to be answering the question: what are the best places to advertise your small business on a budget?

The actual question that came through was: what’s a good marketing strategy for a small business on a budget? But the strategy I’m about to share with you is so effective that I felt compelled to change the title to The 2 best places to advertise your small business.

So I did.

Now, let me set the scene…

There are a ton of articles online about ways to promote a small business, and I skimmed through a few to check whether the strategy that I’m sharing is being talked about. And it wasn’t.

What I did see, however, were tons of lists that churned out predictable (and off-point) recommendations, such as:

  • do Google Adwords
  • do Facebook ads
  • list yourself in local directories
  • blah blah blah…

Many of these articles missed the whole point, which was:

How do I Advertise my Business on a Small Budget?

If you’re not savvy in the ways of copywriting or at least have a basic understanding of how and why advertising works, then Google Adwords is going to syphon your entire budget faster than a high street bank loan.

Likewise with Facebook. If you don’t know how to build and target an audience, then kiss goodbye to your hard-earned cash, because Mr Zuckerberg is going to get paid.

Budget means cheap.

Handling your own paid advertising when you're a novice in distress is madness. You may as well pop down to the local casino where at least you may have a chance of hitting the jackpot.Click To Tweet

Budget means:

I need help finding ways to promote my small business but I have no money because business is slow, so I need cheap or free ways to advertise my services.

So, let me share with you a tried and tested way (by yours truly) that is very cheap (it’s almost free, and it doesn’t get cheaper than that!) and very effective.

Let’s do this.

The 2 Best Places to Advertise Your Small Business are Right in Front of You…

The best places are actually:

  • yourself
  • your accessories

Best, in this case, is in the context of the question: it needs to be cheap as well as effective.

Naturally, if money was no object, you could split test paid advertising campaigns until you hit positive ROI and then amp the winning campaigns. That would be easy money and arguably a very enjoyable way to make money.

But that’s not really achievable for the small business owner on a budget.

So stick with me on this. Best, at this point, is to advertise on yourself and on your accessories.

Have a quick listen to this Ask Hoz session where I explain how this works and how I used this strategy effectively to advertise my services:

2 Creative Ways to Promote Your Small Business Effectively and Almost for Free – Video

In the video, I assume that the ‘budget’ is almost zero simply because normally what people mean when they say ‘on a budget’ is in fact ‘no money’ or as cheap as possible.

When money is tight, the core strategy that I have used in the past and I think it’s one of the best strategies that you can implement is to turn yourself into an ad and turn your accessories into an ad.

As simple as these 2 things are, they’re evidently not obvious, because not enough business owners are doing this. Instead, they’re busy searching for cheap advertising ideas and consuming content about paying for advertising online.

So let’s explore this strategy in more depth:

To clarify, by accessories I mean your car and any other tool that you use in your business. And by yourself, I mean just that: you.

Your car, if you use one for either personal or business use, should be advertising your services. Always.

If you're one person business, your car needs to be screaming out nice and loud what it is that you offer. Start branding.Click To Tweet

Now, don’t make the mistake that I see so many times of getting small advertising magnets that you attach to your door because no one can see those.

I have a client who runs a small home renovation company and he has these magnets on his van. I’ve seen his van whilst I’ve been out on the road and I know what the magnets say but I can’t
see them – and neither can other people unless they get right up close to the van.

My client’s argument is that the advertising magnets are intended to promote his business when he’s sat in traffic. The target audience is people sitting in traffic, alongside or behind his van.

And also when he’s stopped at a red light.

Well, here’s the problem with that: everyone is busy. What you’ll find is that most times, most people who are sat next to you in traffic and not paying attention to you or your van or your car.

Ask yourself what vehicles were you paying attention to when you were sat at the lights. Probably none. I’m guessing you were in your head, going over different stuff.

So in reality, only a small percentage of people are going to see those small ad magnets.

And this is a mistake

If you spend a significant amount of time in traffic, then you are wasting that time. Go big. Go large. Have professional signage all over the van to really catch people’s eye. Make the most out of all that time that you’re sat in traffic by drawing as much attention as you possibly can to your business. For free.

The signage cost will be a one-time cost, but it will be money well spent. Once the signage is on, you have an advert for life that works for you 24×7.

There used to be a landscape gardener in my road a few years back, and he had a van with professional signage, and it was stunning. You couldn’t miss it. The whole thing looked like a mobile garden, but it was very well done. And more importantly, it just caught your eye wherever you were.

Any other accessories that you use in your business should also be turned into advertising for your business.

If you walk around with a clipboard or a tablet, buy a case and have your logo, strapline and slogan printed on the case.

Now let’s get to the cheapest and most creative way to advertise your small business…

How to Turn Yourself into an Ad for Your Business or Service

This method is very effective and – more importantly – very cheap.

Get yourself a t-shirt.

If you’re a personal trainer or a dog groomer, for example, you should be wearing a t-shirt telling the world what it is that you do, wherever you go.

What I suggest you do is to get three or four or five different t-shirts in different colours with your message.

Every time you stand in a queue is an opportunity to get new business.

To run with the first example, if you were a personal trainer then you would have a t-shirt that says: I’m a personal trainer. Just ask me.

That is actually inviting people to approach you and actually ask you about your service.

Every time you go shopping you should be wearing that t-shirt; every time you sit in a cafe you should be wearing that t-shirt.

I have used this strategy myself very successfully.

If you’re in the type of business where you need to wear a shirt and you go to conferences then fin a way around it.

Years ago, I used to go attend e-commerce expos across the country back when I was really focused on e-commerce, and people normally wear suits to those events, save for a few strolling around in casual dress.

Whilst everybody wore a small badge with their name and company name in tiny font, I wore a t-shirt advertising my services nice and loud. What’s more, I was in control of the message, so my t-shirt said exactly what I wanted it to say.

And it worked. Many people at those conferences are looking for service providers, and people who were looking for my service stopped me.

This strategy works, and it works well.

If you need the extra business, then you should be doing this. When it comes to advertising on a budget, it doesn’t get cheaper than this.

Go online and buy a t-shirt.

But don’t make the mistake of sending your logo and using most of the real estate in your t-shirt to display your logo because that means nothing to anybody other than you – especially so to brand new prospects.

People are interested in fixing something that they want or need, so when they look at you the only question they have is what do you do and how can that help me and if I’m interested how much is that going to cost me?

If you’re a web designer, your t-shirt should say web designer or I design websites. Your web address should be underneath in smaller font.

Have a call to action if you can on the back, because a lot of people will see your t-shirt and some of them will be ideal prospects, but many of those will be a bit hesitant to approach you.


A cheap and very effective way to advertise your small business is by turning your self and everything you own into an ad for your business.

If you have the extra budget, then do try some other methods, including Facebook advertising, but spend the time figuring out how that platform works and how to advertise more effectively, and only after you implement the 2 core strategies of turning yourself and your accessories into an ad.

That’s where it all starts: with you.

This was an Ask Hoz question discussing the best places to advertise your small business featured on the Youtube Channel. Make sure you CLICK TO SUBSCRIBE to catch all the video updates!

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