How to promote your business: 14 ways to get your small business noticed in 2024

Getting customers in the door (or to your website) is key for your business to grow. It’s basic math: without customers to buy your products or services, you won’t be able to pay rent, pay your employees, or take home anything for yourself. In other words, without customers, you don’t have a business!

But how do you promote your business and get noticed in today’s noisy market? 

A multi-pronged promotional approach can get your small business noticed and land you loyal customers. Thankfully, there are a ton of different avenues to get the word out about your goods or services.

Ahead, we’ll go through tactics like how to promote your business in our busy digital age. Plus, discover some free ways for new businesses on the block to bring in customers and how to turn social media engagement into dollars.  

How to advertise your business in 2024.

Once upon a time, promoting your business could be as simple as sending out a flyer in the mail or putting a few balloons in the window. Heck, add a ‘grand opening’ sign and get yourself an ad in the local paper and you were considered a marketing genius!

But times have changed. Nearly all U.S. businesses—that’s 99.9%!—are considered small businesses. While not all that competition is direct competition, that’s still a lot of other businesses to stand apart from in customers’ minds. 

No matter if you’re focusing on local, in-person marketing tactics like direct mail campaigns or newspaper ads, or focusing your efforts on web searches to capture the nearly 9 billion searches performed on Google’s browser every day, your message needs to stand out and mean something to reach your customer.

Elements to include in your key messaging.

For your message to resonate with your potential customers, it should incorporate the following elements:

  • Authenticity: Speaking from the heart—don’t just tell customers what they want to hear. What’s your brand message, and how do you convey that message in a way that feels genuine?
  • Storytelling: A strong narrative is so important in setting your business apart from the others. Is your restaurant based on homemade recipes from your grandma’s kitchen? Are all your items handcrafted by local residents? Do you provide zero-waste packaging options? Tell your story how you want to—just make sure customers are hearing it!
  • Community: Neighbors are key to growing a community in person. Even online, consider how building a place for people to come together helps promote your business. Consider an active social media presence, in-person events, or a newsletter.
  • Social commerce: Even if you don’t have a social media footprint (though you probably should), think about ways to make purchasing easy. Maybe that’s a QR code on your direct mailer that leads right to your website. If you’re next-level, it could be an integrated buying function on every social media post that showcases your products.

How to market your business for free.

Though marketing and advertising are important, the costs add up. Businesses spend around 9% of their budget on marketing costs on average. That can feel like a lot for a new business that also has to pay rent, salaries, and product costs.

Thankfully, there are a number of easy ways to market your business for free and generate some excitement around your business. Here are just a few we came up with.

1. Create and maintain a website.

A website allows your business to show up on Google searches and gives people important information like your business hours, your services or product inventory, and an opportunity to learn about why they should shop with you vs. a competitor.

A heads up: while getting a professional website built isn’t free, building one yourself can be! Costs for a professional typically range anywhere between $5,000 and $25,000 depending on the complexity of your site, but with some YouTube videos, free templates, and extra time, it’s completely possible to build a functioning website for free using hosting sites like Wix or WordPress.

Better yet, if you have someone on your team who has an interest or experience in web design, hire them to give a hand outside of work hours. You could alternately schedule them for shifts specifically related to building the site. After all, you don’t want your restaurant host trying to juggle responsibilities while on the clock—but your team member might enjoy the experience and opportunity to build their skills!

2. Connect with local media to secure press coverage. 

If you’ve never reached out to a magazine, newspaper, or local blog, the prospect of pitching your business for news coverage may seem a bit daunting. But we promise—connecting with local media to get your business some attention doesn’t have to be scary. It can even be fun!

Start by searching local publications like newspapers or a blog that talks about events in your city or town. Most websites have easy ways to contact their team these days; you’ll want to look for people in charge of local happenings or specific beats that relate to your business (e.g. if you own a restaurant, look out for the food and beverage writers).

We suggest just reaching out, connecting, and sharing a bit of info on your business. Asking them to stop by for a visit sometime is a low-stakes way to raise awareness about your business without leaning too hard on a marketing pitch. Make sure if you’re hosting any kind of soft opening or soft launch that they receive an invitation!

3. Create a Google profile.

How many searches do you perform in a single day on Google? Now think how many your prospective customers are making put together. Make sure you’ve got your search engine bases covered by creating a Google profile. That way, your business has a chance of showing up if someone types in the keywords of a specific business near them. (“Think restaurant near me” or “hairdresser near me.”)

With a Google Profile, you’ll also be able to add the most important information about your business, including opening hours, unusual closures, and how they can contact you—like on that new website you just created.

4. Start an email marketing list.

There’s no better way to a) get customers’ contact information and b) freely promote your business than an email marketing list. First-party data is the primary way to retain customer information—and it’s much more palatable for most customers to provide than more regulated third-party cookie data.

An email marketing list is an excellent way to keep in touch with customers who may want your business’s information and to hear about upcoming promotions, new products, or fun events. For a new business, try setting up a free email list and offer a small promotion for those who sign up, like 10% off on their next online or in-store purchase. This small incentive gives prospective customers another reason to make a purchase.

It also gives you a free pathway into someone’s inbox to let them know all about what’s going on in your business, and can give you an idea of the average customer interested in what your business has to offer.

5. Hold a contest or throw an event.

A fun way to get folks in the door of a new business is to entice them with an event or contest. Grand openings are the perfect time for these events, but so is any old event. Think of festivities that might make people want to check out your business: the start of summer, back-to-school, or even Groundhog Day—especially if you run a veterinary clinic.

For your event, think about prizes, games for kids (and adults), and even partnerships with another local business. Partnerships are not only great cross-promotion—they’re a good way to get some treats to offer stoppers-by.

Events are also great ways of connecting with your neighbours and giving them a fun reason to come out. If enough other businesses want to join you, turn it into a street party that’ll make it easy to reach out to media (see above!) and get them talking about it.

Wanna dial things up? Host a contest to get customers interested in your business’s offerings and add a little competitive edge to it. Try having a social media contest (we’ll talk about those in a minute) where followers repost or comment on a post to win a free service or goodie bag from the local businesses involved. Speaking of which…

6. Partner with other businesses.

Other local businesses are often your first and best line of support as a new owner or manager. There’s a camaraderie in the small business world, and they get what you’re going through as you initially wade into entrepreneurial waters. Consider partnering with other local businesses on giveaways, contests, or even an event.

Another fun idea is a pop-up shop exchange: let them set up a temporary shop in your business in exchange for setting up a temporary shop in theirs. This can be a great way to attract a new customer base. Bonus points if your businesses are in related—but not overlapping—niches!

How to promote your business through social media.

Social media can be an incredibly effective (and free) way to promote your business. Some platforms even offer advanced business accounts with extra analytics that could be useful for growth. There are ways to level up on social media, too, like with business tools and creator tools on Instagram or Facebook. 

A mix of digital and in-person promotion is always going to be a potent cocktail for success, but it’s important to consider where and how often you’re posting to your social channels for maximum reach. Below are some of the best social media channels to promote your business and how to do it. 

1. Instagram

These days, Instagram is the most common social media platform for businesses to start with. With reels, stories, and in-post content, the only downside is it can be a lot to keep up with.

Since Instagram is mostly a visual channel, it can be particularly awesome for business that benefit from visual marketing like video and photos. Think sushi restaurants with incredible presentation, or fashion boutiques that want to showcase new merch. But it’s not just about posting pics—level up with simple videos like styling tutorials or how-tos to provide content your community actually finds valuable.

2. Facebook

Facebook is still one of the leading social media platforms out there. For businesses with a physical store or location, having a Facebook business page is extremely useful. Think of it like the Google profile: it’s a great place to host your business’s basic information, including address, store hours, and contact info.

With Facebook, you can share videos, photos, or tutorials to create engagement with your customers. Restaurants do particularly well here, especially if the restaurant runs regular events or special nights. You can also create a Facebook event for people to join that’s synced to their digital calendars.

3. TikTok

TikTok is maybe the zaniest way to promote your business. It won’t be right for every business, but TikTok’s popularity and sustained success means a large, highly engaged audience could be waiting for you there.

Like a less formal Instagram, TikTok is a great place to build community with visual AND audio cues. And because its algorithm has such an immense reach, there’s huge potential for a lot of eyeballs to see your new product demos or watch your team perform new antics.

The business type that best suits TikTok is… let’s say yet to be determined. CPG (consumer packaged goods) brands—that is, stuff customers use regularly and are likely to want to rebuy—have fared well, with viral videos featuring their products without any attachment to their business page. Makeup brands can also do well on the platform, with user-generated content (UGC) a phenomenal way to get engagement, reach, and brand awareness. Experiment here and see what works!

4. LinkedIn

LinkedIn will always be known as the professional networking social channel. And sure, it’s great for sending requests and looking for jobs—but it can also be a great spot to advertise your business. 

Consider creating posts about your journey as a small biz owner. Maybe you talk about the struggles of starting your own business, or maybe you’re talking about juggling raising a young family while working full-time. Whatever it is, people on LinkedIn are still potential paying customers, so know your audience.

Bonus: LinkedIn can be a great place to recruit future employees who can easily see how great it is to work with you.

5. X (Twitter)

X has gone through its fair share of identity shifts in its lifetime, including its recent name change away from Twitter. No matter what you call it, it’s still a place to shoot off any thought you had for retweets or likes to where people get their news.

Businesses using X as a social channel may choose to promote themselves in a more creative, casual way to get eyes on their posts. This can include posting in-store content, memes, polls, or questions to spark conversation.

How to market your business online through paid sources.

One of the best ways to promote your business in the digital world is through paid media. Online paid sources can grow your reach and target audiences in ways that are hard to do as a business brand.

Consider the following paid source avenues to promote your company:

1. SEO

With Google search an important way for anyone to find your business, consider search engine optimization (SEO). SEO helps expand your reach to a highly specific target market. It involves making web content in a way that gets your business to show up in early results when people Google, ‘hairdressers in Baltimore’.

There are lots of great web optimization companies that offer SEO services. You could also look into freelancers to write the needed copy to give your website the SEO boost it needs.

2. Social media ads 

Social media advertisements work similarly to SEO in that there’s a target audience, but money is put behind the ads to show up on websites and with demographics that you specify.

Even if viewers of your ad don’t make a purchase from the ad, a click, like, or even view is still engagement and proof that you’re on their mind. Maybe a purchase is on the horizon!

3. Google Ads 

Google Ads work on a pay-per-click model, putting your ad at the top of a Google search. The good news is that you only pay for how many clicks each ad generates.

This is a very targeted and more immediate way to go for reach. Organic traffic, while it has its payoffs, takes a lot longer to rank on the first page of search results. If you wanna get there faster, paid Google Ads is the way to go. 

The #1 best way to advertise your business.

We’ve talked about a lot of great ways to promote your small business. But you know the best way to advertise for your business, full stop?


When you’ve got a killer service and products people love, people want to spread the word. But thinking about people who might give your business word-of-mouth advertising shouldn’t stop at customers—think about your employees, too.

When you have a business where people actually enjoy going to work, they’ll talk—and they’ll have good things to say. So if budgets are tight and marketing isn’t on the cards right now, don’t give up. Instead, prioritize strong team communication, do away with toxic work environments, and create a rewarding culture based on celebrating wins.

The best way to do that? Homebase. It’s an easy-to-use, all-in-one app that helps you schedule shifts, communicate with your team, and even run payroll for your hourly workers. It’s how smart teams are making things look easy—even when they don’t feel that way. Try Homebase today and see what it’s like to run a team more efficiently.

How to promote your business FAQS

What is the best platform to advertise your business?

Answer: Google is always going to be one of the best places to advertise your business. This can be through a Google Profile for your business so anyone nearby can find it via search or with Google Ads, putting your business’s ads at the top of the search results page.

Can I promote my business for free?

Answer: Yes, you can promote your business for free through tactics such as building and maintaining a website, email marketing, and creating and verifying a Google Profile.

What is the best social media platform to advertise my business?

Answer: Instagram and Facebook are the leading social platforms to promote your business. Here, they foster community, generate reach, and even allow for social commerce integration.

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