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Small Business Advertising on a Shoestring Budget

You started a small business and want to expand it, but don't have much money to spend on your advertising needs. This really isn't a problem because there are many ways to advertise your business using free options.

The Internet provides us with one of the best ways to use word of mouth advertising campaigns to different people throughout the world. Here are some of the ways you can use the ‘net for free advertising for your small business:

1. Use press releases to advertise your products and services. Press releases can be used to promote an event or to launch a new product. They're an easy way to promote your company and you can submit them to several different directories online. Some allow you to post them free, while others have upgrade releases that cost a fraction of what traditional advertisements would cost.

2. Join message board forums. This seems like a small way to advertise, but it's really not. Some boards allow you to provide a link to your website in your profile signatures. People who visit the forum are curious and will check out the link to see what it is that you're offering.

They'll pass on that information to other people they know who may be looking for what you have to offer. If you join message boards that nicely complement your company's products, then you may be able to post on the forum letting everyone know what you have that they need and where they can get it. You'll have to check the forum's Terms of Service to see what's allowed.

3. Start a blog — or even a podcast! If you market your blog or podcast well, people will return time and time again to see what's new with your business. They'll send other people from their own blogs and pass on the links to their friends.

4. Use social networking sites. Social sites like Squidoo and MySpace allow you to join groups with likeminded people with whom you can connect. You can easily position yourself as the “go-to” person in your niche, and post links to your site promoting your products and services. There are broad social networks, like Squidoo, that showcase topics on every inch of the spectrum, and niche-specific social sites like the one for eco-friendly enthusiasts or baby boomers.

5. Use article marketing. Providing articles on other sites that have links to your website can drive more traffic to your domain. Using keywords in the articles can help the search engines find them and funnel more customers through to your offer.

It's not hard to find numerous free ways to promote your small business — even if it's an offline venture that you own. Every business needs a home on the ‘net, and the Internet can help you develop a loyal following in any demographic.