How to Market Your Business Without Spending a Dollar on Ads

Is it possible? Can you really market your business without advertising?

The simple answer is yes, but it’s not simple. Building a successful business isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would do it. But the point of this post is that there is a common myth that abounds among the entrepreneurial and small business community, and that is that it’s only possible to launch and grow a business through advertising.

We know that’s not true because many of the most successful businesses in the country did not spend a single dollar on advertising until they were already successful. Brands like Amazon, Zappos, Warby Parker, Uniqlo, Lululemon, Krispy Kreme, and Go Pro – while many of them advertise now – grew initially without any advertising.

Confused? Wondering how it’s possible to grow a business without advertising?

It makes sense if you think about it. The first step to creating a successful business is solving a problem. Once you have a product or service that solves a problem that some segment of the market needs solved, you have accomplished one of the most difficult aspects of business. You are ahead of the game.

The next step is getting your product or service into the hands of consumers. While advertising is one way to do that, it’s not the only way. You can…

  • Go straight to the media with special promotions or a launch event and rely on early press coverage to get the word out
  • Go straight to influencers in the community with free samples and trials, aiming for a word of mouth effect
  • Partner with other brands that are already established in your space to get your product to their customers
  • Create a free trial and use content marketing and social media to attract an early audience

The most effective brands that use one of these “no-ad” strategies to grow cultivate an excited community of early customers, who become advocates for the product or service, and do most of the early marketing for you. Focus on solving problems, answering questions, and wowing that first group of customers, and you can grow your reach without advertising.