What Is Free Advertising and Why is It Important?
Marketing can be as expensive or inexpensive as you decide to make it. Paid advertising tactics like YouTube ads, paid search marketing, affiliate marketing, retargeting PPC advertising, and other tactics can add up quickly and might not be the best choices if you’re a small business operating on a strict budget.
Reaching mass audiences can often seem like a battle against small budgets, with every platform looking to make money off your marketing goals. When social media marketing and search engine ads are already eating up your allotted cash, free advertising sites can help you make the most out of any budget.
Using free advertising sites may be an unconventional way to market your products or services, but nearly 50% of internet users were already using classified ad sites in 2009. This number has steadily grown since 2005, especially among the most influential generation of consumers today.
10 Best Free Advertising Sites
Free classified ad sites allow you to not only sell beyond your direct marketing efforts but also to get traffic back onto your company website and to your physical business location. Plus, modern advertising platforms are great assets for business owners with various needs, enabling you to:
- List products and services
- Find employees, contractors, and freelancers
- Sell outdated equipment and inventory
Still, the internet is a competitive landscape, which means some free advertising sites will connect you to larger, more engaged audiences than others. Others will benefit your business even more by highlighting categories that are directly related to what you sell. When you know which ones are worth your time, you can get the most efficient results.
Perhaps the most well-known classified site today, Craigslist is impressively ranked in the top 30 most visited websites in the U.S. This platform has a huge lineup of categories that allows you to sell just about any product or service. These categories are so diverse that they range from automotive and beauty services to computer parts and parking spots.
Craigslist currently allows users to post ads once per geographical area every 48 hours. This is completely free for almost all product postings, with the exception of vehicles and furniture ads that may require an extra $5 fee. Posting ads for services will also require a small fee, though you’re guaranteed a full 30 days when you pay for ads.
One unique benefit to Craigslist is the fact that you can actually post ads seeking out items. This means that in addition to getting free advertising, you can also find equipment and office supplies that will help you earn more in the future.
The downside to Craigslist is that it has something of a seedy reputation, due to past high-profile stories about people using the site for illegal activity. However, as long as your ads don’t scream spam, you’ll gain the opportunity to sell to and engage with plenty of nearby consumers—perhaps gaining loyal clients for your local business along the way.
Locanto is another traditional free advertising site that is based in Germany and available in 60 countries worldwide.
Much like Craigslist, you can use this online classifieds site to connect with job seekers and sell services, cars, real estate, and physical items. However, Locanto is particularly great for businesses with a large community presence. This is because the platform has uniquely prominent categories for selling event tickets, leisure activities, classes, and even community-based services, boosting your local marketing efforts.
A small amount of cities may require premium accounts to post ads, but Locanto is a truly free advertising website for the vast majority of users. Your ad will remain live on the site for 60 days.
Facebook doesn’t technically fit into the free advertising site category, but since the advent of Facebook Marketplace and shops for business pages, the social media platform has provided functions that directly mimic those of the best classified ads sites.
Some 800 million people use Facebook Marketplace every month. The platform has proved to be an especially effective tool for selling cars, real estate, furniture, and retail products. Whether you want to sell brand new jewelry or get cash for your outdated company vehicle, Facebook can help you make money in one of two ways:
- Selling as a user: You can make direct listings in Facebook Marketplace for used and new products, targeted toward locals in your area, by using your personal account. As you start selling, you can get badges for being very responsive and for getting great reviews for your transactions.
- Selling as a business: If you set up a shop with your new, physical products on your Facebook business page, eligible items can appear on the “Stores” tab of the Facebook Marketplace. When taking this route, Podium Reviews can help you collect customer reviews for your company’s connected Facebook page to make you a trusted seller.
While Facebook Marketplace and Facebook business page shops aren’t the best places to list services, you can still use Facebook Marketplace to find new employees and contractors.
Oodle is the largest network of free ad posting sites today, connecting users to local listings from eBay, ForRent.com, newspapers, and more on a single platform. Prior to the launch of today’s Facebook Marketplace, Oodle actually powered the social media platform’s original marketplace feature. This local classified ad site currently has 15 million monthly users across seven countries.
To use Oodle, you are required to connect your Facebook account in order to protect all users from fraudulent activity. Once you’ve done so, you’re able to post completely free ads under major categories that include Merchandise, Vehicles, Rentals, and Community.
If you do decide to upgrade from free advertising features, you can even add a live link back to your website, helping you gain digital traffic.
Hoobly is a no-frills free advertising site that is available for over 30 countries, with its most prominent presence in the United States.
This platform is particularly great for re-selling your old industry-specific equipment and office supplies, as it provides a prominent “Business & Industrial” category that differs from the other classified ad sites. You can also take advantage of Hoobly to sell your own products, too, especially if your product can fall under one of the website’s major categories. This includes categories specific to art, clothing, jewelry, real estate, and vehicles.
Posting an ad does require you to create an account and complete your email verification. This adds a layer of safety to the platform that many other free advertising sites don’t have.
If having the safest platform possible is your priority, Geebo counters Craigslist by taking precautionary measures to keep users safe. Before a classified ad goes live on Geebo, the company will review your listing.
While this may increase the time it takes for your ad to be included on the site, Geebo’s advertised process will naturally help you develop trust for your brand without any action on your part. Whether you’re selling services, construction and farm equipment, or cars and auto parts, you’ll have a brand new audience that knows you’re a vetted seller.
Geebo is also a great classified website for seeking local freelancers and employees. Many skilled workers look toward this free advertising site for opportunities because it aggregates local listings from multiple job posting websites. Plus, Geebo developed its own resume posting tool, making it easy for applicants to show their interest in an opportunity.
Another great part of posting on Geebo is the fact that your product listing may be shared on Geebo’s social media channels, which have over 60,000 followers combined.
ClassifiedAds is another popular online platform that offers free advertising for its users. One of the main advantages of using ClassifiedAds is that it has a large user base and receives high traffic volumes from all over the world. This means that ads posted on ClassifiedAds have a higher chance of reaching potential customers compared to other free advertising channels.
The ClassifiedAds website is user-friendly and makes it easy for anyone to create and manage ads. By leveraging the power of ClassifiedAds’ free advertising features, businesses can increase their visibility, generate leads, and boost sales without having to spend any money on marketing expenses.
Overall, ClassifiedAds is an excellent option for small businesses or individuals who want to promote their offerings in a cost-effective way.
Gumtree is an online platform allows users to post ads for various categories such as jobs, real estate, vehicles, and more for free. One of the main advantages of using Gumtree is that it has a large user base, making it a great place to advertise products or services.
Additionally, Gumtree has a simple and user-friendly interface that allows anyone to create and manage their ads easily. Gumtree ads can be posted in multiple regions or cities within a country, which can help you reach customers who otherwise never would have found you.
By leveraging the power of Gumtree’s free advertising features, you can reach potential customers without spending money on marketing expenses.
SaleSpider is another popular free advertising platform that has a large user base, is easy to use, and allows users to network with other people in their industry. This makes it an ideal platform not just for advertising but also for networking and building relationships.
SaleSpider offers a wide range of free features, but also offers paid advertising options for businesses who want to increase their visibility even further.
If you’re looking for a great, free advertising option, be sure to check out SaleSpider.
If you’re a small business owner, chances are, you’ve already heard about this one and use it for your business advertising needs. With over 178 million unique visitors each month, Yelp is one of the top dogs in the local business marketing and advertising world.
Yelp is driven by user-generated content, which means that businesses can benefit from positive reviews and ratings from satisfied customers. By creating a business listing on Yelp, businesses can improve their online presence and increase their visibility on search engines like Google.
Using Yelp as a free advertising platform is cost-effective for small businesses or individuals who want to promote their offerings without spending any money on marketing expenses. Additionally, Yelp’s mobile app allows users to search for local businesses and read reviews from anywhere at any time, making it easy for potential customers to find and connect with your business.
While the basic features of Yelp are free, the platform also offers paid advertising options such as sponsored search results and display ads, which can help businesses reach their target auidence.
Pros and Cons of Free Advertising
Free advertising is great, but of course, there is such thing as too much of a good thing. Let’s get into the pros and cons of free advertising.
Benefits of Sites that Post Free Ads
- Cost-effective: Free advertising won’t break the bank, making it an attractive option for small businesses or individuals who want to promote their offerings without spending a lot of money.
- Wide audience reach: Many free advertising platforms have large user bases, which means that businesses can reach out to a wide audience without having to spend any money on marketing expenses.
- Improved online presence: By using free advertising platforms, businesses can improve their online presence and increase their visibility on Google search and other search engines.
- User-generated content: Many free advertising platforms are driven by user-generated content, which means that businesses can benefit from positive reviews and ratings from satisfied customers.
Risks of Sites that Post Free Ads
- Limited features: Free advertising platforms often have limited features compared to paid options, which may make it difficult for businesses to stand out from competitors.
- Less control over branding and messaging: With free advertising, businesses may have less control over their branding and messaging since they aren’t paying for the service.
- Time-consuming: Creating and managing a profile on a free advertising platform can be time-consuming, especially if you’re trying to attract new customers.
There are both pros and cons to using free advertising as a marketing strategy, but overall, it can be an effective way for small businesses with limited budgets to reach potential customers.
Best Practices of Using Free Advertising Sites
Now you know what free advertising is, where you can advertise for free, and you understand the pros and cons. Next, let’s talk about some best practices to help you get the ball rolling.
- Choose the right platform: There are many different free advertising platforms available, so it’s important to choose the one that’s right for your business. Consider factors like audience reach, features, and ease of use when making your decision.
- Optimize your profile: Your profile is often the first impression potential customers get of your business, so make sure it’s optimized with accurate and up-to-date information about your business.
- Use high-quality images: Visuals can have a big impact on whether or not someone decides to engage with your ad. Make sure you’re using high-quality images that accurately represent your product or service.
- Monitor reviews and ratings: Many free advertising platforms allow users to leave reviews and ratings of businesses. Make sure you’re monitoring these regularly so you can respond to any negative feedback and address any issues that arise.
- Be responsive: If someone comments on your ad or sends you a message, make sure you respond promptly and professionally to keep them engaged with your business.
- Keep emotional advertising in mind: Emotional advertising aims to use pathos to get people to make a purchase. Always do your best to create advertising content that will make people feel something.
Enhance Your Local Marketing Strategy with Podium
While newspaper classifieds may be on their way out, online free advertising sites give you effective local marketing opportunities that help you succeed with any amount of revenue. There’s no need to strain your marketing budget for a television ad when the audience you need can learn about your product or service with a simple listing.
However, free online advertising doesn’t always take the form of posting on classified ads websites. As the world becomes further entwined with all things digital, business owners have plenty of opportunities to reach mass digital audiences at no cost. Whether you’re optimizing Google Business Profiles (formerly Google My Business) for SEO, posting organic content to your social media and blogs, or taking advantage of email marketing, there’s no limit to where you can start selling if you’re willing to pursue creative strategies.
Remember that advertising doesn’t always come in the form of an ad. Customer reviews can be some of the most powerful—and free—promotion for your company. Get the full checklist for the top 25 review sites you need to know about to gain new customers.