What is the best way to advertise your small business?

(Updated: 18 May 2022)

So, you’ve decided to start your own business and have the necessary products or services you want to sell, but now what?

Advertising your business in South Africa may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be, all you need is a clear starting point and a plan.

With so many ways to market your business, we cover the top 10 ways in which you can advertise your business

Top 10 ways to advertise your small business in South Africa

1. Create a Business Website

Having a well-designed, easy-to-use website can help your business improve brand awareness, increase lead generation, improve organic ranking through thought out SEO, and provide accessibility of your products or services to your online target audience.

Using platforms like WordPress, Wix, Joomla, and so many others, you can easily create, expand, and adapt your website as your business develops and grows. There is no understating the importance of having a website and how it can benefit your company, especially if maintained and updated regularly.

2. Marketing through Google Ads

Google Ads is a pay-per-click advertising platform, that allows advertisers to reach their target audience through responsive, display, video, or product ads. With Google Ads, your business can reach prospective customers above organic search results and improve possible lead generation through your website.

You can also set up a re-marketing campaign that will only show the ad to people who have already shown interest in your business before. Once you get going on Google Ads, then you could consider expanding your Pay Per Click advertising into other platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube.

3. Email Marketing

Email marketing can be a useful tool to help your business remain in contact with, provide news or promotional service updates to prospective and existing clients, whilst keeping your brand at the forefront of their minds. Using email marketing platforms like MailChimp or Mailerlite, you can distribute your information to large amounts of people with a click of a button.

An important note to remember, with the latest POPI and GDPR regulations in place, you need client permission to distribute your content. A method to use to gather permissions could be through a double-opt-in form, which you can setup within MailChimp or Mailerlite. Failure to have client permission could result in massive fines and penalties which can damage your small or enterprise business.

4. Post Valuable Content

Posting relevant and interesting content regularly either through your website or social media platforms can help position your company as an authority within your field. Having valuable content can also increase organic exposure and traffic to your website, which may in turn be distributed by the reader to their social networks.

Based on research, top ranking articles on Google tend to be roughly 2000 words long and contain rich, informative content that can help solve their search query. Another tip for posting valuable content is to also share useful information to your target audience that may help them for example: sharing news on load shedding schedules if your company is in the power industry.

5. Register for a Google Business Profile

Make your business searchable online through the Google Business Profile, a.k.a. Google My Business Profile platform. With the GBP, you can add your company level information, industry segment, promote products, highlight services, FAQ’s, blog content, or even links to your social media and website.

The GBP platform can help improve your company’s visibility by displaying it within the organic search results, Google Maps, or Google’s knowledge panel when a user shows interest in a specific topic that aligns with your company.

Using GBP to showcase your client reviews, which can in turn help influence your prospective clients purchasing decision.

6. Distribution of printed advertising

Print advertising is still a popular medium to advertise and market companies world-wide, and can be a powerful tool to promote brand awareness and alert prospective clients of ongoing promotions etc.

Print advertising is a broad term that covers a wide range of publications from; business cards, newspapers, magazines, flyers, brochure billboard, the list is endless. These hard copy publications can help your business reach a wide audience, and if used correctly, can even help improve lead generation through direct sales or online sales.

7. Consider Renting Digital Billboard Space

Renting space on a digital billboard may sound expensive, but in fact can be extremely cost-effective once you look at the amazing benefits. A digital billboard, similar to the print advertising medium, can help you reach a wider target audience, but with a twist. As you can animate your marketing message, you can create a short, captivating design, that can be changed and updated in real-time, meaning no need for reprinting costs impacting your bottom line.

8. Add Your Business to Local Listing Websites

Google is not the only place your company should be listed on, there are thousands of website listing platforms, where you can register your company to help prospective customers find and engage with you.

An example Bark, Booksy, Snupit are platforms where you can sign-up, register your business, and prospective customers can find you based on their search type or preferences. Another means of expanding your business reach online could be through social media. You could setup social media accounts for your business on platforms you find work best for you and your business e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube etc.

9. Promotional gifts

Promotional gifts are a great way to promote your brand and raise brand awareness with your target audience. You can use branded mediums such as T-shirts, bags, caps, corporate stationery, novelty items and so much more.

Promotional gift retention is much higher when the object being sold or handed out is considered valuable or useful by the recipient and can help expose the brand to a larger audience and can contribute to word of mouth (WOM) marketing. As the recipient may mention the brand, they received the promotional item from.

You can also brand larger items and donate them to local events; it helps gets exposure for your brand and is a great way to give back to your community.

10. Run a competition

Running a competition with a high value prize is a good way to create excitement about your brand. However, you need to determine the desire behind the competition, do you want more referrals, boost sales, or drive brand awareness, and how big a prize you want to include within the competition.

You will then need to identify how the competition will be run, will customers be entered in if they provide a referral or do they need to spend a certain amount of money on a service. What platforms so you want the competition accessible on, Google Ads, social media, printed, email marketing etc. Lastly you need to create a sense of urgency by adding a start and end date so prospective customers know it’s a limited time offer.


Marketing your business can help you take your brand to the next level, improve sales, brand awareness, ROI, organic rankings and so much more. Cognite uses their own proven marketing strategies to form personal relationships with SME decision-makers; guiding and helping them to feel empathy for the pain of their prospective clients.

Contact us today and begin your marketing journey