You would not open a brick and mortar store without advertising and hope to grow, and there is no reason to believe that starting an internet business without advertising will not suffer the same fate. When you build a website and place it online, you and your web host are the only ones who know about it. Without proper marketing, that is how it will stay until you finally get frustrated and shut it down.
The internet is not the Field of Dreams and if you build it, they will not always come. If they do it may be accident if you have not let anyone else know your site exists. Many people fail to properly budget for advertising and once their site is up, they are caught in the middle. They have no money to advertise unless they make some sales, and they cannot make any sales unless they advertise. Most take that as a good reason to give up.
Having T-shirts imprinted with your business name can be done fairly cheap and some places will do them on your shirts for as little as $5 or $10 each. Provided you stick to the basics. Wearing them to public events gets your name out cheaply. Volunteer as an “expert” in your area of expertise. For example, if you are a carpenter and a heavy storm has caused a lot of damage in your hometown, contact your newspaper and offer precautions homeowners should take while looking to get repairs completed. Quoted with you name in your local newspaper is advertising that no amount of money can buy.
Most home businesses just starting out are usually stingy with their money, and they should be. Throwing money out the window will gather a lot of people in the short term, but once all the cash is gone the crowd will also disappear. Marketing your business on the cheap can be an exhausting exercise but with less money to spend, you will have to do more of the work.
Try talking to your local small restaurant about working a deal with their placemats. Better yet, gather a dozen or so other small businesses in your neighborhood about putting together an advertising placemat for your group. They can be as plain or as fancy as you can afford, but each business can have its own ad on the placemat and once printed, give them to your community restaurants to use. There are few small restaurants that will say no to free placemats.
If you can afford it, sponsor a local sport team and supply the uniforms, with your name on them of course, and reap the benefits of the advertising. This is a more expensive proposition, but perhaps your can work with the uniform supplier on a bartered deal to exchange some of the service costs for the uniforms.