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Digital marketing amid coronavirus: Go for the low-hanging fruit with freebies and deals

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(dizanna /

Whenever I give a webinar, I always explain there are two types of marketing a small business can do:

1. There is the branding move, whereby you are ingraining the name of your business and/or slogan in people’s mind.

Nike’s ubiquitous “Just Do It” ads are of this type. They are not designed to sell you something at this very moment, there is no call-to-action, rather, it is a campaign to get you to think of Nike in a certain way and remember what they are about so that when you do need shoes, you think of Nike. A long term play.

2. Then there is the “sell now” promotion. This is where a marketer wants to get you to take a certain action right now – click, call, opt-in, logon, buy, whatever. A lot of ads that you see on Facebook are of this sort.

Well, right now, let’s face it, most small businesses don’t need branding; what they need is to make a sale now. Given that, and given that many folks are rapidly moving and shopping online, here are some digital marketing moves that will help you do just that:

Grow your list
Your opt-in list is your secret weapon. People who opt-in are giving you permission to contact them, to market to them. Unlike most people, these folks want to hear from you. So it would behoove you to grow your list as big as possible.

I learned the value of a great list by buying a product (from a Facebook ad!) from a guy named Mike Dillard. Mike says that if you give people great value and don’t pester them, when you do want to sell to them, you will have a built-in audience who will listen, because they like you and your business.

Here’s the gist of what to do:

• Create an offer. Maybe it’s a free month, or a discounted product, or an ebook, etc.

• Sell it for $1. Not offering it for free gives it more value.

• Post the deal on Facebook, your site, using Google ads, and sell it.

• In exchange, they get the freebie and you get their email address.

Voila! Now you have a new customer.

Go in on pay-per-click (PPC)
For starters, people are obviously shopping online more. Even better, since the advent of this pandemic, costs per click have decreased by at least 6%. That means that PPC ads are on sale right now.

The beauty of a PPC ad is that 1) you don’t pay for it until someone sees it, is intrigued by it, and clicks on it, and 2) that means that you are only paying for qualified leads – people interested in what you are selling.

Offer a steep discount
People love a bargain, and that has never been truer than today. While I normally advise small businesses to not compete on price (unless your brand is “the low-cost leader”), in these times, an exception is called for.

Compete on price
Create some super special offer on products that your customers love and market the heck out of it.

This might even be a “loss leader.” A loss leader is when you sell a product at such a discount that folks can’t help but be interested. They buy it, and then ideally, they buy more. The loss leads to more sales, see?

Try content marketing
Let’s say you sell home brewing kits and related beer materials. The trick here is to create some great content around that; maybe an infographic on “How to Cheaply Brew Your Own Beer.”

People will love the great content, hopefully share it, and people will see your name, brand, logo and URL. Even better, at the bottom of the piece (or article, or video, or whatever), you can mention that great special you created above, and bingo.

Pandemic be damned. We can do this!

Steve Strauss is an attorney, popular speaker and the best-selling author of 17 books, including “The Small Business Bible.” You can learn more about Steve at, get more tips at his site TheSelfEmployed, and connect with him on Twitter @SteveStrauss and on Facebook at TheSelfEmployed.


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