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Small businesses in Columbus, Ohio are looking to the next phase as the state continues to deal with COVID-19 amid calls for a reopening of the economy. On Friday, some bakeries and barbershops reopened while staying safe. (May 15). AP Domestic

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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.

More: The Small Business Bible." You can learn more about Steve at MrAllBiz.com, get more tips at his site TheSelfEmployed, and connect with him on Twitter @SteveStrauss and on Facebook at TheSelfEmployed.

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