Don’t Give Away Your Services for Free During the Coronavirus

Apr 7, 2020 | Branding Strategies

The coronavirus has sparked an outpouring of kindness, generosity and helpfulness. We’re all facing the same issues, and people are really stepping up in remarkable ways.

But generosity doesn’t mean giving away your products and services for free.

If this intrigues you, join me for a free webinar on Wednesday, April 8 at 12pm EST / 9am PST. I will show you how to recover customers and revenue taken by the coronavirus. You can save a spot here.

Since the start of the crisis, companies have been giving away products and services for free. At the enterprise level there have been some notable examples:

  • Audible released hundreds of children’s audiobooks for free.
  • Zoom, Microsoft, and Google have offered portions of their video calling software for free.
  • Planet Fitness and 305 Fitness are delivering at-home streaming workouts via Facebook and YouTube for free.

The perceived generosity of these global brands giving away services for free has prompted many small- and mid-sized companies to try to follow suit.

But there is a very clear problem and gap. It’s amazing that Amazon, Google and Microsoft are able to give away services for free, but it’s important to note that they’re not giving away their core services.

Most small businesses cannot afford to give away their services for free, especially right now.

In a crisis, cash is the fuel of your business. So start there. Do you have enough cash to make it to June, and then do you have enough cash to make it to September? If there’s a gap — and I can almost certainly guarantee there is — how will you find and replace the customers and revenue taken by COVID-19?

Giving away services for free when you need cash the most doesn’t make sense.

Some might argue that giving away services for free during the coronavirus will build their brand. They say, “Customers will remember your generosity later, and reward you with their business at the end of the crisis.”

That’s a nice sentiment, but you can’t count on that reciprocation for two reasons.

First, there is too much noise. Have you noticed how clogged your social media channels and email inbox are with coronavirus marketing offers? Every company is over-marketing, and many are giving away content and services for free.

As the days blur into each other during the quarantine, people can’t remember what they bought or did yesterday. It’s a big gamble to think that someone who got something for free now will remember your company’s generosity when things go back to normal.

Second, people don’t value what they don’t buy. There’s a psychological value associated with the things we purchase.

The better solution is to change your pricing for the times.

Think of your services, value proposition and pricing from two lenses: before coronavirus and after coronavirus (BC / AC). Before coronavirus you could charge premium rates, but after coronavirus the world changed. It’s a new market with new needs and that requires a new value proposition.

But that doesn’t mean free!

Now is the time to adjust your value proposition and services for after coronavirus, and the opportunities are immense.

In Crisis Marketing we ask three questions again and again:

  • Who needs your company and its expertise the most right now?
  • What products or services can you deliver to solve real problems that are valued?
  • How can you proactively sell and deliver your services to the people with the most need?

If you look at today as a “new normal,” you can see lots of opportunities and solutions for your company to be extremely valuable and helpful without giving away your services for free.

Let’s dig into this idea more on Wednesday, April 8 at 12pm EST / 9am PST. Register for the webinar here. I will show you how to find new customers and sources of revenue.

We’re here. Let’s talk!

Do you need a strategy to overcome the coronavirus? Let’s talk. Call me directly at 416.479.4403, or check out our Crisis Marketing services. I work with business owners and their teams to rapidly shift their business strategies, value propositions, and marketing strategies to develop new customers and sources of revenue.

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Jeremy Miller

Top 30 Brand Guru

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