The term “Business as Usual” does not apply in 2020. Nothing has been usual, predictable, or normal this year, and it has been a challenge for many businesses to adapt to the changes presented by COVID-19. This pandemic has affected the global economy, as well as our local community, feeling these impacts close to home.  

Businesses have struggled to keep the bills paid and keep the operation running while being forced to close their doors for days, weeks or months! The tourism industry has been hit especially hard, with international travel coming to a complete halt. This has been difficult in areas like Almaguin, who are dependent on tourism during the summer to keep their business viable. Some employers have faced a loss of customers, employees, and suppliers, to name a few. As our lives start a ‘new normal’ affected by COVID-19, businesses will need to learn to adapt and overcome the challenges that are presented by the pandemic. 

With these challenges comes a shift in the way business is being conducted. There is a trend towards digital marketing, sales, communications, and interactions as people are being told to stay home when they can, but everyday business still needs to continue and people still crave the joys of shopping. Well we have some exciting news for businesses looking to take advantage of these trends towards online media! 

Digital Main Street is back! Several partners (which can be found on digitalmainstreet.ca) have renewed the program for another year, which includes the $2,500 grant program. This program offers a great solution to help you recover from the effects of COVID-19, allowing businesses to transition to an online market. Digital marketing means businesses can reach new customers beyond our own community, sell products online, schedule video meetings with clients, and more! This Ontario-wide program works directly with business owners to provide training and advice to succeed online. 

Over the past year the Digital Mainstreet program has worked with over 50 business owners to help accomplish everything from updating a webpage, creating and promoting Instagram and Facebook pages including all the components of creating social media pages, such as 24/hr stories, scheduling posts and ads. The DMS Service Squad allows our in-house expert Ciara to work one-on-one with business owners to help with their digital advancement plans. In-person meetings are not encouraged due to new COVID-19 health and safety restrictions, but Ciara is available for phone appointments or online video calls to assist with your needs. 

The Digital Advancement Grant Program includes a 2-hour online-training program with experts who provide tips and tricks for your digital marketing goals. Once completed, businesses can apply for $2,500 towards the development of a website, enhancements, social media ads, and some software. To learn more about the program and details for applying, head on over to the Digital Main Street’s website at: digitalmainstreet.ca/ontariogrants 

To speak with Ciara about how you can started or to re-establish your online transition, reach out by emailing marketing@investalmaguin.ca

This is the time to come together and work with each other to build a strong and resilient community, allowing our region to endure the challenges that lie ahead. Reach out today, because we are here to help!