In today’s digital and socially distanced world, if you don’t have a presence online, you might as well not exist.
Yet as hard-hit small businesses trying to pick up the pieces from the past year - or in many cases, start over again - marketing expenses are often and understandably the first to be cut when faced with crippling operational expenses like rent and payroll.
The problem? Marketing and online visibility is key to bringing desperately needed customers back.
St. Louis-based business owner Heather Crider, CEO of Digital Architect Media and Heather J. Crider & Co., wanted to solve this problem and help provide real value to local businesses. She created what she called a local business marketing stimulus package where qualifying local businesses would receive $2,000 each of marketing around the country to help them reach more customers. Crider is contributing $500,000 of marketing services for this package.
Crider also realized she wasn’t alone in this quest to support local businesses. Michelle Eisenhart of Fly Pages Digital Marketing, and Michell Stockmann of TechKnow Solutions also found themselves caught in the middle of a losing battle: wanting to support their fellow local business owners with much-needed digital marketing support, but needing to charge out-of-budget fees just to cover the exorbitant hard costs of getting their clients onto key platforms.
So move over PPP - these female entrepreneurs teamed up to offer this small business stimulus package to their clients. They will be granting qualifying local businesses with $2,000 in online advertising packages to drive traffic into their stores, offices or restaurants, onto their websites, and building revenue to rehire laid-off employees again.
“Local businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the devastating effects of the pandemic; we have been there ourselves,” says Crider. “It’s been an emotionally and financially difficult time for our clients and the countless local businesses fighting to stay alive. So we are proud to have found a way to bring these incredible business-building tools to those who need it most when they need it most.”
The package will focus on building a business’ online presence. As the leading search tool worldwide, having a Google presence is essential for any business, according to Crider, Eisenhart and Stockmann, but especially for local businesses. So Google will certainly be part of the online package.
Data shows 46% of Google searches have local intent, accounting for billions of dollars in high-value opportunities for local businesses and services. With an optimized Google business listing, businesses appear more prominently in searches, directly driving more phone calls, site visits, driving directions, and foot traffic. And most importantly, more revenue.
“We have been working in the digital marketing space for a combined 50 years and there’s no more efficient and powerful way to drive local business than amping up your local search results,” Stockmann says. “We can’t wait to see the impact this $2,000 stimulus will have on our recipients. I think it’s safe to say that the revenue generated will far exceed our investment!”
“In order for communities to grow and thrive, businesses must support one another,” Eisenhart says. “Developing this stimulus package is our way of giving back to fellow local businesses and helping ensure the future of local businesses, which are the backbone of our communities.”
The stimulus program is open to local businesses and nonprofits who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and are looking to get their business back on track. To apply, business owners can submit a short 2-minute application at www.stimulus.agency.
“We are excited to see how many businesses we can support through this program and I’m honored to be partnering with Heather to offer this,” Eisenhart says. “Helping others grow and thrive is why we do what we do. Knowing firsthand how much these business owners have been through makes this work that much more meaningful and important.”