Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Lennox and Addington Economic Development office has provided free digital coaching services to Lennox and Addington (L&A) County’s small businesses.
To date more than 200 small businesses have taken advantage of these services to improve their digital marketing.
In addition, 35 businesses have developed their own online store over the last year with digital transformation being crucial for L&A businesses during the pandemic.
“For 27 years we have made 90 per cent of our revenue from selling our gourmet jams, tapenades and gift baskets via local events, markets and specialty trade shows,” said Sandy Cook, Loyalist Trading Company, Conway. “Our business has been devastated by COVID. We are excited to start our digital media campaigns that will be targeting “Foodie” customers from Toronto to Ottawa, as well as our local area. Without the Digital Transformation Program and expertise coaching, we would not be able to promote our products as successfully on Facebook and Google or have the confidence to tackle some of the digital marketing tactics ourselves.”
In addition to helping businesses access the Digital Main Street Grant and the Shop Here programs, the Economic Development Office received funding from Community Futures Prince Edward /Lennox and Addington to provide enhanced digital support to L&A businesses. The Digital Transformation Program provided $2,000 to 18 L&A businesses to help them develop and adopt new digital tools and maximize their online presence.
“Earlier this year, I was notified about the newly launched Digital Transformation Program,” Catherine Musselman, Silver Birch Alpacas, Greater Napanee said. “I applied for the grant, was successful, and was immediately introduced to Digital Coach Steph Brown, a consultant hired to provide guidance and mentorship to me through the digital world. Steph has been a fantastic resource; she took the time to understand my business; my wishes and hopes; and was able to distil that information into the creation of a marketing plan and strategy suited to my existing digital skills. From social media –Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – to the creation of a new website, I believe that I now have the skills and the digital footprint required to grow my business while maintaining the individuality, rural charm and small community feel that I originally wanted for my Alpaca Farm. I am thrilled with the outcome, and would highly recommend this program to others. If you feel stuck, if you don’t have the time and the energy to do what needs to be done to move forward with your small business dreams, then this is the program for you.”
The program provided the following assistance:
- An online assessment of digital needs;
- Support the skills needed for businesses to execute digital marketing;
- Assess how new technology can help the business;
- Provide value added services up to $2,000 to implement new digital technologies and upgrade marketing initiatives (includes website development, digital advertising / marketing, software, logo redesign and copywriting).
“By qualifying for the digital marketing grant from L&A, I gained the opportunity to set up my business digitally for further success,” said Melissa Stevenson, Changes Hair Salon, Amherstview. “Navigating which social platforms to use and how to use them can be so time consuming to learn. Having Digital Coach Steph Brown in my corner helped me move through this process in a more rapid manner. Steph is so knowledgeable as well as kind hearted and patient. Never once did I feel discouraged or frustrated. I have also been taught how to keep moving forward on my own with ease. This program was an amazing opportunity for me.”
The Economic Development team created the Digital Transformation Program to support businesses that had not previously received funding from other Ontario marketing programs.
“As we know, the pandemic has hit small businesses the hardest,” stated Tracey Snow – Economic Development Officer for L&A County. “The Digital Transformation Program offered expertise and coaching specific to digital marketing and will help generate sales for the long term for these small businesses.”
“This year has been extremely hard on small businesses,” Melissa Evans, Addison’s Restaurant, Northbrook said. “For me, it doesn’t seem to have any light at the end of the tunnel. This year a few new items have come up to help struggling businesses like myself. The L&A digital program was something I didn’t think I needed, but it has allowed me to receive coaching, professional photography, and help designing an online presence, though web site design and marketing. I thank L&A for having faith in our small community and helping anyway they can.”
To find out more about how the Economic Development Office can help your business please visit https://naturallyla.ca/business-in-lennox-addington/business-resources/business-coaching/.