During this unforeseen and unpredictable time, local businesses need your support and guidance more than ever. Here are four ways that you can effectively communicate the support and resources available to them.

1. Create a page on your website about COVID 19 resources (local, state, and national).

On your website, create and maintain a regularly updated list of the programs on the local, state, and national level as they are made available. Businesses need your help to find resources that can help them continue to stay open, pay bills, and get customers. Every Economic Development Organization should make this information readily available for businesses and kept up-to-date on their website.

2. Create a page on your website with resources on how people can support local businesses.

Your website should also include a page that informs the public about how they can support local businesses from the traditional retail perspective. For example: What businesses are offering carry-out? Who is selling gift cards? Help promote your local businesses’ current available options through your website and then share that information on social media.

3. Send out weekly email updates about the support that is available for local businesses.

In addition to posting the information on your website, send out weekly email updates that alert your community of the most up-to-date information and resources. Make it as easy as possible for business owners to get the information they need through sending it directly to their inbox.

4. Utilize video to create dialogue and share information widely.

Using a platform such as Zoom video conferencing, you can host a webinar where you announce available programs and resources for business owners.

You can also use Zoom video conference to host a town hall-style forum for businesses who have the greatest concern. Give them a chance to vocalize their problems and challenges and be heard. Let them know that you hear them, they matter, and that you are a resource for them. Make sure that you understand what their specific problems are so that you can share them with local elected officials.

You can host different themed town hall-style meetings for different industries: businesses on Main Street, local manufacturers, professional service consultants, retail companies, and so on.

Now more than ever, Economic Development Organizations need to make it as easy as possible for businesses to know what support is available for them. By utilizing these tips, you can help your local businesses to know that they are supported during this time and keep an open conversation and dialogue happening.

Tips provided by Sandy Sponaugle, Economic Development Marketing Expert and CEO of Platinum PR.


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