With the Ontario government mandating the closure of all non-essential businesses, we’re offering the following tips to help you promote your business during COVID-19. 

Set Up an Online Store
You don’t need a sophisticated e-commerce site to sell your products online. It can be as simple as showcasing your products on your website or social media platforms, accepting payment via e-mail money transfer or PayPal, and delivering the product to your customer. If you are looking to build an e-commerce site, there are a number of resources available:

  • Shopify is offering free 90-day trials, local pickup and delivery options, the ability to sell gift cards, and $200M in small business financing during the COVID-19 outbreak (learn more). For a step-by-step guide to creating a simple Shopify store where customers can buy online and pickup curbside, click here
  • Digital Main Street Service Squad member Michelle Bali is available for a free virtual consultation to help you get started with e-commerce. Click here to book a virtual meeting 

Build Your Digital Presence
Now is a good time to work on your social media strategy, website design, SEO and online advertising, either to drive customers to your online store or to be ready to promote your business when you reopen your physical location. Some resources you can take advantage of: 

  • Facebook is granting $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses (learn more)
  • Google Ads is giving $340 million in ad credits to small and medium-sized businesses, which can be used at any point until the end of 2020 across Google Ads platforms (learn more)
  • Digital Main Street Service Squad member Michelle Bali is available for a free virtual consultation to help you with your digital marketing. Click here to book a virtual meeting
  • Digital Main Street has also put together a Digital Starter Kit for Small Businesses 

Offer Delivery
For restaurants, adding a delivery option can help boost your business during a time when many people are unable to leave their homes. Skip the Dishes has waived the sign up fee for Downtown Oakville restaurants as a construction mitigation measure. To sign up, contact Jenn Bada at jenn.bada@skipthedishes.ca or 416-271-4616. 

Run Virtual Classes or Events
Many businesses are getting innovative during these challenging times. Lakeshore Yoga is offering virtual yoga classes, while Boa Boutique has been hosting live auctions on Instagram. Hosting an online event is a great way to stay connected with your customers and to keep your business top of mind even though you might be closed.  

Communicate With Your Customers
Use social media and e-mail to communicate regularly with your customers about modified hours, how they can continue to support your business, and any special offers you’re running (be sure to e-mail details to the BIA as well so we can help spread the word). 

Use Your Storefront
You might be closed, but your storefront is still visible to anyone going for a walk or shopping for essential products and services in Downtown Oakville. Use your storefront to enhance your brand with eye-catching displays, and also to communicate about how customers can shop with you during the provincial shutdown. 

For more resources to help you navigate the COVID-19 outbreak, click here.