Effective websites and digital marketing can help businesses survive COVID-19

With COVID-19 decreasing face-to-face interaction, it is more important than ever for small businesses to connect successfully with their customers, and potential customers, through their websites and digital media, Extension is offering an online town hall this Wednesday on website best practices for small businesses. Then on Friday, Extension will follow up with a webinar on how businesses can drive potential customers to their websites through social and digital media. Both the town hall and the webinar are free, and there will be English-language and Spanish-language sessions.

The events are part of a series of town halls and webinars for small businesses, “Coping With COVID-19,” being offered each week. The town halls begin with a presentation on a given topic, and then participants network with one another and drive the discussion. The webinars provide information on specific topics to help businesses plan strategically, adapt and succeed. This week’s sessions include:

  • The town hall, “Website Best Practices” is Wednesday, July 22, at 9 a.m. for English speakers, and at 2 p.m. for Spanish speakers. Mike Bindrup, Extension research associate, will lead the open discussion, joined by panelists:
    • Elizabeth Hill, Small Business Administration economic development specialist and administrative officer (9 a.m. session)
    • Alfredo Cedeño, Small Business Administration outreach/marketing specialist (2 p.m. session)
    • Reyna Mendez, Extension business development instructor
    • Juan Salas, Extension business development instructor
  • The webinar, “Digital Marketing Basic Concepts: Social Media and Business Development in COVID-19,” will be held Friday, July 24, at 9 a.m. for English speakers, and at 11:30 a.m. for Spanish speakers. Mendez, joined by Salas and Bindrup, will discuss:
    • What constitutes digital marketing and its importance for growing a business
    • The three main concepts of social media: traffic, conversion and retention
    • Examples of good and bad social media campaigns
    • How to build relationships with customers using different social media channels
    • Creating a social media weekly plan

“Knowing website best practices and digital marketing was key for growth of a small business pre-COVID-19. Now it is key for survival of a small business,” said Buddy Borden, economic development specialist with Extension’s Business Development Program. “You have to have an accessible, informative, welcoming website that is easy to navigate, and then you need to know how to drive people there. We’re providing a one-two punch on these topics this week in our town hall and webinar.”

Both the town halls and the webinars usually run about an hour, and registration is available online:

For more information, go to the Extension Business Development website. There are also other resources at the website to assist businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. For more information, email Borden.

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