Get Online! Get Digital!
There has never been a more important time for small businesses to start migrating over to digital or to enhance their current offering with digital services. The BIA urges all businesses to take advantage of these opportunities as soon as possible.
FREE 1-on-1 Digital Assistance and Training
Supported by TABIA, Digital Main Street (DMS) is returning to the Junction to provide 1-on-1 VIRTUAL assistance to you, our BIA business owners, with your business’s digital transformation! No matter when things settle down, digital recovery is going to be vital for businesses to be able to return to normal. DMS will help you develop essential digital tools, including online sales and delivery, e-gift cards, online menus, digital advertising, online meetings, and more.
Webinar Training: DMS is also offering a series of FREE webinar training sessions that all small main street businesses are welcome to attend. The webinars cover the full spectrum of digital topics from Maximizing Your Online Advertising Budget and E-Commerce to Google Analytics and Data Privacy and the Law. More details about all of our upcoming webinars can be found at obiaa.com/training. These webinars run monthly with several of these topics rotating on a monthly basis until June 2020.
Last year, Instagram announced two updates that make it easier for patrons to shop on Instagram, whether they stumble upon something they love or are simply in the mood to browse their favourite brands from your business. Allowing for Shopping in Stories and Shopping in Explore, people can buy your products directly from your photos and videos.
There are (at least) two local businesses who are already maximizing their Instagram accounts to drive sales into their store (view on mobile):
Get a FREE Website
John Miles from The Free Website Guys is offering to build stunning websites for FREE to small businesses that do not have a website. They are only able to offer this service to a limited number of businesses, so contact John Miles (firstname.lastname@example.org) ASAP.
Free Digital Marketing and Learning Tools
We’ve noticed a number of companies that make digital marketing tools are lowering their paywalls for small businesses and non-profits during the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s a list of ones you might want to check out:
- Shopify is offering 90 days FREE to all new signups, gift cards available for all plans, local in-store/curbside pickup and delivery for POS, $200m commitment on Shopify capital, and a community forum, live webinars & online meetups for support (currently USA only)
- Hootsuite, the software that many of us use to manage our social media accounts, is giving FREE access to Hootsuite Professional plan tools to small businesses and non-profits until July 1, 2020
- If your organization uses Google G Suite, you now have FREE access to advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities through July 1, 2020
- Microsoft is offering a FREE six-month trial for a premium tier of Microsoft Teams, its workplace chat and communication platform
- Zoho Remotely, a collection of apps for remote teams and customer service, is FREE for everyone until July 1, 2020, and small business customers that are currently paying for any Zoho app can apply to have it for FREE for 3 months
- LinkedIn Learning has unlocked 16 learning courses for FREE, which are geared toward working from home
- Scribd is offering unlimited access to books, audiobooks, magazines, and documents for 30 days (including Camp Tech founder Avery Swartz’s book, See You on the Internet: Building Your Small Business with Digital Marketing!)
- BizLaunch las launched a free webinar series on Cash Flow Management for small businesses. Founder: “One of the biggest challenges business owners will face in this difficult time is Cash Flow Management. We have been doing this for 26 years and are here to help”
- Shaw Academy is offering a 4-week course in Social Media Marketing for FREE, a $60 value.
Try Facebook Stores and ShopHERE Toronto
Facebook Stores: Shopify is partnering with Facebook to help your business design a customizable storefront on Facebook and Instagram. This is a great way to ensure social distancing while still allowing your business to continue business as usual. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
ShopHERE: The City of Toronto and Digital Main Street have partnered to bring us the ShopHERE program, to help Toronto businesses build free online stores through Shopify. You can access this program even if you already have a website. The online shop should then only take a few days to be built and launched. Please click this Calendar Link to book a virtual appointment with Lorenzo to start the process.