By Tammy Schneider
The Digital Main Street (DMS) program, offered to downtown Kincardine businesses, has come to a successful conclusion. The program came to Kincardine via an application submitted by Rick Clarke from the Kincardine BIA. Once the grant for the DMS program was approved, a service coordinator, Lauren Eby, was hired to facilitate the program. Eby met with local businesses and walked them through an assessment of where their business stood from an online perspective. Once assessed, each business had the opportunity to apply for a $2,500 grant by completing an eight-hour video training course. The course covered digital marketing topics including search engine optimization, social media and email marketing. Eby found the downtown businesses to be very enthusiastic about participating in the program and recognized the value of a grant to bump up their digital presence. Guidance provided by the program helped them establish a strategy to get online and reap the benefits of a regular presence. Eby met with 35 businesses during her tenure as coordinator. “This program was a great value to small businesses,” said Eby. “Business owners received assistance for any digital marketing with their business and had the opportunity to be educated on major topics within digital marketing, and receive a grant to implement what they learned for their business. It is a great help for business owners, who do everything for their business, to receive assistance in this area.” Eby believes that three businesses so far have been approved for the $2,500 grant, and a total of six have applied. Applications were accepted until Dec. 31, 2019. The grant money can be used for anything digital within the businesses. Depending on need, the business could have a new website created, or update a current one. It can also be used to fund social media advertising, purchase software or pay for a social media coordinator to handle its online presence.