Pictured: Emma Woodward (left) with Sam Yair of Stories Marketing

More Warwickshire businesses are set to get help with improving their online presence after a successful scheme was extended and is now being offered to more sectors.

The advice and training is being offered as part of a larger package of support from Warwickshire County Council to continue to support economic recovery within the county, which includes the Survive, Sustain and Grow programme, Adapt and Diversify Grants as well as the business start-up programme.

Independent businesses in retail, hospitality and tourism can benefit from the new programme of workshops and one-to-one support being delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the County Council through the Warwickshire Towns Network Programme.

The Chamber is working with Stories Marketing to deliver the programme which includes a taster session, two three-hour workshops and one-to-one help.

Previous programmes run in 2020 were aimed at independent retailers but, such was their success, they have been extended to incorporate hospitality and tourism which has been so badly hit during the Coronavirus crisis.

The taster session will give businesses an overview of what to expect, top tips and practical advice followed by the first workshop that will focus on the power of social media marketing to help businesses create an online community and connect with customers.

The second workshop will focus on how to utilise online tools to blend with a ‘bricks and mortar’ business and drive customer footfall when they are able to reopen.

The first taster session will be held on February 23 with workshops to follow throughout 2021.

Leader of the County Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth, Councillor Izzi Seccombe, stressed the importance of continuing to safely support local businesses across Warwickshire during the extended lockdown period and then into 2021 as life can return to some sense of normal.

 

She said: “We are continuing to see real success stories through the pandemic lockdown. These successes have been attributed to the increase in digital skills and innovation from Warwickshire businesses. In this climate of uncertainty, it’s wonderful to see small retailers and high street businesses embracing social media, changing the way they interact with customers and gaining new customers as they do so.

 

“Clearly as we emerge from the pandemic, we will be looking at our town centres and making sure that they provide safe, interesting, social and unique experiences for locals and visitors.

 

“But until then, and indeed after, it’s vital that our businesses embrace the possibilities that digital marketing offers to reach new markets and respond to consumers’ rapidly changing habits.

 

“We’re delighted to support with this. I would urge retailers to sign up for the workshops, to help improve their business resilience, as well as their town and trading environment.”

 

Keely Hancox, operations manager of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are delighted to be working with Warwickshire Towns Network and Stories Marketing to deliver a new phase of digital skills support for businesses.  And that we are now able to extend that support to hospitality and tourism, sectors that have been one of the worst affected by the crisis.

“It includes businesses based in rural areas, such as farm shops or tourist attractions.  This is very much about supporting businesses to develop their online presence but also driving footfall when they can open up again.

“The feedback from our previous digital skills programmes has been incredible with so many businesses developing the way they market themselves online, which has helped them to not only survive but, in many cases, thrive.

“So, we are very much looking forward to helping more businesses tap into the expertise and knowledge of Stories Marketing to help them now and also be in a much stronger place as the economy starts to reopen.”