BOSTON, March 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Small businesses in Massachusetts that have seen business suffer because of COVID-19 can learn smart marketing strategies to get business back on track, thanks to a little-known program offered by the Commonwealth, according to Robin Samora, Boston-based small business marketing and PR expert.
The Express Grant program is sponsored by the Commonwealth Corporation and the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Two of their programs focus on marketing on a shoestring budget, especially for businesses that have been disrupted by pandemic restrictions, supply chain problems, and a severe labor shortage caused by Covid. Any business that has W-2 employees, contributes to unemployment insurance, and meets certain guidelines can apply.
Kristen Rayne, Outreach Manager, Workforce Training Fund Program at Commonwealth Corporation, said: “It’s a win for employees gaining new skills, often accompanied by wage increases or promotions, a win for employers who benefit from a better-skilled workforce, and a win for the Commonwealth because businesses that complete general grants add jobs at a higher rate than average.”
Last year, the Commonwealth awarded $3.5 million in Express Grants to teach businesses a wide variety of skills. This year, it’s partnering with Samora to teach the marketing component. The Commonwealth has more than 715,000 small businesses, and many could be eligible.
How the Marketing Training Program Works
A business applies for marketing training by starting at MassachusettsBusinessMarketing to learn more about which of these two programs they want:
- Marketing Plan 901 (Course #1131268) is for businesses with a minimum of two W-2 employees who will be trained. It includes 14 videos on how to write a marketing plan, plus 12 how-to videos on social media marketing. Participants walk away with a complete marketing plan. Cost is $6,000 which includes full reimbursement for eligible companies.
- Marketing Plan 902 (Course #1126652) is for businesses with three or more W-2 employees who will be trained. It includes all of the above, plus additional team training by Samora on advanced marketing strategies for implementing the plan. Cost is $9,000 which includes full reimbursement for those who qualify.
To be eligible for full reimbursement, a small business must have 100 or fewer employees. For companies with 101 employees or more, reimbursement is at 50 percent.
After a company chooses a course, it schedules a phone call with Samora to see if it qualifies. If it does, Samora then gives them instructions on how to apply through the Express Grant portal, and works with each company on a payment schedule.
After the Express Grants office approves the Mass Grant application, the company pays the first installment and begins training. Each program runs 12 weeks. After employees have completed training and the company has paid in full, it can apply for total reimbursement, with payment typically received within six weeks.
Marketing plan training includes strategies to increase sales, use social media to build a following, attract attention from journalists, and create content for email marketing, blogs, video and podcasts. Special attention is given to improving small business exposure without breaking the bank.
Samora, who has taught more than 10,000 business people and implemented marketing strategies for Fortune 500 companies and smaller brands, says the Express Grants program is a lifesaver during these uncertain times.
“The Express Grants program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for business owners to get
the marketing help and create a rock-solid marketing plan for 2022 and beyond,” she said.
Small Business Marketing Trainings “the Best Secret in Town”
Samora, best known for her no-cost and low-cost marketing strategies, calls the marketing program “the best secret in town” because eligible small businesses that are approved can be fully reimbursed. “As long as a business meets the requirements, why wouldn’t they apply? It’s a small investment with an enormous benefit.”
To start the application process, a business must have W-2 employees, contribute to Massachusetts unemployment insurance, and provide a Certificate of Good Standing. Employees who are trained must be paid for their time.
Colin Codner, Executive Director of the Greater Lynn Chamber of Commerce, has referred three members already. “The feedback for these programs has been excellent,” he said. “Robin has given them spot-on marketing training. She consistently delivers what she promises.”
Lisa Boemer, owner of the Hiccup Inc, a curated specialty gift shop in Swampscott, just completed the program. “I’m thrilled that the Commonwealth is helping our small businesses recover from the pandemic,” she said. “This marketing training refocused my priorities and gave me a specific action plan to follow, a roadmap so that 2022 will be a banner year.”
Read more about the Express Grant program at http://www.MassachusettsBusinessMarketing.com.
SOURCE Robin Samora