Camille
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Content Strategists

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Businesses and nonprofits in Prince Edward Island, Canada, can benefit from special business programs and grants offered through the provincial and federal governments.

One such benefit is the Web Presence Assistance Program, a relatively new provincial program designed for PEI businesses to improve their online web presence and marketing efforts.

If you want to learn more about this grant, you’re in the right place. Read on to better understand what this benefit is, if you’re eligible to apply, and how to get started.

What is the PEI Web Presence Assistance Program?

According to the PEI website, the Web Presence Assistance is a grant-based award that business owners can claim in order to offset the cost of online and marketing improvements.

The main objective is to provide business owners, both large and small, with the funds necessary to improve their online presence, enabling them to increase sales, increase customer reach, and stay competitive.

Here’s exactly how they describe it:

Web Presence Assistance provides a non-repayable contribution to Prince Edward Island businesses and local not-for-profits to assist with the creation of an online presence or to upgrade an existing website to include e-commerce. The purpose of Web Presence Assistance is to help Island businesses and not-for-profits increase business by creating a website to establish an online presence, reach customers and increase sales.

PEI Web Presence Assistance FAQs

Here are some questions being asked about the Web Presence Assistance program.

What Can PEI Web Presence Assistance Be Used For?

As with most Canadian marketing grants, there is a list of eligible activities for which the money can be used. This means the funds have limitationsyou can’t just get the money and spend it as you like.

So, in terms of Web Presence Assistance, what exactly is allowed?

If you’re an eligible business and you win the grant, you can use this money to:

  • Register a domain name for your website
  • Build a brand new website
  • Costs for this include the design, development, SEO content writing, and hosting fees associated with that new website
  • Upgrade an existing website
  • Fund social media and marketing related to the promotion of the website

Now you may be thinking, what exactly does it mean to build a website? If you want to build a new website OR upgrade your existing website, you can do the following:

  • Build eCommerce features on your website
  • Conduct search engine optimization (SEO), which is a powerful advertising tool
  • Conduct mobile optimization, which improves the audience reach
  • Add scheduling functions to your site
  • Fix or add voice technology features
  • Add chatbot
  • Integrate social media functions
  • OR other functions that improve the user experience and effectiveness of the site

We will get into more detail about what this means below.

Much of the labour involved in setting up these items is included, but it is not included if you are doing the work yourself.

What is NOT Included as an Eligible Expense for the PEI Web Presence Assistance Program?

The PEI Web Presence Assistance Program cannot be used for:

  • Recurring advertising or social media expenses
  • Google Ads expenses
  • Recurring email hosting fees
  • HST that your contractor charges on the invoice
  • Any associated costs that exceed the approved and allocated funds total

Who is Eligible to Receive This Grant?

Any business or local not-for-profit located in Prince Edward Island looking to BUILD a new website, UPGRADE an existing website, or add eCommerce for the first time can receive these funds.

You cannot receive this grant if you already have eCommerce on your website and want to enhance your eCommerce functionality.

Other ineligible businesses include:

  • a business that has a defaulted outstanding debt obligation on file in the Province’s Central Default Registry;
  • a business that received funding from Innovation PEI in the prior two years to support website development through Web Presence Assistance;
  • fishers, farmers, and realty companies (including commercial/residential landlords and developers); and
  • banks and financial companies, including pawnbrokers, payday loan, cheque cashing and white-label cash machines.

 

pei web presence assistance-2

 

Why Should a Business Consider PEI Web Presence Assistance?

As you can see, the PEI Web Presence Assistance program is designed to help improve the online presence of a PEI business. This is beneficial because an online presence is vital to business success in an increasingly technological world.

According to a Hubspot blog that asks, “Does my business need a website?,” YES, your business does need a website.

It’s not good enough to have a Facebook page or other hosted site as you never really own those pages and are therefore reliant on the host in terms of your visibility, SEO, and site functionality. Websites also add credibility as you’ve taken the time to create one with your personal branding, messaging, and logo.

Outside of “it looks good” and “it adds more functionality,” there are statistics that support why a business should have its own website.

Another good reason to have a website is the increasing number of online users and advertising. According to Global Industry Analysts, The global digital advertising and marketing market was estimated at $350 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $786.2 billion by 2026.

And more and more businesses are spending on online advertising annually. This means that more companies are trying to attract over 5.19 billion people who use the internet globally, roughly 64.5 percent of the world’s total population.

Tapping Into the Online Market With Local Marketing

While it may seem like there is a lot of competition online, think again. Local marketing is incredibly impactful and has a proven track record of providing a positive return on investment to business owners.

So what is local marketing?

Local marketing refers to marketing that targets a local audience based on region or geography. For online marketing, local marketing includes local paid advertisements, local search engine optimization (SEO), and locally-targeted campaigns like finding followers on social media in your area.

Online local marketing largely uses local SEO to draw in customers. SEO is one of the biggest drawers of online traffic. Statistics report that 53% of all website traffic comes from organic searches. And businesses that blog get 55% more traffic to their websites.

Local SEO has a high ROI. If you focus on local SEO, you can benefit from 28% of local searches resulting in a purchase within 24 hours.

Leverage Your Online Presence for More Sales With okwrite

Statistics and jargon aside, having an online presence alone will help boost your brand awareness in the PEI community. We can’t deny that the influx of relocation to the island has changed the dynamics of our economy. While in-person and cash may never go away, having an online presence won’t hurt your business!

Going online is an easy win if you want to stay competitive within your markets and community. It’s simple to do, too!

Apply for the Web Presence Assistance program through PEI’s website. And if you want to find a marketing agency to help move your dream business forward, connect with okwrite today. We can help you:

  • Build a new website
  • Improve your existing website for user experience and eCommerce
  • Add high-quality SEO content writing that speaks to your brand
  • Add eCommerce to your website

Call us today.

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