Main Street Now Conference marketing tips

Downtown PKB, an Affiliate Main Street America program, recently had the opportunity to participate in this year’s virtual Main Street Now Conference. In 2019, I had the opportunity to attend the conference in Seattle and brought back great information to share. Then in 2020, our conference scheduled to be held in San Antonio, Texas, was canceled due to COVID-19. This year, staff and several board members from Downtown PKB’s board of directors attended virtually to learn more about how the events of the past year have changed our work and how we can rebuild stronger, more equitable Main Streets for the future.

Here are some great marketing tips that we picked up from our sessions that we attended by some great presenters/experts from across the country.

* Your business needs to be visible to stay current in people’s minds. Social media is a good way to do that.

* Engage customers by highlighting products, not just trying to sell products. Entertain them by telling the background on a product/service, how to use a product.

* Take advantage of a bounce-back offer. For example, when someone eats at your restaurant before they leave, give them a discount on their next meal to get them to come back.

* Stay up-to-date on social media platforms. They are not going anywhere. They are only going to continue to advance and more will be added.

* Curbside pick-up and QR code ordering most likely will stay after the pandemic is over. If you haven’t explored these avenues or mastered them yet, you will want to.

* Consider sharing pictures on social media of your food/products. Since a lot of customers are still not coming into your businesses, this is a way for them to see what you have.

* Keep in mind a lot of people search with their phones, so make sure your website is mobile-friendly.

* Remember that most people search for and read online reviews. Make sure to schedule yourself reminders to check reviews so you can respond to negative comments.

* Remember to make sure information about your business online is accurate, for example, products/menu, hours, and your address.

* Everyone who responds to customers on social media should have the same message. Consider using the automatic reply message function with a standard reply, then follow up.

All of these marketing tips may seem simple, but are always a good reminder to keep your business or product top of mind to your customers. We encourage everyone to #ShopPKB, save their receipts from participating downtown businesses and send them in to win your $25 pre-paid Visa gift card, courtesy of Truist Bank. For more information on this program, visit our website at www.downtownpkb.com/shoppkb.

Downtown PKB, a Main Street Community, is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization created to promote downtown Parkersburg, foster economic opportunity, and create community vitality. The goal is to create a vibrant commercial district that will provide downtown businesses, workers, and nearby residents with the goods and services they need, as well as create educational, entertainment, and tourism opportunities.


Wendy L. Shriver is the executive director of Downtown PKB


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