The Client Solutions team at LNP Media Group, publisher of LNP|LancasterOnline, has developed an innovative approach to help small businesses meet the challenges set in place by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Local Business Stimulus Program invites Lancaster County-based businesses to apply for a grant from LNP to assist with their marketing efforts. LNP Media Group has set aside US$500,000 in matching monies to fund the grants.
The mission of the new stimulus programme is simply to support local business owners in Lancaster County.
Boosting advertising while helping businesses
LNP Media Group has felt the impact of the pandemic in many of the same ways as other local businesses. This includes a sharp decline in advertising as Lancaster County businesses temporarily shuttered to protect their employees and customers and in compliance with Pennsylvania state emergency safety regulations.
“We are also a local business, so we understand how hard the pandemic has been on our business partners,” said Christine Stahl, director of sales for LNP Media Group. “We’ve created this opportunity to help these businesses while our community recovers.”
Successful applicants will be awarded a dollar-for-dollar matching grant for qualifying advertising and marketing plans. Matching grants are available for print and selected digital marketing options provided by LNP Media Group.
The grant awards range from US$250 to US$7,500 in matching funds per business, essentially doubling the marketing dollars for each participating business. For example, a grant of US$600 will be awarded to match a US$600 investment in qualified advertising programs, bringing the value of the total advertising package with LNP Media Group to US$1,200.
“As businesses navigate the recovery and reopening process, letting their customers know what their status is will be an important step,” Stahl said. “During this time, more people than ever have relied on our newspaper and our Web site, LancasterOnline, to report fair and accurate news and information. We are the perfect platform for businesses to use and to reach a large, engaged local audience and beyond, using our digital platform.”
The response from the business community has been overwhelmingly positive. Not only that, it has provided a new opportunity for businesses to take another look at the customised marketing solutions that LNP Media Group can deliver.
Driving digital growth
The biggest growth for LNP has been in digital sales.
“Most business owners didn’t know that we offer all of the digital options we do. And with so many retailers switching to e-commerce or offering online services during the pandemic, testing our digital solutions was a no-brainer,” said Lindsey McCallum, sales manager for LNP Media’s Client Solutions team.
Additionally, nearly 60% of the businesses that have taken a grant are new clients, with more signing up to participate every day.
“The grant programme has given many clients the push they needed to start advertising or try a new type of ad,” added McCallum. “It’s also given existing clients a larger impact than they anticipated.”
One more intangible benefit of LNP’s grant programme is the positivity and reassurance it brings to an unstable business climate: “Our team has really enjoyed being able to offer the grant program as a new way of saying, ‘We’re here to help you,’” said Erin Rettew, LNP’s sales manager.
The stimulus programme will run through the holiday shopping season and will help advertisers with their marketing efforts for the remainder of 2020 and, hopefully, set them up for a strong start to 2021, Stahl said.
“We have been a local business for more than 225 years and we are committed to ensuring that Lancaster remains a vibrant place to live and work. When we work together for the common good of our community, we all benefit. Together, we will get our community moving again.”