The Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA) is offering a free training workshop for Manawatū businesses to be more visible online.
CEDA said results and insights of their fifth Impact of Covid-19 survey highlighted that while the region's economy is resilient, there are still significant impacts on businesses.
One of the key findings was the need for greater digital enablement within the business community, particularly in the hospitality and retail sectors.
Marketing, as well as business strategy and planning, featured highly in terms of support required.
Of the survey respondents, only one third have a presence on Google.
As a direct response to the survey results, CEDA is providing a free workshop to help businesses make the most of the free online marketing tools Google My Business and Google Maps.
CEDA has teamed up with Miles Partnership, a strategic marketing company focused exclusively on travel and destinations, whose tactical programmes support business owners.
CEDA marketing and communications manager Janet Reynolds says the workshop will show how to boost businesses' digital footprint.
"While many businesses use online platforms such as Facebook for marketing, there is a need for greater digital footprint in Manawatū.
"There is a huge opportunity here for us to fill the knowledge gap and improve the Manawatū online searchability.
"This means having a strong presence as a destination on Google Maps, which aims to attract customers from around the country as well as locally.
"Although four out of five people use Google to search for local information, only one-third of businesses are listed," Reynolds said.
"It's crucial to any business to be able to manage the information that appears on their Google business profile for the sake of both customer and business alike."
Miles Partnership has worked with hundreds of destinations and hospitality businesses around the world.
The workshop is built on a best-practices study of more than 50,000 business profiles.
Rather than individually researching that, the workshop will provide the key takeaways - including simple, easily actioned training and quick tips to get businesses profiled effectively online.
CEDA says it does not require hours of time, just some insider knowledge on how to claim your listing and update it.
The free workshop is designed for hospitality, tourism and retail businesses that want to get ahead on Google for Business and Google Maps.
Those who will attend are asked to arrive 30 minutes ahead of the 10am start time to have a profile set up and verified.
The free workshop will be held in the CEDA office, Thursday, 10am-12pm at the CEDA office, TSB Towers, 1-19 Fitzherbert Ave.
To attend the workshop contact Sybil Cope, firstname.lastname@example.org