seoplus+ partnering with Canadian organizations to provide SEO services, paid advertising management, and e-commerce consulting in conjunction with CanExport funding grant program for SMEs.

If you’re a business, times are tough. Turbulent, even. But not having an adequate digital marketing strategy in place can make those seas all the choppier. The optimal approach is, unironically, to optimize your online presence and better appeal to the online public – and since most folks nowadays are spending more time online, that’s a huge chunk of potential interest up for grabs. 

How can you cover the costs of sourcing a dedicated search engine optimization (SEO) agency, and how can you justify the expense especially nowadays when everything is all topsy-turvy?

There’s a solution, and it’s called CanExport funding. Specifically, it’s the CanExport program for SMEs – small and medium sized companies keen on developing their international presence. If that sounds like you, pull up a chair and let’s explore the fundamentals of this funding option.

How it Works

 
In layman’s terms, upon your successful application and approval as an SME, your business may receive up to $75,000 for developing an international market. Therefore, these funds can be allocated towards your digital strategy, which means they can be used to procure SEO and/or Google paid ads services. The Federal Government of Canada is prepared to cover up to 75 per cent of the costs associated with your export marketing plans. The catch, however, is that the markets you target internationally must be where you have fewer sales, if any.

Applications are currently closed until the fall, as administration has a large swath of them to go through. This ensures that they can catch up and resume the acceptance of new applications once the backlog is clear. So, don’t let the expired deadline of June 11th scare you! If you managed to apply before the cut-off, your submission is in the works and may still get approved.

Eligibility Criteria

Generally speaking, you need to operate a for-profit business of a small or medium size (again, an SME), with less than 500 full-time team members under your employ. You must be either an incorporated legal entity, limited liability partnership (LLP), or cooperative, all three of which options require a CRA business number. As for revenue criteria, the range is between $100,000 and $100 million in declared income here in Canada over the past fiscal year. Recently, export brokers in the fields of agriculture and agri-food have been added to the list of permitted applicants, but they must comply with Canadian content standards.

Why Pursue Global Markets?

The real question, at the risk of sounding cliché, is rather “why not?” With sufficient funding to help bolster your marketing campaigns across a myriad of platforms and outlets, your business will stand a much better chance of tapping into a market you haven’t targeted before. Whether to generate revenue during a special local holiday with special offer advertisements, adjusting ad spend to target more lucrative audience pools or otherwise, there are many ways to grow and potentially thrive abroad. 

How Much Can You Put Towards Digital Advertising Specifically?

In terms of straight-up SEO, which is classified as an online advertising activity under Category C of the CanExport program for SMEs, you’re able to now access $50,000. This is on a per-project basis, and the amount was previously much lower. Not only that, but it used to be more restricted in terms of what constituted an online advertising activity. Nowadays, you are free to allocate these funds towards social media marketing, online marketplaces, and improving ranking performance on various search engines. 

COVID-19 Activities

Of course, everyday life is hardly the norm, and maybe it’s more productive to look forward rather than try to return to what we once had. Setting a new standard – utilizing a well-funded new digital marketing strategy – is a chance to embark in a fresh direction for your company. At the time of writing, the CanExport program for SMEs does not support activities that would normally require travel, but this is no reason to panic. Rather, think of it as an opportunity to refocus your resources towards mission-critical areas. The grant actively supports the following activities, even while the pandemic stubbornly lingers and makes travel a risky option:  

  • SEO
  • Accumulating and analyzing data through market intelligence processes
  • The creation, adaptation, and/or translation of marketing materials
  • Online advertising as noted earlier, via social media, digital storefronts, search engines, etc.
  • Professional guidance and advice on e-commerce/digital marketing strategies (classified as Category F)

If Approved, What’s the Start Date?

To quote the Trade Commissioner of Canada website, the start date of your funding agreement will be on the day that you applied with the project you wish to secure the funds for. There are exceptions, of course, such as if you applied after December 15th of the current fiscal year, or if the program’s funds are drained for the current fiscal year (the start date moves to April 1st next fiscal year in this case). Bear these details in mind when you apply.

There’s never been a better time to revitalize your marketing strategy on all fronts by securing additional funding to allocate towards the right strategies. Many of our clients here at seoplus+ are witnessing tremendous growth, engagement, and strong sales figures even amidst these unconventional times we currently live in, a testament to the effectiveness of paid advertising and SEO in addition to other companion services such as solid web design. We’re certain that many more SMEs will discover the benefits and opportunities afforded by the CanExport funding program, and we can’t wait to see them shape a new, exciting future with an international presence. 

If you’d like a hand with your marketing strategy in any capacity, our team is happy to assist. Reach out to us today to get started or click here to learn more about our various services and capabilities.

Visit this link to learn how to apply for CanExport SME funding.

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Brock Murray

Co-Founder/COO at seoplus+
Brock Murray the co-founder and COO at seoplus+. He has had great success in helping hundreds of local, national and international businesses to establish, maintain, and increase their online presence with the goal of brand awareness and multi-channel lead generation.