Facebook Grants & Ad Credit Updates: How to Apply and What to Expect

In March, Facebook announced it’s plan to award $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to help small businesses struggling due to COVID-19 and its effect on the economy. In the original announcement, Facebook said the goal was to help small businesses offset costs including rent, operational costs, workforce retention, and connecting with their customer base.

They’ve just recently released more information on these programs and how small businesses can participate. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect.

Who is Eligible?

The program is open to up to 30,000 small businesses in more than 30 countries. To qualify, each business must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a for-profit company
  • Employ between 2 and 50 people
  • Been in business for over a year
  • Experienced challenges related to COVID-19
  • Be in or near a location where Facebook operates

Facebook is currently doing a rolling release for applications across the U.S.  New York City and Seattle were the first to be eligible starting on April 18. Companies in San Francisco were eligible to begin the application process on April 20. On April, 22, more areas of the county will be opened to eligibility. 

Businesses will have 2 weeks to send in their applications. Decisions will be made within a few weeks after the application window closes. Facebook has not released a guideline on how long decisions will take to be made.

You can check to see if your local area is now eligible, by clicking the See Available Locations link in the Who’s Eligible section.

If you are in an area that is eligible to apply, you’ll be directed to a new page to begin the application process. For those located in areas not yet eligible, you’ll have the option to enter your email address to receive future updates.

How Can Funds be Used?

If you are eligible for the cash grants and/or ad credits, you may be wondering how you can utilize these funds. Facebook has created this program to assist with a variety of costs and expenses. Just a few of the ways you can use funds include:

  • Assist with rent
  • Cover operational expenses
  • Keep workers employed
  • Connect with customers

How to Get Started

Even if these grants and ad credits are not available in your area today, it’s a good idea to start planning ahead and gathering the information you’ll need for the application. Here’s how the process will work.

Step 1: Check to see if grants are available in your area by clicking here.

Step 2: Verify your business is eligible and meets the guidelines listed above.

Step 3: To apply, you’ll need to supply at least one of the following documents:

  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
  • Business license
  • Official registration
  • Proof of incorporation
  • Partnership documents
  • Contact information 
  • A brief summary of your company

Step 4: Prepare a short write statement on how the funds will be used.

Step 5: Submit the application.

Following application submission, Facebook may reach out for additional information or to have various questions answered before notifying grant recipients that they have been award funds. You can find more information about the application process here.

Getting Your Business Ready For A Comeback

Undoubtedly, the last several weeks have been some of the most challenging we’ve ever faced as a nation and franchise community.  The good news is there’s light at the end of the tunnel – the pandemic is receding and discussions are well underway to begin winding back restrictions and reopening the economy in a staged approach over the next couple of weeks.  This is obviously very welcomed news for all of us from both a personal and business perspective.

Through the unprecedented times we find ourselves in, there are unique opportunities out there to both help your business adapt and prepare for coming out of this situation stronger and more successful than ever. Read below to learn more about the tools you can use now to perfect your digital marketing campaign and expand your influence online.

Make Use of Analytics

When it comes to digital marketing, data is king. Analytics (from Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, or other industry-specific brands) offer insight into your customers’ behavior that can be leveraged in a number of ways. If you’re not making use of this tool already, you’re doing your brand a disservice.

For example, you can utilize analytics to better understand which search engines people are using to get to your site. You can also determine the keywords that are producing the most hits, which can help you develop a more effective SEO strategy.

In addition, analytics can be used to find out how long customers stay on your page before clicking away, and which links they tend to follow on your site. And if you’re interested in the demographics of your customers, this tool can provide you with in-depth information about viewers’ locations.

Focus on Building Keyword-Specific Pages

While efficiency is critical in many aspects of your business, it’s not always the goal when building out your website. Rather than creating a single page for a category of products or services, take the time to build individual pages for local terms that include precise on-page optimization. This division of pages can help increase organic traffic to your site and offers more opportunities for you to create eye-catching content.

You can also build campaign-specific landing pages to minimize friction during the purchase journey. Unlike homepages, landing pages that have a clear message unburdened by distracting site navigation options tend to have a high conversion rate.

Embrace Social Media

While most of us are on some form of social media, not everyone feels quite social media savvy. When you think about putting your business on different social media platforms, you may hesitate for fear you’ll make a mistake.

However, social media is just too good of a tool to pass up. Not only is it relatively easy to use and inexpensive considering the broad audience it can reach, but it also makes it possible for you to engage with customers in a way that traditional marketing techniques simply can’t match.

With social media, the options are quite literally endless. It can be used:

  • For anonymously getting an up-close look at your competitors in order to find ways to distinguish your brand from theirs. 
  • As a platform to request feedback from customers.
  • To post minute-by-minute updates of store events, sales, and new inventory. 
  • To shine the spotlight on your hardworking employees, giving your audience the chance to make a more personal connection with your brand.

Stay Relevant with Retargeting

If a great first impression doesn’t do the trick, how about a second? With retargeting tools, you can continue to display ads to viewers even after they’ve left your site. Since retargeting can reach across multiple platforms, including social media feeds, blog posts, and different websites, viewers will be able to keep your brand in mind no matter where their internet travels take them. Finally, retargeting is the best way to keep your product or service in front of consumers’ eyes even when they aren’t actively seeking it out.

Support for Business Affected by COVID-19

Both the US Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Association have released information for small businesses affected by COVID-19.

Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Applications

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced that small businesses owners across the U.S. are now eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000.

This program is designed to provide businesses with working capital to help them overcome temporary losses to revenue due to COVID-19. Funds can be made available within 3 days and the loan advance does not have to be repaid.

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program can also provide working capital loans for up to $2 million.

More information and links to apply for loans and loan advances can be found here.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Emergency Loans

The recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to support small businesses during this time. Designed to help keep workers employed, the Paycheck Protection Program provides 100% federally guaranteed loans.

Businesses who accept these loans and who maintain their payroll during the crisis or restore their payroll after this has passed will have their loans forgiven.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has provided this document with detailed information about eligibility, what information will need to be provided to qualify, how much can be borrowed, and more details on the forgiveness program.