When New Mexico’s latest two-week shutdown of nonessential businesses began, Organ Mountain Outfitters founder Chris Lang realized he needed to do something to help his fellow brick-and-mortar business owners.
So, leaning on his decade-long career in digital marketing, he developed New Mexico 2.0, a free two-week course of videos and worksheets designed to help businesses develop and enhance their online presence.
The goal, Lang said, is to help businesses get comfortable enough with online marketing to help them adjust to a business landscape that’s moving increasingly digital.
“I think that’s the biggest disconnect that a lot of business owners have,” Lang said.
The shift toward digital advertising and away from traditional ad spend was well underway even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to adjust.
Last year, the market research firm eMarketer predicted spending on digital advertising would encompass more than 54% of the total market in the United States, eclipsing spending on traditional advertising areas like radio, television and newspapers for the first time.
Lang added that the pandemic has changed people’s purchasing habits, and retailers need to keep pace. Lang said office closures and online schooling have forced potential customers to spend more time staring at their computers screens.
“They’re actually more engaged than they’ve ever been, from an online standpoint,” Lang said.
The New Mexico 2.0 program features 10 videos, spread out over 10 business days, each covering a different area of focus within online marketing. Lang said more than 130 companies have signed onto the program, and the curriculum will be available after it ends.
Topics range from listing a business online to understanding the “Three C’s” – Consistency, Communication and Creativity – that Lang identified as key factors in a successful online marketing campaign.
In particular, Lang said having a consistent message delivered regularly across a variety of platforms like Google and Facebook is essential to digital marketing success.
“It may feel a little redundant, but to the consumer it’s not,” Lang said. “You may post something 10 times before they take notice of it.”
While the program is open to any industry -and available on Organ Mountain’s website – Lang said restaurants in particular need to have a better online presence, as pandemic-related shutdowns have made customers more comfortable ordering food online.
New Mexico’s small artisans and craftspeople, who Lang said have been hit hard by the pandemic, also stand to benefit from advertising online.
“Those people provide a sense of community and a sense of home for a lot of New Mexicans, who are really looking for a sense of community and home right now,” Lang said.
For Organ Mountain, which has operated in Las Cruces since 2016 and opened a store in Nob Hill at the end of last year, Lang described the program as a way to give back and help New Mexico’s ecosystem of small businesses survive and adapt during a difficult period.
“In New Mexico, we want to see all of our people succeed,” he said.