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Mar 12, 2021

New Website Helps Better Serve a Population In Need During COVID-19

Maryland Women’s Business Center

Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI), a nonprofit organization to help businesses grow and expand in the City of Rockville, designed Maryland Women’s Business Center (MWBC) as a special initiative to support women-owned businesses in the Maryland Capital Region.

To further help women entrepreneurs and small business owners achieve economic growth, MWBC partnered with GKA to transform their website and communication with a modern strategy that appealed to multiple ages and incomes.

The Challenge

MWBC needed to serve its target audience - a diverse group of women entrepreneurs and small business owners. Without in-person events, their services, education, resources, and training needed to reach a population that was primarily on a mobile device and did not have a mobile-friendly responsive website.

As the project began, MWBC realized the immediate need to update a significant amount of outdated metrics, programs, and collateral before launch, and the team quickly developed a strategic rollout plan that looped in solution-drivers on a rolling basis.

During the project, GKA successfully navigated an environment where a number of stakeholders had input. With the help of a strong, research-driven foundation, we were able to unify new team members and keep the project on course.

Our Approach

After extensive research and developing a stakeholder roadmap, GKA a creative agency, led Maryland Women’s Business Center through a brand and website development process. The process included:

Step 1: Research

Before the project, GKA, a creative agency, researched women’s business centers across the country and then cross-compared them to Maryland Women’s Business Center’s offerings. Then, GKA led Maryland Women’s Business Center through a website discovery process to determine the organization’s greatest needs. Additionally, GKA worked to understand MWBC’s niche and how to effectively reach them among the other organizations in the area.

Step 2: Brand Development

  • Develop a survey to glean information from key stakeholders
  • Host a Virtual Brand Retreat for key stakeholders that included participation from the REDI board and various leaders from neighboring Women’s Business Centers. Developed the brand architecture:
    • Mission Statement
    • Vision Statement
    • Core Values
    • Establishment of Target Vertica ls

Step 3: Brand Identity Design

  • Modernize the Logo
  • Determine new Colors and Fonts
  • Business Cards
  • Email Design
  • Collateral and Flyers
  • PowerPoint Design
  • Social Media Templates

Step 4: Website Design & Development

  • Wireframing
  • Web Design
  • Copy, SEO, and Content Restructuring
  • Web Development

Step 5: Marketing

Developed an email strategy to promote virtual events, grant deadlines, and new educational resources in the form of a blog.

New monthly blog posts that support small businesses impacted by COVID-19 by providing resources to small businesses.

Results

Since launching in February 2021, the website has effectively communicated MWBC’s services, counseling, resources, and programs to small businesses through a more streamlined user experience. In addition to an increase in training and webinar registrations, the website has witnessed significant improvements.

Conclusion

Without this project, the message of grants, COVID-19 resources, training, and community might have otherwise become lost to an underrepresented audience, particularly low-income users who research information with their phones. Using the website as a vessel, the team looks forward to creating more inclusive projects to continue disseminating vital information, especially during times where support is imperative for women, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and families in the Maryland Capital Region.

The crisis provided Maryland Women’s Business Center with the opportunity to demonstrate the real-world advantages of streamlined resources, new ways to develop content, and the flexibility of a website as a communication tool during an emergency.

In addition, this project helped to break the barriers of communication for many women-owned businesses in the Maryland Capital region. Now, the website is more approachable and inclusive, and can speak to many different ages, backgrounds, and incomes. We’re confident those benefits will last long after the pandemic is over.

Ready to partner together? Let’s connect.

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