Providing free wifi in your downtown can be an excellent way to encourage people to spend more time at local shops and businesses, growing local revenue and marketability. But many local communities struggle with spreading the word about this feature.

Marketing your network is often just a piece of the puzzle in growing your downtown area. However, it plays an important role in completing the picture.

Here are a just few tactics that you can use to market your downtown wifi area.

“Free Wifi” Signage

You may have seen these before. The “Free Wifi” stickers are often found in the windows of restaurants, but they can also be used around your downtown area to remind people that a connection to the internet is only a few clicks away.

Also, consider adding a little wifi symbol to the bottom corner of your street signage to let people know that area is covered by your network.

Using your Government Websites

Granted, many people don’t spend a lot of time perusing government websites. However, advertising its availability on those sites provides another way to let people know about your wifi program and show your local government is engaged.

A great way to add the most value here is to include a piece of content like “Downtown Greenspaces with great wifi connections” or “Best Place to Grab a Cup of Joe and use the Free Downtown Wifi.” This way, you are not only spreading the word about your wifi program but also about the other ways that people can experience and engage in your downtown area.

Asking People to Share

Everything that we have talked about up to this point has been focusing on getting the first person to connect. This particular tactic is crowdsourcing your marketing by socializing it. This is sometimes called “Social Powered Wifi.”

When a person connects to your downtown wifi network, they are typically directed to a landing page for that network. On this page, make it easy for people to share that they are connected to your downtown wifi network. It’s a great way to let people in your downtown community spread the word about your wifi network for you.

You can also use it as a mechanism for joining the network but we recommend that you make sure to not force users into sharing if they choose not to do so.

Public Transportation

If your community has a public transportation program, using that real estate as a canvas to let people know about your wifi program. Yes, it can really be that simple. If a user is having a hard time with a connection via their mobile device, letting them know that you have wifi that they can use is a great way to help them in their time of need.

Influencer Marketing

Do you have a local influencer in your community who is active on social media? Maybe your mayor or city council members have a strong following?

Using apps and services like Periscope and Facebook Live can be a great way to show the strength of your connection. Streaming live video of your mayor doing a Q&A from a greenspace is a great way to show off the coverage of your network.


Many communities build out their downtown wifi programs and have a strong backbone but then take an “if you build it, they will come” mentality. But the truth is, if you don’t put in the effort to raise the awareness of your network, it will never be all that it could. After all, you put considerable effort into building a network that is a benefit for your community, so why not help it out by letting people know?


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Email: Broadband@NC.Gov

Broadband Infrastructure Office
301 N. Wilmington St., Raleigh, NC 27601