Article continuing our series about the Trading Online Voucher Scheme. For more info on the scheme and to see if you qualify. Read our blog post.
Our series will consist of interviews with participants of the scheme and with other business professionals that are tangentially connected with the scheme.
Today is the turn of Paul McGuirk. Head of Enterprise for the Local Enterprise Office in Ireland. Paul has some tips for people participating in the scheme or thinking about participating.
Let’s get started…
How do most businesses hear about the Trading Online Voucher Scheme Paul?
Most people hear about the scheme by word-of-mouth. From friends or their accountants. Either that or online. We also ran an Irish radio ad campaign to promote the scheme.
What do most businesses use the grant for?
The majority of businesses use the grant for developing or enhancing the website/e-commerce facility of their business. Some people only have a social media presence.
Others have a brochure site and upgrade it to fit an e-commerce, online booking and/or payment facility. Many use it for their Shopify or eBay subscription.
Also, many businesses apply and receive the grant twice.
Is the 90% grant over? Or will it return?
The 90% grant scheme ran from Apr – Dec 2020. It’s back to 50% now. There are no plans to bring back the 90% grant rate.
What do you wish businesses knew before applying for the grant?
Participants of the scheme should first have a firm idea in their own mind of what they want from the grant.
For example, they should know which social media channels their customers use.
They should know how they want to drive traffic to their website. They might need to commission ongoing maintenance work for their website.
Having a strategy for driving people to their website is a must. They should also have a process in place for online ordering.
How can businesses maximize their budget?
To maximize their limited budget. Business owners should only spend 30% of their budget on social media.
They should be able to identify what they want on their website. Be able to prioritize what they want. They might want 5 or 6 things but only be able to afford 4.
Eg. They may wish to do some online training programs such as SEO, LinkedIn and Facebook training. The more they can train themselves the better.
What other supports does the Local Enterprise Office provide business owners?
Local Enterprise Office supports come in 3 parts.
- First the Trading Online Voucher Scheme.
- Next is ongoing online marketing training classes with experts eg. Facebook, SEO and Twitter training.
- Finally, there’s one-to-one mentoring in running a business online.
What’s the best way to source a Trading Online Voucher Scheme services/partner?
Ask around business colleagues, friends and relatives. The best method is through word-of-mouth.
What’s the key takeaway from the online introduction webinar?
Business owners should be able to understand what they want. Be able to define the 3 or 4 objectives that they want from this. It’s not just about creating a website and letting it look after itself.
Social media marketing, maintenance and driving people towards the website are all key ongoing factors.
So there you have it. Tips for participating in the Trading Online Voucher Scheme from the LEO Head Of Enterprise, Paul McGuirk.
The key takeaway in our opinion being that business owners should be as knowledgeable as possible about web marketing and their ideal customer in order to have a better idea of what’s right for their business.
One way to stay up to date with online marketing trends is to sign up for the Hahamarketing email newsletter below. Also, check out your local LEO office for more information.
Need help with your Trading Online Voucher Scheme application? Or just web advice in general? Contact us and we’ll be happy to give you a free consultation.