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Answers to the Online Trading Voucher – Website Grant Answers – Answer that get grant approval

Answers to the Online Trading Voucher – Website Grant Answers – Answer that get grant approval

At Digital Sales we get asked by our clients and perspective clients to help with the Online Trading Voucher application.  For a variety of reasons, such as:

  • They are too busy
  • Some hate forms and fear officialdom!
  • And others just aren’t good at writing.

Which is all fair enough, we all have our strengths and areas for development!  Anyway, if you are a company and you need help completing your Trading Online form, the content below will certainly help.

Trading Online LEO Criteria

Now, you have to think of the LEO’s evaluation criteria, and we have picked out the main points, especially if you are applying for this grant for the second time, which is perfectly acceptable:

  • Project Suitability
  • Value Added potential
  • Export potential
  • Job creation potential
  • How will the project aid the business during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Notice the final point, really this grant announced on the 8th of April is geared to help the economy bounce back from the Covid-19 restrictions applied to the economy.  And this is the angle you should play on if you are going for the grant a second time.

So, here are a list of the key questions on the Trading Online Form and this is how we believe you should answer them (we have a 100% application rate for our Digital Sales clients).

Answers to Website Grant Application – from Digital Sales

Describe your current online presence (none, brochure site, shopify, full ecommerce site etc.)

‘Brochure website with a basic payment link on the site.’

Description of your Business’s Products / Services Overview of your businesses activities whether related to the project or not

‘We provide window and door installations, repair and servicing throughout Dublin, Meath and the North East and we plan to export our services in the near future to Belfast and surrounding counties.’

Note: Describe the services you provide and also if you have the prospect of exporting your products or services or you are planning of expanding, including the North, mention it, the North is considered export.

Also, consider if you need to embed remote working type of functionality or videos into your existing website.  Which is a direct consequence of the Covid 19 Pandemic.  This will win you points for your application.

Say, you are a Physiotherapist and now you deliver your recovery sessions online, what does that now involve?  What about Accountancy services, Counselling, etc.  Your business was B2B and now you need to move to B2C, what does that mean to your business online?

If your business has already been a beneficiary of a voucher under the scheme please describe the work you completed with the voucher. Specify what your deliverables for that project were

We had no online presence at all, so, we used the first grant to get online, build a brand new website from scratch including a logo design and digital consultancy.  We also set up social media accounts and embedded a simple payment portal onto our website in order for our clients to make payments.  Training was also involved.  Specifically, the deliverables were:

  • Responsive Web Design and Development in HTML5 and .php and built in a CMS
  • Business Consultancy Meeting, Market Research and Keyword Analyses
  • Logo Redesign
  • Copy-writing content, keyword density consultancy and review
  • Online Merchant Services Payment Page using Stripe
  • WordPress blog for future content marketing and uploading industry news, events, etc.
  • Social Media Setup, Management and Website Integration

Business objective for your Trading Online project. What is it that your business expects this project to do that will help your business? Handle sales, generate new leads, handle customer service, etc… (please be as specific as possible)

The initial digital grant allowed us to get online, however, we are struggling to organically rank our website on the search engines and when we do get traffic to our site the bounce rate is very high. We want to improve some of the User Experience on the website in order to keep our users on our site and also we want to embed ‘social proofing‘ into the website homepage, especially, the blog pages which are delivering traffic but the bounce rate is high.

Our website download speed is also poor, which is also effecting our bounce rate and user experience.  We also would like to explore International SEO best practice, which will also include a Technical SEO audit of our site and then applying best practice.  Both onpage SEO and we also need to look at offpage SEO.  We need to engage in a 9 month content marketing strategy which will help our online brand and also drive more organic traffic to our website and in effect ‘sales leads’.  So, we also need help with a digital marketing strategy.

We plan on embedding Live Chat onto our website, again, increasing engagement and sales conversions.

Note: You can mention Google and Bing Ads here, but we believe you would be wasting 30% of the grant if you spend it on adverts which have little short term gain.  However, we would mention:

We also need help setting up our Google Ads and Bing Ads accounts, properly optimising them, better messaging and a stronger call to action.  Help optimising our account would really help in the short term and also saving us money in the future.  At the moment we believe we are wasting an awful lot of money because our Ad campaigns are not set up properly.

Unique Selling Point of your Products / Services / Business processes targeted in this project Look at your online competitors, decide what products/services you will focus on – not all of them need to be traded online. Why did you select what you have?

We have been trading successfully since 2000, we have a great ‘word of mouth’ referral business, which we now want to take online.  The services we provide are: and then LISTING YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES.

Regarding your Unique Selling Point, you will know you business better than me, but here is some advice on generating a succinct USP or Value Proposition for your business which will deliver results –

A Value Proposition ‘is a clear statement of tangible results a customer gets from using your products or services. It focuses on outcomes, stresses the value of your offering and talks about action, metrics and movement’.   See more information on creating and effectively articulating a company value proposition here.

We have been trading successfully since 2000, we have a great ‘word of mouth’ referral business, which we now want to take online.  The services we provide are: and then LISTING YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES.

The above would be an acceptable answer if you were applying for an initial grant and you don’t have a website, or perhaps your website is not mobile friendly, a second application and the answer for this question might focus towards how your business needs to react to the Covid issue:

OK, list your USP but focus it on Export – tell them what they want to hear – EXPORT, COMPANY GROWTH and JOB CREATION.

Other points you can make:

The Covid-19 has raised a number of issues which has forced the company to change it service delivery….the export market has imploded and so we need to refocus out attention to our local market, to that extent….once the International markets reopen we will be in a far better position to take advantage of an uplift in demand in Britain, France…..

Your Target Market through this project Who are your customers going to be? (i.e. what customers will you target through your online channels?)

Due to the Covid-19 restrictions and how are customers are interacting with us and how their behaviour has changed, we have had to adapt our processes…HOW?  So, we need to make changes to our website, our Strength and Condition team now want to focus on online sessions which are targeting British customers…so, we need to launch a new website.

We have a lawncare business and we install robotic lawnmowers, we now want to build a website which sells garden equipment and robot lawnmowers.

We have a website, but we believe our ordering can be improved if we develop an App for the business which will….

Think outside of the box – is there new markets your business can target that the LEO assessment board will think, that’s feasible??

A basic customer persona may look like – when they ask who are your customers and what platforms will they be using?  How will you find them or how might they find your company?

Location: Based in Britain

Environment: Office Based

Device: Desktop and Macs

Gender and Age: Both Male and Female, 35 to 45 year of age

Digital Platforms: Search Engines, Facebook and Twitter

Education: 3rd Level

Employment: Profession

For an example of a full Customer Persona, click this link.

Trading online competitors When you use a search engine to look for the product /services your company offers, what companies/sites are displayed? (list 3 to 5 with a link to their websites)

Instead of focusing on Irish based companies.  List directory website, like DoneDeal or, – try and avoid your Irish competitors (if possible) and if Amazon or some of the big international players are taking your organic search position, be sure to include these.  And maybe manufacturers.

Open a browser session in Incognito/Private in order to get true organic results for your sector, or open a Guest session.  See the top right, the three dots:

Scope of work to be carried out What are the specific deliverables of the project relating back to the business objectives? Describe the work to be undertaken in this project.

If you have applied for the grant before and have been successful, try and focus on these areas for developments from a digital perspective:

UX Audit and Better User Experience implementation throughout the site

Technical SEO Audit and implementation of recommendations

Apply Onpage SEO and a sector Keyword Analyses report

International SEO

Composition of a Digital Marketing Strategy

Implement Content Marketing Activity for the next 3/6 months

If you don’t have a blog on your website: Design and embed a blog into the website to allow for more website content

Design Landing Pages for Google and Facebook Advertisement in order to improve sales conversions and Ad Quality Score

Internal resources brought to the project

We have almost 20 years of knowledge and experience in the area of ABC.  We have marketing material such as testimonials, pictures of before and after photos, and we have also defined our services.  And we have decided to build our online brand around the domain name:

A perfect answer for a first application.  Can add to the above any positives you might have?

Knowledge and Qualifications of Staff

A Website

A Website with a customised blog

A strong and loyal customer base

Countless Case Studies

Online reviews on Facebook, GMB, Clutch, TrustPilot…

An endorsement from XYZ industry expert

Staff which are qualified with ABC Degrees and industry accreditation in ABC

We are now ISO approved

Photos and Videos from Recent Trade Shows

Marketing Materials, Brochures, Business Cards, etc.

…Anything position which you can put on the table.

External resources brought to the project

Any of the points mentioned above can be used in the field.  Testimonials, Reviews, etc.

And even:

We have countless years of experience and knowledge in the ABC sector which will help with the content writing for the website.

Existing Assets the project should leverage off What additional information can you provide to help suppliers assist you? Social media presence you want to leverage? Design material? Photographs? Brand & marketing material?

List your Social Media Channels – dedicated urls

Advertising Assets already Designed

Blog Content with a Focus on Products and Sale Items

Any Branding Information list here.

Market expansion potential What impact will the trading online project have on your business in terms of employment, revenue and ability to export? Based on your target market and competitor analysis, how will this project help you grow your revenue? Export potential? Gain back lost market share to existing online traders? How will the project aid the business during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Be realistic here.  You plan on using the grant to do:




As you mentioned in the Deliverables.  Applying these deliverables will allow the business to growth within the ABC Market.  We will be able to complete with the likes of Amazon and also break into the German market…..

Our primary competitors online when we analysed these against our Search Keywords are:

Keywords                Competitors


The project will allow us to compete on a level playing field by addressing the current issues with our website and launching a content marketing campaign for the next 6 months while the Covid-19 Pandemic plays out.  It will allow us to hold onto our current employment figures and when the economy bounces back, we will be in a position to continue the recruitment plans we had prior to March 2020.

SUMMARY – Answers to Website Grant Application

You are supposed to register for an online course, if there are no upcoming courses, just say you went.  If they have an issue with it, post your application review, go to one in the meantime – they are online, see this link for upcoming events.

Secondly, get the application in, if its rejected, find our why and resubmit your application based on the feedback you get. Getting rejected doesn’t mean you won’t get it.  You can resubmit your application, which is normal.

We think the above should help your application, if you have any questions or need any help give us a shout.  See our contact us details here.

And here is a direct link to the Trading Online form from April to September 2020, download the form below, click here.

Diarmuid Haughian – Business Development Director – Digital Sales

Post Grad Dip. User Experience (UX), Dip. International Selling, Cert. Digital Marketing, MSc. BITSDiarmuid Haughian - Digital Signature

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