December 8, 2023

Help Your Business with a Trading Online Voucher

Let’s look at Ireland’s Trading Online Voucher (TOV) Scheme, a fantastic program designed to help businesses enhance their online presence. We’ll break down the essentials of this scheme and show you how it can be a huge plus for your business.

What’s the Trading Online Voucher Scheme all about? Managed by the Local Enterprise Office (LEO), this scheme is a great opportunity, offering up to €2,500 along with expert training and advice to help small businesses establish a strong online presence.

It’s an excellent way to leverage the opportunities in a growing economy.

Who’s eligible for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme?

If your business is relatively new to the online world, has a small team (up to 10 employees), and a turnover of less than €2 million, you’re in the right place. Plus, you need to have been in business for a minimum of six months and be located in the area served by your Local Enterprise Office.

There’s a bonus for businesses that have received a voucher before – you can apply for a second one, keeping your digital growth on track. Essentially, this scheme supports small businesses in their transition to the digital arena.

But, there are some exceptions. Not all businesses can apply. Certain types, identified by their NACE codes, are excluded.

Charities, semi-state companies, trade associations, and non-commercial “not for profit” organizations, as well as IT professionals who are already set for online trading, don’t qualify.

The trading online voucher scheme also doesn’t support businesses that are too large, focused mainly on importing and distributing or involved in activities not aligned with public policy.

Also, the scheme avoids overlap with other State or EU-funded assistance programs.

It’s crucial to understand if your business fits into the Trading Online Voucher Scheme. So, be sure to review the eligibility criteria carefully to determine if your business can benefit from this opportunity.

trading online voucher

What can you use the Trading Online Voucher for?

The Trading Online Voucher (TOV) Scheme is all about helping your business thrive online. Remember you will get a maximum value of €2,500 Here’s what it covers:

  1. IT Consultation: Get expert advice on how to kickstart your digital journey.
  2. E-commerce Development: Build or upgrade your online store, including online payments and booking systems – essential for today’s digital marketplace.
  3. Internet-related Software: Invest in software that helps your business go digital.
  4. App and Multiplatform Webpages Development: Expand your reach with applications and responsive webpages.
  5. Digital Marketing Strategy: Get funds to create and roll out your digital marketing plan.
  6. Training and Skills Development: Learn new skills to manage your online business effectively.
  7. Online Advertising: Boost your visibility with online ads (note: this is capped at 30% of the voucher costs and is available in one payment phase).
  8. Professional Photography: Present your products or services in the best light (keep in mind, photography costs can’t exceed 80% of the voucher costs, excluding photography).

What doesn’t the TOV cover?

While the scheme is pretty inclusive, there are a few no-gos:

  • Brochure Websites: If your website is just a digital brochure without online sales or booking capabilities, it’s not covered.
  • Non-Internet-Related Software: The scheme focuses on tools that directly boost online trading, so unrelated software isn’t included.

Remember, the TOV Scheme is focused on enabling and encouraging active online trading, so align your strategy and spending with this goal for the best results.


How Can the Trading Online Voucher Elevate Your Business?


Financial Boost for Your Digital Leap

One of the biggest perks is the financial boost of up to €2,500. This isn’t just about saving money; it’s an investment in your business’s future. With this funding, small businesses can enhance their online footprint, connect with more customers, and potentially boost sales, all while keeping costs manageable.

It’s like a springboard that propels your business into the digital realm. 


Comprehensive Digital Marketing Training

Beyond the cash, the scheme offers training sessions covering a range of essential digital skills.

We’re talking website development, mastering digital marketing, leveraging social media for business impact, and understanding search engine optimization (SEO). This training isn’t just a crash course; it’s a roadmap to navigating and thriving in the digital landscape, especially for those just starting their digital journey.


Crafting a Stronger Online Presence

The voucher opens doors to several key online enhancements. Imagine revamping your website to make it more user-friendly and engaging, integrating online booking systems to streamline customer interactions, developing mobile apps to enhance user experience, or launching effective internet marketing campaigns.

A robust online presence can be a magnet for new customers, potentially leading to increased sales and higher profits.


Expanding Your Market Reach

The internet knows no boundaries, and neither should your business. With a strong online platform, you can tap into markets beyond your immediate locale. Whether it’s reaching customers across the country or around the globe, the right website and digital marketing strategy can turn your local business into a global player.

It’s about making your products or services accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime.


Building Brand Recognition and Trust

An often-overlooked benefit is the opportunity to build your brand’s recognition and trust online.

A well-designed website, consistent social media presence, and effective online customer service can significantly enhance your brand’s reputation. Customers are more likely to trust and engage with businesses that have a professional and active online presence.


Gaining Valuable Customer Insights

Trading online also opens up a wealth of data about your customers.

You can track what they like, how they shop, and what they’re looking for. This information is gold, enabling you to tailor your products, services, and marketing efforts to better meet the needs and preferences of your target audience.


Encouraging Innovation and Adaptability

Finally, embracing online trading encourages a culture of innovation and adaptability within your business. It pushes you to stay up-to-date with the latest digital trends and technologies, continuously evolving and improving your online offerings.

This mindset can be a significant driver of long-term success and sustainability in today’s fast-paced digital world.

In essence, the Trading Online Voucher is more than financial aid; it’s a catalyst for growth, learning, and transformation, positioning your business to flourish in the digital age.


Using the TOV for Digital Marketing Strategy

Creating a Comprehensive Digital Marketing Plan:

The TOV can fund the development of a strategic digital marketing plan. This involves researching your target market, understanding customer behaviour, and identifying the most effective digital channels for your business.

For example, if you’re a local artisan bakery, your digital marketing plan might focus on reaching local food enthusiasts through social media and local SEO.

Website Optimization for Better Engagement and Conversion:

Funds can be used to optimize your website for search engines (SEO) and improve user experience (UX). This means ensuring your site is easily discoverable by potential customers and engaging enough to keep them interested.

For instance, a small e-commerce store might use TOV funds to integrate customer reviews and enhance product descriptions to improve SEO and conversion rates.

Social Media Marketing:

The voucher can support a social media marketing strategy, which includes creating content calendars, sponsored posts, and engaging with your audience on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

A service-based business, such as a consulting firm, might use social media to share insightful articles and industry updates, positioning themselves as thought leaders.

Content Marketing:

Part of the TOV can be used for content marketing efforts like blog writing, video production, or podcasting. This content helps in attracting and engaging an audience while providing valuable information related to your business.

For example, a fitness coach might produce workout videos or informative blogs on health and wellness, attracting a niche audience interested in fitness.

Email Marketing:

Some of the voucher can be allocated to set up and run email marketing campaigns. This includes crafting newsletters, promotional emails, and automation sequences to engage existing customers and reach new ones.

A boutique might use email marketing to inform customers about new arrivals, exclusive discounts, or style tips.

Online Advertising:

A portion of the voucher can be used for online advertising, such as Google AdWords or Facebook Ads. This can help increase visibility and drive targeted traffic to your website.

A local restaurant might use online ads to target foodies within a specific geographical area with special dining offers.


Examples of Digital Marketing Strategies Using TOV

For a Retail Store:

  • Develop a robust e-commerce website with SEO optimization.
  • Create a detailed digital marketing strategy for the next  6- 12 months.
  • Launch targeted Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns to drive online sales.
  • Create an engaging email marketing campaign for new product launches and seasonal promotions.

For a Service Provider (e.g., a Law Firm):

  • Implement a content marketing strategy focused on informative blogs and LinkedIn articles.
  • Create a detailed digital marketing strategy for the next  6- 12 months.
  • Optimize the website for local SEO to attract clients in the specific region.
  • Use email marketing to keep clients informed about legal updates and firm news.

For a Startup Tech Company:

  • Utilise TOV for creating a dynamic website with a focus on user experience.
  • Create a detailed digital marketing strategy for the next  6- 12 months.
  • Develop a strong social media presence with regular updates and tech insights.
  • Run Google Ad campaigns to attract potential customers searching for tech solutions.

Can You Apply for a Second TOV? 

Yes, a Second Voucher is Available

Indeed, businesses can apply for a second TOV, recognizing the ongoing evolution of the digital landscape.

The Scheme acknowledges that establishing a digital presence is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. As technology and customer expectations evolve, so too must your business’s online strategies.

Why a Second Voucher? After utilizing the first voucher, many businesses realize that digital growth is a journey.

You might start with the basics, like setting up a website or a basic online marketing strategy. However, as your business grows and the digital world changes, you’ll likely find new areas that need attention.

This could include updating your website for better user experience, revamping your digital marketing tactics, optimizing for search engines, or adding new features like an online booking system. The second voucher is there to support these ongoing enhancements.

Eligibility for the Second Voucher

To be eligible for a second voucher, it’s crucial that you’ve successfully completed the projects tied to your first voucher.

This ensures that the Scheme’s funds are being used effectively and that the initial steps towards digital trading are yielding positive results. The rationale is to promote the responsible and impactful use of the Scheme’s resources, ensuring they lead to tangible improvements in your online operations.

Limit of Two Vouchers

It’s important to note that each business can only receive a maximum of two Trading Online Vouchers. This policy is designed to ensure a fair distribution of resources, allowing as many businesses as possible to benefit from the Scheme.

Continuous Adaptation and Improvement

The option to apply for a second voucher serves as an encouragement for businesses to continuously re-evaluate and upgrade their digital capabilities.

In a fast-paced digital world, staying current and competitive requires regular updates and improvements. This ongoing process can drive your business towards sustained growth and success in the online arena.

Strategic Planning for Digital Evolution

With the possibility of a second voucher, businesses are motivated to think strategically about their long-term digital plans.

It’s not just about making one-time changes; it’s about developing a roadmap for digital evolution that aligns with your business goals and market trends.

Enhanced Online Experience

The second voucher can be pivotal in enhancing the overall online experience for your customers. From streamlined navigation on your website to more engaging content and efficient online services, these improvements can significantly boost customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Recent Posts
Should I Have A Social Media Content Calendar?

Should I Have A Social Media Content Calendar?

Are you tired of the last-minute panic of figuring out what to post on your multiple social media accounts? Enter the world of the social media content calendar—a saviour for social media managers and small businesses worldwide. Let's dive right in and learn all about...

The Ultimate Guide of Social Media Post Ideas

The Ultimate Guide of Social Media Post Ideas

The average business should post on Social Media around 3 times a week, which means a whopping 156 post ideas are required per year! It can be overwhelming trying to think of that many things to say about your business but we’re here to help with the ultimate post...

How to Make Your Account Private on Instagram

How to Make Your Account Private on Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms around with over 1 billion people signed up to the app! This makes it ideal for socialising online, and the perfect place for businesses to find their target audience. Because of Instagram's popularity, the...

How To Make A Link Tree For Instagram

How To Make A Link Tree For Instagram

With approximately 500 million daily active users across Instagram globally, it’s a fantastic tool for creators and businesses in all industries. However, one of the biggest pain points for those looking to drive engagement and website traffic is the inability to...

Increase Your Facebook Page Following

Increase Your Facebook Page Following

Page Followers is soon to be replacing Page Likes and, although often described as a vanity metric, businesses need to be aware of what their magic number is. Followers will give those in charge an idea of potential reach and exposure for organic content. With this in...

Follow us