The owner of a company which offers online and offline business support is already seeing a huge rise in website traffic thanks to the help received via Digital Plus, a part-funded ERDF project based at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in Preston aiming to improve the productivity and profitability of SMEs.

Susan Lees, of Preston PA Services, which specialises in book-keeping, proofreading, event support and CRM management, said she is already seeing business benefit from the £2 million-plus funded Digitalplus initiative.

The new ways of working the social media channels Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn brought an increase of visitor traffic to the company website of 800 per cent with more than 150 new users.

“This support and advice has given me confidence to build on this as part of our company marketing drive and gives us ideas of how to target our audience,“ said Susan.

“We’re now able to direct our customers to the most relevant parts of the website for them and it gives us good information to make decisions for the future.

“They showed us software which helps to stage and issue activity as part of a programme and it all makes sense. We’d like to thank the team at Digitalplus for their support and direction, they have made a difference.”

Developing the company’s website

With their new skills, and the use of analytics to make further decisions, Susan and associate Helen Summers are now developing social media channels themselves and also passing on advice where relevant to their own clients.

Susan Lees (left) and Helen Summers of Preston PA Services

Madeleine Melling, marketing and PR co-ordinator for Digitalplus, said: “We want to reach as many eligible Lancashire based SMEs trading as business-to-business ventures as possible to ensure they don’t miss out on this free support.

“The team behind the Digitalplus project has a strong track record of delivering multiple, successful ERDF projects over many years. We are a multidisciplinary team of creative, marketing and technical specialists.

“We provide impartial advice and support to SMEs in Lancashire, helping them learn more about emerging digital technologies and how these can be used to improve productivity and profitability.”

The Digitalplus team can assess a company’s website performance, show business owners how to get the most out of social media marketing, improve the delivery of training through online tools and provide intelligence on emerging technologies such as Extended Reality (XR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) for business advantage.

Upskilling awareness of business owners

With evidence suggesting that SMEs are not exploiting digital technologies to their fullest, the £2 million-plus funded Digitalplus initiative is designed to support and upskill business owners, giving them the confidence to use digital technologies to grow their business.

The team is particularly keen to work with companies that have been identified as falling into one of Lancashire’s growth sectors especially advanced engineering and manufacturing (including aerospace and automotive); energy, renewables and low carbon; advanced chemicals and polymers; food and drink.

Companies can access Digitalplus through Boost or by contacting Madeleine Melling, marketing and PR co-ordinator for Digitalplus, email MMelling3@uclan.ac.uk or tel +44 (0)1772 895654.

Companies benefitting from Digitalplus must be based in Lancashire, employing fewer than 250 employees, trading business-to-business with an annual turnover not exceeding £43 million or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding £37 million.

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