The Business Finance Guide has reached more than one million smaller businesses and their advisers since it was launched three and a bit years ago, providing financial guidance, support and inspiration for UK SMEs.
At the start of 2020, we were working with long-standing clients The British Business Bank and ICAEW on an update to the guide to help businesses affected by Brexit.
But it quickly became clear that businesses were soon to face even greater challenges.
Everything changed with COVID-19
In light of the coronavirus outbreak, the need to reposition the guide to help those struck by the lockdown measures was urgent.
We'd already planned a full rebuild of the site, which was sitting on a three-year old WordPress theme and in need of TLC.
But the change of focus included setting tight deadlines, creating a new landing page experience, rehauling the homepage to enable visitors to access much-needed on COVID-19 as quickly as possible, as well as amending all the new copy and content that had been previously drafted for a new section on working capital and the impact of Brexit.
With the team knuckling down (client and agency, working long hours, serious amounts of design and dev time into the early hours, daily Skype stand-ups with the full team), the guide was live three weeks later.
Financial sector expertise landing hard
We've worked with British Business Bank, ICAEW and other financial sector clients for many years. We understand the needs of these organisations, and their audiences, inside-out.
But providing real-time updates in a rapidly-evolving crisis scenario is tough. Plans, messaging and content become out of date within a 2-week timeframe or less.
This means that in order to ensure that the guide had relevancy to UK businesses on a daily, sometimes even hourly basis, a serious commitment to delivering updates consistently is required.
We asked Rebecca Simon, Director of Marketing Strategy at the British Business Bank, what the impact of working remotely was on her team, and the ability to respond with immediacy:
"There are inevitable challenges with full team remote working. Our team is spread across the country, so trying to come together via our laptops, with all various expertise to get the information out in the best possible way, in the fastest timeframe - almost as live updates - across all our platforms, was tricky.
"Luckily, we were able to overcome any remote working challenges pretty quickly and got into a good rhythm of regular Skype calls and shared access to documentation we needed.”
Watch Rebecca Simon discussing the challenges around delivering the project
Designing the updated Business Finance Guide site
The site allows businesses to consider the financial support available to them through a variety of clear, digestible resources.
Working in partnership with our web development partners, the site was built and launched in line with the COVID-19 updates from the government within a matter of weeks.
The guide now includes the latest updates on all funding, grants and relief available to smaller UK businesses, including the Coronavirus Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS and CLIBLS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBILS).
It also offers guidance on managing cashflow, speaking to lenders, dealing with late payment and tips on financial management in times of uncertainty.
BH&P also helped develop the bank’s advertising campaign for CBILS, which went live in April.
The work is far from over
The response to the updated Business Finance Guide has been fantastic. In just the first month we’ve seen amazing success across these key areas:
- 97% drop in bounce rate
- 444% increase in sessions
- 73% increase in page views
- 93% increase in site visitors
For the British Business Bank, this success goes much deeper than simply exceeding KPIs.
Rebecca Simon said:
"We’ve always prided ourselves on our mission to support smaller businesses and, despite the challenges, it’s very motivating to feel that there is a role that we can meaningfully play in supporting UK businesses, in a time when nobody can remember them needing it more.
"With a proven track record in reaching the UK small business community, it was a no-regrets decision for us to choose to use The Business Finance Guide - and BH&P as our creative and digital agency - as the home for this critical information and support.”
More than a month later, the need for information has by no means abated.
As the economic challenges continue to develop, the British Business Bank and ICAEW are working harder than ever to provide the most current, relevant information through the website and social media channels.
BH&P are working with the bank’s many partners and The Business Finance Guide stakeholders on a plan to continually refresh and update the site content and inbound strategy, including the creation of regular video, business stories and partner resources.
Throughout the remaining days of lockdown, and as the nation moves into recovery-planning, our team and the Business Finance Guide team will continue to support UK businesses.