TENTH anniversary celebrations for a virtual business could see the company opening a town centre premises.
Digital marketing agency GrowTraffic has bases in Lancashire and South Yorkshire and bizarrely owes its origins, in part, to a website on rat breeding launched in 2000 by founder Simon Dalley.
Simon, who lives in Bacup, said: “I was at university when I first created a website, which attracted attention from all over the world and taught me a lot about marketing, onsite search engine optimisation (SEO) and selling online.”
Albeit the subject matter was rather odd, the knowledge Simon acquired from those first ventures into the virtual world, coupled with a career in marketing management, led to the founding of GrowTraffic in 2009.
Simon said: “I realised that while businesses had websites, but they didn’t necessarily work for them or generate an income. GrowTraffic was set up to help companies’ boost their online presence by creating content to drive up customer numbers, but initially it was just a side line to my full-time marketing role with a view to building a client base I could fall back on in the future.
“After a few false starts, false dawns and wrong paths over the last 10 years, the business really took flight after my wife Rachel Weinhold began working on the business full time in 2014.”
Rachel has a degenerative back condition and was medically retired from her job in the NHS; at one stage she was bed-bound. She had always worked so, when she was well enough, she began working with GrowTraffic’s clients as a copywriter and retrained to understand the often misunderstood world of SEO, which is the core of GrowTraffic’s business.
Rachel said: “Things really took off when I went to a Valley at Work meeting, a local group set up to help and support Rossendale businesses. I explained what we do and we began picking up local clients.”
As a result of attending that meeting, the client base switched from national to local and the company began to soar, but the volume of new work was in danger of swamping Rachel. At the same time her sister Hannah, who lives in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, was facing redundancy from her position as Service Operations Manager at a tech company, following that business’s acquisition.
She joined the GrowTraffic team as Commercial Director and began to put in place the kind of processes and systems to facilitate further growth. Simon said: “This also gave GrowTraffic access to new contacts and a Rotherham location, and we now have a number of significant clients throughout Yorkshire and the East Midlands.”
As a largely virtual business with employees in Rossendale and Rotherham, GrowTraffic is seeking to open a visible presence, firstly in Bacup, and is currently at an early stage in negotiations. With the trio at its helm, the company tripled its turnover and last year won the small Business of the Year category at Rossendale Business Awards; in January the company was a finalist in the Red Rose Awards Digital Business category.
For the third year, GrowTraffic is ‘giving back’ by sponsoring the Creative Business category in the Rossendale Business Awards, which is also celebrating its 10th anniversary. Rachel said: “The awards had a much bigger impact than I was expecting and people from all over Lancashire heard about our success.”