Digital Skills For Rural Businesses

Digital skills

Digital Skills – The Small Picture and The Big One 

Digital skillsThe Digital skills gap in the UK has been highlighted by no less than the House of Lords Digital skills committee. They estimate (conservatively) that around 35% of UK jobs will be at risk of being automated over the next 20 years. To highlight this I have a personal example of how even basic digital skills can be used to build any business. This applies even to the more rural parts of the UK.

My partner and I recently moved to a rural part of the Scottish coast. Having established I could get a good enough broadband connection to run my online business I was all set up. My partner on the other is a driving instructor. In order to avoid a long commute by ferry and road she needs to build her business here.

When based in Glasgow I did this for her by placing ads on Gumtree. I’ve been getting her to take photos of her pupils as they pass their tests for some time. We have a store of images featuring happy, smiling people holding up their pass certificates. We also ask them to write a short testimonial. I add those to the images and to the Facebook page I built for the business.

Using Video

I put together a short video using the pupils’ content and some images of my partner and her car. That video sits on Youtube with a good description and some relevant keyword SEO. Gumtree allows a video link too so I’ve included that in the ads.

Of course, if necessary I could have looked at advertising on Facebook, Google and loads of other places. That hasn’t been necessary however. For the last couple of years in Glasgow a monthly or even bi-monthly Gumtree ad costing £6 generated ample business. More business in fact at times than my partner could handle.

But how would this digital marketing approach work in a far more rural setting? We found out this weekend – and were blown away by the results.

We had done some research and discovered that there were several instructors here already. Whilst looking at houses here and generally chatting to locals on several visits to the area it did seem that there would be sufficient business.  Gourock – a much bigger town just 15 minutes away by boat was also an option. But we weren’t sure until this weekend.

 What You Can Do In Bed Within 5 Minutes…

One of the people we got to know – a local lettings agent and mortgage advisor – told us about a very popular Facebook group in the area. I joined the group and signed my partner up for it too.

On Saturday morning, whilst lying in bed, we logged in to the group and started a discussion about driving lessons. Nothing salesy – just a brief, friendly introduction. I provided some contact details and a link to the aforementioned video.

To cut a long story short, by the end of the day my partner had a full diary of new pupils in our new area. She also has some bookings starting over the next couple of months. There’s also bunch of people who are interested and have said they will be booking lessons soon. Sunday was equally busy with enquiries and bookings.

She still has to commute to Glasgow twice weekly for existing pupils and tests that are booked. She can wind that down completely over the next month. In short she is now starting to become an established local business. All because of some basic digital marketing skills and, as we discovered, a serious shortage of driving instructors in the area.

2019 Update: My partner’s business has steadily grown since this post was written. From time to time a free ad on the local Facebook group has filled any gaps she has had.

The Power of Basic Skills

So what digital marketing skills were involved here that meant 5 minutes work on an ipad generated potentially £thousands in business in a rural area? Very basic ones: A simple Youtube video with minimal targeting and SEO, a Facebook page, a little research and a short, digital conversation.

Really just the modern version of an ad in a newspaper or a thousand flyers posted all over town but much more effective and MUCH cheaper. Free in fact.

This sort of basic digital marketing works very well for small, local businesses. After all a single driving instructor can only do so much. An independent instructor who isn’t paying franchise fees or to lease a vehicle only needs 20/30 hours of work per week.

Taking Digital Skills To A World Sized Market 

digital skillsSo that’s the possibilities for digital marketing skills to build a small business. Maybe you can see how having those skills would make you a very valuable person to know in a small, rural community?

There is of course a much bigger here though. If you think about products and services that are not just local things get very exciting. Imagine you had the type of products or services that could be sold via the internet.

Imagine you could sell them to anyone in the world 365 days a year, 7 days a week and 24 hours per day. Picture this happening irrespective of where you are based or even whether you are even awake.

As an example, I made a sale last week of one the affiliate products I sell online. The customer was in Australia and the sale made me $5000. The sale originated from a video not dissimilar to the one I made for my partner’s business.

This involved more advanced digital skills but nothing that couldn’t be learned by pretty much anyone. If you have the right digital skills teachers and systems.

I get all of that from The Six Figure mentors and Digital Experts Academy. You can find out more about them and their solution to the digital skills shortage by means of their free, 7-day video series. Get it on the link below.

By Dave Menzies