The launch of the Digital Skills Institute was announced today, and not before time in my view. Working with Irish businesses every day, I know there is a huge need for training in digital marketing, and many businesses are struggling to find the right course for them.
Businesses realise they need to up their game online, with massive opportunities available to those who get it right. A recent survey published by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in Ireland has revealed that Irish consumers spending almost €700,000 online each hour, and small firms which start to trade online, or develop their existing online presence, experience an 85% boost in customer inquiries and a 21% average increase in sales.
These are fresh figures, published in August 2015, that highlight the opportunity for Irish businesses. And yet, there is a staggering number of businesses not seizing the chance to capitalise on this. I believe one of the main reasons for this is simply a lack of knowledge and skills. It’s a huge issue for SMEs in particular. The demand for training in the digital sphere is palpable in Ireland, and the Digital Skills Institute should be a welcome initiative for thousands of Irish businesses.
The problems with digital marketing training, solved! [Tweet this]
There are options out there for businesses to upskill, and yet so many still seem to struggle in this area, so I spoke to some Irish business owners to find out what the obstacles are, and then I put these issues to Digital Skills Institute founder, Brian Duffy to find out how they’re being addressed. Here’s what he had to say:
The issue: “Digital Marketing courses are too expensive”
Brian: “I agree! Many courses out there are expensive, particularly for smaller businesses and start ups, or individuals who want to take a digital marketing course. They’re finding the cost very high, with many courses priced well over €1,000.
This was a top priority for us when it came to the Digital Skills Institute courses. We’ve priced everything under €300 for the full 8 week course, with an introductory offer of a 20% discount off all courses booked within the first week of launch. We believe this is affordable for small businesses, so they can get the skills they need within their budget.”
The issue: “Digital Marketing training isn’t delivered in my area. I can’t be travelling to Dublin every time I need to learn something new!”
Brian: “This is a common issue I hear from Irish business owners in more rural areas. They feel there just isn’t enough training available to them locally, and travelling to Dublin, Belfast, Galway, etc. every time they need training, just proves too difficult for most. The Digital Skills Institute courses are all delivered online, so can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection.”
The issue: “I can’t find a course specific to the area of Digital Marketing I need help with.”
Brian: “Digital marketing is a pretty huge field, and it’s expanding all the time. Businesses need to continually learn and develop to stay ahead. So yes, it can be difficult for businesses to find training on the particular area of digital marketing they want to focus on at the time. We want to cover as much as possible, to ensure all training needs are met. We’re launching with a suite of 15 courses on offer from day 1, which cover 15 different topics. We believe these are the core elements of digital marketing, and we’re already planning more courses. The intention is to continue to develop what we offer to meet the demand, so if there’s something we’re not yet offering, we want to hear about it.”
The issue: “I don’t know what course I should do, or if a particular course will cover what I need.”
Brian: “For many businesses, they aren’t quite sure what area of digital marketing they should be focusing on, or they’re unsure what they’ll actually get out of the training on offer. We’ve detailed the content of each course on our website, and outlined what participants can expect to get out of the course. If businesses still aren’t sure, they can contact the course tutors with any questions they might have about their course. We’re all very accessible and willing to answer queries. And if for any reason someone starts a course and decides it’s not the right one for them, there’s a 30 day money back guarantee. No questions asked.”
The issue: “Self-study doesn’t suit me. I need to be able to ask questions about anything I don’t understand.”
Brian: “Yes, we’ve heard this a lot from Irish businesses too. It can seem a bit like a catch 22 situation – many businesses aren’t familiar with online learning, and feel they need the support of a tutor to help them through the course, without having to travel to the nearest city to get the training. They certainly want to be able to ask questions throughout the course, and they need to know there’s someone there to help them when they get stuck. This is something that puts people off online courses. They feel the support isn’t there. But it’s something all of our tutors are committed to. Everyone who starts a course will have 2 months of on demand access to their tutor from the course start date. The support is there, and it’s one to one, so this should really address this concern.”
The issue: “I don’t have the time!”
Brian: “It’s one of the most common issues I hear from small businesses in particular. People are so busy trying to run their business that they struggle to commit to a training course. Of course, any training course requires a time commitment. This is just something businesses must do. Each course is delivered in manageable chunks, with 8 modules in each, which can be done at the attendees own pace. You don’t have to commit to a specific date and time each week, so you can find a time which works well for you to do each module, which should help make this challenge a little easier.”
The issue: “I’m concerned about getting ripped off! I need to know the course will be of good quality. I don’t mind paying for it, but I ned to know it’ll be a credible course.”
Brian: “I think this is particularly a concern when buying an online course, and it’s understandable as people do get stung unfortunately. I think the calibre of our tutors is one way we’ve addressed this. They’ve each been hand picked to join the Digital Skills Institute, based on their experience and reputation. I firmly believe they’re top class, and we don’t open this opportunity up to just anyone. They’ve got to be an expert in their particular field. But to ease any concerns, we’ve also got the money back guarantee. It’s really important to us that those who pay for a course get what they need out of it, and if they’re not happy after 30 days of the start of the course, they get their money back. No questions asked.”
Digital Marketing Courses from the Digital Skills Institute
So it looks like the Digital Marketing Institute is addressing the problems bsing faced by Irish businesses, and I’m sure many businesses further afield for that matter. Here’s the list of 15 courses currently being offered, and remember, there’s a 20% discount for all courses booked within the first week so I’d get onto that fairly quickly if you’re interested!
Search Engine Optimisation Training with Paul Cawley
Google Adwords Training with Joanne Casey
Promote Your Brand and Grow Sales with Twitter with Samantha Kelly
Sell More Products with eBay and Amazon with Andrew Whitfield
Manage and Market Your WordPress Website with Brian Duffy
Reconnect and Drive Sales with Retargeting with Gary Fox
Video Marketing Training with Una O’Dowd
Automate Sales with E-commerce with Neil Sisson
Blogging for Business with Aine Bermingham
Social Media Strategies for Businesses with Sam Lyons
Google Analytics Training with Christina Gilberti
Facebook Training for Businesses with Carol Faughnan
Develop a Brand that Gets You Noticed Online with Owen Barry
LinkedIn Training for Businesses with Greg Fry
Email Marketing Training with Karl Murray