How do you demystify digital for small businesses?

The internet opens up exciting new horizons for entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes, but how do we make sure everyone has the skills necessary to succeed online? That’s the question Google posed to us. Together, we conceived the Digital Garage, a free online learning platform to gain digital skills that guides and supports users through their journey.

For busy small-business owners with limited resources, getting online can be overwhelming, so we set out with Google to demystify digital. The Digital Garage is learning with a personal touch: a plan tailored to the user, cutting through the jargon, with practical advice from everyday experts who’ve been there. We developed the engagement strategy for the platform, created an action-orientated experience and jargon-free tone of voice built around audience journeys, and designed an ongoing communications plan to keep users inspired.


BSD Google Digital Garage

Learning made personal

The recurring theme in our conversations with people looking to get their business online? Time. Small businesses, students, and entrepreneurs are all too busy to learn new skills. To meet their needs, we created bite-size content to fit around busy lives, level, and pace. We worked with Google and partner agencies to create a solution-agnostic, flexible user experience that enables users to be intuitively matched to lessons appropriate to their interests and skill level. All communications have a voice that is easy to relate to, and in many cases you hear straight from other people and businesses—this is about real-world learning, not academic theory. And on social media, we’re speaking directly to local communities in a playful way.

Google Digital Garage: Manchester

Motivating along the way

The email program, powered by the BSD Tools, takes learning out of the platform and into people’s inboxes. Behind the scenes, we built a sophisticated mapping of dynamic triggers based on user actions and segments. It’s a smart mix of content and calls to action. The emails ping users when they may be flagging and remind them to keep at it. They motivate, congratulate, guide, and mentor—all in plain language and a friendly tone. The result: more than 30% of users who started the Digital Garage went on to earn at least three topic badges.

The Digital Garage keeps users informed throughout their learning journey. The platform has been rolled out across Europe to more than 20 markets—each with a custom email journey so as many people as possible can make the most of the web. We’re continuing to work with Google to optimise the platform and journeys, ensuring that we do everything we can to keep people engaged.

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