BUSINESS is booming for a holiday home firm after the owner took advantage of free digital marketing training.

Katrina Love, who runs Sandy Farr Cottages in Tow Law, has been putting theory into practice, using her new found digital marketing expertise to run a successful online sales campaign that has generated extra income. She estimates that the skills gained on the Boost Your Business course have contributed to a 25 per cent increase in bookings in the last six months.

Led by North-East enterprise agencies, Boost Your Business is managed by Gateshead College and is part of a £1m package of training support being rolled out to local organisations, as part of the regional skills and enterprise programme, Go>Grow. The course provides an insight in understanding social media, producing digital content, measuring the success of digital promotion, and enterprise techniques.

On the back of new Twitter and Facebook activity, Ms Love is picking-up more customers for her afternoon tea delivery business, which she expects to grow over the summer.

She said: “Boost Your Business was excellent. I gained some great skills that are proving priceless in securing additional revenue. It’s also opened up opportunities for networking with other local businesses, which is proving beneficial. My diary is the busiest it’s been for months, and I’m now really excited about the opportunities for growth across all my businesses.”

Adam Clemerson, skills project manager for the North-East enterprise agencies, said: “Katrina’s a wonderful example of how start-ups and small businesses can tap into our courses to acquire new skills and win more work.

“She’s got a great portfolio of businesses so, armed with new skills, she has the tools, knowledge and confidence to go on to achieve even more and realise her ambitions for growth.”

Ivan Jepson, director of business development at Gateshead College, which manages the Go>Grow programme, said: “Free training through the Go>Grow programme provides a fantastic opportunity for ambitious business owners like Katrina to gain new skills and grow their businesses.

“It’s a fantastic initiative, which has already equipped thousands of people with useful new skills and I’m thrilled that Katrina’s business has achieved additional income on the back of her training.”

Go>Grow has the backing of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and the North East of England Chamber of Commerce.

Experts in the Go>Grow team will work to develop training that meets individual needs of businesses, or offer those who would not ordinarily undertake training programmes, the opportunity to access bespoke packages specific to their needs.

A tailor-made programme is then developed and delivered at any of the Go>Grow training provider sites, or within the premises of the individual businesses.