We’ve all heard it before – take this course and advance your SEO strategy, it only costs $499 and it’s a limited time offer. Now, we may be asking ourselves, “Is it worth investing my money into this course?” Unless the person offering the course uncovered Google’s algorithm, I’d say no, probably not. However, there are numerous free digital marketing courses available on the Internet to marketers of all types. Some may require you sign-up or use your already existing log-in but are free nonetheless. Here are the top five to dive into to ensure we have a well-rounded understanding of the marketing world and you may just gain a certificate or two in the process.
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When it comes to inbound marketing strategy, HubSpot is king, ranked the #1 Marketing Automation Software by VentureBeat, so it only makes sense their digital marketing courses would encompass what marketers need to know in order to have a successful inbound strategy. Here are the subjects they cover in their courses:
- Inbound Certification Course: A full, comprehensive guide to their full Inbound Methodology
- Content Marketing Certification Course: Let’s up our game a notch with this advanced training course on creating an effective content marketing strategy.
- Email Marketing Certification Course: Another advanced training – this one covering how to implement a sustainable email marketing strategy.
- HubSpot Design Certification Course: This one is mainly for web designers or marketers trying to hone their web design skills and advance their business’ website.
- Growth-Driven Design Agency Certification Course: If we are from a web or marketing agency, this one can assist in creating a growth-driven design for our website. Don’t worry – no coding necessary, it’s more focused on strategy.
The first three courses are essential since it covers the basics of inbound strategies, and the last two are advanced tactics that could help our website convert. All of these courses result in certificates that can be incorporated on a LinkedIn page or company site, showcasing to either future employers or prospective clients your breadth of knowledge on inbound, content, email, and web design marketing strategy.
As with any digital marketing strategy – having a Google Analytics (or other Web Analytics software) is absolutely essential in measuring performance, analyzing website traffic, and making informed business decisions. If you don’t already have a Google Analytics account, it’s free to set up.
Once we have set up an account or if we already have an existing account, the next crucial step is taking the online courses offered in Google Analytics Academy. These will walk us through how to implement appropriate codes, set up goals, navigate reports, track metrics, and analyze data. Ultimately, learning this process and concepts will allow us to track a marketing strategy, analyzing performance, and pivot our strategy for optimal success. Although this sounds technical and daunting, stick with it – the knowledge garnered will pay off ten-fold.
Here are the four courses offered:
- Google Analytics for Beginners: Learn the basics of set-up, tracking, and navigating the Google Analytics interface. This one is a must-have for all digital marketers using the platform.
- Advanced Google Analytics: Once you’ve completed the Beginners course, take a step up to the intermediate level and learn about advanced features such as data collection, processing, and more complex analysis and marketing tools not covered in the first course.
- Ecommerce Analytics: From Data to Decisions: This one is essential for eCommerce business’ and will highlight specifics regarding tracking online sales. Most non-eCommerce marketers can skip, unless you’re an agency, freelancer, etc. that may work with eCommerce business’ in the present or future. This will definitely prepare you for the nuances that come with analyzing online sales.
- Google Tag Manager Fundamentals: This course is often overlooked but definitely an essential tool for all marketers. This will allow us to create tags to track website traffic in new and unique ways.
If you have a website, you should be tracking your websites’ visitor data. Google Analytics makes it easy to do just that but using the courses to understand how to optimally slice and dice this data is crucial. There are so many ins and outs of the platform that taking all of the courses above will help serve you. The Analytics Individual Qualification Certificates last 18 months from the date you pass the exam.
3. Social Media Marketing Courses hosted on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
It’s the year 2018 – organic social media marketing is practically meaningless. All of the social media platforms are now pay-to-play and, therefore, promoted posts on the platforms will give business’ far greater return on investment than free branded organic efforts. This is one of the two major social media trends in 2018 to be aware of, as you build out a strategy for the coming year.
Never had to run a paid ad on a social media network? Not a problem. Each network has the following resources at your disposal, allowing you to get that paid social campaign off the ground and poised for success:
Facebook BluePrint Certification: Facebook provides you with quick tutorials on something as simple as getting your Facebook page set-up to more complex concepts, such as distributing and monetizing content. This digital marketing course will guide us through basic marketing strategies, along with ad set-up, promotion, measurement, and, ultimately, generating leads. Something to note: While the courses are free, the examination and subsequent certification are not. Feel free to skip the certification and gain the knowledge, if you want to save your dollars.
Twitter Flight School Certification: Arguably one of the best bang-for-your-buck social paid ad platforms is Twitter. Most of the four courses take roughly an hour to complete covering the buying and purchasing of ads, along with account management.
LinkedIn Marketing Solution: LinkedIn’s platform is a rarity in that their information is not provided in course-form. All of the information you need, including tons of material on how to market and builds ads on the platform, lie in this area of LinkedIn.
Video marketing is an essential way to communicate with customers, whether your business model is B2B or B2C. People will often opt to watch a video over reading a lengthy guest blog. After all, this is why social media platforms built out their algorithms to favor video on their newsfeed, they know it drives engagement and makes people stay on the social network.
YouTube is the ultimate home for online video advertising and a platform to house content that helps contribute to awareness or lead generation of our product or service. Before jumping into this course – let’s check the eligibility requirements to see if our company or us, individually, are eligible for the YouTube Certified program. If so, this course will arm us with latest best practice and industry-level knowledge.
If we are not eligible for the certification, never fear! There is still a way to have a presence on YouTube and track performance using a culmination of YouTube Analytics and Google Analytics. This post is a helpful guide on how to measure the success of video communications.
For those marketers who are unfamiliar with Moz, it’s essentially the ultimate platform for search engine optimization (SEO) knowledge and metrics. What started out as a blog and online community for the world’s first SEO experts has grown into a hub of SEO tools. While only certain SEO tools are free, the full Moz Pro service is available free of charge only for a 30-day trial period.
If you have the Moz Pro platform or are utilizing their free tools, Moz Academy is well worth exploring. Their video digital marketing courses provide step-by-step instruction on how to best use these tools at our disposal and build the ultimate SEO strategy. Moz has since expanded on this resource and created the Learning Center, where you can sign-up and participate in live workshops or scroll through their plethora of resources broken down by topic (i.e. Ranking and Visibility, Keywords & Keyword Research, etc.).
If all of that seems too technical and related to the Moz platform itself, don’t worry – Moz still has one other resource available to the public with new content every Friday focused on strategy and concepts. So what’s this called? Whiteboard Friday! This is exactly what it sounds like – each new blog post, published on Friday, has a video embedded walking you through a new subject matter on, well, a literal whiteboard. Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz, provides in-depth conceptual knowledge but breaks it down in a digestible manner.
Becoming an All-Around Marketer through Training
So why would we go through such extensive online digital marketing courses? Simply for the certifications? No, as marketers, we should be striving to understand all aspects of marketing and the various marketing channels available to us. Stop throwing things at the wall, hoping they stick. Use these online courses to provide you with the tools and baseline knowledge to become the best all-around marketer you can be. In order to create a sound business plan and marketing strategy for this year, let’s use the knowledge gained from these online resources at our disposal and ensure we are setting ourselves up for success.