Best Digital Marketing Courses
September 3, 2021
A good digital marketing course can change your career. A great digital marketing course can change your life.
But how do you know the difference? Cost is obviously a big consideration, but so is credibility, application, and length of the course. Too short, and it won’t have much info, but too long, and people will stop caring. The best digital marketing courses have the right mix of those components.
The two most common arguments that people make about taking a course like this is that they either (a) know enough already, or (b) already have too many courses. Fortunately, since a lot of these are updated regularly, you can use them as constantly-evolving resources to grow your knowledge base. Buy today, consume forever.
The list of possible courses is long, so we’ve curated only the best in this list, based on reviews, content, and most importantly, whether or not you can apply them in your work. But we’ve also looked at them ourselves, so not only will you have anecdotal data to help with your decision, but an investigative eye as well.
Why Do I Need a Course in Digital Marketing?
First off, let’s be clear here: Nobody actually needs a digital marketing course. There is absolutely nothing stopping you from sitting at your computer for decades, spending thousands of dollars on A/B testing, website hosting, blog content, and a host of other activities to learn digital marketing.
Or, you could shortcut that whole process by taking a course from an industry professional that knows what they’re talking about and has already done all of that for you.
Where digital marketing courses come in handy is by leveraging industry knowledge from seasoned veterans and agencies, augmenting your own abilities by seeing what works for others and what doesn’t. This combination of situational knowledge and technical prowess means that courses offer the right balance between skills and application.
What this ultimately means is that courses are not just for “beginners,” or even for those who are just looking to “sharpen their skills.” Digital marketing courses are great ideas for even full-fledged professionals who are either looking to transition into another area of expertise, need a refresher course on fundamentals, or learn new techniques that they may not have thought of before. They also provide a reservoir of information that you can tap into whenever necessary.
Basically, if you want to stay at the top of your game, then investing in a solid digital marketing course that can keep you at the top of your game is a worthwhile investment.
What Should I Look For in a Digital Marketing Course?
As mentioned above, there are several things you should consider when you're thinking about buying a digital marketing course. Since most of these courses can be expensive and require hours to go through, you want to make sure that you get the best ROI out of your time and money.
Below are a few things to consider, along with other smaller particulars to take into consideration about each individual course.
There are no shortage of digital marketing courses on the Internet that are free, but at the other end of the spectrum, some courses can reach into the four or even five-figure cost structure. To be fair, many of these more expensive courses are completely worth it, as they can supercharge your business and create a 10 or even 100 X multiple in revenue over time.
But free courses have their place too. Many are published by top freelancers and software companies as lead magnets for their own services, or for other courses that they want to sell you down the road. The only time that you may have to pay for anything is if you want to show off your shiny new certification. That may seem like an obvious yes, but you should also check to see if those certifications hold a lot of weight in the marketing community.
Like price, time is also an investment. Since some courses can be 30 or 40 hours or more, look through the syllabus and see if the topics described are things that you need help in. If not, then you could waste a significant chunk of your life relearning principles you’re already familiar with (though it’s likely you’ll pick up a few tidbits along the way).
On the flipside, a course that is too short will only skim the surface of what you already know (unless it's a laser targeted on a niche subject). An hour or two may still cost you hundreds of dollars in lost time even if the course itself is free.
If you're just starting out in your digital marketing journey, look for a course that has a wide variety of topics that are covered. Everything from building your customer audience to paid advertising can be included in a foundational digital marketing course.
From there, seek out industry leaders in niche-specific courses that can speak to your interests and expertise. You may think that $3000 for a two hour course is ridiculous, unless it would take you years to accumulate the same amount of information that is compiled into such a concise package. From that perspective, it’s a steal.
Best Free Digital Marketing Courses
Any time the designer of the playground gives you instructions on how best to play with all the equipment, you listen. That's exactly what Google's certification courses are. Since Google currently owns more than 90% of the online search market, there's no better starting point to learn the ins and outs of their system than with their free courses.
Surprisingly for such a tech-oriented company, their courses are very applicable. They cover topics such as starting an online business, basic digital marketing fundamentals, as well as even a course specifically on YouTube. Some of these courses will take you a few hours, while some can take an entire week.There are also more tech-specific courses such as ones on mobile marketing and online advertising.
All of Google's courses are free, and whenever you finish, you'll get a certification that you can post to your LinkedIn profile and your online portfolio. Despite some free courses that you may see, a certification from Google is worth its weight in gold.
Next in line behind Google is SEMRush, one of the premier digital marketing software companies in the world. Their courses are relatively short, but focus on a wide variety of issues that are extremely pertinent to every area of expertise, such as SEO, content marketing, and PPC.
Instead of relying on their own in-house staff to create these courses (which would've been amazing by itself), they rely on well-known industry experts to develop the material for you. Not only are there class notes and exams to test your knowledge, but also professionally produced videos that you can watch as well.
Beware though: Since these courses are short, you may have to invest in other courses that can build on the knowledge you gain here. Still, the videos are well-paced and provide a solid base to build off of. Certifications for SEMRush's courses are free and well respected in the digital marketing community.
One of the main benefits of taking a course from a big name like HubSpot is that they're able to capture top-flight industry figures to develop the material, many of which charge thousands per hour for their expertise.
But what you also gain from these courses is their wealth of technical and analytical data. HubSpot is not just a course company; they also provide a suite of services to digital marketing professionals, and are able to draw on the anecdotal evidence from them as well as their own internal data to formulate courses that are both relevant and highly-efficient.
A smorgasbord of different course options are available: content marketing, social media marketing, inbound marketing, and even Facebook ads. Upon completion, you'll receive a certification.
As mentioned above, once you have a good base of digital marketing knowledge, it's a great idea to venture into more niche areas to laser target your expertise.
One of these is website conversions. OptinMonster specializes in this area, since their service is all geared around capturing that traffic that comes to your website and turning them into leads.
Since they're already neck deep into this world, they decided to put out a free course that covers just this one aspect of digital marketing. Assuming you already have the other areas taken care of by more generalized courses, a course on website conversions from OptinMonster can be a fantastic tool in your toolbelt.
Any digital marketer worth their salt has taken instruction on how to do proper copywriting. Fortunately, one of the industry leaders in this area — CopyBlogger — has managed to put together a course that addresses everything from marketing and copywriting, to SEO and keyword research.
Though this course won't help you with your overall digital marketing skills, it will provide you with a very convenient way to learn email marketing. This course isn't downloadable all at once, like the other ones on this list, but drip into your inbox in a series of 20 emails. That means that you can read them as you wish and refer back to them later as necessary.
Best Paid Digital Marketing Courses
Once you dip your toes into the world of paid digital marketing courses, the sticker shock can be real.
Digital marketer is a name that has been around for nearly 20 years, and though they provide services through subsidiary companies, their main focus is on developing the digital marketer through paid courses, webinars, and other learning avenues.
They have a ton of free resources, but the bread-and-butter of their package is their training courses that are pay-as-you-go. Each course is in the ballpark of $400-$500, but it comes with a certification after several hours of video.
Many of the teachers act as high-paying consultants for individual client projects, which means are able to provide the real-world experience to the basic lessons that they provide inside the videos. There are in-depth courses (that are not always easy to pass), worksheets, principles, and a host of other resources to help you succeed.
This is not an individual course by an individual company per se, but rather a course website that happens to have hundreds of digital marketing courses. Everything you can think of under the sun is listed on Udemy, from basic digital marketing courses, to how to make money using e-commerce on Instagram, and everything in between.
Though the price of these courses can range from free all the way up to several hundred dollars, with the right coupon, nearly all of these courses can be purchased for between $10-$20. This provides an incredible value, as well as an incentive for the course creators to design the best course possible and market it aggressively.
You also have the benefit of reading reviews from real people. Every single course has a star rating as well as a syllabus that allows you to look at what type of topics will be covered, and course creator’s responses to individual feedback. In most cases, they’ll also have a way to communicate with the instructor directly.
If you're looking for a single course that can cover all the topics that you need to know to start your digital marketing journey, Simplilearn is a great choice. Though it's priced aggressively at $1500, it not only offers a comprehensive look at the techniques used in digital marketing, but also the tools and resources that you'll be using on a daily basis.
SimpliLearn is also forward thinking in helping you to prepare for common industry exams, such as the ones from Google, Facebook, and YouTube. This makes it an excellent choice not just for freelance digital markers, but also agencies that want to streamline their new hire's education.
Though the full course load is more comprehensive than this, certain subjects include analytics, content marketing, social media, and mobile marketing.
B2B marketers already understand the power of LinkedIn as a networking and lead generation tool, so it only makes sense that they would offer a comprehensive course that takes some of those concepts and make them accessible to the general public.
The cost for membership to LinkedIn Learning is also remarkably inexpensive. For only $19 a month, you can have access to nearly 1600 courses that are led by industry experts, with certifications on the tail end that you can then post on your LinkedIn profile or your online portfolio.
These are not just "business"-oriented courses either; some of the most popular trainings are on electronics, using Excel, and Python programming language. And with the free month trial option -- with the opportunity to cancel anytime -- it's a win for everybody.
Premium courses are one thing, but few reach the upper echelon of cost as Udacity. The main sticking point for most people is that you don't pay a flat fee for a few simple courses, you pay an ongoing membership of $400 every single month for access to their coursework.
The good news is, virtually everything is covered inside of that one membership, including certifications. There are courses on content strategy, Facebook ads, SEO, Google analytics, display advertising, and basic marketing fundamentals. Udacity claims it should take the average user about three months to get through all their courses.
Given the fact that it covers such a wide variety of topics, this course is ideal for somebody who is just starting out on their marketing adventure, but also is willing to invest in solid training to get them on the right foot. One of the biggest advantages to Udacity is that you don't just get courses, but a technical mentor, in addition to a personal career coach and other services that will help you in your career.
About THE AUTHOR
After working for multiple digital advertising agencies and managing hundreds of client accounts, spending millions of dollars via Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Native Ads and Direct Media Buying, I took things out on my own and started SparrowBoost. Now, my tight-knit team and I continue to get smarter and more efficient at running our own campaigns and we share our knowledge with you.Learn more about SparrowBoost