How to Learn Digital Marketing Online

Last updated


Daniel Wade


July 28, 2022

This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

These days, many companies get their revenue from online traffic, which means that more entrepreneurs are scrambling to learn digital marketing online.

Entrepreneurs who want to succeed in the cutthroat environment must know more than just how to run a business.. Digital marketing is a lucrative career option and a necessary set of skills in today's fast-paced digital business landscape.

The demand for digital advertising is going up, which means digital marketers are some of the most sought-after professionals on the planet. Entrepreneurs that have embraced and perfected digital marketing strategies consistently see positive results in terms of ROI and revenue generation.

As the number of people that rely on online transactions continues to rise, digital marketing skills are becoming more valuable by the day. Fortunately, learning digital marketing is a feasible task, particularly if you're looking for answers online.

If you're wondering how to learn digital marketing online, the answer is simple: by studying successful digital advertisers and the methods they use. Luckily, a lot of this information is available for free online, so your only job is to find the right sources.

In this guide, we will discuss how to learn digital marketing online and provide a list of resources and courses to help you get started. Before we get into it, we must first define digital marketing and learn what it encompasses.


Table of contents

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is an umbrella term for marketing that uses digital and online-based technologies such as desktop computers, mobile smartphones, television, and digital media platforms.

Although digital technology existed before the internet, digital marketing has taken off in recent years due to the increased digital platforms' integration into marketing plans. Its growth is also attributed to the rise in people who would rather transact via digital devices than visiting physical shops.

Digital marketing campaigns today are widespread as advertisers take advantage of free and paid mediums of marketing offered by digital platforms and technology.

The typical marketing campaign has advanced from using simple ads to incorporating techniques such as search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, search engine marketing (SEM), data-driven advertising, social media marketing, email marketing, and many more.

Why learn digital marketing?

Why do you need to study digital marketing in 2021 and beyond?

Digital marketing is the backbone of product promotion online. It affects every single business today, as it is impossible to gain an audience online without practicing digital marketing.

The main reason why entrepreneurs use digital marketing is to generate leads and grow an audience. However, keeping up with the latest digital marketing practices requires you to stay abreast with changes and developments in an ever-evolving field.

In other words, the study of digital marketing can be an ongoing process, especially for those who are consistently improving their campaigns to get better results.

The payoff for learning digital marketing is immense. If you're wondering why you should start today, then here's why:

Digital marketers are in high demand.

Now is the best time to become a marketer, especially if you're pursuing a career in digital marketing. According to a report published in Marketing Hiring Trends, about 69% of companies are thinking of hiring a digital marketing specialist.

The report also exposes a massive gap between the demand and supply of digital marketers. The supply for digital marketers stands at 19%, while the demand is around 59%.

That means companies are interested in hiring digital marketers, perhaps now more than ever. Digital marketing is very much an in-demand skill that can guarantee high-paying jobs and remarkable job security.

But perhaps the best reason to learn digital marketing now is this: the demand is only going up. That means that the digital marketing skills that you learn today are only going to grow more and more valuable in the coming years.

The importance of the internet and digital platforms when it comes to advertising is no longer lost on companies, who go to great lengths to secure digital marketing services to promote their brand.

Digital marketing is necessary to scale a business, reach a greater audience, and increase revenue. Companies depend on these skills to grow so that digital marketers will remain in high demand.

Promote a new or existing business

Some of the tasks that digital marketers get paid lucratively for include setting up websites, managing ad campaigns, and creating content strategies. Because it teaches marketers to know how to utilize multiple digital platforms and online tools to promote a business, a digital marketer can start and manage an online business very successfully.

If you're in it for the entrepreneurial benefits, then learning digital marketing could be the most important thing you do for your career.

With sound marketing skills in your arsenal, you can reduce the costs of promoting your business and ensure that your messages target the right audiences.

Digital marketing also equips you with the skills and knowledge to measure your progress in the way of collecting metrics and conducting analyses.

No licenses or certifications are necessary.

Nearly every career out there requires some form of certification. You can't fly planes without a pilot's license, and you can't become a doctor without a medical degree.

However, you can become a digital marketer without any official certifications. All you need is to practice the important skills and techniques then create a portfolio. Employers can assess your abilities using this portfolio, so there's really no need for certificates of any kind.

The beauty of the digital marketing community is that it is mostly a pay-it-forward community. People are more than willing to help you obtain better marketing techniques. There are forums dedicated to the sharing of digital marketing trends, and there are numerous places online to ask questions concerning digital marketing.

With the endless resources and unwavering support from the community, it's easy to start a new career in digital marketing even without any prior experience.

An endless variety of what you could do

Do you remember a time when all your official communications were exclusively via email? Ten years ago, no one would have believed that smartphones would take over and dictate every little thing we do-from talking to others to buying stuff and even scheduling appointments.

The point is that the internet is a rapidly evolving phenomenon. Every few years, something new comes up, and it changes the entirety of how we communicate and relate over digital technology. That means that a career in digital marketing can land you anywhere.

One of the admirable qualities that a digital marketer can possess is adaptability. It is an area of expertise that requires one to continuously learn new things and master new skills.

Utilizes both technical strengths and creativity

Digital marketing is not fully technical, but neither is it devoid of creativity. Instead, it demands a combination of both. A digital marketer will sometimes need to apply their creativity to the job, for instance, when creating engaging content and captivating headlines.

However, they will also need technical prowess to gather and analyze metrics. Metrics allow them to check the progress of the campaign to see what works and what doesn't.

That means that a successful digital marketer must possess both creative and technical skills. It is a job where both attributes can be applied and leveraged to create unique and effective marketing campaigns.

Types of digital marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is described as the process of obtaining quality traffic from organic search results. SEO relates to how search engines like Google and Bing rank your websites and direct traffic to your business.

SEO is an important facet of digital marketing as it determines the quality and quantity of traffic that you can drive to your website. Over the years, the emphasis on quality and relevance is growing.

Attracting a high volume of visitors only pays off if your ad campaign is relevant. It must match their user intent. If you attract a high volume of visitors that want cheap kitchen knives to your website about professional chef knives, you're not likely to sell a lot of knives because your audience isn't looking to spend a lot of money on knives.

Optimizing your website for search engines can bring a steady stream of relevant traffic to your business. In contrast, failing to optimize renders you invisible on the internet-which means no one can find you.

SEO may include keyword research and placement, the optimization of web titles and descriptions, link building, and optimizing page speeds.

Content marketing

Content marketing revolves around the creation and distribution of content to target audiences. For content marketing to work, the content must be relevant, valuable, and consistent. Content chiefly serves one purpose: to drive customers to take a profitable action.

Keep in mind that the content must be valuable and relevant. Gone are the days when spammy advertising captured leads and brought in sales. Good content is automatically sought after by your audience. They consume it readily because it pertains to their current needs and demands.

In a sense, content marketing touches on every other type of digital marketing. It affects email marketing, SEO, and social media marketing significantly because they're all based on the distribution of relevant, valuable content.

Some of the most common content marketing forms include podcasts, blogs, videos, infographics, and eBooks.

Search engine marketing (SEM)

Search engine marketing refers to the process of obtaining paid traffic. This is a form of digital marketing that allows you to promote your website using paid means. SEM includes putting out ad banners on Google AdWords and Bing Ads.

Most marketers combine SEO and SEM to drive up the quality of traffic to their website. The benefits of using search engine marketing are that you get the top spot before an audience that is actively looking for the products or services that you offer. The only downside with SEM is that it is not free, and therefore not suitable if you have a very strict budget or a small business.

Social media marketing (SMM)

Social media marketing refers to the utilization of social media platforms for the purpose of attracting traffic and attention. Social media is one of the main ways companies build relationships with their customers.

Social media marketing is often centered on customer service. Businesses use these platforms to learn what their customers are saying and get insight into their habits and trends. Once they gather this information, they can customize ads to be more valuable and relevant to their audience, which means higher engagement levels.

Along with SEO and content marketing, social media marketing is one of the three musketeers of what is called inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is all about attracting, engaging, and satisfying leads. Businesses use inbound marketing when looking to drive relevant traffic to their websites from social media platforms.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a type of digital marketing that allows people to promote brands and services in exchange for commissions. It is one of the most lucrative ways to make money online these days, even without any experience.

All you need to do to be an affiliate marketer is to pick a niche, build a website, and insert the links to the products or businesses you're promoting within your content. When a user clicks on this link and makes a purchase, you receive a commission.

Affiliate marketing is as straightforward as it gets. The more traffic you can generate, the more commissions you earn.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

Pay-per-click advertising is another old form of advertising whereby marketers only need to pay when people click on their ads. It is a popular method because it's relatively cost-effective, has a high ROI, and is easy to track in terms of ad metrics and performance.

Like SEM, PPC is a type of paid search. However, unlike SEM, it utilizes affiliate advertising (advertising through other people's websites) and displays advertising, which is also cost-per-click based.

Email marketing

Email marketing relies on the use of email to promote products and services. It is similar to content marketing, except the content is sent straight into the customers' inboxes, not published on a website. While it doesn't rely on keywords or optimization, email marketing requires good content and a sizeable email list.

Marketers are urged to build email lists as they are one of the best sources of repeat business. Email marketing allows advertisers to speak to customers at a human level, engaging them according to their interests and in a personal setting.

Most emails will ask about readers' opinions or seek to answer any questions they may have. The most important aspect of email marketing is having an appropriate lead capture strategy. A well-curated email list can serve a business for years.

How to learn digital marketing online

The digital marketing community fosters a pay-it-forward attitude, which means that successful marketers are always sharing ways in which other marketers can achieve success. Therefore, there's a lot of information out there, some of which may be outdated, so it can be a bit overwhelming to find what you're looking for.

They say that the best way to learn digital marketing online is through a paid course. That's true to some extent-paid marketing courses are more action-based than idea-based. Often, they take you through steps that assist you in learning the various facets of digital marketing.

That said, there are plenty of other resources that you can use to learn about digital marketing. The first one, in fact, is not a paid course and is absolutely free to use.


Quora is a question-and-answer website that allows users to ask and answer questions asked by fellow internet users. Questions can be asked and answered by anyone within the community. They can also be edited or followed by interested parties. Therefore, Quora is a fantastic resource for all things digital marketing.

Not only can you ask any question pertaining to digital marketing here, but you can also find very detailed answers (some are over 3,000 words long) on hot-button topics such as SEO, social media marketing, and content optimization. Quora is a hub for useful insider tips that marketers can use to their benefit.

Most importantly, Quora is free to use, and anyone can sign up, ask, and answer questions. For anyone looking to get started on learning digital marketing for free, this is a highly recommended resource.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn offers a comprehensive suite of expert-led courses on nearly every profession under the sun. Users can access any of the thousands of courses at a low monthly rate, which makes this another great option for learning digital marketing online.

Several of the courses are dedicated to digital marketing, both when it comes to learning it and securing a job afterward. The only downside is that there may be too much information. You may need to finish multiple courses to get all the information you need.

However, considering that everything within the LinkedIn Learning platform is available at a small monthly fee, it is a considerably good option for learners and entrepreneurs of all levels.

The marketing courses you'll find here are made using the latest information, so you can trust that all the marketing techniques you'll learn here are valid. You may still need to find a marketing job on your own afterward, but that shouldn't be an issue when you learn the lucrative digital marketing techniques contained within these courses. 

Google's Digital Garage

Google has a fundamentals of digital marketing garage' learning program where you can learn the basics of online marketing. This course won't cost you a dime as it is absolutely free of charge. It is a 26-module course that takes you through the fundamentals of digital marketing from scratch.

Unfortunately, Google's Digital Garage will only set you up for an entry-level job in the digital marketing field. If you wish to advance your career, you will need to supplement the information you get here.

Still, it is a pretty useful source of information for anyone looking to learn digital marketing online. It contains actionable exercises and real-world examples within the training.

Best of all, it is one of the few options that offer you an official, recognized certificate once you complete the course. Unfortunately, this seems to be directed chiefly at UK or EU citizens. The fundamentals you learn here are still the same; nevertheless, so the skills you obtain through this course can be applied anywhere. They can be of value to people outside the EU.


Udemy is considerably similar to LinkedIn Learning in terms of the level of training it offers to new marketers. It's a highly recommended option for anyone looking to learn digital marketing from scratch or improve their marketing skills.

Udemy's courses are sold individually, which means they're slightly more expensive overall. However, a lot of times, you'll find sales where the price of each course drops to about $10. Therefore, you can still get a lot of value from Udemy without spending a dime above $10.

When using Udemy, it is also important to pay for courses that walk you through the process of finding a job in the relevant field as well. Some of them may only teach the necessary technical skills.


SkillShare is one of the best options when it comes to learning anything online, including digital marketing. While it offers tons of high-quality training from industry experts that update their courses frequently, it does so without charging a premium for its services.

The platform is one of the most reputable learning resources around. It is affordable yet contains a lot of invaluable information on virtually any topic under the sun. SkillShare is a highly recommended option for anyone who wants to learn digital marketing online without paying exorbitant fees for courses.

The main benefit of SkillShare is that its content is extremely organized. The courses are well structured and chopped down into bite-sized pieces, so you'll never feel overwhelmed. Best of all, the monthly fee is quite low, so it is a relatively affordable option for all learners and entrepreneurs.

SkillShare contains multiple marketing platforms. To navigate to the course of your choice, you may need to read through the reviews left by other users. Another way to identify useful courses is by checking the number of students that have taken the course. Each course also contains information about the instructor.

With SkillShare, you can rest assured that you're getting training from some of the top experts in the industry. Each course comes with background information about the instructors, which includes their qualifications and experience.

How to Learn Digital Marketing Online


Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

After working for multiple digital advertising agencies and managing hundreds of client accounts and 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