This guide is all about some of the digital marketing courses available on the internet and how those courses can help to level up a career in the growing field.
One of the most reliable trends in modern marketing is the consistent migration from real-world storefronts to online purchasing and e-commerce. The movement of the modern consumer into the digital world is matched by organizational investment in digital marketing budgets. As customer preferences shift more and more towards a virtual purchasing process, marketing professionals are tasked with evolving their communications and marketing tactics into pixels and bits to match the modern locale.
As a marketer, you may be wondering how to adapt the skills you already have to tomorrow’s market trends. A real simple approach for bachelor’s degree holders is to invest in an MBA, specifically in digital marketing. Of course, a two-year university program isn’t always an option for the modern and overly-busy professional. Solutions such as bootcamps or massive open online courses (MOOCs) are an excellent alternative for folks looking to augment their digital marketing skills.
These MOOCs are a solid option due to their low price, easy digital access, and self-paced curriculum design. As most modern marketers are already working professionals with deep knowledge of the field, the best approach is to find key coursework to fill the gaps and connect the dots between past professional experience and future industry trends. The MOOC model is made for professionals who know exactly what they want to learn and can motivate themselves to complete courses in their free time.
Are you interested in reworking your marketing skills toward digital distribution? Do you have the drive and discipline to complete these courses in your free time? Let’s look at the digital marketing coursework on offer and weigh the pros and cons of investing in them.
Online Digital Marketing Courses for Digital Workers
The most challenging drawback to online learning is discovering the best courses amidst various online options. The objective is to find high-quality coursework that meaningfully enhances your skills while also being perceived as reputable and rigorous content from the perspective of prospective employers. This short guide will walk through some of the best MOOC options, including how much they cost and where you can find them. Let’s dig in:
Coursera offers a broad catalog of reputable coursework for professionals in nearly any field by partnering with quality colleges and universities. This includes exploring digital marketing content provided by marketing professionals and professors. The course duration can vary widely, with some courses being completed in just 12 hours while others can take up to four months (with 10 hours/week commitment). Courses are online only and completely free to enroll in, although procuring a certification requires signing up for a paid subscription at $39/month. If you’re new to digital marketing, check out Digital Marketing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They also offer a course on Digital Media and Marketing Strategies. The University of California, Irvine also has a four-week Introduction to Digital Marketing course.
Google’s MOOC platform, Digital Garage, offers free courses on many subjects on careers that intersect with technology. Course duration ranges from short-and-sweet 3 hours to 40-hour marathons towards mastery. A great starting point for the aspiring digital marketer is Fundamentals of Digital Marketing. The course is free, including a digital marketing certification accredited by Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe and The Open University. The certificate is also globally recognized, a great way to boost your career. The only expense you’ll incur is the time it takes to complete the course, and the benefits of both certification and newfound knowledge will easily justify the investment.
Semrush specializes in digital marketing, with all courses geared towards a certification process. Taught by professionals with many years of industry experience, this platform is best suited for folks looking to dive right into the day-to-day job responsibilities of a digital marketer. Semrush is a solid choice for folks with some marketing know-how already under their belt, looking to zero in on key skills such as search engine optimization (SEO). All courses are available to subscribers, with subscriptions starting at $120/month.
EdX was one of the earliest entrants in the MOOC market, leveraging the highly reputable MIT network to offer coursework across a wide range of technical subjects. Like Coursera, these courses are free unless you’re looking to get certified. Certifications will include having your work graded by professors, which verifies successful course completion. Course duration is typically around 8-12 week commitment when putting in 10 hours per week. This Digital Marketing Strategy course will lay much of the higher-level groundwork for folks just getting started. EdX also offers a MicroMasters program for Marketing in the Digital World for a more intensive program. A MicroMasters program is a well-recognized and reputable certification for hiring managers and a very affordable professional investment at around $700 for a full year of coursework.
Udemy offers a massive range of courses across every conceivable discipline, typically offered by seasoned industry professionals. Course offerings consist of video lessons, assigned readings, and assignments to apply what you’ve learned. Udemy charges a fixed rate per course taken, and certification is included in each course with the enrollment fee. Keep an eye out for sales, as courses are often significantly discounted. The Complete Digital Marketing Course is an excellent value for students new to digital marketing. For seasoned professionals looking for targeted content, content ranges from mastering Google Analytics to leveraging the wide range of social media platforms. Udemy is the best choice for professionals who know what they don’t know and seek particular courses to supplement their existing knowledge.
Digital Marketing Course Certification
Digital marketing coursework benefits new entrants to marketing, traditional marketers looking to expand their skill set, and entrepreneurs looking to handle marketing tactics independently. Consider different pros and cons depending on where you fall on the spectrum.
Let’s start with the new entrants and recent university graduates. For young professionals looking to make their first mark in the industry, the advantage of strategically selecting a few MOOC certifications is communicating that you aspire to be a functional specialist. Functional specialists are often in demand, and these types of courses can quickly and affordably prepare a specialist for the demands of a highly specialized job. An SEO analyst is an excellent example of how this can help differentiate new professionals, as many established marketing professionals have not been exposed to this highly nuanced skill set.
The downside for the rookie marketers is that a MOOC certification, or set of courses, may not act as a replacement for a comprehensive four-year business degree. These digital marketing courses tend to be crash courses. They don’t offer the requisite scope to round out new professionals in general business thinking, strategy, and broader organizational knowledge.
For established professionals in the industry, enrolling in these online courses is almost always going to be a way to augment an established background of marketing experience. Marketing is evolving and adapting alongside the technology we all rely on. Marketing professionals will want to use these courses due to the low cost, high flexibility, and fine-tuned topic selection compared to university programs.
For entrepreneurs and small business owners, these courses will act as a way to fill the seemingly endless functional gaps that emerge when running your own business (instead of hiring expensive digital marketing consultants). Small business owners want to prioritize their time, focus primarily on whatever product or service they are offering, and combine that with a bit of working knowledge on sales, marketing, accounting, and strategy. A small business owner who needs to boost their online presence, for example, could take a crash course on social media analytics to raise their social capital without breaking the bank or needing to commit years to attain a degree.
There is one distinct downside to the online open classroom approach for all three groups. The downside is that no one will push you as a student to complete the course or succeed. These courses are intended for folks with the money and individual drive to finish what they start, and all students will only get out of these courses what they put into them. A great rule of thumb for newbies to the MOOC format is that the best course you can take is the one you’re sure you’ll complete from start to finish.
Starting and Finishing
Speaking of starting courses you can be sure to finish, let’s wrap this up with a few starting good starting points for marketers looking to boost their digital know-how. Udemy’s Complete Digital Marketing Course will impart a huge amount of knowledge while providing a well-known and established certificate to prospective employers if you feel full of fire and desire to learn new things.
EdX’s Digital Marketing Strategy will give you that all-important aerial view of the field if you’d prefer a slightly lesser commitment that will cost you zero dollars. It’ll be on you to decide where to zoom in and specialize within the broader framework of digital marketing. Whether you are just dipping a toe into the digital waters or diving headfirst into the sea of SEO, there’s undoubtedly a low-cost open online course to get your career kickstarted in the right direction.