September 17, 2021 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
Learning digital marketing can help you become more competitive in your industry. Finding the right resources may be key to teaching yourself the ins and outs of the discipline. In this guide, we identify online resources from industry leaders to help you get started.
Digital marketing is the method of promoting products or services online using at least one channel. Channels may include social media platforms, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, or search engines. Digital marketing can help you find an audience for your brand. It also gives you opportunities to interact with potential leads and develop them into customers. When learning digital marketing, you may focus on areas such as:
Many of the resources you may use to create your digital marketing campaigns and strategies you can also use to learn the craft. Common examples of resources for learning digital marketing online and offline include:
There are so many free resources available for learning digital marketing online that if we listed every quality source, this article would be pages and pages long. Instead, we’ve compiled some helpful free resources in different categories from around the internet to help you get started:
These resources are just a sampling of what you can find online. Many companies and marketing agencies that provide services or consultations offer blogs with helpful resources. Most social media platforms and search engines also provide tutorials, help guides, and webinars to start your digital marketing education. You can find other resources like these by conducting an online search or following links and recommendations from other trusted sources.
Online courses may be a more formal way to learn about digital marketing. The structure may remind you of taking a class in school, although you won’t have to travel to class or be present at specific times. Here is a list of seven online course services you can use to access content to advance your digital marketing knowledge:
Facebook for Business offers free, self-directed courses to help you build marketing skills on Facebook and its related platforms like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. You can browse topics grouped by app or usage functions. These courses look like how-to guides with small tutorial videos and written content. The step-by-step instructions take you through the process of completing actions on the platforms and provide advice about getting the best returns or engagement from each one.
Google offers a variety of courses for SEO, marketing, and all the related topics in between. One course of interest is the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing option. This beginner course includes 26 modules and roughly 40 hours of instruction. Learn at your own pace with video tutorials and unlimited access to the materials. Both the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe and The Open University have accredited this free class, which offers certification for completion after you pass a 40-question final exam. It covers skills like business strategy, content marketing, analytics, local marketing, email marketing, and e-commerce.
Coursera is an online education provider that offers massive open online courses (MOOCs). It partners with over 200 universities and companies to provide job-relevant training for people around the world. There’s a fee to sign up and use the service, but you can start a free trial to see if it’s for you before making a full commitment. Once you join the community, you have access to all available content, including programs like the Digital Marketing Specialization program from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
This certification program has six courses that review the latest digital marketing techniques. It focuses on topics like search engine optimization, analytics, social media, marketing, and 3D printing. You finish the course with a real capstone project partnership with global B2B supplier. These beginner courses are all online and run on your schedule with instruction from the University of Illinois professors and industry experts. If you put in five hours of study per week, you can complete the entire program in about eight months.
HubSpot Academy offers multiple courses in sales and marketing to help you feel more confident about your abilities in the field. Most courses are free and require just a sign-up to take part.
The Social Media Marketing Course may interest anyone looking to learn about digital marketing. This course includes eight lessons with 39 videos and 29 quizzes to help you learn about social media strategy for business. Watch videos developed by HubSpot professors at your own pace, and earn a certification at the end of the program by passing a one-hour, 70 question test. Each module also includes downloads of presentation slides, articles, blog posts, and other resources.
Similar to Coursera, edX is another online platform that lets you take courses online, from home, at your own pace. Classes cover many business and professional topics, including digital marketing. You’ll receive instruction from institutions such as the University of Edinburgh, University of Maryland, Boston University, and The University of Washington. Programs offer micro-credentials and professional certificates in broad areas like digital fundamentals and specialty areas like digital leadership.
Also, like with Coursera, you can take a full edX program that includes multiple courses. You pay a fee based on the courses or programs in which you choose to enroll. Price, completion times, and experience levels may vary.
Udemy offers video and slide presentations you can purchase and watch on-demand. Courses come from a variety of industry experts and creators. Students can rate the courses and provide feedback and insights for those browsing for the best content. For each option, you can view the expected time to complete the class, the number of videos and lectures includes, and the recommended experience level. Udemy prices courses individually, so you’re only paying for the content you want and you’ll use.
LinkedIn Learning can help you find specialized courses based on the job titles and skills included in your LinkedIn profile. Industry experts lead the courses, and the program also offers live office hours with certain presenters. This feature allows you to meet in a virtual space in real-time and ask questions and get insights into the course content.
You can subscribe to LinkedIn Premium to access all available courses or purchase them individually. Each class listing includes the expected time to complete the course and the intended experience level. You can also discover which ones include projects, review the number of modules, and browse the skills covered. Some courses come with certifications to boost your resume and credibility.
Use these steps to learn how to teach yourself digital marketing:
We’ve provided many free and paid resources for you above, and there are many more that you can access online and out in the real world. No matter how you prefer to learn, you can likely find something that suits your needs. With so many options available, the simplest step to learning digital marketing is to use the resources.
Depending on your schedule, you might fit in some reading on your lunch break, listen to a podcast on your commute, or watch a video on the treadmill at the gym. Once you’re hooked on learning, you’ll likely want to do more of it in your free time.
Take notes while you’re reviewing your resources. Whether you’re taking courses with quizzes or you’re just casually watching a webinar, writing down important information can help. Start a document in your preferred word processing program or splurge on a nice new notebook and pens for traditional notes. Create a record of the information that you find interesting or helpful.
There’s no right or wrong way to take notes for yourself. Create an outline, make notes in the margins of printouts, or write stuff on post-its notes and stick them to the wall behind your desk. Find a system that works with your learning style. Make sure your notes are easy to find and reference later when you’re working on projects.
Even though you’re learning digital marketing, all your information doesn’t have to come from the internet. Human beings in your professional network can also teach you a thing or two. Find a mentor who you can go to with questions or for advice about professional topics, like digital marketing. How do you find a mentor? Look around you. Find a knowledgeable person who works at your company. Professors from your alma mater may offer mentorship services. Send an email, ask someone to meet in person, or start a video chat or phone call.
If you can’t find someone in person to be your mentor, you can turn to online tools for help too. Try connecting with professionals on LinkedIn to start relationships. You can also visit question-and-answer websites like Quora to ask professional questions and get responses from thought leaders in the industry.
Take courses and programs that offer certifications, micro-credentials, and proof of your accomplishments. Not only can this help you feel you’re working toward a goal, but it’s also helpful for your resume and LinkedIn profile. If you want to work for a digital marketing company, certifications can show that you take initiative in your career and care about developing your skills. If you want to work for yourself, start a business, or do consulting, this proof shows clients you know what you’re doing.
The best way to learn digital marketing is to practice. Why? Because you can test the skills you learned from all the resources and get a feel for how they work. Create test campaigns. Start your own digital marketing blog and share what you’ve learned. Look for volunteer and freelance opportunities. Ask to work on new digital projects at your company. These are all methods you can use to practice your skills. You can learn what works and what doesn’t and take each new opportunity as another learning experience.
Every time you make a post on social media or send a promotional email, you’re already engaging in digital marketing. Developing these skills can help you better understand how to leverage this power to get more leads, more customers, and a better brand image.
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