Best digital marketing online courses
By Brian K Balfour
First thing is first…there is no one course that will teach you all of digital marketing. That being said, you can learn digital marketing online….
I Did It
First some credibility on why I’m writing this answer. I have a college degree, but certainly not in marketing. I am completely self taught. I learned most of what I know years ago when there was far less amount of resources then what is available today. I have started multiple companies, held VP Product Marketing and CMO positions at startups funded by tier 1 investors. Grown consumer products to millions of daily active users. I am now a growth consultant and write about growth strategies on my blog: http://brianbalfour.com
My point is, if I can do it, you can do it too. Here are my tips and suggestions.
Learning Plan – Shape Yourself Like A “T”
The realm of digital marketing his huge these days with numerous channels and strategies. It is near impossible to become an expert in all of the channels AND stay up on the latest changes. Each channel is changing unbelievably fast along with new channels emerging. That is why I recommend a learning plan that will shape yourself like a “T”. Go broad by knowing the basics, pros/cons, etc of most channels. But go really deep on one to two channels. You will be much more useful to companies this way.
Which Channels Should You Go Deep On?
That is really up to you. Some channels orient more towards creative skills (i.e. Content Marketing, Social, etc). Some are more quaint focused (i.e. viral growth, paid acquisition, etc). I often just suggest to pick whatever one fits your interests the best becuase learning it will be more exciting and you will ultimately be a better marketer that way. But, the other thing I suggest is to take a look at the emerging channels. Right now that would be mobile and maybe Twitter. 3 years ago it would have been Facebook and content marketing. If you are one of the early players in a new channel that becomes huge, it will accelerate your marketing career.
Get Something To Experiment With
In learning digital marketing, nothing is more valuable than hands on experience. The courses I will list are useful. But I really really urge you to find a product/company to try out what you learn as you take the courses. Maybe you are already in a company. If not, volunteer as an intern somewhere. Or use yourself (via a blog, mini website, etc) as the experiment.
Certifications Are Mostly BS
You will probably run into a bunch of online courses promising “certification for google adwords” or “certification for social media” or
“certification for being a badas*”
Ignore it. Certifications provide little to no value and you are going to end up paying a premium. I have also found that those courses are often worse than other material out there. The best employers in todays market doesn’t give a sh*t about these certifications. They want to see examples of what you have done which is why my previous point about getting something to experiment with is so important.
Traditional College Programs Are Too Slow
Don’t expect to learn about digital marketing in a traditional college or university. Digital marketing is moving and changing way faster than the colleges are set up to adapt. Our education system, plain and simple, aren’t teaching the things to to make people productive in the work environment. Filling the gap between what you learn in college, and the productive professional skills is up to you!
Building A Foundation
Before you even choose a marketing channel I HIGHLY recommend you also take some time to learn the following areas:
All of digital marketing is going to have a quantative element. It is important to understand stats basics such as statistical significance, distribution analysis, and regression. I recommend the following courses:
Learn HTML and CSS
Become a Web Designer
Excel & Modeling Skills
No matter how many analytics tools you have within a company you will always resort to excel at some point. Knowing your way around excel will become very valuable. Course I recommend:
Marketing and product are starting to merge together in a trend called Growth Hacking. Knowing product management basics will help you run a growth process and understand full marketing funnel analysis. Unfortunately I do not have a recommend course in this area.
Basic Photoshop Skills
I can’t tell you how many times I have found myself in Photoshop hacking together some landing page changes or some random ad creative. Get friendly with photoshop. Some good courses:
Photoshop Foundations Badge Collection
There are also tons of Photoshop courses on Online video tutorials & training and other sites.
Whether you are writing full blog posts, or just two line Google Ads, copywriting and the consumer psychology behind copywriting is an essential skill. A couple suggestions on courses:
The Web Copywriting Bible
The Only Copywriting Course You Will Ever Need (Video Course)
Ok, now that we have some foundational skills we can talk about diving into certain channels. This is by no means a complete list, but it should keep you busy 🙂 Here we go….
PPC Training Course Online
Google Adwords Training – How to Make Money with Adwords
Google Adwords Training with Udemy Case: Google Adwords Tutorial
Google AdWords Essential Training
Not a course, but good content: Internet Marketing Blog – WordStream
I’ve never taken this one but a couple people said it was decent: Conversion University Webinar Series
Read every word from: SEO Software. Simplified.
SEO Tips and Tricks – Free SEO Training Course
Essential SEO Training For Successful Web Marketing by Infinite Skills
SEO Training – Online SEO Course
SEO Training Course Online
Social Media Marketing Training Course Online
Validating Ideas and Companies
I use my marketing skills to validate new ideas, features, and businesses all the time. This is an excellent course that helps with that: http://monthly1k.com