It’s no secret that individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher are more likely to find employment and earn higher incomes than those who don’t. But did you know that earning a certification can follow this same trend?
Given the rate at which new digital marketing technologies and software are developed, it can be overwhelming to learn through blog posts and ebooks alone. That's where self-paced online courses come in — but which do you choose?
Below are the best free online courses you can take to strengthen your digital marketing skills.
The most well-known benefit of earning a marketing certificate is the potential for better pay and career advancement, but there are plenty more rewards to reap by honing your skills. Here are a few of the top advantages of earning a digital marketing certificate.
1. Specializing in a Marketing Niche
The “jack of all trades, master of none” mantra is the marketer’s enemy.
Any experienced marketing professional will advise someone looking to enter or grow into the field to narrow their focus.
There are simply too many roles within marketing to specialize in all of them.
Certifications come in handy because they’re narrow enough in scope to give you a high-level overview of how the skill fits into a larger marketing strategy but tactical enough to show you exactly how to execute the skill in your day-to-day work.
2. Communicating Advanced Marketing Concepts
Whether you’re interviewing for a marketing role or pitching a client, one thing’s for sure — you’ll need to sound like a skilled marketer.
Sure, you can fake it ‘till you make it, but I don’t advise this route.Shibboleths will only get you so far before someone notices a gap in your experience.
Certification courses are comprehensive education tools that will teach you essential marketing lingo and exactly what it all means.
Best of all, you’ll be able to communicate advanced concepts confidently without over or under-explaining which can undermine your credibility.
3. Building Your Resume
When it comes down to it, your resume will almost always precede your presence.
Before an interview or a client meeting, people will look to your resume and portfolio first to verify your skills.
Adding the certifications you’ve received after completing marketing courses is a smart way to get picked up by resume scanners and it’ll catch the attention of human eyes, too.
Even if you have several years of experience, a certificate can still help get your foot in the door so you can speak in detail about your experience during an interview.
Where to Find Free and Affordable Courses
The free courses we mentioned above are amazing resources for budget-conscious marketers. They’ll teach you the basics of the subject and give you some tactical knowledge you can apply right away.
If you want to become more competitive in the job market or if you have a bit more time and resources to dedicate to furthering your education, check out the following platforms. They’re not all free, but they’re affordable and will provide you with up-to-date course material.
HubSpot Academy offers certification and training courses to teach people how inbound marketing and HubSpot software work. Classes are often taught by marketers at HubSpot and are made up of video lessons, quizzes, and tests.
Most HubSpot Academy classes are available free of charge, and if you pass the certifications, such as the two below, you get a nifty certificate and badge to share on your social media profiles.
Social Lock is a social media consulting, management, and strategy agency that also provides educational content and courses.
The Standout Social Content Course is a comprehensive guide for small business owners who want to grow sales through social media. Although this course isn’t free, it’s available at an affordable rate and can even be paid in installments if you’re on a tight budget.
LinkedIn Learning hosts hundreds of courses taught by industry experts from all around the world.
The best part of LinkedIn Learning is that the course suggestions are customized to your profile.
If you have content marketing as a skill in your LinkedIn profile, the algorithm will suggest relevant courses, such as how to start a podcast or track the ROI of a content marketing strategy.
Similarly, your role will also influence the suggestions you see. As a marketing writer, I get recommended copywriting, SEO, and social media marketing courses. If I were a data scientist, I may be recommended courses on programming languages and machine learning.
To access the platform, the first month is free then up to $39.99/month.
quintly is a social media analytics tool that offers courses through quintly Academy.
The self-paced course provides an overview of social media analytics, benchmarking, and goaling using downloadable written materials and video lessons. These courses are available to take at no cost — simply sign in to enroll for free.
General Assembly offers live online courses that can be accessed for free or for a fee.
Each one is categorized as one of five types that range from full-time immersive learning to on-demand learning. Once you choose your time commitment, simply find a course that works with your schedule.