It’s a challenging economy right now for marketing professionals. If you’re at risk of losing employment or you’ve been laid off and are job hunting, I’d encourage you to take the time to expand your knowledge of digital marketing beyond your expertise with some digital marketing courses and – ultimately – certifications.
Too many professionals in the marketing industry see it only through the lens that they’ve been educated in or the positions they’ve pursued. This does leave gaps that lead to inefficiencies in every business:
- Organic search professionals sometimes ignore the value of paid advertising, social media professionals sometimes overlook the value of search engine optimization.
- Sometimes public relations professionals overlook the value of backlinks on organic search or the value of conversion rate optimization.
- Many marketers aren’t familiar at all with project management and the platforms we use every day to track our initiatives.
- Marketers don’t often understand sales strategies and techniques and there are sometimes gaps between the sales and marketing departments. Sales training is great for every marketer to learn!
- Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and associated technologies are finding their way into virtually every platform and strategy in the digital marketing space. You don’t need to be a data scientist to deploy these tools… but understanding why and how they work will definitely enhance your marketing career!
Marketing is an ecosystem of overlapping strategies across both traditional and digital media. While you may not be seeking employment for a job that you’ve not been trained or worked in, understanding other strategies and how your work could impact those strategies can be a huge differentiator as you apply for your next position. I’d encourage every marketing professional to take courses, watch informative videos, and pursue third-party certifications.
Rather than spending time on social media or binge-watching Netflix, why not take some personal time out and expand your horizons with some free courses? While I feel well-rounded as a marketer, I continue to take these classes and seek out certifications to make myself more valuable to my clients. You should, too!
I’m not going to focus on all the free resources you’ll find on the internet for digital marketing training. Instead, I’m focusing on free courses that have been well-planned out, are comprehensive, and that also offer certifications. Most of these have a published, external certificate that you can add to your LinkedIn profile… which I’d highly recommend!
Free Digital Marketing Training and Certifications
- Alison – Free online courses with certifications and diplomas. There are many sales and marketing-related courses here.
- Agorapulse Academy – essential elements of social media marketing that all social media practitioners should know. Passing this exam and earning your certification will allow you to showcase your skills and expertise in social media and actually become a practitioner with Agorapulse.
- Google Analytics 4 – With Universal Analytics shutting down this July, it’s essential that anyone who wishes to gain insight into the most widely utilized analytics platform train up on Google Analytics 4. These courses provide both training and you can take a certification… which will be in high demand as companies look to migrate their analytics reporting.
- Google Digital Garage – Accelerate your career or business with an online digital skills course in everything from marketing to coding and beyond.
- Google Grow – Flexible online training programs designed to put you on the fast track to jobs in high-growth fields.
- Google Primer – Google Primer is a mobile app that offers quick, easy-to-understand lessons for business owners and career professionals. Download the app, pick which topics you’d like to learn, and come away from lessons with personalized next steps to help you improve your business or career right away.
- HubSpot Academy – Leaders in inbound marketing, HubSpot Academy has dozens of courses on sales, inbound marketing, digital marketing, and more. Courses focus either on strategy or you can take courses that train you on the HubSpot platform.
- Microsoft Ads Certification – Pass Search, Native & Display, and Shopping certifications and you’ll automatically receive Microsoft Advertising Certified Professional (MACP) status, which proves your expertise across Microsoft Advertising solutions.
- Meta Blueprint Certification – Master digital marketing skills to level up your productivity, credibility, confidence, and career on Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
- Salesforce Trailhead – I’m not sure if there’s another free resource on the internet that has the depth and breadth of Trailhead. There are thousands of courses on everything from inclusivity to the implementation of any one of their platforms. Many of their exercises are integrated with the platforms so that you can actually do the work and have it validated by their engine. Best of all, you’re provided with your own public profile page that you can share with potential employers. Salesforce certifications do have a fee… but can lead to quite a lucrative career.
- Semrush Academy – Semrush Academy offers both courses and video lessons about search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, social media marketing, sales, and advertising (PPC). Differentiating this resource is that Semrush Academy focuses on strategy with some courses trained by a number of external professionals and other courses focusing on the use of their platform. Semrush even offers free certifications which are quite cool.
- X Business Basics – X (formerly Twitter) has a solid business basics micro-site where you can learn everything you need to leverage the platform and its advertising platform.
- Unbounce Landing Page Course – Landing page expert Oli Gardner will walk you through how to create high-converting landing pages. Follow along with step-by-step instructional videos to help you create your own landing pages as you go.
Paid Digital Marketing Courses and Certifications
- Adobe Qualified – Get certified as an Adobe Experience Manager across Adobe’s Experience Cloud products.
- Adobe Certified Professional – Adobe Certified Professional is an industry-recognized certification that demonstrates mastery of Adobe Creative Cloud software and must-have knowledge
for digital media careers.
- Adobe Solutions Partner – Become a certified implementation or integration partner for Adobe’s suite of products.
- Coursera – Unlimited access to 7,000+ world-class courses, hands-on projects, and job-ready certificate programs, for one all-inclusive subscription price.
- Digital Marketing Institute – Gain an internationally recognized digital marketing certification. Develop your digital skills and advance your marketing career.
- Lead Academy – Lead Academy is a leading provider of online training, practical courses, and professional qualifications.
- LinkedIn Learning – Grow your skills and advance your career with LinkedIn Learning.
Do Marketing Certifications Really Matter?
One of the biggest gaps in our industry is that the curricula of our university system, while comprehensive, are developed and approved years before being taught. A degree in a marketing-related field does an amazing job of providing three differentiators for you:
- Foundational principles – while technologies have advanced, the behavior of consumers and businesses still has founding principles that a college degree can prepare you for.
- Long-term goals – employers don’t get a return on their investment with an employee for quite some time… so recognizing that you spent years in a program to achieve a goal is an important differentiator for you from non-graduates.
- Ability to learn – being a professional student provided you with the practice to research and learn across a spectrum of classes. Employers want agile, self-reliant employees who can learn… and a degree is a symbol of this.
Unfortunately, though, a traditional marketing degree program is that it doesn’t prepare you for the wide array of mediums, strategies, and platforms that you’ll be expected to deploy, use, and manage on a monthly basis.
This is the gap that vendor-focused or medium-focused training and certifications fill. As we hire our staff, one of our key questions is understanding the strategies they’ve deployed and the platforms they’ve utilized. I’d encourage you to sign up for some of these courses that are outside of your job focus to provide you with a better understanding of the ecosystem that you’re working within. These additional skills will make you far more valuable to a potential or current employer.
Do you have a great resource that provides digital sales and marketing-related certifications?