Free digital marketing courses are readily available on the internet and it’s a great time to commit to one, or even a few, depending on the time you have. These resources are excellent, and most are free, but they must be put into practice.
What I’d recommend to marketing professionals, especially fresh graduates, is to buy a domain and hosting (€10-20), install WordPress (free), build a basic website (free), add marketing tracking infrastructure – Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Tag Manager, social media + other tags (free) and start experimenting with it.
I’ve yet to come across anyone who has done this in any interview I’ve done while hiring, but it would really set individuals apart from the pack.
From speaking to Clare, one of our specialist recruiters in this field, the main areas there are skill shortages at the moment are automation experience, use of CMS software, SEO, Google Ads, paid campaigns, Google Analytics and basic graphic design.
Here are my top recommendations to help you develop or build upon these essential digital marketing skills:
Free and Low-Cost Digital Marketing Courses Online
Free SEO Online Courses
If you work in digital marketing having even basic SEO skills will benefit you. Speaking to James, one of our specialist Marketing recruitment consultants James confirmed “The roles I generally find difficult to fill are the ones with sole responsibility, such as SEO and PPC. There is a huge shortage in these areas.”
If you are interested in learning more about SEO, I can recommend the below. These are all free resources and will be most beneficial when paired with firsthand experience.
Google Digital Garage Classes
Google Digital Garage fundamentals of digital marketing is a must and is all completely free. The 40-hour course is self-paced and you will receive a certificate after completion.
Once you’ve got to grips with the fundamentals, I’d then recommend going through more specific course such as Google Ads.
All of these courses are provided by Google and other ‘Google approved’ listed providers and include a great range from basics of code, fundamentals of graphic design to how to promote a business with content, Google Ads Search or how to host a design thinking workshop.
If you haven’t heard of Udemy already, it’s an online learning platform aimed at adults. The range of courses is extensive and low cost. With digital marketing, there are some very good Facebook and Paid Search advertising ones. I’ve completed there two and would highly recommend:
MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses
MOOCs are essentially free and low-cost online courses. They are aimed at unlimited participation and open access. Again, they are largely self-paced, and the range is huge. For example, if you like you could receive a certificate in 2D and 3D interactive games development from Harvard in just 12 weeks.
There are now even BA/MA, although these will come at more of a cost. If you have time I’d highly recommended completing a few interesting ones. This will help you get a foundational understanding and broaden your expertise more.
Graphic Design YouTube Videos
When hiring digital marketing professionals basic graphic design is often a requirement. With this in mind, I asked our own graphic designer his advice on what you should do to pick up design skills. His recommendation is YouTube.
YouTube has endless amounts of free tutorials. All you need is time and interest.
Domestika also offer courses for creatives which are reduced by up to 75% at the moment. Examples include illustration, marketing and business, animation, Instagram content creation courses, photography and viral marketing techniques.
Podcasts – my Favourite Marketing Podcasts
Sweathead with Mark Pollard – great podcast on the topic of strategy and looking at the bigger marketing and branding picture
Let’s Talk Marketing by EY – interviews with industry leaders
Marketing Scoop by SEMrush – industry news and trends with case studies and evidence-based marketing advice
Call to Action by Unbounce – online marketing stories of success and failure with actionable insights
Books – Largely Available Online
Some of my favourites, most can be found on Kindle, bought online (or found in a library once they reopen)
Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice by Dave Chaffey
How Brands Grow by Byron Sharp
Eat Your Greens by Eat Your Greens
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
The good and bad thing about free marketing courses online is the abundance of choice. Pick one, or two, start there and you’ll soon find where your interests really lie.
Anything you read or study will add to your current skill set, and you never know how valuable that might be in a future interview or role.