When learning more about digital marketing, you may come across a wide range of online resources. There are plenty of digital marketing courses for free that could help you learn the basics of this form of marketing. Although these courses can be beneficial, they may not be quite as valuable as premium courses that are vetted by marketing experts. Let’s discuss how to pick an online course that’s worth your time and effort.
The Caveats of Free Online Courses
There are plenty of digital marketing courses for free on the internet. Although they can be a valuable resource, not all are created the same. Let’s explore some of the downsides of free online courses:
- Many aren’t accredited — Although you can still list unaccredited courses on your resume, they don’t hold the same prestige as an accredited course. Most programs will state whether they are accredited, and if they do not, check with an accreditation agency.
- They can be low quality — Sometimes you need to wonder why a course is free. In some cases, this is because they aren’t offering the very best information and resources. Some companies offer free courses as a marketing tactic, which can still offer useful information, but they also may be trying to persuade you to buy their products or services.
- You may be more inclined to abandon them — If you aren’t paying for a course, you may feel less motivated to finish it. Since this course is solely for you, no one is reminding you to complete your quizzes or finish modules. When you invest a little money into a higher-quality course, you may feel more focused and try to get your money’s worth.
- Anyone can make them — Anyone who knows how to publish a website can make a free online course. This means you may not be getting the best or most up-to-date information. Paid courses are typically created by industry experts, ensuring that you are getting a high-quality education.
- You can breeze through them — Many free online courses simply require a quiz at the end of each section. Even if you fail the quiz, you can retake it and breeze through the course. This isn’t the purpose of learning. You should try to find a course that truly challenges you and makes you prove you’re actually learning.
Image via Pexels by Andrea Piacquadio
How to Pick an Online Course
It’s important to find an online digital marketing course that will actually help your business and fulfill your specific needs. Follow these steps when picking an online course:
1. Set Your Budget
Decide if you can only afford a free online course for digital marketing or if you have the budget to spend a little money on a higher-quality course. Remember, by having more education under your belt, you are becoming a more valuable employee or job candidate. You’ll find that investing in quality courses is worth the money.
2. Choose a Topic
Digital marketing has a lot of smaller topics within it. When learning the basics, a digital media marketing free online course could be useful. If you want to learn about a more complicated topic, like SEO, PPC, or content marketing, you’ll want to find a course led by a digital marketing professional. Once you understand digital marketing as a whole, it’s wise to try to deepen your knowledge in specific areas.
3. Research the instructors
This step is an important part of ensuring you are only getting expert advice and instruction. Try to look for a course that is led by an industry thought leader who has years of experience. See how much experience they have teaching a particular subject. Try to find other people who took this course and ask them their thoughts on the instructor. You could even see if there are any online reviews about them.
4. Find out the interface
When taking an online course, you’re going to want one with a user-friendly interface. See if you can request a demo of the online course. If not, look through their website to get a good idea of their technology capabilities. If the institution or brand’s website is hard to use or outdated, this could be an indicator that their courses will be, too.
5. Look at its accommodations
Everyone learns differently, which is why you want to make sure your digital marketing course fits your learning style. If you’re a visual learner, look for one that includes video instruction. If you prefer hands-on instruction, look for a course where you can communicate with the instructor and get feedback. If reading is more your style, then you’ll want a course that has written modules.
6. Find out the schedule and structure
Some online courses happen in real-time, while others are always available. For instance, many websites offer courses that have software that leads you through the modules. Others require you to follow a schedule and actually interact with an instructor. You need to decide which kind of course better fits your style. Likewise, get to know how many students are enrolled in your course. This can help you predict how much hands-on attention you might receive.
7. Determine how much time you have
Some courses take a few weeks to complete, while others only take a matter of hours. Determine how much time you can make for an online course. Likewise, learn if your course is time-sensitive. If you need more flexibility in your schedule, you may want to find a course without deadlines and due dates. If you know you need a motivation booster, then look for a course with more structure.
Whether you decide to take a free or premium digital marketing course is up to you. It may even be helpful to take a combination of the two to get the most out of your time, money, and effort. By following these steps, you can learn how to pick quality online digital marketing courses.