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11 Great Free Online Courses for Digital Marketing

marketing online resolution February 13, 2021


11 Great Free Online Courses for Digital Marketing 1

You don’t need to spend vast sums of money on an MBA to learn the basics of digital marketing. There are plenty of resources on the web to teach you about the many aspects and specializations within this ever-changing field. In this article, we will introduce you to some of the best free online digital marketing courses we’ve found. Rated using our exclusive methodology, we’ve listed them in descending order with our top picks first.

Featured Programs

Disclaimer: Some courses may include an affiliate link. Courses were chosen first based on the methodology with affiliate links only added after the ranking was complete.

Whether you are a first time marketer, small business owner, or experienced entrepreneur, you are sure to find something in this list of free courses that interests you. Following the review, we will answer some frequently asked questions about these free online digital marketing course offerings.

Ranking 11 Free Online Courses for Digital Marketing

1. Fundamentals of Digital Marketing

Offered by Google

There’s no better way to learn digital marketing than through the company that started it all. Google’s free online digital marketing course ranks right at the top of our list with good reason; it covers all aspects of digital marketing for beginners as well as intermediate users and it comes with free certification. Industry-recognized certification through Google is an ideal way to get your profile noticed and add to your skill-set.

This 40-hour free online course in digital marketing features 26 modules and can be completed at your own pace wherever and whenever you want. Each module consists of several lessons that include text, video, and quizzes to test your knowledge. If you don’t want to progress through the entire course you can pick and choose which lessons to add to your individualized learning plan. However, we highly recommend starting from the beginning and progressing step-by-step so you can receive certification.

While we won’t list each module, some of the subjects covered include:

• Building your web presence

• Planning your online business strategy

• Understanding search and how to improve your campaigns

• Getting noticed locally

• Building an online store

• Expanding internationally

• Social media marketing

• Mobile marketing

• Content marketing

• Email marketing

• Advertising and analytics

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes

Time to Complete: 40 hours

Curriculum: Introductory to intermediate

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Upon completion, students will receive an industry-recognized certificate to share on their CV and Linked-in profiles

•Lifetime access

•Quizzes to test your progress

Cons:

•None

2. Inbound Marketing Free Certification Course

Offered by Hubspot Academy

Hubspot Academy’s Inbound Marketing Free Certification Course is a four-hour industry-recognized program meant for digital marketers who want to focus on their inbound efforts. The comprehensive curriculum consists of 10 lessons, 34 videos and 9 quizzes and is designed for beginners. During the free online digital marketing course, students will learn about:

•The fundamentals of inbound marketing

•Planning a long-term content strategy

•Creating blog posts

•Understanding social media promotion

•Developing a conversational growth strategy

•Understanding and creating a conversion optimization strategy

•Lead nurturing

• Aligning sales and marketing

•Applying a customer marketing approach

Upon successful completion, students will be awarded official certification from HubSpot to display on their LinkedIn profile, portfolio, resume, or CV.

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes

Time to Complete: Four hours

Curriculum: Beginner

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

Pros:

•Taught by four engaging instructors

•Excellent user interface

• Industry recognized certification

Cons: 

•Too short

3. Free Diploma in E-Business

Offered by Alison

Alison was developed in 2007 by Mike Feerick and was the first massive online open course (MOOC) platform on the web. With more than six million students registered on the site, this is one of the best free online course providers you will find.

The Diploma in E-Business course helps students build marketing skills through learning Google Analytics and AdWords, search optimization, revenue metrics, analysis, campaign tracking, digital measurement, and more. Over 84,000 students have enrolled in the free online digital marketing course, which takes between six to ten hours to complete. You will need to pass the final assessment with an 80 percent or better grade. Upon completion, you will receive a Learner Achievement Verification Report, or you can opt to purchase a certificate from the site’s online shop for around $20.

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with fee

Time to Complete: Six to ten hours

Curriculum: Beginner

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Recognized leader in online learning

•User-friendly platform

•Video tutorials

Cons:

•Students wishing to obtain a certificate will need to purchase it in the online store

4. Become an Online Marketing Manager

Offered by LinkedIn Learning

This 24 hour course offered through LinkedIn Learning provides students who already understand digital marketing with the skills they need to move up the corporate ladder into management roles. In this free digital marketing online course, students will learn best practices for online marketing, using the latest tools to implement a digital marketing strategy, and how to advertise effectively on social media platforms.

The course features 11 modules covering advance aspects of marketing including:

•Growth hacking

•Advanced branding

•SEO foundations

•Email and newsletter marketing

•Google analytics

•Google AdWords

•Facebook and Twitter

•Sketch for UX design

You can take the course for free if you already have a LinkedIn premium membership (most marketers do) or sign up for a trial and access the classes at no charge for a month.

 Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes

Time to Complete: 24 hours

Curriculum: Intermediate to advanced

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Taught by industry experts

•Receive a completion badge for your profile or CV

•Excellent user interface

Cons:

•Must cancel LinkedIn premium before the trial is up to avoid fees

5. Digital Marekting Strategy

Offered by The University of Edinburgh

This thorough digital marketing course is offered by one of the top universities in Scotland through Edx. By engaging in the training for four to six hours a week, the course can be completed in about 8 weeks. The syllabus is comprehensive. Students who are looking for the most inclusive free curriculum on digital marketing will find this to be one of the top choices.

Certificates for the course can be obtained at the paid level of edX, which is also part of a professional certification. However, the lessons of each module can be audited for free. Auditing the course allows you to read and view all of the content. 

The program is designed to teach users a general understanding of digital marketing at the strategic level as it relates to business. Taught by two instructors from University of Edinburgh, it’s an ideal course to add to your resume or CV.

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with fee

Time to Complete: 10 months

Curriculum: Intermediate

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Comprehensive course syllabus

•Excellent user interface

•Over 7000 students have enrolled in the course

Cons:

•Certification only available at the paid level

6. Digital Strategy and Action

Offered by Babson College through edX

Digital Strategy and Action is a fascinating free online course that will introduce marketers to what big businesses like Amazon, Facebook, Netflix and Google have in common when it comes to digital strategy. In it, students will learn how the CEO’s of these giants pivoted from a simple idea to billions in revenue, and how they keep growing.

The course features inspiring in-depth case studies, including stories about Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings as well as tons of tips, tricks, and advice.

If you’re an entrepreneur or marketer who dares to dream bigger, the course will provide insight into how the world’s biggest leaders in marketing have stayed at the top.

Students can opt for the paid version, which gives them an instructor-signed shareable certificate with the Babson University logo, but this is not a requirement. It can also be taken in its entirety in the audit version for free.

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with fee

Time to Complete: Four weeks

Curriculum: Introductory to Advanced

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Taught by Babson College Lecturer of Strategy Peter Cohan

•Interesting and engaging

•Perfect for those who need a little motivation

Cons:

•You will need to pay to obtain a shareable certificate

7. Digital Media and Marketing Strategies

Offered by the University of Illinois through Coursera

The Digital Media and Marketing Strategies course offered by the University of Illinois is course five in a seven-part specialization in Digital Marketing. Like all Coursera programs, it can be completed in audit mode at no cost or in the paid version. Students who opt for the paid version will receive a completion certificate.

The free 15-hour course in digital marketing will teach you:

• How to optimize your digital assets

• The basics of online and video marketing

• The basics of email and social media marketing

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with fee

Time to Complete: 15 hours

Curriculum: Beginner

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Taught by Mike Yao, Associate Professor of Digital Media

•Part of a 100% online MBA from the University of Illinois

•One of the only free courses with accreditation on our list

Cons:

•You will need to pay to obtain a shareable certificate or earn credit

•Some assignments may not be available in the audit-only mode

8. Digital Marketing Strategy

Offered by Learn@Forbes

11 Great Free Online Courses for Digital Marketing 2

The finance and investing publication has launched its own series of certified online courses, and this one—Digital Marketing Strategy—can be accessed free for 14 days with a trial to Learn by Forbes. The three-hour course is self-paced and covers all of the basic elements of developing a digital marketing strategy, including:

•How to create a digital marketing strategy to meet organizational goals

•Understanding the customer journey and how it applies to digital marketing

•Exploring the use of a digital SWOT in assessing marketing efforts

•Explaining how lessons learned are integrated into digital marketing

•Describing the key ethical and legal issues in digital marketing

This list is just a small sampling of what you will learn in this short, content-rich course. Learning will come easy as you progress through the class which uses case studies, flash cards, and interactive games to help you retain as much information as possible. Upon completion, you will be eligible for a certificate that you can display on your website, CV, resume, or LinkedIn Profile.

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with monthly membership

Time to Complete: Varies

Curriculum: Beginner to Intermediate

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Free subscription gives you unlimited access for 14 days

•Go at your own pace

•Excellent reputation

Cons:

•You can only receive certification behind the paywall

9. Quick Tips and Tricks to Learn Digital Marketing in no Time

Offered by Skillshare

Taught by self-proclaimed digital marketing geek Kapil Chopra, this course contains 37 short lessons that can be accessed for free on the Skillshare platform. The course takes just shy of four hours, and Skillshare offers a free two-month trial so you will have ample time to get through all of the lessons if you choose.

While we won’t list each one, some of the more engaging lessons include:

• How to do keyword research

• How to see if your site is mobile-friendly

• YouTube SEO techniques

• Google AdWords and Analytics

• Email marketing

• Social Media Marketing

Cost: Free for the first two months—$99 per year thereafter

Certificate: No

Time to Complete: Approximately four hours

Curriculum: Introductory

User Experience: Good

Quality of Instruction: Good

Pros:

• Short and easy-to-digest lessons

• Includes a hands-on class project

• Video tutorials

Cons:

• Must cancel the subscription before the two-month trial period ends to avoid being charged a fee.

• Too basic for students looking for a more detailed course

10. Internet Marketing for Smart People

Offered by Copyblogger

Copyblogger has been delivering stellar advice on digital marketing for 16 years, and this course—Internet Marketing for Smart People is created with the same compelling, no-nonsense approach as the rest of their content.

Well-respected, copyblogger has made a name for themselves in the online community as experts in just one major aspect of digital marketing—content strategy. The free online digital marketing course is made up of 20 modules that will be delivered conveniently to your email inbox. Along with that, you will receive eBook bonuses and access to tons of resources on how to use the power of the written word to persuade and influence your audience.

Cost: Free

Certificate: No

Time to Complete: Varies

Curriculum: Introductory to Intermediate

User Experience: Good

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Learn from the experts in digital content marketing

•Easy sign up

•Lots of extras

Cons:

•The course is delivered via email so you have to wait for each new installment

11. The Beginners Guide to Online Marketing

Offered by Quicksprout University

Quicksprout’s tagline is “Get Your MBA in Digital Marketing for Free,” and this excellent platform is packed full of resources to help you learn all there is to know to be successful. Founded in 2008 by marketing expert Neil Patel, the platform is run by a group of talented entrepreneurs and led by Lars Lofgren.

The platform provides an endless amount of information concerning everything related to internet and digital marketing. However, if you want to learn the ropes and then some, this is the place to start. The Beginners Guide to Online Marketing is part course, part e-book, and contains 13 guides to help you master every aspect of digital marketing.

For those who love learning at their own pace, Quicksprout is the ideal platform to jump in wherever you want and start your journey to digital marketing mastery.

Cost: Free

Certificate: No

Time to Complete: Varies

Curriculum: Beginner

User Experience: Good

Quality of Instruction: Good

Pros:

•Exhaustive list of articles and resources

•Go at your own pace

•Excellent reputation

Cons:

•No syllabus or quizzes

•Unstructured

Frequently Asked Questions About Free Digital Marketing Courses

The proliferation of free online digital marketing courses and MOOC’s is a result of the tech-based world we now live in. You do not have to look very far to find classes, lectures, tutorials, and videos offering training in online marketing. And you do not need to get a degree to specialize in this field. Many marketers are self-taught.

Classes are often offered through large companies like Google and Microsoft but can also be found within smaller businesses and organizations. While online marketing can seem like a mystery, unraveling it is simple with the number of resources available at no cost.

If you are thinking of pursuing a career in digital marketing, you probably have a few questions about taking a free course. In this section, we will try to answer a few of the most frequent inquiries about MOOCs.

Who Should Take Free Digital Marketing Courses?

In most instances, free digital marketing courses are available to anyone who wants to participate. If you are interested in a career in digital marketing or you are a seasoned marketer looking to beef up your resume, there is something out there for you. Some students take courses to get a promotion or switch employers. Freelancers often take digital marketing classes to add to their skillset and increase their earnings, and business owners who want to grow their brands take digital marketing courses to become familiar with new concepts.

What Are the Requirements and Prerequisites?

Generally speaking, enrollment in a free online digital marketing course does not require previous training. However, If you want to succeed, you should at least have basic computer and typing skills and a rudimentary understanding of the various digital marketing avenues that are available to you.

Will I Earn College Credits by Taking an MOOC?

While most free online courses in digital marketing do not offer college credits, there are exceptions. Some of the courses on our list, such as those taken through edX, are part of a broader marketing specialization where users can earn University credit. When in doubt, you should check the enrollment materials carefully to see if you can get credit for your work.

How Long Do Free Online Courses Take?

The majority of free online courses in digital marketing are self-paced, and the duration is not set in stone. Typically, you will find an estimate of the time to complete each course, but most students schedule the lessons around their lives, rather than the other way around. We feature courses that take anywhere from a few hours to a few months or more.

Are Free Online Courses Graded?

While most of the courses offered are not manually graded, you will often find auto-graded quizzes as part of the lessons. Usually, you can take them over again until you get the score you want. Classes that have paid components like certificates of completion will often also have a final graded exam or capstone project. Passing grades are what will earn you certification.

Are There Specific Start Times and Deadlines for Free Online Classes?

Usually not. That’s one of the best things about online courses—their flexibility. Although some classes have set times when they begin, students can almost always progress at their own pace, working anytime that is convenient for them. Sometimes assignments will have deadlines to keep students from lagging or losing interest, but for the most part, you can take classes at your leisure.

The Course I Want to Take Says It’s Free. Why Does It Look Like There Is a Fee Involved?

Sometimes, you will find graded components or completion certificates behind a paywall. This means you might be offered a trial or a membership fee that gives you unlimited access to a learning platform’s course catalog.

A lot of MOOC’s offer both paid and free enrollment options:

Paid Courses — With paid courses you usually have access to special bonus content like capstone projects, graded exams, or certificates of completion.

Free Courses — With free courses, students can audit the course materials at no charge but may not be graded or certified. 

Unless you must have a certificate of completion, there is no need to pay for the paywalled elements of any of the courses listed. If you need a certificate but can’t afford it, some platforms do offer financial aid, discounts, or scholarships.

Are Free Digital Marketing Courses Worth It?

Taking some free digital marketing courses online is well worth every minute of time spent. Whether you are looking to show off some new skills to a current or former employer or you want to learn more about how digital marketing works, you absolutely can’t go wrong with this topic. The world will continue moving forward with technology whether you choose to learn about it or not. Old methods of marketing will be left by the wayside as new and innovative methods take their place. For those willing to put in the time and effort that self-study requires, the future rewards will be well worth it. 

OCR Staff

March 2020

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