The world of online marketing is always evolving. So, whether you’re fresh out of school or a grizzled veteran it pays to stay on top of the latest marketing trends and to learn new skills.
That’s where online courses can be vital to your career.
There are a growing number of online certifications for marketers who want to add new lines to their resume, whether it’s email marketing, advertising, SEO, social media, or analytics.
The nature of the courses vary. Some offer free certification, others don’t. Some are open to anyone whereas others require a membership. In this list, we’ll break down the pros and cons of each course so you can choose your time wisely. After all, you don’t want to spend 20 hours completing an online class only to realize you have to pay $200 for the certification.
Here’s our list of the best online marketing courses with certifications.
1. Google AdWords Certification
AdWords is one of the most comprehensive ways for businesses to advertise their products and services and any marketing professional could benefit from knowing how to create an effective online advertisement.
There are a number of companies out there offering excellent AdWords courses with certification. Many of them also charge you hundreds of dollars for the privilege.
But the best one comes, conveniently, right from Google themselves. The best part? It’s free to take the courses and to get certified.
Here’s what you need to do to get AdWords certified:
- Register (for free) to Google Partners here.
- Click on the AdWords Fundamentals Exam and take the free online course (remember to take notes!).
- Take the AdWords Fundamentals exam and one additional exam. A Passing score of 80% or more is required. For your second exam, choose a course that most applies to your marketing role or interests. You can choose from Search, Display, Shopping, Video (YouTube), or Mobile advertising.
- Once you pass your exams you can share your certification via your personalized certificate or your public profile page on Google Partners.
- These certifications are valid for one year, so make sure you add a reminder in your calendar to retake the exams next year.
Get started with Google AdWords here.
2. HubSpot Email Marketing Certification
If Google is the undisputed champ of search engines, then HubSpot is their inbound marketing equivalent. HubSpot provides a suite of software that is all optimized for attracting customers and converting leads.
One of HubSpot’s strengths is their powerful email marketing software for creating beautiful email templates and then letting you test and tweak your emails to optimize results. However, even if you don’t use HubSpot and favor another service like MailChimp or MailerLite, you can still learn a ton from HubSpot’s email marketing course.
The course will take you around 3.5 hours and covers topics like email design, deliverability, and analytics to help get the most out of your email list. Since HubSpot are marketing wizards, you’ll find that the course modules are beautifully designed and easy to follow.
Here’s what you need to know to get HubSpot certified:
- The exam is 60 questions and you’ll have 90 minutes to complete it.
- You need to score a 75 or above for a passing grade.
- Your certification is valid for 25 months after completing the exam.
Begin the HubSpot email marketing certification here.
3. SEO Training Course by Moz
Search engine optimization. It’s a term that people have heard hundreds of times but you can rarely find someone able to explain how to do it right. One reason SEO is so complicated is that Google is secretive with how they rank webpages.
At last count, Google uses around 200 factors to determine where a page ends up in someone’s Google search. Some are obvious, like being readable and related to the user’s search terms. Others are more obscure, such as the many ways Google penalizes sites for acting spammy.
Moz has been a trusted source of tools and information on SEO for over a decade. They’ve even created their own scoring system to determine a website’s search rank. Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) are two metrics very popular in the marketing world and they were both developed by Moz.
Now Moz has made their techniques available for all to learn via a free course on Udemy. All Udemy courses come with a PDF certification that you can download and show off to your boss or grandmother.
Here’s how to get certified:
After the intense study and examination process of the Google and HubSpot courses, you’ll be relieved to learn that this class is offered in the form of casual videos with no formal test at the end. Just make a Udemy account, watch the 3.5 hours of lectures, take some notes, and try out these techniques the next time you’re crafting content for a website.
Make your free Udemy account and start the course here.
4. Social Media Marketing Courses on Lynda
Social media is probably the most fickle part of online marketing. Platforms are constantly changing their policies, adding features, getting bought out and dropping off the face of the earth. To do your job as a marketer you have to find a way to keep up with all of that to provide quality content and effectively manage your clients (and your own) social media accounts.
Lynda.com has been dishing out quality tutorials for years. When I was learning video editing in college I learned more from Lynda than I did from my actual professors.
On their website, you’ll find an abundance of social media courses. At the time of writing this, there are 33 courses with 932 video tutorials all about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and more.
The one catch is that Lynda.com isn’t free. You’ll have to pay a $20 monthly membership. However, there are a few ways to get Lynda for free. First, check your local library–many of them offer free memberships to their patrons. (Hint: many large cities offer this perk, so ask your family and friends as well if you can access theirs.) Alternatively, many colleges and universities offer memberships to their students, but with the cost of tuition these days I would be remiss if I said you were getting anything for free.
Get started by heading to Lynda.com.
5. Google Analytics Certifications
Google Analytics is an invaluable tool for anyone with a website or blog. There’s a massive amount of information you can learn and use in Analytics. Among them:
- Who your visitors are–their location, the language they speak, the browser they use, and so on
- Which websites send traffic to your site
- Which marketing techniques bring the most visitors to your website
- The number of conversions your website creates
- The content that is the most popular on your website
With this information you can run detailed reports to better understand your customers and how they interact with your website. No other company in the world has as much data as Google. Analytics is a way for you to put all of that data to work in your favor.
However, with all that data comes a steep learning curve, making Analytics a difficult (but not impossible) tool to master.
So, here’s how to get certified:
- If you haven’t already, go make a free Google Partners account.
- Head to the Google Analytics Academy and take the free Analytics for Beginners course.
- Access the Analytics Demo to start familiarizing yourself with the interface.
- Analytics is a very complex tool, so don’t get frustrated if it seems like you aren’t getting anywhere. Visit forums or the Analytics blog to get answers to your questions.
- Take the Advanced Google Analytics course to learn the finer details of what Analytics can do, and make sure to use these examples in real life to solidify your knowledge.
- Finally, get certified by taking the free Google Analytics Individual Qualification Exam from your Google Partners account page.
You’ll have 90 minutes to complete the exam and will need a passing score of 80% or more. Your certification will be valid for 18 months before you need to re-certify. If you don’t pass the exam on your first try, you can retake it after seven days.
Get Analytics certified for free here.
That’s it! And remember: the best way to master these skills–SEO, email marketing, social media, Analytics and Adwords–is to practice them as you learn.