The digital marketing world can be an extremely competitive landscape to break into as a student or recent graduate. With hundreds of your peers having the same qualifications and levels of experience, it’s important to give yourself the edge to stand out to potential employers if you want to find work in the industry.
There are a number of different ways to achieve this. One being gaining relevant industry experience and proving that you can put your newly learned skills into practice, or, you can do this by building a strong CV/LinkedIn profile of knowledge and additional certifications that prove you have a widened knowledge base and are willing to put in the extra time to learn necessary skills.
As a student or recent graduate, I understand it’s not always easy to fund additional courses or qualifications when you’re already sitting under mountains of student debt, so here’s a list of my top 5 free online digital marketing learning resources that I’ve tried, tested, and love.
1. HubSpot Academy
HubSpot is a platform offering marketing, sales, customer service and CRM software, as well as methodology, resources and support for students or those just starting out in marketing and wanting to gain skills and knowledge. HubSpot Academy is now a world class leader offering free, online training courses in topics such as inbound marketing, sales, customer service, and content management.
Every course offered by HubSpot Academy is designed and presented by leading experts, and are made up of short, bite size explanatory videos and slides, and accompanied by workbooks and transcripts for optional additional learning. You are also given the opportunity to join virtual study groups for additional learning and support. With an easy to navigate, fool proof interface and simple checklist system, it’s so easy to use and keep track of your progress.
Courses are available on:
- Inbound Marketing
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Inbound Sales
- And many more!
A big part of their ethos is making sure people are aware of the latest business and marketing trends, so that their knowledge and businesses are always up to date. For this reason, many of their courses and certifications have an expiry date – after which the learner will have to retake the course and test to accommodate for any updated information or changes to the industry – as we all know too well that the digital marketing landscape is rapidly changing every day.
What’s great and unique about the video content on these courses is the personal touch from each of the industry experts, who share how they have grown, what problems they have faced and how they tackled them from personal experience.
2. Google Digital Garage
Google Digital Garage is a non-profit learning resource that delivers free digital skills through an online e-learning platform. It has been designed and built by digital industry experts and is offered free, world wide and accessible to anyone wanting to get into digital marketing, upskill or refresh their learning on the topics.
The fundamentals of digital marketing is a 40 hour long course, accredited by the Open University, made up of 26 comprehensive modules such as building your web presence, how to be noticed in search ads, deep dive into social media, the possibilities of mobile, email marketing, video marketing, e-commerce, analytics and more.
Offering full flexibility from start to finish, the detailed examples and online resources provided throughout are next to none and you will learn something regardless of what level you’re at. With a no barrier entry, you can quickly sign up, get started, and work through at your own pace.
One of it’s best features was the interactive walkthrough of Google Analytics in particular, allowing you hands-on practice at a programme you otherwise wouldn’t get to use yourself until working on a live campaign. This really helps to build confidence as you learn to navigate the programme personally – rather than just watching videos or following screenshots as is often the case.
The video tutorials are short, interesting, and accompanied with regular knowledge tests to keep you on track with your learning and keep an eye on your progress. Upon completion you are awarded with a certificate that can be digitally linked to your LinkedIn profile for employers and colleagues to view.
3. Semrush Academy
SEMrush academy is a free online learning resource created to help people improve their skills in digital marketing, including SEO, content marketing, email marketing, SMM and much more. The courses are great for any and all levels, whether you’re a beginner trying to get a taste of digital marketing for the first time, or an experienced learner hoping to refresh your knowledge.
Semrush is an all in one online tool suite designed to help improve online visibility and discover marketing and competitor insights. The academy also dedicates resources to help users learn how to use their tools to improve their website rankings or business SEO, as Semrush is currently one of the most popularly used SEO tools in industry.
The courses are made up of short, engaging videos and can be completed in most cases within one hour. This is a really effective resource to grow your knowledge and progress your skills in digital marketing. Each course is tested with around 25 multiple choice answers, and after scoring at least 70% or higher, you will be awarded with a certificate that can be digitally added to your LinkedIn profile and easily viewed by peers and potential employers.
4. Linkedin Learning *
Linkedin Learning is one of the leading online learning platforms currently available. With over 16,000 courses across a variety of industries including Business, creative and technology. Unfortunately it is not a free platform and you do have to pay monthly for LinkedIn premium to avail of the resources long term – however, during your one month free trial of premium you have full, unrestricted access to every learning course on offer. I strongly recommend saving your free trial until such times when you have time to dedicate to the courses you want to complete, plan out what you want to get done, and work through as much as you can, while you can. Alternatively there is an option to purchase individual courses one at a time rather than paying for the full access monthly subscription, but if you’re trying to save the money, it’s best to cram what you can into your free trial period.
What’s great about the Linkedin Learning courses is that you can download the courses to the mobile app to view online, so you can learn anywhere on the go, without needing an internet connection. The courses are self paced and allow you to go back and revisit anything you want to refresh your knowledge on after completion. At the end you will earn a certificate of completion that shows on your LinkedIn profile.
Every course is created by subject matter experts who collaborate with LinkedIn Learning to create incredibly high quality learning experiences. The courses are presented through industry expert led videos and practice exercises that keep you engaged and interested throughout.
Finally, Linkedin Learning uses an algorithm to offer you personalised recommendations for courses, based on your existing skills and interests. This is so helpful in finding what courses are going to be of benefit to you without having to navigate through the thousands of existing courses available.
edX is an online university-level education resource provided by American universities Harvard and MIT. It hosts thousands of courses across any profession or discipline you could possibly wish to learn about, all though online and easy to follow sources. Courses are free to take, and you are provided with a certificate of completion upon accomplishment, that can be downloaded or shared directly to your LinkedIn profile as a certification. If you so wish, there is an option to pay and receive an official qualification certificate, however you have access to the same resources and support system with or without paying the fee.
At present, there are over 40 digital marketing courses on edX from different providers that look at all aspects of digital marketing from analytics, campaign planning, design, ecommerce, consumer relationships and more. The courses are created and taught by some of the top-ranked universities and industry-leading companies in the world.
Upon enrolling, you are assigned a lecturer who is available for support, gain access to bite sized video lectures that have been pre recorded for you to watch at your own pace, knowledge tests and a support form to communicate with other students on the course, and the necessary exams as and when you are ready for them. It is only necessary to complete these lectures and exams within a certain time frame if you have chosen to pay for the qualification at the end, otherwise you can work through in your free time and still gain a certificate of completion for your records.
Bonus: Digital 24
Digital 24 run regular online webinars in collaboration with the council and leading organisations in Northern Ireland that are free to attend and fully interactive. Learn about things such as:
- Video marketing
- Optimising your ecommerce platforms
- Social media marketing
- Google My Business
- And so much more!
Keep an eye on our Linkedin and Instagram accounts for upcoming free webinars that you can sign up for and start advancing your skills and knowledge.
You can also join our closed Facebook group Digital 24 Academy – This group is meant for anyone who has attended a Digital Twenty Four training session or conference and wants to avail of getting access to the presentation slides or additional support. It is also a hub for people who want to learn digital marketing so ask questions, network and share relevant industry content as you wish.