How To Find The Right Digital Marketing Course For You
You’re looking for the right digital marketing class. Maybe you just graduated from college and you’re finding out that the textbook you read for Business Communications 201 was 10 years behind. Or, you’ve had a long, successful career in marketing and you’re finally waking up to realize that consumer attention has shifted away from glossy magazine ads and 30-second TV spots. Whatever the case, you know you need to educate yourself in the tactics and strategies of digital marketing.
A quick Google search for digital marketing classes has you swimming through a sea of social media video tutorials, ebooks priced anywhere from free to $99, and a few courses that look like you might actually learn something from them. You don’t know where to start. You’re looking to invest real time and money, but you want to ensure that you make the right choice and see a bit of payoff for your efforts.
To make your course decision easier, you first need to define your goals, designate a budget, and determine what portion of your schedule you can dedicate to class time. Once you’ve set your parameters, finding the digital marketing course that fits your needs will be much simpler.
Define Your Digital Marketing Education Goals
Even though digital marketing might sound like its own niche subgenre of marketing, it is still a very broad term with a number of disciplines that fall under it. Picking which specific category of digital marketing you want to learn about most will help you narrow down your search. The main categories include…
- Content Marketing
- Data Science
- Digital Strategy
- Search Engine Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media
- Web Analytics
Once you’ve selected a category, you need to deploy self awareness and ascertain what level of knowledge or skill you have in your chosen area. Are you a complete beginner who barely knows the basic definition of content marketing? Maybe you’re 18 months into a position where you manage digital ads—you’ve got the basics down but could really use a dose of strategy to increase the value you’re bringing to the business. If you’re in a managerial role, you might just need an overview course to understand what the team next door is working on and how it relates to your team’s vision.
If you’re not sure where you’re at, take the humble step and ask your boss or colleague what they think you need to improve. Knowing whether to sign up for a beginner, intermediate, or advanced class is key to getting the most out of your time.
Another thing to consider as you peruse course descriptions is how you could apply the course content directly to your daily tasks. Ask yourself whether you can implement the thought leadership from the class into your existing marketing programs. Find out if starting a new campaign inspired by a course will be feasible.
By selecting your specific digital marketing niche, determining your knowledge pain points, and envisioning how you might execute on new insights gained from a course, you’ve made your goals clear.
Determine Your Course Budget
Digital marketing courses can range in price anywhere from $25 to $3,500. Spending more doesn’t automatically guarantee you’ll learn the most. The crucial component is making a purchase that fits with your budget and aligns with your learning goals. A $69/month subscription to Smart Insights that provides you with full access to an online set of content marketing resources might be the perfect way to master the practice at your own pace. Or, if you want a deep dive into six months of data-driven marketing and web analytics, spending $3,500 for the ADMA Analytics Certificate Course may be your best bet.
If you’re spending your own money, it’s a good practice to look at your monthly budget. You can get more perspective on the price tag on an expensive course if you divide the cost by the number of months it will take to complete. Ultimately, you know that spending money on a digital marketing course is an investment in your career that can bring you greater value in the future. Saying goodbye to your daily $6 smoothie for a couple months to make room in your budget and advance your education is going to pay off.
Your employer might also be willing to pay for a marketing course. Many companies have a designated budget for employee training and skills improvement. It won’t hurt to ask your boss if there are resources available to use towards a course. Even if the answer is a ‘no’ you’ll have shown your boss that you’re a proactive employee and eager learner.
Ask Yourself “How Much Time Do I Have?”
Paying for an online course is different than buying the latest bestselling business book. You can’t sign up on a whim only to let your course collect dust on the proverbial shelf. Digital marketing courses require enrollment, which means showing up on time and participating consistently.
Some courses are formatted like a workshop, taking up most of one or two days. Others require that you sign in every day and dedicate a few hours. Take a look at your schedule. A free weekend works well with an all day course. If you don’t have evening responsibilities, you’ll be able to dedicate your nights to diving into the latest digital marketing trends.
For some people, family responsibilities and community events take up too much of their time for them to fit additional education into their evenings or weekends. Courses designed in a go-at-your-own-pace format will suit the over committed. If you’re creative, you can fit a course like this into your lunch breaks or the half hour before you head to bed.
Once you’ve found the course that fits with your goals, budget, and schedule, all that’s left is to sign up and dig in. The world of digital marketing can be a confusing space, especially if you’re new to it. A digital marketing course can be just the right solution to make sense of the chaos and get you well on your way to improving your career prospects.