Before there was the Internet, marketing was simply called marketing. There are many types of it and they are all still alive these days and mostly doing well – billboards, print ads, TV and radio ads, direct mail, and telemarketing – to mention some of them. The one thing that differentiates what is now called offline from digital marketing is that it is NOT delivered online. Duh! OK, we got that difficult distinction out of the way.
Before we can attempt to answer what the best online course on digital marketing is, there are some other questions we need to ask, such as what are the different types of digital marketing? There are many ways that online marketing can be grouped and divided. The most important way to look at it is by the delivery channel the message reaches the target audience:
- Social Media Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
Within those types of channels, your marketing can be paid or free as well as inbound or outbound. Paid marketing can happen on any channel in some way, but the most common and simplest example is when you run ads on Google or Microsoft’s Bing. If someone searches for “best blue widget”, your blue widgets ad can come up at the top of the search results. This is called SEM or search engine marketing.
Content marketing is typically free. Well, nothing is truly free but free in a sense that you spend time creating it and you’re not paying for any advertising placement. This is when you create relevant content for your specific audiences such as on a blog or a YouTube channel that covers your particular topic. Then within that content, you can have many different ways of monetizing it. You may be running ads, selling your own products, courses, or subscriptions, or you could be promoting other people’s products for a commission. This last one is called affiliate marketing and is another major type of online marketing.
I’ve mentioned inbound and outbound marketing. Content marketing is a type of inbound marketing as it attracts the audience to your content, whereas outbound marketing is more traditional. When you run a Google ad, which is the most traditional and the closest equivalent to the ole offline marketing, you are reaching out to your potential customers. You place your ads where your audience is instead of waiting for them to find you. That would be outbound.
- Social Media Marketing
- Why Social Marketing Works
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Paid Marketing
- Combining It All
- Choosing The Best Courses
- Best Online Digital Marketing Courses
- Diving Deeper
Social Media Marketing
The goals of marketing are the same across all channels. You may be selling your own products or services, generating leads for your business, or just creating your brand awareness. Similarly, you could be doing all of this for another company or companies, usually monetizing through affiliate marketing.
The most popular types of social media channels are:
When we talk about social media, we first think of Facebook and Twitter. Even though YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, after their parent company Google, we don’t think of it as a search engine but as a social media platform. Social media is any network where people can connect. So thanks to all the social interaction through comments, YouTube ticks that box as well.
Why Social Marketing Works
Remember that people don’t really buy products. People buy from people. They buy the stories they are told. They buy you. They buy themselves – better versions and visions of themselves. This is one of the main reasons that social media is important because you can interact with your customers or at least show your human side to them.
There is also the whole issue of social proof. Customers want to see other people liking the product. Even just talking about it is akin to a testimonial about its quality. And that contains some of the FOMO – the fear of missing out. When you see others enjoying something, you want to have it too.
Social media simply works and it works on so many different levels that it should not be ignored.
Some of the best-known examples of content marketing are:
It really is as simple as its name – you create content that attracts your audience and then you market to them in some way or you somehow monetize that traffic.
If you think of traditional offline marketing, for example, a magazine, it may be easier to understand content marketing. When you buy a car magazine, the reason for buying it is the content – you want to read about the latest models, coolest technological breakthroughs, people in the industry, and related subjects such as local travel. All the ads in that magazine are going to be related to the topic. They will be about cars, car parts, and all types of car services such as car insurance. You’re not going to see any ads for teenage girls. It’s all more or less targeted.
This is not at all different from having a blog, a YouTube channel, Twitter following, or running a Facebook group or a page. People flock around a specific interest and the more niche and narrow that topic is, the better. A highly targeted interest will bring fewer people but they’ll be more engaged because you’ll be speaking more directly to what’s important to them.
Blogging has been around for a while and is relatively the easiest way of doing content marketing. YouTube is an excellent way of doing it and doing both is literally the best of both worlds. With both of these approaches, it all comes down to having the right titles, descriptions, and keywords so that you can be found by the search engines. Or to be more exact, you get indexed by the search engines (Google, Bing, YouTube) and your well-selected keywords enable you to be found by your target audience.
The upside of content marketing is that it’s within everyone’s reach. Anybody can write a blog, post videos, or write an ebook. Sure, you need to know what you’re doing, but it’s not that hard. One of the most important skills for it is SEO or search engine optimization and that is taught in just about every course. If you stick with it and keep being prolific and patient, you will eventually have results. The downside is that it can take a long time to garner some attention. Still, it is a great way to start.
At this point, it starts to get complicated as all of these channels and types of marketing tend to overlap and include one another. For many businesses, email marketing is in a way the final goal. The actual ultimate goal is to get your customers to know you, like you, and trust you. By the time you have someone subscribed to your mailing list, they have probably interacted with you and got to know you using other media channels. This is achieved over time and once you have all those know-like-trust ducks in a row, all you need to do is send an email to announce a new product or service and many of those on the list will make a purchase.
So when we talk about email marketing, we are at first talking about building a list. And to build a list, you typically use one of the other marketing channels mentioned earlier. So what happens once you have them on the list? The more important topic then becomes nurturing the list. You can’t just bombard people with the offers, although some people do. They end up burning out their lists so they have to keep adding new people all the time. Smart marketers don’t do that and they are more focused on long-term results and getting to that highly coveted trust level.
A major advantage of email marketing is that, unlike on social media, you can target different segments of your audience. To keep your audience engaged or at least interested, you need to send them messages they are interested in. So, if for example, you teach online marketing, some of your audience is going to be brand new to that, some are going to be intermediate users, and others advanced. Each group will have very different needs and problems to resolve. If you have a YouTube channel, all you can do is publish a video and label it as being for a beginner. But all your subscribers will see it and two-thirds of them will have to ignore it. Using email, you can send emails only to those you’ve identified as beginners.
Another major advantage of having a mailing list is that you become more independent. Having a YouTube channel or running a Facebook group or Tweeting is all done on someone else’s platform. There can be dozens of reasons, legitimate, mysterious, or even malicious, where your account can get suspended or shut down, your fault or not. It’s simply that when you’re running a business on somebody else’s platform, you are not in control. With email, you’re in charge forever and ever, as long as your customers stay subscribed to your mailing list.
Whichever types of marketing or channels you are using, your goal should always be building your mailing list because that can become your bread and butter. It can easily grow into your biggest moneymaker and it will work as insurance against all kinds of problems and make your business more future-proof.
Obviously, paid marketing is reserved for those with an advertising budget. If you are a small company or working on your own, maybe you won’t have the resources to use it. And that’s fine because you’ll be more than likely throwing your money away unless you know exactly what you’re doing – it is hardly a magical tool. Not only that you need to know how to apply it but you also need to know when. It is best used to scale your business, so not before you’ve already established some of the other channels.
Some of the best known paid marketing options are:
- Google AdSense
- Bing Ads
- Facebook Ads
- Twitter’s Promoted Tweets
- LinkedIn Sponsored InMail
Of course, these are just some of the platforms. Wherever there’s traffic and there are people, there is bound to be an opportunity to run paid ads. If you have a YouTube channel, you can run AdWords for video. You pay to have your video played usually before or after another video or have your video show up in the search results. This is one of the ways to get new subscribers to your channel.
But what good is paying to get someone over to your channel if you don’t have enough content on your channel to keep them subscribed? What results would you have from having someone like your Facebook page if it’s sparse and you’re not adding new content regularly? These are all arguable questions, and my point is only that there is such a thing as the right time for paid marketing and that you shouldn’t rush it.
One great advantage of paid advertising is that it can save you time. Rather than writing blog posts and letting them sit for a year to gain traction on Google, you can get eyeballs to your product or service today. This is also a great way to find out if your advertising message is tailored properly. Maybe there are issues with your product or some problems with the process and paid advertising may be the fastest way to find out about it.
Online marketing can be a very complex machine and getting all the parts working in sync is a process itself. Being able to get data from testing is one of the most important aspects of it. If you are running a side business while working a full-time job, maybe you’re not in a hurry to get fast results. But time is always money and knowing what you’re doing right or wrong and getting more traffic now will usually be the key to growing your business faster.
But as I said, you may be at a point where you or your channels are just not ready for paid options yet. The good thing is that you can start slowly with most of them. Some of them, like AdSense, can get pretty expensive, but others like Facebook Ads can be run on a very small budget. And there are some almost magical features such as retargeting that can be combined between different paid ad platforms to get some amazing exposure and consequently results.
Combining It All
All businesses have different needs and a typical one can benefit from using all or most of these channels. Those who want the best possible results will use many of them in unison. That’s why it’s important for you to get to know several ways of doing digital marketing. And if you are new, you may not even know what those ways are, so you need to start by general education in all that’s available and then decide what is right for you.
Maybe you already know that you’re personally not interested in Twitter or that YouTube is not the best delivery medium for your message. If you’re absolutely sure, that’s fine – skip or fast forward thru those and focus on the others. You should aim to have a mix of different types. Having a website or a blog together with Facebook and the addition of YouTube or Twitter is a great combination.
If you have some money to play with, the sooner you can get to paid advertising, the better. Otherwise, just leave it for later. And either way, make sure you have some of the basic elements in place before you start spending your hard earned money.
Remember that things change online all the time and they change relatively fast compared to the offline world. Strategies that worked three years ago may no longer be effective at all. While there are some evergreen approaches such as around email marketing, a lot of tactics will get worn out and you’ll need to deploy different procedures for attracting customers. So don’t neglect this fact and keep educating yourself.
Choosing The Best Courses
I learned many various digital marketing methods as I needed them, so I never signed up for any single major training. Instead, I took countless courses over the years and spent thousands of dollars for them! These business courses can get very expensive!
As I set out to make this review roundup, I really wasn’t sure what I was going to recommend to you. I was worried about pricing as well as the guys who run them. And being that there are so many kinds of digital marketing, I figured it will be impossible to pick out any singular courses that we can refer to as best online marketing training. I didn’t even know there were any mega courses out there.
I must say that I was pleasantly surprised to find several courses that encompass all the different types of marketing I outlined above and much more. I like that they are all in one place which will make your learning process much easier. And those are not the only advantages!
The prices of these courses are way – and I mean waaay – lower than if you were to take separate courses on private platforms and membership sites. So you are literally saving thousands (not hundreds, thousands) of dollars right out of the gate.
Another important thing that I mentioned is that things change – they change often and fast. These courses are regularly updated with the latest information which is not always the case in the Wild West of online education.
So, giddy-up and let’s see what they have to offer!
Best Online Digital Marketing Courses
The Complete Digital Marketing Course – 12 Courses in 1
Master digital marketing and grow your new or existing business, earn money from home as a freelance and affiliate marketer or get a high-paying job in digital marketing.
This “12 courses in 1” curriculum was designed to take a beginner through useful and applicable real-life skills all the way up to the advanced user level. If you first look at the sections of this course, you can clearly see that it covers all the areas that I’ve mentioned in the introduction and a few more:
- Email Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
- YouTube Marketing
- Facebook Marketing
- Twitter Marketing
- Quora Marketing
- Google Ads
- Google Analytics
- Instagram Marketing
- Pinterest Marketing
- LinkedIn Marketing
- Facebook Ads
- App Marketing
Some of the skills you will gain with this course are:
- Avoid the usual costly mistakes that beginners make
- Perform market research and define your audience
- Create a WordPress website quickly with no programming skills
- Become a copywriter and write effective sales copy
- Build a large mailing list fast
- Get indexed and found in the search engines
- Get traffic and sales with YouTube
- Build a Twitter following
- Get organic Facebook likes
- Become an authority on Quora
- Create profitable Google Adwords ads
This curriculum covers just about everything I mentioned earlier. The only thing I would add is Bing advertising. But they do talk about Google Ads plenty and the two are very similar so it’s easy to swap one for the other. Bing is just less expensive and would make more sense for you to start with. And then this course adds a few other gems such as Quora and app marketing. There is nothing missing here.
Rob Percival is a well-known teacher and web developer with a mathematics degree from Cambridge. He switched from being a school teacher to creating websites and then to teaching programming online. Rob was the first mega-million-earning instructor on Udemy with his web coding courses.
Daragh Walsh is a digital marketing expert who knows first hand about SEO, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing, WordPress, Google Analytics. Like Rob, he has been teaching marketing online for many years now.
At the time of my review, this course was attended by a quarter million students! Yes, that’s not a typo – that’s 250 thousand people. I have never seen a course like that on Udemy. It’s not a surprise being that Rob has been a number one or two top instructors there for a long time and Daragh is well-versed in his areas of expertise. And this is a very hot subject that so many people want to learn for many different reasons. Here are some of the reviews:
“I was able to double my website traffic just by implementing the SEO part of the course as well as the copywriting section. I became a better writer by using keyword analytics, which gave me a better idea of what to talk about in the most efficient way possible.”
“I started the course with zero knowledge of Digital Marketing. Now I’m well equipped with the concepts to start a professional career in digital marketing. The course content, resources, and the pace are well suited to the student needs. The response to the questions is amazing and very helpful.”
“I tried so many online lectures, However after I have started with the lectures the maximum time that I used to spend was only 15 mins, as I used to get bored cos they were theoretical. I am loving this course. Its lot more informative and many things are shown in a kind of simulations. It keeps me glued in front of my laptop n simultaneously I also try it on another webpage.”
“I have taken several Udemy courses, and this is the best course I have taken. I would highly recommend this course.”
If this course is up your alley, this many students and over fifty thousand reviews combined with Udemy’s money-back guarantee make this an easy decision.
Digital Marketing Masterclass: Get Your First 1,000 Customers
This masterclass will show you how to get your first one thousand customers using social media marketing, content marketing, and video marketing.
One of the reasons I selected this course is that it is actually the second best-selling digital marketing course on Udemy. The second reason is that it is a quality course and lastly because it has a slightly different approach. I really like the idea that it has such a specific goal already set out in its name. And I like how it tackles the challenges of marketing.
What this course promises to teach you is:
- How to use social media marketing with Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat
- Promotion through Reddit, Product Hunt, and Hacker News
- How to get covered in blogs, news outlets, and other media sites
- To create, manage, and promote your blog posts
- Creating and promoting video content through YouTube and your own site
- Building a long term SEO strategy
- How to run ad campaigns using Google, Bing, and Facebook
Taking any course that delves both wide and deep and especially with such interconnected topics can be quite overwhelming. I know that I would be fairly intimidated by it. Not by taking the course – that is the easy part. Anyone can sit back, hit play, and watch the presentation. But that’s not why you are taking this or any other course, I hope.
The hard part is applying it and being patient in getting results. It is difficult to stick with the program and systematically build your business and your marketing effort in a way that will give you the best and fastest results. And this is exactly where this course excels.
If you take a look at how the sections in this course are organized, I think it will be immediately clear that this is something different and better:
- Get your first 10
- Get your first 100
- Take a break
- Get your first 500
- Content Marketing
- Video Marketing
- Landing pages & lead magnets
- Get your first 1000
I prefer training like this one that takes me by the hand in the best possible chronological order. This reduces the amount of stress, helps you remember and master each area, and increases the chances of you getting the results you want, assuming your goal is to be successful in what you’re doing.
These are some of the comments the students had after taking the course:
“One of the ultimate digital marketing courses in Udemy. The instructor goes wide while providing in-depth explanations for every marketing strategies. It’s really comprehensive and it’s fun. That was a great experience.”
“Brilliant course packed full of information with loads of links to secondary reading and examples. The follow-along section is a great idea and the delivery makes what could be a dry, very ‘corporate-speak’ subject engaging.”
“The information is solid, well presented, and Evan is hilarious! :)”
“I have also viewed other course on Udemy but this one is above my expectations and it was really easy and simple to understand. Complete digital marketing course on Udemy. Thank you.”
Evan Kimbrell has a very impressive business track record. He kicked off his highly successful career with his own start-up that didn’t go all too well but it gave him an opportunity to learn the process and work with different tech incubators. From there, he got into venture capital and angel investing and finally started his own company. He helps companies as small as two-person startups and as large as Wal-Mart launch web and mobile applications.
This is someone who has some serious experience in the real business world. One has to wonder where he finds the time to be a top Airbnb host and teach twenty courses on Udemy. The answer is simply that he is passionate about what he does. This must also be why his courses have been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Business Insider and on many leading Internet media websites.
At this time, the course has over sixty thousand students which is huge! The knowledge from this course can be used by anyone who wants to sell a product or service both online and offline. And it doesn’t have to be your own business. These strategies can also be applied to affiliate marketing or even if you’re working in someone else’s sales or marketing department. If your goal is to learn how to get more customers, this course delivers that.
Once you have gotten your feet wet and have a better idea about what type of marketing you’re going to need in your business endeavors, I would strongly recommend you keep educating yourself. Here are the best Udemy courses for some specific marketing topics:
- Ultimate Google Ads
- Facebook Ads
- How Retargeting Works
- Social Media Marketing – Learn Ads on 10+ Platforms
- Social Media Marketing – Digital Marketing Strategy
- Instagram Marketing
- Complete SEO Training + SEO for WordPress
- Landing Page Design & Conversion Rate Optimization
- Email & Affiliate Marketing
Udemy has grown into such a great learning platform over the years. They have a lot of strict quality rules that ensure that all the courses are well-made. And their technical delivery engine is well oiled and makes it very easy to follow the training videos and use quizzes and other types of content that is available.
The greatest thing about Udemy is probably that the customer comes first and that means that you are always covered in the unlikely case that you don’t like the course. You have 30 days to decide if the course is worth paying your hard-earned money and ask for a refund if you don’t.
Enjoy your marketing.