5 Best Free Online Digital Marketing Certifications
Guest Blogger Simone Kurtzke: “Simone has worked in digital media and marketing since the late 1990s with specialist knowledge in higher education, learning and digital skills training. She’s a qualified digital marketing lecturer with a mission to help people make the most of technology – in business and personal life.”
The route to working in digital marketing often involves self-education, and continuous professional development lies at the heart of a successful digital marketing career.
I spent the first years of my professional life teaching myself HTML using a reference file of 100s of interlinked offline HTML documents. This was the 90s when you only ‘dialled in’ to the Internet for a few minutes each day!
Luckily, nowadays it is much easier to learn the tools and techniques involved in digital marketing. There are numerous industry blogs related to disciplines such as SEO and social media marketing and many free guides, walkthroughs and even podcasts dedicated to learning digital marketing.
One of the best ways to get qualified is to take courses that lead to certifications – not only can you add them to your LinkedIn profile (thus improving the credibility of your personal brand) but also start using these new skills professionally. Best of all, many of them are free!
What are the best free digital marketing certifications that you can do online?
Below are my top 5 – I’ve completed all but one (Google Analytics IQ) and thoroughly recommend each one of them. Start with the first three if you’re a beginner, then work your way through the final two.
Award: Digital Garage Certificate of Online Proficiency
Duration: 7 hours
This course gives an introduction to online marketing and takes around 7 hours. It is ideal for beginners in digital marketing.
Award: Inbound Marketing Certificate
Duration: 4.5 hours
HubSpot’s online course provides comprehensive training covering the full inbound methodology. It’s suited to those already working in digital marketing (although hobbyists can benefit too!).
Award: Email Marketing Certificate
Duration: 3.5 hours
This in-depth and highly applicable HubSpot course teaches advanced email marketing strategy and tactics. You’ll learn how to use email marketing to grow your business.
Award: Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ)
Duration: 3.5 hours
Part of Google’s online training program, the Google Analytics IQ exam is useful for anyone whose job involves utilising Google Analytics in their organisation and wants to do so more effectively.
Award: Google AdWords Certification
Duration: 9-10 hours
Another excellent addition to your toolbox, you’ll need to pass two exams (out of 6) to become AdWords-certified. One of these must be AdWords Fundamentals (the other ones are: Search Advertising, Display Advertising, Mobile Advertising, Video Advertising, and Shopping Advertising).
There is a wealth of free digital marketing courses and other ways of learning digital marketing online. Some of the best are run by tech companies (see also Facebook Blueprint certifications – not included here as they’re not free). Any Google course and certificate is a safe bet – as are courses by other common tool or software providers.
While industry certifications don’t replace a more formal education, they’re an excellent way to expand your knowledge, help you specialise or go deep and get qualified in a particular area of expertise.