Pivoting to a New Career In Digital Marketing? Read this first!
Read This Guide to FREE Digital Marketing Courses Before Enrolling in a College’s Expensive Content Marketing Certification Program
I’ve been racking up career certifications this year and most of them were free or low-cost.
With the exception of my 14-hour certification from the University of South Florida Muma College of Business in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace — nearly all of my certifications are in digital marketing.
The only one that isn’t in marketing is still technically useful in the field — I completed a certification on Udemy in Google Workspace. Yes, that’s a super easy skillset to obtain and we all most likely learned the “Google Suite,” or what is now referred to as Google Workspace by using it. But when you’re a job seeker, every certification you can get is helpful. (Most job ads I saw on LinkedIn listed this as a required skill).
I successfully pivoted this year from career broadcaster and journalist, having worked in radio and television, to working from home in digital marketing as a B2B social media content creator. It was a choice I’d worked years to accomplish. It was also a necessary change I had to make after COVID-19 wrecked my lungs, leaving remote work from home as my only option. “I want a career as a content creator and strategist” turned overnight into, “I have to be able to use my skills as a writer and journalist to earn a living from home.” I had freelanced before and had worked for a search marketing firm, too. So I wasn’t pivoting without experience. However, the online certifications I took through Hubspot and Google still changed the course of my career.
First Stop: Udemy to Fill Any Skill Gaps
I’ve watched the sales on Udemy and have never paid more than around $20 per class. (I’ve purchased close to $600 worth of classes this year for less than $100 total). I highly recommend signing up for their emails so you don’t miss a sale on a course you want to take — which also means putting your desired courses on your wishlist.
Udemy has great selection if you’re planning a career pivot to digital marketing or just trying to learn more about marketing your own website. Wanting to get my own content out there and improve my website’s traffic is what got me into online content marketing in the first place.
Should You Pay for a Digital Marketing Certification?
Whether or not you should pay high prices to a college for a certification is up to you. Several reputable state colleges are advertising heavily online for marketing certifications. They typically cost between $5,000-7,000 for several months of instruction. But what they don’t tell you is the same certifications they are charging you for are already available for free online.
The question you have to ask yourself is whether you need to sign up for a five-month program that will saddle you with more college debt — or if you can obtain the same results by obtaining FREE certifications from companies like Google or Hubspot. The other perk here besides classes being free is that they are self-paced. There are no deadlines and you learn on your own time. This may not be great for you if you aren’t skilled at self-motivating. But saving around $7K should motivate you quickly…
Free or low-cost online courses are always the best option if you are taking these classes for work and your employer doesn’t reimburse for education costs. Or if you’re a job seeker with a whopping budget of $0… The skills below can help you obtain a raise, new job, different position at your present company, or just stay competitive. The best part is you can take these on your own time.
Help for the Unemployed
I have a friend who is claiming unemployment and pandemic assistance who is self-employed. Her state is requiring her to log her time/money spent on upgrading her business by taking classes rather than make her list her job applications. This varies by state. But if you’re self-employed, taking free online courses may be helpful in your unemployment claims process.
Three Examples of Colleges Offering Online Marketing Certifications:
- Cornell — Marketing Analytics Certificate — six courses
- University of Kansas — Digital Marketing Bootcamp — 18 weeks
- Kansas State University — Digital Marketing Bootcamp
It’s impossible to gain information about these programs without entering an email address — at which point the bombardment to join the program through possible financial aid begins. (I made this mistake and trust me — college ‘admissions experts’ are as bad as those car warranty calls).
K-State offers courses in Facebook advertising, Google advertising, SEO, e-commerce, email marketing, marketing automation, user experience, digital strategy, and WordPress. KU says their bootcamp offers training in Google Ads, Google Analytics, Facebook Ads Manager, and WordPress.
FREE or Low-Cost Alternatives to Pricey Marketing Certificates
If you’re just starting out after high school or even looking to refresh your skills in a quickly-changing job market, there are ways to do this for free.
As SaaS companies want their products used widely, they are working to keep their positions as industry standards. Companies like Google and Hubspot therefore offer FREE certifications used by digital marketers industry-wide. Having Google, Facebook, and Hubspot certifications looks good on your LinkedIn profile and resume. Plus, they are FREE.
I can honestly tell you that I started landing more job interviews after posting on my LinkedIn profile that I had completed the Google Analytics Individual Certification! I don’t actually use it in my social media marketing job. But I do use what I learned for my own websites.
Next, I’ll learn Google Analytics 4 in a free class I obtained by watching the freebies page on App Sumo. If you don’t have an App Sumo account, sign up for one. It’s free, though there is a paid option. But App Sumo freely shares information that can help you in a variety of careers or side hustles. I’ve used them for years for classes and low-cost software codes to help me grow my website and e-commerce business at Destiny Architecture.
Google Offers Several Industry Standard Marketing Certifications
These are used by digital marketers and SEO professionals at agencies. It’s FREE to open up a Google Skillshop account and take classes to gain your Google certifications.
Google Skillshop Offers the Following Certifications:
- Google Analytics
- Digital Concepts
- And more
Follow this link to look at just the beginner-level online courses Google offers.
More on marketing career certifications with Google.
Google’s free online events are happening all the time.
Free Online Marketing Courses with Hubspot Academy
Marketing is a career that has the potential to be done from home, making Hubspot’s courses extremely helpful now that work has shifted outside of the office for many. Like Google, Hubspot is yet another company that wants you to use its software over others. It offers many free courses and other resources to help you stand out at a company you presently work for — or snag the job you want.
Hubspot’s Certifications Include:
- Content Marketing
- HubSpot Marketing Software
- Inbound Marketing
- Social Media Marketing Certification Course.
- Digital Advertising
- Inbound Sales
Hubspot has tons of certifications available.
What’s great about Hubspot is it teaches you how to use more than just their software. It also introduces you to other industry-standard software like BuzzSumo, Moz, Trello, and Google Search Console if you’re not already familiar.
Get Back to Basics with Saylor Academy For FREE
Saylor Academy is a non-profit started with a mission of open education to all. It’s FREE — but you can pay for an exam to be proctored in order to gain college credit for your courses. Saylor offers several business courses, including BUS203 — Principles of Marketing.
More Low-Cost Online Marketing Training Options
Udemy is a great resource for cheap online courses — especially if you watch their sales. I’ve gotten $200 worth of courses for under $30 before thanks to their great sales. Set up an account and make sure you get their email notifications about sales.
AppSumo offers deep discounts on software digital marketers and entrepreneurs want — but it also offers resources on how to use the products it offers. AppSumo offers a lot of free guides and courses you can utilize to learn on your own time. At the time of this writing, available for free are a Marketplace Success Guide; The Ultimate Guide To Buying & Selling Businesses; a Tik Tok Marketing Guide — and more.
Career Change Help is Always Available
It’s simple to begin gaining new skills for FREE while learning online from home. If all else fails — and it won’t because the above-named companies want you to succeed so you’ll use their products — there’s always your local library and Small Business Administration.[https://www.sba.gov]
I took quite a few SBA courses through my local library to learn business basics and find an SBA mentor — all of which is free.
I’ll be honest, I did well changing careers because the Kansas Workforce Center had trained me during my time as a para-social worker to help my clients with their resumes. If you had a felony, I could help you get a job! I knew how to use keywords resumes to get past the ATS. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applicant_tracking_system] Using that plus my SEO background, I did the same thing to my LinkedIn profile.
So what are you interested in learning more about? Free to low-cost education to help you with your career pivot? Want to hear about more free classes? Do you want to know more about how to rewrite your resume or LinkedIn profile? Are you interested in learning more about current job interview pitfalls? Or some combination of all that?
Leave me a comment to let me know so I can write my next post tailored to what you need. I’m also available for a free 30-minute career consultation.
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