College degrees are important, of course, but you can learn a lot (maybe more) about marketing with all the digital marketing certifications available for free online. When you need access to real life, vetted, trustworthy information, turn to an online marketing course. You’ll stay on top of the latest trends by learning from the experts who work in the trenches of marketing every day.
The problem is that many marketing courses and certifications cost a pretty penny. When you’re bootstrapping a small business or an entrepreneur just starting your journey, you need to learn as much as you can on a $0 budget.
If it’s time to level up your DIY marketing game, check out these free digital marketing certifications.
General Digital Marketing Certifications
Think of this as digital marketing 101, but with a strong emphasis on search (duh). In this free marketing certification, they go over what your first steps should be, website design, planning your strategy, social media basics, content marketing, email marketing, analytics, and expanding internationally. A great one for entrepreneurs or folks just starting in marketing.
Inbound Marketing is the process of attracting your target market to your products with content that solves a problem for them. This includes marketing tactics like blogging and social media. HubSpot offers a free Inbound Marketing Certification that will teach you the basics of inbound marketing techniques, describe the core tactics of inbound marketing, and help advance your skills as an inbound marketer.
If you’re thinking about jumping into social media advertising (i.e. Facebook ads and Instagram ads), Google ads, or programmatic advertising, this is a good place to start. HubSpot teaches things like journey-based advertising, bidding and targeting strategies, reporting, and more in this digital marketing certification.
Content marketing includes tactics that use content like blogs, whitepapers, videos, and podcasts to educate your audience and provide them value. This certification will teach: A content creation framework for producing effective content on a consistent basis and how to create and repurposing content that both humans and search engines will love.
Social Media Certifications
Social media is important for small businesses but, like anything, you’re wasting your time if you don’t do it right. If you aren’t schooled on the ins and outs of creating and executing a social media strategy, this free course from Alison is a good starting block. Learn how to perform a social media audit, set goals, select the right platforms, and create social media policies on the biggest social media platforms. While they do charge to get an actual diploma (digital, printed, or printed and framed), you can get a “Learner Achievement Verification” for free after taking the course and passing the exam. So that still counts. :-)
HubSpot’s newly updated certification will teach you to build an effective social media strategy, set up social listening and moderation, create social content, extend your reach, excel in digital advertising, measure ROI, and more. They even go as far as to say it's the “only social media training you'll ever need”… Bold move HubSpot, bold move. Either way - it’s free and definitely worth checking out.
Twitter advertising is a great way for businesses in the tech or financial space especially to find new clients. But don’t confuse it with any of the other social media advertising platforms! Twitter’s advertising ecosystem is unique, so take this free course to make the most of your Twitter advertising budget. This is the first of the courses to learn how to run Twitter ads, with the Performance Ads Specialist course next and Ads Manager Pro to round out the series. After completing the coursework and assessments, you earn badges which can be displayed on LinkedIn, your website, and other social media platforms. If your target market is on Twitter, this certification is for you.
Google Product Certifications
If you ever want to run Google ads (which we highly recommend!), enroll in their certification courses and take the exam before you even start thinking about running a campaign. All of Google’s courses are free, so if you want to learn about which objectives are the best to meet your goal, how to launch a Google ad campaign, and how to optimize your ad budget, this certification is where it’s at.
Within this certification, you can pick specialties to focus on based on what type of Google Ads you’re interested in running: Search, Display, Video, Shopping, Apps, or Ad Measurement. The Shopping Ads Certification is great for B2C companies with products and the general Search Certification is perfect for B2B and B2C businesses. But be prepared to put in some major studying and take the exam when you have some quiet time… it’s kinda tricky!
Google Analytics is one of the most popular analytics tools in the world. But the tool has SO many different views and they collect SO many data points that it can be overwhelming and difficult to understand what you’re looking at when you just start out.
Some of the things we review on a daily basis are: Users, sessions, bounce rate, session duration, traffic source and medium, user retention, users by date and time, sessions by device, pageviews, and search queries brought in from Google Search Console.
Empower yourself to make informed, data-driven decisions by getting a Google Analytics certification to master your website analytics.
Other Digital Marketing Certifications
Email marketing isn’t for the faint of heart! There are a lot of rules you have to follow to stay compliant, as well as best practices for boosting your click-through rates. Trust HubSpot’s free email marketing course to learn the fundamentals of email marketing, as well as free tools you can use to start sending branded emails.
The bottom line
Who says you need a college degree to be a marketing wiz? Any of these digital marketing certifications will guide you to marketing greatness. Master the basics of digital marketing to make more powerful, well-informed marketing decisions to stand out online.
As you can see, HubSpot offers a lot of great resources for free and we only listed our favorites! Keep in mind that there are also a plethora of very important digital marketing certifications that don't cost a lot (looking at you Meta Blueprint at $150), so this is just the beginning.
However, if you’re looking for expert assistance from a team that has 19+ years marketing experience, contact Thrive Marketing Consultants to take your business to the next level!