Use some of your #SocialDistancing free time to learn about digital marketing and advertising — FOR FREE — so that you’ll be poised to pivot and prosper no matter what’s going on in the world.
Whether you’re a freelancer, consultant, solopreneur, employee, or business owner, chances are that things are very different (and much more difficult) now than they were 3 months ago. In fact, that might be the understatement of the century.
Perhaps your work-hours have been reduced, or you’ve been laid off, or you’re working from home for the first time, or your job description has changed completely, or you’ve lost clients, or — worst of all — you’ve had to close your business’ doors completely. Whatever the case, work-lives have changed dramatically across the board.
At some point, things will return to normal (though it’ll be a new normal) and most businesses will need to re-strategize in a big way in order to recover. When that happens, digital marketing and advertising will play a huge part in getting people reacquainted with brands.
WordStream’s Growth Academy is completely free and “taught by some of the top marketing experts in the industry”. Learn to grow your brand through digital marketing, including online advertising, lead generation, ecommerce, and more.
Content marketing tools and training provider, Copyblogger, offers Internet Marketing for Smart People, a course delivered via ebooks + emails that’ll help participants “discover the smartest ways to mix social media, content marketing, and SEO for lead generation”. And it’s free!
LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) by LinkedIn is a collection of 15,000+ “expert-led courses” (plus the opportunity to get certified). And many of those courses focus on digital marketing and advertising knowledge and skill building. It’s a subscription-based service, but you can get your first month free which means 30-days’ access to those many thousands of courses. Check it out!
Google Advertising & Brand Management
Google Skillshop is a free online learning centre that allows people of all skill levels, industries, and job descriptions to “master the Google tools you use at work with free online training” through self-paced e-learning courses designed by Google experts. Bonus: You can get Google Certified too! Courses include, but aren’t limited to:
- Google Ads
- Google Marketing Platform
- Analytics Academy
- Google My Business
- Google Ad Manager
Social Media Marketing & Advertising
Hootsuite is one of our favorite social media marketing dashboards here at Stir, and our friends Hootsuite Academy offer a wide variety of online courses focused both on mastering the dashboard itself, as well as digital and social media marketing in general. While most courses are for-a-fee, you can take the Hootsuite Platform Training Course at no charge and “learn how to publish and engage at scale while tracking your results with analytics”.
Bonus? In response to Covid-19, Hootsuite is offering “free access to our Professional plan to help small businesses and nonprofits stay connected to their customers and audiences” (until July 01, 2020). And as part of the Professional plan, users “get access to a free library of Hootsuite Training Videos to help you engage with your audience, create content efficiently, and manage crisis communications”.
One of Stir’s other favourite social dashboards, Sprout Social, also offers great webinars and the opportunity to “expand your knowledge and skills with free on-demand social media webinars featuring a variety of special guests and topics”. Topics include everything from Sprout Social-specific tips to customer care, engagement and social media marketing. Of particular interest at this time might be the webinar on “how to improve relationships and results on social media”.
The business management experts at Hubspot also offer online social media courses, including a free Social Media Certification Course that promises to (among lots else) “help you shape the conversation around your business, build loyalty, and attract new customers and partners”.
Search Engine Optimization
While it’s almost impossible for today’s business owner not to know that SEO is important, many don’t know what it is or how it works. But it’s so important, especially during a crisis like the one we’re experiencing now, when there is so much “noise” online. How do you (now or later) have your voice heard amidst all that noise? Make use of this time to get up to speed on the basics of SEO and then put it all into practice for improve search rankings and increased traffic.
From Search Engine Journal: “Here’s the good news: there is more than enough FREE training materials available to turn a knowledge-hungry newbie into an SEO expert”, including:
- Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide: “Google has literally written the book on best practices for on-site optimization. This 32-page guide was originally intended to be used as an internal document, but was later released as a webmaster resource. Don’t have time to read 32 pages? No problem. Hubspot has published a two-page, tl;dr version here.” (SEJ)
- WordPress’ Search Engine Optimization for WordPress: “With a market share of 33 percent, it pays to know a little something about the best practices for optimizing a WordPress site. This knowledge could also come in handy the next time your SEO plugin breaks.” (SEJ)
At Stir we love Moz, and they show agencies and brands love back by offering great, educational SEO material for the taking in the Moz SEO Learning Center — and it’s free! “Whether you’re a beginner, need advanced on-page tactics, or a refresher on building better traffic, this is your home to learn search engine optimization.”
Udemy, the “leading global marketplace for [online] learning and instruction” offers a wide variety of online courses, both free and paid, including Email Marketing Made Easy For Beginners. Learn how to create effective email marketing campaigns for your business so that you can stay in touch with your current and prospective clients no matter what’s happening. (Think: Pandemic.)
Colleges and Universities
In the past several years we’ve seen many brick-and-mortar colleges and universities move to offer more learning opportunities online, both for students as well as the broader community. During Covid-19 and Social Distancing, some of them are even offering their online courses for free! Learn about everything from classical music to “The Global History of Capitalism” to dog training. For those of us looking for digital marketing and advertising courses, consider:
- Enroll now for a free 6-week online Digital Marketing Specialization course from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on
- If we’re still in lockdown come mid-April 2020, you can take a free 4-week course on Writing for Social Media from Berkley!
Whether or not you’ve got time to take an online course during Covid-19, it’s a good idea to “read up” every once in a while on digital marketing and advertising trends so that you can stay on top of best practices for your business’ industry and maintain a connection with your clients despite what may be happening in your business, your industry, your world.
Some great online digital marketing and advertising resources include:
- HubSpot’s Blog “for marketing, sales, agency, and customer success”
- Search Engine Journal for “the latest search news, the best guides and how-tos”
- The Stir Marketing Blog for insights on all things digital and social
- Social Media Examiner, the “world’s largest social media marketing resource”