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40+ Best Free Online Marketing Classes to Take in 2023

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40+ Best Free Online Marketing Classes to Take in 2023

The digital marketing landscape is always evolving. Whether you’re a seasoned marketing professional or new to the field, marketing classes can help you stay on top of current industry trends or skill up.

But signing up for a bootcamp or going to a university for traditional courses can be quite expensive. This is where online digital marketing courses come in — but which do you choose?

→ Click here to download our free guide to digital marketing fundamentals  [Download Now].

Why take marketing classes?

It’s no secret that individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree or an MBA in digital marketing are more likely to find employment and earn higher incomes than those who don’t. But did you know that earning a certification can follow this same trend?

Given the rate at which new digital marketing technologies and software are developed, it can be overwhelming to learn through blog posts and ebooks alone. Online marketing courses and certifications make it easy to sharpen your skills and expand your knowledge.

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Even if you’ve been in the marketing industry for several years, online marketing courses can still be of use. Whether you’re interested in a refresher course or want to learn something new — like creating a website from scratch — online courses can help you acquire the skills needed for continued success.

Want to learn more about brands and organizations that offer free courses on the list below? Scroll to the end of this post, or jump to the section.

How We Chose the Best Online Marketing Courses

The word “best” means different things to different people. For some, it’s about reputation. For others, it’s about how well a course suits their individual needs. “Best” can also be a sign of quality, affordability, or how well it helps learners reach a specific goal.

With those many definitions in mind, we’ve selected a range of courses to help you find the right course for your unique interests, needs, and budget.

Basic Online Marketing Course Benchmarks

To make it easier for you to scan our selections, we’ve added the following criteria to every course recommendation:

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  • Recommended For: This describes the high-level who and what for each course — for example, intermediate content marketers.
  • Cost: Most of the courses on this list are free, but the terms will vary depending on the provider.
  • Time to Complete: This section will give you an idea of how long it will take you to review the course material. This estimate could grow or shrink depending on your current skill level, engagement with the course, and whether you complete more intensive projects, assignments, or exams.
  • Course Format: Different learning types need different content. This section gives you an idea of whether the course materials feature video, text, or interaction.
  • Prerequisites: Most of the courses on this list have no prerequisites. That said, we’ve added a note if we think you’ll have a better experience knowing something about the topic in advance.
  • Certificate Availability: Some learners pursue online marketing courses in part to improve their standing on social platforms like LinkedIn. This section will tell you whether the course offers a certificate and a little information about the certificate offered.
  • More About This Marketing Course: Course contents will vary, often by what the instructor feels is most important to share. This section will give you an idea of what makes this course special, with some details on what you can learn.
  • Why We Like This Course: This section gives you a quick summary of why we recommended this marketing course.

More Marketing Course Benchmarks

Marketing is a broad career with many distinct skill sets. This means that choosing the right marketing courses online can be quite confusing for a beginner.

So, for broad topics like content marketing and social media marketing, we’ve added the extra criteria below. This can help you decide which course is the best fit for your needs.

  • Skills Covered: Some courses teach a range of specific skills, while others cover broad topics across multiple chapters. This section will give you a clearer picture of what each course covers.
  • Instructor Experience: If you’re new to marketing, this section can help you decide whether the instructor is the best person for you to learn this topic from.
  • Course Effectiveness: Looking at reviews for each course and student comments can give you an idea of how well a course can meet your expectations.
  • Connection and Networking: For many learners, community engagement is important. Community forums for online learning can help beginners answer questions. They can also be a foundation for intermediate and advanced learner networking. This section describes whether training includes connection-building with other learners.
  • Exercises and Assignments: Projects that give you a chance to practically apply course material are often helpful when learning a new topic. This section describes what type of assignments, if any, each online marketing course offers.
  • Current and Specialized Topics: Intermediate and advanced learners often seek online courses to learn about the latest topics, tools, and concepts. This section will help you quickly see if course material is evergreen or if it’s teaching the latest trends.

Now let’s find the right online marketing course for you:

Online marketing is a broad category. We’ve removed the guesswork out of searching for the best marketing classes and categorized them by topic below.

Free Content Marketing Courses

Successful marketing efforts begin with excellent content. Whether you’re just starting your content marketing journey or need a quick refresher, the courses below will help you up your marketing game.

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1. Content Marketing Certification – HubSpot Academy

Recommended For: Beginner and Intermediate Content Marketers and Strategists

Online marketing courses - HubSpot Academy, Content Marketing

Cost

Free.

Time to Complete

This course includes almost eight hours of content.

Course Format

12 lessons that include 54 videos and 11 quizzes to grow your content marketing and strategy knowledge.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

After completing this course, you can get your Content Marketing Certification by passing a one-hour exam.

More About This Marketing Course

HubSpot Academy’s content marketing certification is an ideal start for anyone who wants to learn about content marketing.

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  • Course Effectiveness: HubSpot Academy has over 530 five-star reviews on G2. This and other marketing courses at HubSpot get compliments for relevance, usefulness, and timeliness.
  • Exercises and Assignments: This certification course includes quizzes to test course material, as well as a content marketing workbook.
  • Current and Specialized Topics: Search HubSpot Academy for more intermediate and advanced courses on specialized topics like contextual marketing and measuring brand engagement.

Why We Like This Course

This marketing course offers direct, clear, and easy-to-understand lessons that can help you create exceptional content marketing brought to you by an experienced and knowledgeable team of instructors.

2. The Killer and The Poet – Copyblogger

Recommended For: Beginner Content Strategists

Cost

Free ebook, or $449/year for an annual subscription.

Time to Complete

Less than an hour.

Course Format

Thought leadership ebook.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

None.

More About This Marketing Course

You can print out this sweet and short ebook and scan it once, or sign up for Copyblogger Academy for more learning.

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  • Skills Covered: An overview of content marketing in the general context of online marketing.
  • Instructor Experience: Brian Clark was the founder and CEO of Copyblogger, and is currently CEO of Movement Ventures.

Why We Like This Course

This is a pleasantly asynchronous way to get started with content marketing. It’s an excellent piece of thought leadership that lays the groundwork for developing your own content strategy.

3. The Strategy of Content Marketing – Coursera

Recommended For: Intermediate Content Strategists

strategy-content-marketing

Cost

Free with a 7-day free trial or $59/month for a Coursera Plus subscription.

Time to Complete

Five weeks of study for two to three hours per week or three weeks at six hours per week.

Course Format

This course offers five modules with a combination of videos, assessments, and readings.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

A certificate of completion is available.

More About This Marketing Course

This course is a collaboration between UC Davis and Copyblogger. It will teach you how to use your content marketing efforts to generate leads.

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  • Skills Covered: This course covers general content knowledge, content strategy, customer journey mapping, and content management.
  • Instructor Experience: Instructor Sonia Simone is co-owner of The Offer Accelerator, founding partner of Copyblogger, and independent content marketing coach.
  • Course Effectiveness: Learners rate this beginner course 4.5 with over 4,000 reviews. It’s praised for clear course design, but gets negative feedback for peer-reviewed assignment grading.
  • Connection and Networking: This course features active discussion forums for engagement, troubleshooting, and networking.
  • Exercises and Assignments: Besides the quizzes and readings built into the program, there are also discussion prompts and assignments. For example, submitting a website URL for peer feedback.
  • Current and Specialized Topics: This is an evergreen course on content, so you may need to look elsewhere for more trending topics.

Why We Like This Course

This is just one of many excellent courses you can use to supercharge your marketing. Coursera offers a wealth of content marketing classes — so many that it might be dizzying to the first-time entrant. For example, once you’ve finished this course, you may want to try Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content next. If you’ve ever come across a piece of viral content and wondered how you can create something similar, this Wharton-taught course is for you.

4. How to Write Web Copy That Sells – Skillshare

Recommended For: Beginner Copywriters

Cost

Free with a 7-day trial or $32/month.

Time to Complete

Approximately one hour.

Course Format

17 video lessons.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

This course has no certificate options.

More About This Marketing Course

Copywriting is the lifeblood of any serious content marketing effort. In this course, you’ll learn the basics of copywriting as they relate specifically to online marketing.

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  • Skills Covered: The course focuses on standing out among millions of other publishers in your niche, attracting your audience’s attention, and positioning your product’s features as top-tier benefits.
  • Instructor Experience: Jesse Forest is a professional copywriter, educator, and the founder of Copywriting Crew.
  • Course Effectiveness: Exceeds expectations for over half of the learners who completed the course, with props for helpful examples, clarity, and engaging instruction.
  • Exercises and Assignments: Includes a hands-on project and worksheet to practice class teachings.

Why We Like This Course

This course offers a quick introduction to the core principles of copywriting that sells products and services. If you’re new to writing for business, this is an excellent way to learn the fundamentals of digital copywriting.

5. Content Marketing for B2B Enterprises – Udemy

Recommended For: Beginner B2B Marketers

best online marketing classes and courses: content marketing on udemy

Cost

Free.

Time to Complete

Approximately one hour.

Course Format

Six sections with a total of 19 video lectures.

Prerequisites

None, but completing an introductory marketing course before could be helpful.

Certificate Availability

The free course doesn’t include a certificate, but you can get a certificate of completion with the paid version of the course.

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More About This Marketing Course

Like Coursera, Udemy offers a wide range of content marketing courses like this one. If you work for a B2B company, even if it’s small, this course is a must.

  • Skills Covered: It covers how to write high-converting content and how to launch offers that entice downloads. It uses a real-life example for the course too — the process sales engagement platform Audienti uses to drive lead generation.
  • Instructor Experience: Instructor William Flanagan is the Founder and CEO of Audienti.
  • Course Effectiveness: Users offer this course a 4.5 tutorial rating. Positive reviews mention useful takeaways and analytics instruction. Critical reviews share some confusion about resources mentioned during the course, so this may be better for intermediate marketers.
  • Connection and Networking: You have access to directly message the instructor through a free Slack group called Growmance. Otherwise, there isn’t a chance to engage with other learners.
  • Current and Specialized Topics: Some of the links and resources in this course were no longer active and may be outdated.

Why We Like This Course

It can be tough to get B2B-specific instruction on content marketing. This is because the specifics are unique for each business, and some leaders are hesitant to share their best strategies. But this evergreen course offers an excellent set of tools for B2B marketers to refine their understanding of this approach to content.

If you liked this Udemy course, you might also want to check out Copywriting Quick Start: Top FREE Writing Tools & Hacks. This course will cover hacks to help you write winning pages, posts, and articles from headline to conclusion.

6. Content SEO Course – SE Ranking Academy

Recommended For: Intermediate Content and SEO Marketers

onlinemarketing_2

Cost

Free.

Time to Complete

This course offers 2+ hours of content.

Course Format

Eight sections that include video lectures, practical assignments, and test assignments, as well as a final test.

Prerequisites

None.

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Certificate Availability

This course offers a certificate of completion.

More About This Online Marketing Course

Content SEO is designed to teach anyone to write content that both people and search engines will love.

  • Skills Covered: From doing keyword research and picking the topics suitable to users at different stages of the buying cycle to writing SEO-friendly content and measuring its performance, the course will walk you through every stage of content creation.
  • Instructor Experience: Joe Williams is founder and content creator for Tribe SEO and a contributor to Search Engine Watch.
  • Course Effectiveness: Reviews for courses on the SE Ranking platform range are highly rated, and emphasize quality SEO instruction.
  • Connection and Networking: This course has limited options for networking or interaction with other learners.
  • Exercises and Assignments: Practical assignments are useful and detailed. For example, optimizing a content page for search following specific instructions.
  • Current and Specialized Topics: This is an evergreen course, but offers an easy way for learners to offer feedback to add new content to the course.

Why We Like This Course

This online marketing course combines content marketing with another highly-valued skill, SEO. This combination helps learners make the most of their learning time and combines a range of important skill sets.

Free Social Media Marketing Courses

If you’re not using social media for marketing purposes, you’re missing out. Each social platform requires specialized content so you’ll want to keep current on best practices and trends. For example, what may work on Facebook may not be as effective on a platform like TikTok.

The courses below will help you make awesome social media campaigns in addition to learning how to analyze campaign metrics.

7. Social Media Marketing Certification Course – HubSpot Academy

Recommended For: Beginner and Intermediate Social Media Managers and Marketers

best online marketing classes and courses: hubspot academy social media certification course

Cost

Free.

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Time to Complete

This course includes over five hours of content.

Course Format

Eight lessons that include 38 videos and 29 quizzes to test your social media acumen.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

After completing this course, you can get your Social Media Certification by passing a one-hour exam.

More About This Online Marketing Course

Discover how to use social media to amplify your brand, attract new customers, and build meaningful online relationships for your business with this free certification course.

  • Skills Covered: Comprehensive course on the basics of social media strategies and tactics.
  • Course Effectiveness: A quick search on LinkedIn shows the widespread appreciation for this free social media marketing course that’s not only popular with professionals wanting to learn about social media, but also college marketing programs.
  • Connection and Networking: This course has limited options for networking or interaction with other learners.
  • Exercises and Assignments: This certification course includes both pre- and post-learning quizzes to test learner know-how.
  • Current and Specialized Topics: Besides the certification course, there are 90+ lessons on HubSpot Academy that cover trending or related topics.

Why We Like This Course

This is one of several globally-recognized marketing certifications from HubSpot. It has a thorough introduction and up-to-date insights for social media marketing and management. You can jump into your social media certification, or start with platform-specific learning. For example, HubSpot’s free Instagram training course offers lessons on Instagram strategy, attracting followers, content, and more.

Whether you’re a beginner or just want to refresh your certification, this is an exceptional online marketing course.

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8. How to Use TikTok for Business – Udemy

Recommended For: TikTok Beginners

Cost

Free.

Time to Complete

This course includes almost two hours of content.

Course Format

36 video lessons, split into three sections. The paid version of the course also includes instructor Q&A and direct messaging.

Prerequisites

Access to a smartphone.

Certificate Availability

While the free course doesn’t include a certificate of completion, you can get a certificate with the paid version of the course.

More About This Online Marketing Course

TikTok used to be a new, rising platform, but now it’s a preeminent social media channel — sitting among major players such as Instagram and Facebook.

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  • Skills Covered: With this course, you’ll learn everything from creating a Pro account campaign setup for marketing your business on the trendiest social platform.
  • Instructor Experience: Scott D. Clary is host of the Success Story podcast and a sales and marketing executive.
  • Course Effectiveness: This course is quite basic, and gets praise for its clear and direct presentation. Critical reviews mention a lack of practical examples and techniques for getting views on this video platform.
  • Exercises and Assignments: This course offers four practical class projects that ask learners to think specifically about how to use the platform for their brand.

Why We Like This Course

Clear instruction is helpful when you’re first learning a social platform. This is a great course to start your TikTok education so that you have a solid foundation to build on.

9. Diploma in Social Media Strategy – Alison

Recommended For: Beginner Social Media Marketers

best online marketing classes and courses: social media strategy on alison

Cost

Free.

Time to Complete

10-15 hours.

Course Format

14 learning modules that include videos, quizzes, and online chat support.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

This online marketing course offers a CPD-accredited diploma. While the course is free, there is a charge for the diploma.

More About This Online Marketing Course

Alison’s diploma in social media strategy is an excellent foundation for those who’d like to expand upon platform-specific skills or jump into social media marketing.

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  • Instructor Experience: There is limited information about who is teaching this course.
  • Course Effectiveness: Users offer feedback on this platform with a thumbs up or two thumbs up, and there are almost 200 positive reviews.
  • Exercises and Assignments: There is a review quiz for each module.

Why We Like This Course

This course is helpful for learners who like to learn about a topic from many different angles. This course covers social media history, career expectations, community management, and more.

10. Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate – Meta BluePrint

Recommended For: Beginner Social Media Marketers

Cost

Free with a 7-day free trial or $59/month for a Coursera Plus subscription.

Time to Complete

Varies.

Course Format

This is a self-guided course.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

This course comes with a shareable certificate. It can also help you prepare for the Meta Certified Digital Marketing Associate exam.

More About This Online Marketing Course

This Meta Blueprint certification course is a strong primer on using the Meta Business Suite (formerly known as Facebook Business Manager) to jumpstart your social media strategy.

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  • Skills Covered: This course includes introductory coursework on social media marketing and management.
  • Instructor Experience: The professor for this course is Anke Audenaert, an experienced educator, digital marketer, and CEO.
  • Course Effectiveness: Learners rate this beginner course 4.9/5 with over 15,000 reviews.

Why We Like This Course

This online marketing course for social media is available in nine different languages. Plus, it’s a professional-level course from one of the top social media platforms.

11. Social Media Analytics – Quintly

Recommended For: Beginner Social Media Analysts

Cost

Free.

Time to Complete

This is a self-guided course, but if you plan to take notes or test out ideas, it will probably take at least two hours to complete.

Course Format

This is an online social media analytics course that packs videos, text, useful assets, and quizzes into 23 lessons.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

No certificate options.

More About This Online Marketing Course

The posts you create on social media platforms are only part of the story. What about the likes, shares, and comments you receive? How can you glean insights so that you can improve your strategy?

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  • Skills Covered: This course offers a strong platform-agnostic introduction on analytics, goal-setting, and reporting.
  • Instructor Experience: Milan Vukas hosts the videos in this course. Based on the range and depth of course material, there could also be other collaborators who helped to create this useful course.
  • Course Effectiveness: This course has many five-star reviews. It also offers unique and useful social analytics insights for beginner and intermediate marketers.
  • Exercises and Assignments: Each section of learning includes a quiz to test learner understanding.

Why We Like This Course

This is a useful course for understanding the big picture of social media analytics and how to organize and understand social media data. Once you have this knowledge, it will be easier to use analytics to refine your social media strategy.

12. Social Media Quickstarter – Constant Contact

Recommended For: Beginner Social Media Marketers

best online marketing classes and courses: social media training by constant contact

Cost

Free.

Time to Complete

Varies, self-paced learning.

Course Format

This course is a set of social media marketing blog posts from Constant Contact.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

No certificate options.

More About This Online Marketing Course

If you don’t love video-based courses, this is the social media course for you. You can read the sections at your own pace and return as you wish. This resource is super helpful if you are looking for vocabulary or instruction on tactics for platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn.

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  • Skills Covered: Practical information about marketing your brand on four major platforms: Facebook, X (Twitter), LinkedIn, and Pinterest (with Google Business Profile as a bonus).
  • Instructor Experience: Content strategy and business professionals Miranda Paquet and Ryan Pinkham wrote most of the posts in this series.
  • Course Effectiveness: Blogs in this series are well-written and easy to understand for beginners. Otherwise, this learning is self-directed and there isn’t an option for learners to leave comments.
  • Current and Specialized Topics: While the content in this series is recently updated, it is a beginner course that focuses on the basics of each social media platform.

Why We Like This Course

This course is an easy-to-navigate collection of comprehensive blog posts. This makes it a great resource for problem-solving and answering urgent questions for social media beginners.

13. Become a Social Media Marketer – LinkedIn Learning

Recommended For: Beginner Social Media Marketers

Online marketing courses - Social media, linkedin

Cost

Free with a one-month trial or $19.99/month for an annual subscription.

Time to Complete

This course includes just over six hours of content.

Course Format

The “Become a Social Media Marketer” course is a compilation of videos from different online teachers, curated for this topic. You can view most videos on a tablet or phone as well as your desktop or laptop computer.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

This course offers a LinkedIn certificate of completion.

More About This Marketing Course

Looking for a LinkedIn credential to display while also learning the fundamentals of social media marketing? This course from LinkedIn Learning will position you for success as you seek social media marketing roles.

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  • Skills Covered: This online course focuses on three platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You’ll also learn about measuring your social media marketing ROI.
  • Instructor Experience: Five different instructors contribute videos to this online course. Their collective experience includes years of professional marketing, higher education, and social media management.
  • Course Effectiveness: The average learner review rating for videos in this course is 4.7, and comments are generally positive. Lower ratings mention a lack of images to support the ideas in the videos.
  • Connection and Networking: Individual videos have a Q&A tab where learners can ask questions, or share insights.
  • Exercises and Assignments: Some videos include simple assignments, and most videos offer quizzes for testing what you’ve learned.

Why We Like This Course

This is a basic compilation of videos you can watch any time during your free trial. It’s best for social media beginners who are just beginning to understand social media marketing. It’s also a good introduction to developing social media skills and strategies.

Free SEO Marketing Courses

Your superb content is only effective if users can find it. That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) is so important. Learn SEO best practices with the courses below.

14. SEO Training Certification – HubSpot Academy

Recommended For: Beginner SEO Marketers

best online marketing classes and courses: seo certification by hubspot

Cost

Free.

Time to Complete

This course includes four hours of content.

Course Format

Six lessons, with 26 videos and five quizzes to confirm understanding.

Prerequisites

None.

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Certificate Availability

After completing this course, you can get your SEO Certification by passing a one-hour exam.

More About This Marketing Course

Whether you’re a general marketer looking to strengthen your SEO skills, or a professional applying for SEO marketing roles, you can create a strong foundation with HubSpot Academy’s SEO Training Certification. It covers all facets of the discipline — from on-page optimization to SEO reporting.

Why We Like This Course

Instead of focusing on a single aspect of SEO, this course covers a range of SEO skills. Instructors present every lesson in a friendly and transparent way. This encourages learners to keep exploring the topics that are most useful to them.

15. SEO Training Course by Moz – Udemy

Recommended For: Intermediate SEO Marketers

Cost

Free.

Time to Complete

This course offers almost four hours of instructional content.

Course Format

18 video lectures offered in seven sections.

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Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

Like other Udemy courses, you’re not able to get a certificate with the free course. That said, you can get a certificate of completion with the paid version of the course.

More About This Marketing Course

This SEO training course by Moz delves a little more deeply into technical SEO topics, such as site audits and structure. For that reason, we recommend it if you already have some SEO knowledge and are looking to skill up in your role.

Why We Like This Course

This course jumps from basic SEO skills to more advanced strategy and tasks. For example, instead of just covering keyword selection, this lecture covers building a keyword map.

16. SEO Specialization – Coursera

Recommended For: Advanced SEO Marketers

best online marketing classes and courses: seo specialization on coursera

Cost

Free with a 7-day free trial or $59/month for a Coursera Plus subscription.

Time to Complete

Flexible schedule, but the recommended timeline is three months, 10 hours per week.

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Course Format

Five-course series with lectures, readings, and assignments.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

Option to complete a career certificate.

More About This Marketing Course

Created by UC Davis, this SEO course is an excellent primer for true beginners in the field. You’ll learn how Google ranks websites, which factors it takes into account, and which other branches of marketing — such as content marketing — can help you rank better.

Why We Like This Course

This SEO course is a big time investment, but if you want to learn as much as you can about Google-specific SEO, this course is for you. Besides SEO concepts, it also covers skill sets like competitive web page analysis, developing influencer relationships, and local SEO.

17. SEO Toolkit Course – Semrush

Recommended For: Beginner and Intermediate SEO Marketers Using Semrush

Cost

Free.

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Time to Complete

Approximately one hour.

Course Format

This course has 15 sections, with a video and quiz for each section. Each lesson includes a “Related materials” tab with resources you can use to test your new knowledge.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

Following course completion, you have three attempts to complete an exam for a Semrush Academy certificate.

More About This Marketing Course

This SEO toolkit course is specifically suited to current subscribers of Semrush, one of the leading SEO tools in the market. In this class, you’ll learn how to use each of Semrush’s reports and tabs — such as Keyword Analytics and Organic Traffic Insights — to boost your SEO strategy.

Why We Like This Course

SEO professionals rely heavily on tools to collect and analyze search engine data. This comprehensive course offers a clear and simple way for you to learn SEO principles by using this top industry tool.

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We also recommend it if you’ve accepted a role where Semrush will be a primary tool, or if you’re applying to roles with Semrush as one of the required skills.

18. Online SEO Training – Yoast

Recommended For: Beginner SEO Marketers Using WordPress

Cost

Free, or $99/year for Yoast SEO Premium.

Time to Complete

Varies by course. For example, the “What is SEO?” course has about five hours of content.

Course Format

This online marketing course combines video lectures with readings and quizzes. It also includes lists of terms, which is a helpful add for beginners.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

A certificate of completion is available upon completion of each course.

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More About This Marketing Course

Yoast’s SEO training course is a fantastic choice for current WordPress developers looking to build their SEO skills. It’s also excellent for prospective SEO professionals who know they’ll be working primarily on a WordPress website. In this class, you’ll not only learn SEO basics, but how to use WordPress and the Yoast SEO plugin.

Why We Like This Course

Yoast SEO courses are both focused and specific. So, if you use WordPress and want to learn more about SEO on the platform, these courses are an exceptional place to start learning.

Free Email Marketing Courses

Email campaigns feeling a little lackluster? We’ve got you covered. Increase open rates with snappy subject lines that make your audience want to click. Create engaging copy that has them asking for more.

Learn how to create email campaigns that stand out with the list of courses below.

19. Email Marketing Certification Course – HubSpot

Recommended For: Beginner and Intermediate Email Marketers

best online marketing classes and courses: email marketing certification, HubSpot

Cost

Free.

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Time to Complete

This course offers four hours of learning content.

Course Format

Over nine lessons, this training includes 31 videos and nine quizzes.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

After course completion, you can get your Email Marketing Certification by passing a one-hour exam.

More About This Marketing Course

HubSpot Academy’s Email Marketing Certification includes both beginner and intermediate email skill sets. Beginners will appreciate lessons on email design, copy, and contact management. At the same time, intermediate learners have the chance to learn about email strategy, personalization, automation, analytics, and more.

Why We Like This Course

This completely free online marketing course helps beginners learn fundamentals and get a sense of the quickest ways to improve their strategy. The easy access you have in HubSpot Academy also makes it easy to return and repeat lessons when you get stuck applying what you’ve learned.

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20. Think Outside the Box Email Marketing – Google on Coursera

Recommended For: Beginner and Intermediate Email Marketers

Cost

Free with a 7-day free trial or $59/month for a Coursera Plus subscription.

Time to Complete

This course includes 25 hours of content.

Course Format

The four sections of this course include a total of 38 videos, 37 readings, 20 quizzes, and five assessments.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

This course is included in the Google Digital Marketing & E-commerce Professional Certificate.

More About This Marketing Course

This course from Google Career Certificates is a fantastic way to build foundational knowledge on the topic of email marketing. You’ll not only learn how email marketing adds to a digital marketing strategy, but how to test, write, and optimize email campaigns, and track email success.

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Why We Like This Course

It’s a comprehensive email marketing course from a trusted source for educational content. While this course is quite comprehensive, it’s also offered with a flexible schedule if you have a Coursera subscription. This means that you can learn at your own pace.

21. Email Marketing Unlocked – Neil Patel

Recommended For: Intermediate and Advanced Email Marketers

best online marketing classes and courses: email marketing by neil patel

Cost

Free.

Time to Complete

This course offers about four hours of content.

Course Format

The five video lectures included in this course cover two phases — setup and optimization. It also offers templates and worksheets for each lesson.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

No certificate options, instead the emphasis is on business results.

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More About This Marketing Course

This email marketing course from Neil Patel is ideal for intermediate-to-advanced email marketers looking to improve their workflows and boost their ROI. You’ll learn how to calculate the lifetime value of your emails, test and tweak them, and identify what is working for your strategy.

Why We Like This Course

These videos, worksheets, and templates are super helpful if you understand the principles of email optimization, but are having a tough time putting them into practice.

Free Web Development and Site Design Courses

Web development and design may not be considered part of a marketer’s wheelhouse but knowing the basics could make things easier in your day-to-day — especially if you are uploading content yourself.

Being familiar with HTML and CSS is increasingly valuable as a marketer since they are the foundation of many marketing tools. Check out our top picks below.

22. Web Development Courses – CodeAcademy

Recommended For: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Web Developers

best online marketing classes and courses: web development catalog by codeacademy

Cost

Free for some courses, $17.40/month for Plus and access to all courses.

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Time to Complete

Varies by topic, and this learning experience creates a personalized dashboard when you sign up. For example, the “Learn HTML” course takes approximately nine hours to complete.

Course Format

Each course combines written lessons, projects, and quizzes in an interactive online space. This helps you practice concepts as you learn them.

Prerequisites

None, but may vary by course.

Certificate Availability

Certificates are available with paid plans.

More About This Marketing Course

If you’re looking to dive headfirst into web development, CodeAcademy is an excellent resource. You can either pick a potential career path or dive into individual courses, such as the ones below:

Not sure where to start? Web development languages such as HTML and CSS are useful for most marketing and content management roles. Python is another great language for data analysis.

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Why We Like This Course

This course offers a simple way to learn the sometimes complex art of coding.

These courses are an excellent resource for all levels and interests, with lots of attention to detail for meeting learner needs.

23. Learn to Code Awesome Websites in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript Course – General Assembly

Recommended For: Beginner Web Developers

Cost

Free.

Time to Complete

Varies.

Course Format

This course includes a series of projects for learners to complete, with slideshows for instruction.

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Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

No certificate options.

More About This Marketing Course

General Assembly is primarily known as a coding bootcamp provider, but did you know they also offer a free web development course?

General Assembly’s Dash provides an interactive format for learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Rather than learning concepts through theory, you’ll learn them through building and practicing.

Why We Like This Course

This is a great way to learn coding, especially if you’re a learner who needs to immediately apply new knowledge in a practical way. The course also covers popular topics such as building a website, creating a blog theme, and building a CSS robot.

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Free Online Advertising & PPC Courses

While organic traffic is great, paid ads will also be part of an effective marketing strategy. Whether choosing pay-per-click ads on Google or your social media platform of choice, it’s important to use your advertising budget wisely.

The courses below will walk you through creating your first paid campaign to researching the best keywords for PPC ads.

24. Digital Advertising Certification – HubSpot Academy

Recommended For: Beginner Digital Advertising Marketers

Online Marketing courses, HubSpot Academy, Digital Advertising

Cost

Free.

Time to Complete

This course offers over three hours of content.

Course Format

Over 10 lessons, learners will view 34 videos and complete 10 quizzes.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

On course completion, you can complete a one-hour exam to achieve your Digital Advertising Certification.

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More About This Marketing Course

Advertising can be a difficult topic for beginner marketers. Is it expensive? What is the best place to advertise? Get answers to these questions and more with HubSpot Academy’s free digital advertising certification. You’ll also learn what successful advertising looks like through real-world examples.

When you’re ready to build on your knowledge, you can dive into other advertising courses from HubSpot Academy such as:

Why We Like This Course

Besides covering the fundamental knowledge you need to begin digital advertising, this course helps you understand how advertising has evolved and how you can use those insights. For example, it doesn’t just offer an overview of digital advertising channels, it goes into detail about advertising on:

  • Google Ads
  • Social media
  • Paid search

It also covers journey-based and programmatic advertising. These insights can help ads beginners quickly start creating more effective ad strategies.

25. PPC University – WordStream

Recommended For: Beginner Pay-Per-Click Marketers

Cost

Free.

Time to Complete

Varies.

Course Format

This course is a series of ebook guides that offer PPC instruction.

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Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

This course doesn’t offer a certificate.

More About This Marketing Course

WordStream’s PPC University is one of the most thorough pay-per-click courses on this list, containing more than fifty self-paced lessons on online advertising — specifically social and search pay-per-click advertising.

Why We Like This Course

We recommend this course for marketers who are or will be in a role with a major PPC component. This is because PPC, like SEO, can sound simple, but gets more complex the more you learn. This self-paced format makes it easy to refer to each lesson if you encounter issues while using your new knowledge for your brand.

26. PPC Fundamentals – Semrush

Recommended For: Beginner and Intermediate PPC Marketers

best online marketing classes and courses: ppc fundamentals by semrush

Cost

Free.

Time to Complete

This course offers over three hours of content.

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Course Format

36 sections of PPC training with the same number of short videos and tests.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

After completing this course you have three chances to complete an exam for a Semrush Academy certificate.

More About This Marketing Course

This pay-per-click course from Semrush is an excellent alternative to WordStream if you prefer video-based learning. You’ll immediately delve into campaign optimization and landing page creation. This makes this a highly practical and actionable course for the experienced marketer in a hurry.

Why We Like This Course

The structure of this course makes it simple to skip the sections you already know and focus on the topics you need to learn. The lesson transcripts and related materials are great features that appeal to a range of different learning styles and needs.

27. Copywriting 101: Crafting Your First Ad Campaign – Skillshare

Recommended For: Beginner Advertising Copywriters

Cost

Free with a 7-day trial or $32/month.

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Time to Complete

This course offers almost an hour of content.

Course Format

Seven lessons in video format, with an ad campaign project to apply your new knowledge.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

This course does not offer a certificate.

More About This Marketing Course

Just as copywriting is essential for content marketing, so it is for advertising. I would say it’s even more important, because in an ad, you only have one or two lines of text to capture your audience’s attention. Learn how to craft click-worthy ad copy in Skillshare’s Copywriting 101 course. It’s not only geared toward digital ads, but to TV and radio ads, too.

Why We Like This Course

This quick class not only teaches useful skills for ad campaigns, it also includes hands-on ad campaign projects to practice copywriting for different channels.

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28. Affiliate Marketing for Beginners – Udemy

Recommended For: Beginner Affiliate Marketers

best online marketing classes and courses: affiliate marketing for beginners

Cost

Free.

Time to Complete

This course offers over three hours of content.

Course Format

Taught in six sections, this course offers seven video lectures and free resources.

Prerequisites

None.

Certificate Availability

You can earn a certificate of completion with the paid version of this course.

More About This Marketing Course

Affiliate marketing is not technically advertising. But it is another way for businesses to generate leads and sales by paying external publishers a commission.

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If you’re a freelancer creating an affiliate website, or a marketer working at a company with an affiliate program, this course is an excellent place to begin.

Why We Like This Course

When you’re learning a new topic, like affiliate marketing, it’s helpful to have a framework to follow until you’re comfortable enough with the topic to create your own strategies. This course is simple and easy to understand, which makes it a great online course to learn affiliate marketing.

Other Free Digital Marketing Courses

Now that we’ve covered some marketing basics, it’s time to have a little fun. Maybe you are already a wiz at creating email and ad campaigns and want to enhance your graphic design skills.

These courses will help you create eye-catching designs, use video content, or become an image editing pro.

Graphic Design Courses

Graphic design is an in-demand skill in most marketing roles. Get started with the courses below:

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Where to Start: Canva is a widely used tool to quickly create visuals for everything from email campaigns to infographics to resumes. Their course on Design Basics will help you become a better visual communicator and embrace your inner designer.

Video & YouTube

Video is one of the fastest-growing marketing mediums today. Prepare for a video marketing role or strengthen your skill set with the following courses:

Where to Start: HubSpot Academy’s video marketing course will help you create a video marketing strategy from scratch, even if you have no experience with this medium.

Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing is an effective and personable way to connect with potential customers and generate leads. Learn how to create a winning in-person or virtual event with the following courses:

Where to Start: If you’re serious about becoming an experiential marketer, try Meeting Professionals International’s certificate. If you’re looking to learn more about the topic, Udemy’s course makes for an excellent foundation.

Free Marketing Certifications

Perhaps you’d like to go beyond learning a new skill for fun and are looking for something with more structure that can be used to validate your knowledge or increase your earning prospects. Completing a certified program will do just that. You get the benefits of learning a new skill and the credibility of completing a course from an industry-recognized institution.

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The good news is you don’t have to spend a ton of money to achieve that. Below are our top picks for the best free marketing certifications you can get online.

Where to Start: HubSpot Academy’s Inbound Marketing Certification is an all-around effective primer for any marketing role. But if you’re specifically interested in digital marketing, try Google Digital Garage’s digital marketing course.

Benefits of a Digital Marketing Certificate

The most well-known benefit of earning a marketing certificate is the potential for better pay and career advancement, but there are plenty more rewards to reap by honing your skills. Here are a few of the top advantages of earning a digital marketing certificate.

1. Specializing in a Marketing Niche

Any experienced marketing professional will advise someone looking to enter or grow into the field to narrow their focus.

There are simply too many roles within marketing to specialize in all of them.

Certifications come in handy because they’re narrow enough in scope to give you a high-level overview of how the skill fits into a larger marketing strategy but tactical enough to show you exactly how to execute the skill in your day-to-day work.

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2. Communicating Advanced Marketing Concepts

Whether you’re interviewing for a marketing role or pitching a client, one thing’s for sure — you’ll need to sound like a skilled marketer.

Sure, you can fake it ‘till you make it, but I don’t advise this route. Shibboleths will only get you so far before someone notices a gap in your experience.

Certification courses are comprehensive education tools that will teach you essential marketing lingo and exactly what it all means.

Best of all, you’ll be able to communicate advanced concepts confidently without over or under-explaining which can undermine your credibility.

3. Building Your Resume

When it comes down to it, your resume will almost always precede your presence.

Before an interview or a client meeting, people will look at your resume and portfolio first to verify your skills.

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Adding the certifications you’ve received after completing marketing courses is a smart way to get picked up by resume scanners and it’ll catch the attention of human eyes, too.

Even if you have several years of experience, a certificate can still help get your foot in the door so you can speak in detail about your experience during an interview.

Where to Find Online Marketing Courses

The free courses we mentioned above are amazing resources for budget-conscious marketers. They’ll teach you the basics of the subject and give you some tactical knowledge you can apply right away.

If you want to become more competitive in the job market or if you have a bit more time and resources to dedicate to furthering your education, check out the following platforms. They’re not all free, but they’re affordable and will provide you with up-to-date course material.

1. HubSpot Academy

online marketing course: HubSpot Academy

HubSpot Academy offers certification and training courses to teach people how inbound marketing and HubSpot software work. Classes are often taught by marketers at HubSpot and are made up of video lessons, quizzes, and tests.

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Most HubSpot Academy classes are available free of charge, and if you pass the certifications, such as the two below, you get a nifty certificate and badge to share on your social media profiles.

2. Copyblogger

copyblogger online marketing course

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Copyblogger is a content marketing company that creates content about content (so meta).

Its blog provides a ton of great resources about digital marketing, and this class, “Internet Marketing for Smart People,” is made up of ebooks, emailed lessons, and other course materials.

Copyblogger adopts four pillars of content marketing success, which it delves into over the course of this class.

3. Coursera

online marketing course: coursera platform

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Coursera offers MOOCs (massive online open courses) created and taught online by universities such as Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California system.

These courses start at various times throughout the year, so browse the catalog to see when one lines up with your schedule.

4. Udemy

udemy online marketing course

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Udemy is another online learning platform that focuses specifically on courses related to skill-building for working professionals.

One thing to note about Udemy: The classes we’ve highlighted are free, but the site features a myriad of other paid options for as little as $10, in some cases. Additionally, while some of the courses are free, they may require a Pro membership to get an official certificate.

If you have a good experience with a free course, try a paid one to get even more value from the content on this site.

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5. WordStream

Wordstream social media marketing course on how to run PPC campaigns

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Wordstream is a search engine and social media marketing software company that helps marketers drive the greatest ROI from their paid search and social media campaigns.

These free guides and ebooks distill learnings and best practices for users with varying levels of expertise running pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Here are some of its topics and offerings:

6. edX

edX marketing certification course homepage

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edX is another MOOC provider that features free courses offered by top-tier universities, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston University.

Like Coursera, classes are taught online and start at specific times throughout the year.

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7. LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com)

LinkedIn Learning hosts hundreds of courses taught by industry experts from all around the world.

online marketing course: linkedin learning

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The best part of LinkedIn Learning is that the course suggestions are customized to your profile.

If you have content marketing as a skill in your LinkedIn profile, the algorithm will suggest relevant courses, such as how to start a podcast or track the ROI of a content marketing strategy.

Similarly, your role will also influence the suggestions you see. As a marketing writer, I get recommended copywriting, SEO, and social media marketing courses. If I were a data scientist, I may be recommended courses on programming languages and machine learning.

8. Alison

alison online marketing course

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Alison offers over 4,000 online classes in various professional skills users can take at their own pace.

This content repository includes courses that lead to certificates and diplomas — you choose which is best for your goals.

For an even more rigorous curriculum, you can choose a learning path that combines several lessons and courses into one learning track that gives you a well-rounded learning experience.

9. Meta Blueprint

meta online marketing course

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At this point, you probably already know what Meta is (formerly Facebook) and what it does.

What you might not know is that the platform offers several training and certification programs.

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Meta Blueprint offers self-paced and live e-learning courses for marketers seeking to grow their organizations using Facebook. While the course materials are free, the certification exam is not and can range between $99 to $150.

Blueprint offers classes in different languages on how to use Facebook and Instagram.

10. quintly Academy

quintly online marketing course

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quintly is a social media analytics tool that offers courses through quintly Academy.

The self-paced course provides an overview of social media analytics, benchmarking, and goal-setting using downloadable written materials and video lessons. These courses are available to take at no cost — simply sign in to enroll for free.

11. Google Career Certificates

Google Digital Garage marketing certification course homepage

Google is another company you’ve probably heard of before, and its digital marketing course offers a ton of valuable information if you plan to advertise on the search engine.

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You can even take a Google AdWords certification at the end of the process that helps you beef up your resume.

Google has expanded its course offerings to include other types of digital marketing, too, so check out the site for up-to-date insights for the marketing world.

12. Codecademy

codeacademy online marketing course

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Codecademy offers free, interactive coding classes that take you from bare-bones to building a fully functioning website.

The courses we’ve highlighted below just scratch the surface, though. Codecademy offers a variety of course topics so you can truly focus on your niche.

These classes include lectures and a workspace in the same browser window so you can see the effect of your work as you create it — how cool is that?

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13. General Assembly

free marketing courses: General Assembly

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General Assembly offers live online courses that can be accessed for free or for a fee.

These courses specialize in technical skills and disciplines like the fundamentals of HTML5, CSS3, and Javascript.

Each one is categorized as one of five types that range from full-time immersive learning to on-demand learning. Once you choose your time commitment, simply find a course that works with your schedule.

14. Canva

Canva certification course homepage

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Canva helps people easily make beautiful images for web design, and Canva Design School offers design courses that are valuable for any kind of storyteller.

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The Creativity course explores the challenges of constant creation and innovation and how to do it well — with visuals, of course.

Become a Marketing Powerhouse with These Free Certifications

I’m sure all marketers (myself included) can agree that furthering our education in this field is a worthwhile way to advance our careers or businesses.

Earning a certificate from a reputable online course is one of the most convenient ways to accomplish this.

Whether you want to take a free online marketing class or you’d like to devote more time and resources to a paid one, you can’t go wrong with one from this list.

Just remember to focus your studying on a specific sector of marketing and develop a niche skill set — you’ll be well on your way to success as a consummate marketer.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in May 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and freshness.

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MARKETING

5 Psychological Tactics to Write Better Emails

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5 Psychological Tactics to Write Better Emails

Welcome to Creator Columns, where we bring expert HubSpot Creator voices to the Blogs that inspire and help you grow better.

I’ve tested 100s of psychological tactics on my email subscribers. In this blog, I reveal the five tactics that actually work.

You’ll learn about the email tactic that got one marketer a job at the White House.

You’ll learn how I doubled my 5 star reviews with one email, and why one strange email from Barack Obama broke all records for donations.

→ Download Now: The Beginner's Guide to Email Marketing [Free Ebook]

5 Psychological Tactics to Write Better Emails

Imagine writing an email that’s so effective it lands you a job at the White House.

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Well, that’s what happened to Maya Shankar, a PhD cognitive neuroscientist. In 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs asked her to help increase signups in their veteran benefit scheme.

Maya had a plan. She was well aware of a cognitive bias that affects us all—the endowment effect. This bias suggests that people value items higher if they own them. So, she changed the subject line in the Veterans’ enrollment email.

Previously it read:

  • Veterans, you’re eligible for the benefit program. Sign up today.

She tweaked one word, changing it to:

  • Veterans, you’ve earned the benefits program. Sign up today.

This tiny tweak had a big impact. The amount of veterans enrolling in the program went up by 9%. And Maya landed a job working at the White House

Boost participation email graphic

Inspired by these psychological tweaks to emails, I started to run my own tests.

Alongside my podcast Nudge, I’ve run 100s of email tests on my 1,000s of newsletter subscribers.

Here are the five best tactics I’ve uncovered.

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1. Show readers what they’re missing.

Nobel prize winning behavioral scientists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky uncovered a principle called loss aversion.

Loss aversion means that losses feel more painful than equivalent gains. In real-world terms, losing $10 feels worse than how gaining $10 feels good. And I wondered if this simple nudge could help increase the number of my podcast listeners.

For my test, I tweaked the subject line of the email announcing an episode. The control read:

“Listen to this one”

In the loss aversion variant it read:

“Don’t miss this one”

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It is very subtle loss aversion. Rather than asking someone to listen, I’m saying they shouldn’t miss out. And it worked. It increased the open rate by 13.3% and the click rate by 12.5%. Plus, it was a small change that cost me nothing at all.

Growth mindset email analytics

2. People follow the crowd.

In general, humans like to follow the masses. When picking a dish, we’ll often opt for the most popular. When choosing a movie to watch, we tend to pick the box office hit. It’s a well-known psychological bias called social proof.

I’ve always wondered if it works for emails. So, I set up an A/B experiment with two subject lines. Both promoted my show, but one contained social proof.

The control read: New Nudge: Why Brands Should Flaunt Their Flaws

The social proof variant read: New Nudge: Why Brands Should Flaunt Their Flaws (100,000 Downloads)

I hoped that by highlighting the episode’s high number of downloads, I’d encourage more people to listen. Fortunately, it worked.

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The open rate went from 22% to 28% for the social proof version, and the click rate, (the number of people actually listening to the episode), doubled.

3. Praise loyal subscribers.

The consistency principle suggests that people are likely to stick to behaviours they’ve previously taken. A retired taxi driver won’t swap his car for a bike. A hairdresser won’t change to a cheap shampoo. We like to stay consistent with our past behaviors.

I decided to test this in an email.

For my test, I attempted to encourage my subscribers to leave a review for my podcast. I sent emails to 400 subscribers who had been following the show for a year.

The control read: “Could you leave a review for Nudge?”

The consistency variant read: “You’ve been following Nudge for 12 months, could you leave a review?”

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My hypothesis was simple. If I remind people that they’ve consistently supported the show they’ll be more likely to leave a review.

It worked.

The open rate on the consistency version of the email was 7% higher.

But more importantly, the click rate, (the number of people who actually left a review), was almost 2x higher for the consistency version. Merely telling people they’d been a fan for a while doubled my reviews.

4. Showcase scarcity.

We prefer scarce resources. Taylor Swift gigs sell out in seconds not just because she’s popular, but because her tickets are hard to come by.

Swifties aren’t the first to experience this. Back in 1975, three researchers proved how powerful scarcity is. For the study, the researchers occupied a cafe. On alternating weeks they’d make one small change in the cafe.

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On some weeks they’d ensure the cookie jar was full.

On other weeks they’d ensure the cookie jar only contained two cookies (never more or less).

In other words, sometimes the cookies looked abundantly available. Sometimes they looked like they were almost out.

This changed behaviour. Customers who saw the two cookie jar bought 43% more cookies than those who saw the full jar.

It sounds too good to be true, so I tested it for myself.

I sent an email to 260 subscribers offering free access to my Science of Marketing course for one day only.

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In the control, the subject line read: “Free access to the Science of Marketing course”

For the scarcity variant it read: “Only Today: Get free access to the Science of Marketing Course | Only one enrol per person.”

130 people received the first email, 130 received the second. And the result was almost as good as the cookie finding. The scarcity version had a 15.1% higher open rate.

Email A/B test results

5. Spark curiosity.

All of the email tips I’ve shared have only been tested on my relatively small audience. So, I thought I’d end with a tip that was tested on the masses.

Back in 2012, Barack Obama and his campaign team sent hundreds of emails to raise funds for his campaign.

Of the $690 million he raised, most came from direct email appeals. But there was one email, according to ABC news, that was far more effective than the rest. And it was an odd one.

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The email that drew in the most cash, had a strange subject line. It simply said “Hey.”

The actual email asked the reader to donate, sharing all the expected reasons, but the subject line was different.

It sparked curiosity, it got people wondering, is Obama saying Hey just to me?

Readers were curious and couldn’t help but open the email. According to ABC it was “the most effective pitch of all.”

Because more people opened, it raised more money than any other email. The bias Obama used here is the curiosity gap. We’re more likely to act on something when our curiosity is piqued.

Email example

Loss aversion, social proof, consistency, scarcity and curiosity—all these nudges have helped me improve my emails. And I reckon they’ll work for you.

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It’s not guaranteed of course. Many might fail. But running some simple a/b tests for your emails is cost free, so why not try it out?

This blog is part of Phill Agnew’s Marketing Cheat Sheet series where he reveals the scientifically proven tips to help you improve your marketing. To learn more, listen to his podcast Nudge, a proud member of the Hubspot Podcast Network.

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MARKETING

The power of program management in martech

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The power of program management in martech

As a supporter of the program perspective for initiatives, I recognize the value of managing related projects, products and activities as a unified entity. 

While one-off projects have their place, they often involve numerous moving parts and in my experience, using a project-based approach can lead to crucial elements being overlooked. This is particularly true when building a martech stack or developing content, for example, where a program-based approach can ensure that all aspects are considered and properly integrated. 

For many CMOs and marketing organizations, programs are becoming powerful tools for aligning diverse initiatives and driving strategic objectives. Let’s explore the essential role of programs in product management, project management and marketing operations, bridging technical details with business priorities. 

Programs in product management

Product management is a fascinating domain where programs operate as a strategic framework, coordinating related products or product lines to meet specific business objectives.

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Product managers are responsible for defining a product or product line’s strategy, roadmap and features. They work closely with program managers, who ensure alignment with market demands, customer needs and the company’s overall vision by managing offerings at a program level. 

Program managers optimize the product portfolio, make strategic decisions about resource allocation and ensure that each product contributes to the program’s goals. One key aspect of program management in product management is identifying synergies between products. 

Program managers can drive innovation and efficiency across the portfolio by leveraging shared technologies, customer insights, or market trends. This approach enables organizations to respond quickly to changing market conditions, seize emerging opportunities and maintain a competitive advantage. Product managers, in turn, use these insights to shape the direction of individual products.

Moreover, programs in product management facilitate cross-functional collaboration and knowledge sharing. Program managers foster a holistic understanding of customer needs and market dynamics by bringing together teams from various departments, such as engineering, marketing and sales.

Product managers also play a crucial role in this collaborative approach, ensuring that all stakeholders work towards common goals, ultimately leading to more successful product launches and enhanced customer satisfaction.

Dig deeper: Understanding different product roles in marketing technology acquisition

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Programs in project management

In project management, programs provide a structured approach for managing related projects as a unified entity, supporting broader strategic objectives. Project managers are responsible for planning, executing and closing individual projects within a program. They focus on specific deliverables, timelines and budgets. 

On the other hand, program managers oversee these projects’ coordination, dependencies and outcomes, ensuring they collectively deliver the desired benefits and align with the organization’s strategic goals.

A typical example of a program in project management is a martech stack optimization initiative. Such a program may involve integrating marketing technology tools and platforms, implementing customer data management systems and training employees on the updated technologies. Project managers would be responsible for the day-to-day management of each project. 

In contrast, the program manager ensures a cohesive approach, minimizes disruptions and realizes the full potential of the martech investments to improve marketing efficiency, personalization and ROI.

The benefits of program management in project management are numerous. Program managers help organizations prioritize initiatives that deliver the greatest value by aligning projects with strategic objectives. They also identify and mitigate risks that span multiple projects, ensuring that issues in one area don’t derail the entire program. Project managers, in turn, benefit from this oversight and guidance, as they can focus on successfully executing their projects.

Additionally, program management enables efficient resource allocation, as skills and expertise can be shared across projects, reducing duplication of effort and maximizing value. Project managers can leverage these resources and collaborate with other project teams to achieve their objectives more effectively.

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Dig deeper: Combining martech projects: 5 questions to ask

Programs in marketing operations

In marketing operations, programs play a vital role in integrating and managing various marketing activities to achieve overarching goals. Marketing programs encompass multiple initiatives, such as advertising, content marketing, social media and event planning. Organizations ensure consistent messaging, strategic alignment, and measurable results by managing these activities as a cohesive program.

In marketing operations, various roles, such as MOps managers, campaign managers, content managers, digital marketing managers and analytics managers, collaborate to develop and execute comprehensive marketing plans that support the organization’s business objectives. 

These professionals work closely with cross-functional teams, including creative, analytics and sales, to ensure that all marketing efforts are coordinated and optimized for maximum impact. This involves setting clear goals, defining key performance indicators (KPIs) and continuously monitoring and adjusting strategies based on data-driven insights.

One of the primary benefits of a programmatic approach in marketing operations is maintaining a consistent brand voice and message across all channels. By establishing guidelines and standards for content creation, visual design and customer interactions, marketing teams ensure that the brand’s identity remains cohesive and recognizable. This consistency builds customer trust, reinforces brand loyalty and drives business growth.

Programs in marketing operations enable organizations to take a holistic approach to customer engagement. By analyzing customer data and feedback across various touchpoints, marketing professionals can identify opportunities for improvement and develop targeted strategies to enhance the customer experience. This customer-centric approach leads to increased satisfaction, higher retention rates and more effective marketing investments.

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Dig deeper: Mastering the art of goal setting in marketing operations

Embracing the power of programs for long-term success

We’ve explored how programs enable marketing organizations to drive strategic success and create lasting impact by aligning diverse initiatives across product management, project management and marketing operations. 

  • Product management programs facilitate cross-functional collaboration and ensure alignment with market demands. 
  • In project management, they provide a structured approach for managing related projects and mitigating risks. 
  • In marketing operations, programs enable consistent messaging and a customer-centric approach to engagement.

Program managers play a vital role in maintaining strategic alignment, continuously assessing progress and adapting to changes in the business environment. Keeping programs aligned with long-term objectives maximizes ROI and drives sustainable growth.

Organizations that invest in developing strong program management capabilities will be better positioned to optimize resources, foster innovation and achieve their long-term goals.



As a CMO or marketing leader, it is important to recognize the strategic value of programs and champion their adoption across your organization. By aligning efforts across various domains, you can unlock the full potential of your initiatives and drive meaningful results. Try it, you’ll like it.

Fuel for your marketing strategy.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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2 Ways to Take Back the Power in Your Business: Part 2

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2 Ways to Take Back the Power in Your Business: Part 2

2 Ways to Take Back the Power in Your Business

Before we dive into the second way to assume power in your business, let’s revisit Part 1. 

Who informs your marketing strategy? 

YOU, with your carefully curated strategy informed by data and deep knowledge of your brand and audience? Or any of the 3 Cs below? 

  • Competitors: Their advertising and digital presence and seemingly never-ending budgets consume the landscape.
  • Colleagues: Their tried-and-true proven tactics or lessons learned.
  • Customers: Their calls, requests, and ideas. 

Considering any of the above is not bad, in fact, it can be very wise! However, listening quickly becomes devastating if it lends to their running our business or marketing department. 

It’s time we move from defense to offense, sitting in the driver’s seat rather than allowing any of the 3 Cs to control. 

It is one thing to learn from and entirely another to be controlled by. 

In Part 1, we explored how knowing what we want is critical to regaining power.

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1) Knowing what you want protects the bottom line.

2) Knowing what you want protects you from the 3 Cs. 

3) Knowing what you want protects you from running on auto-pilot.

You can read Part 1 here; in the meantime, let’s dive in! 

How to Regain Control of Your Business: Knowing Who You Are

Vertical alignment is a favorite concept of mine, coined over the last two years throughout my personal journey of knowing self. 

Consider the diagram below.

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Vertical alignment is the state of internal being centered with who you are at your core. 

Horizontal alignment is the state of external doing engaged with the world around you.

In a state of vertical alignment, your business operates from its core center, predicated on its mission, values, and brand. It is authentic and confident and cuts through the noise because it is entirely unique from every competitor in the market. 

From this vertical alignment, your business is positioned for horizontal alignment to fulfill the integrity of its intended services, instituted processes, and promised results. 

A strong brand is not only differentiated in the market by its vertical alignment but delivers consistently and reliably in terms of its products, offerings, and services and also in terms of the customer experience by its horizontal alignment. 

Let’s examine what knowing who you are looks like in application, as well as some habits to implement with your team to strengthen vertical alignment. 

1) Knowing who You are Protects You from Horizontal Voices. 

The strength of “Who We Are” predicates the ability to maintain vertical alignment when something threatens your stability. When a colleague proposes a tactic that is not aligned with your values. When the customer comes calling with ideas that will knock you off course as bandwidth is limited or the budget is tight. 

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I was on a call with a gal from my Mastermind when I mentioned a retreat I am excited to launch in the coming months. 

I shared that I was considering its positioning, given its curriculum is rooted in emotional intelligence (EQ) to inform personal brand development. The retreat serves C-Suite, but as EQ is not a common conversation among this audience, I was considering the best positioning. 

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She advised, “Sell them solely on the business aspects, and then sneak attack with the EQ when they’re at the retreat!” 

At first blush, it sounds reasonable. After all, there’s a reason why the phrase, “Sell the people what they want, give them what they need,” is popular.

Horizontal advice and counsel can produce a wealth of knowledge. However, we must always approach the horizontal landscape – the external – powered by vertical alignment – centered internally with the core of who we are. 

Upon considering my values of who I am and the vision of what I want for this event, I realized the lack of transparency is not in alignment with my values nor setting the right expectations for the experience.

Sure, maybe I would get more sales; however, my bottom line — what I want — is not just sales. I want transformation on an emotional level. I want C-Suite execs to leave powered from a place of emotional intelligence to decrease decisions made out of alignment with who they are or executing tactics rooted in guilt, not vision. 

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Ultimately, one of my core values is authenticity, and I must make business decisions accordingly. 

2) Knowing who You are Protects You from Reactivity.

Operating from vertical alignment maintains focus on the bottom line and the strategy to achieve it. From this position, you are protected from reacting to the horizontal pressures of the 3 Cs: Competitors, Colleagues, and Customers. 

This does not mean you do not adjust tactics or learn. 

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However, your approach to adjustments is proactive direction, not reactive deviations. To do this, consider the following questions:

First: How does their (any one of the 3 Cs) tactic measure against my proven track record of success?

If your colleague promotes adding newsletters to your strategy, lean in and ask, “Why?” 

  • What are their outcomes? 
  • What metrics are they tracking for success? 
  • What is their bottom line against yours? 
  • How do newsletters fit into their strategy and stage(s) of the customer journey? 

Always consider your historical track record of success first and foremost. 

Have you tried newsletters in the past? Is their audience different from yours? Why are newsletters good for them when they did not prove profitable for you? 

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Operate with your head up and your eyes open. 

Maintain focus on your bottom line and ask questions. Revisit your data, and don’t just take their word for it. 

2. Am I allocating time in my schedule?

I had coffee with the former CEO of Jiffy Lube, who built the empire that it is today. 

He could not emphasize more how critical it is to allocate time for thinking. Just being — not doing — and thinking about your business or department. 

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Especially for senior leaders or business owners, but even still for junior staff. 

The time and space to be fosters creative thinking, new ideas, and energy. Some of my best campaigns are conjured on a walk or in the shower. 

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Kasim Aslam, founder of the world’s #1 Google Ads agency and a dear friend of mine, is a machine when it comes to hacks and habits. He encouraged me to take an audit of my calendar over the last 30 days to assess how I spend time. 

“Create three buckets,” he said. “Organize them by the following:

  • Tasks that Generate Revenue
  • Tasks that Cost Me Money
  • Tasks that Didn’t Earn Anything”

He and I chatted after I completed this exercise, and I added one to the list: Tasks that are Life-Giving. 

Friends — if we are running empty, exhausted, or emotionally depleted, our creative and strategic wherewithal will be significantly diminished. We are holistic creatures and, therefore, must nurture our mind, body, soul, and spirit to maintain optimum capacity for impact. 

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I shared this hack with a friend of mine. Not only did she identify meetings that were costing her money and thus needed to be eliminated, but she also identified that particular meetings could actually turn revenue-generating! She spent a good amount of time each month facilitating introductions; now, she is adding Strategic Partnerships to her suite of services. 


ACTION: Analyze your calendar’s last 30-60 days against the list above. 

Include what is life-giving! 

How are you spending your time? What is the data showing you? Are you on the path to achieving what you want and living in alignment with who you want to be?

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Share with your team or business partner for the purpose of accountability, and implement practical changes accordingly. 


Finally, remember: If you will not protect your time, no one else will. 

3) Knowing who You are Protects You from Lack. 

“What are you proud of?” someone asked me last year. 

“Nothing!” I reply too quickly. “I know I’m not living up to my potential or operating in the full capacity I could be.” 

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They looked at me in shock. “You need to read The Gap And The Gain.”

I silently rolled my eyes.

I already knew the premise of the book, or I thought I did. I mused: My vision is so big, and I have so much to accomplish. The thought of solely focusing on “my wins” sounded like an excuse to abdicate personal responsibility. 

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But I acquiesced. 

The premise of this book is to measure one’s self from where they started and the success from that place to where they are today — the gains — rather than from where they hope to get and the seemingly never-ending distance — the gap.

Ultimately, Dr. Benjamin Hardy and Dan Sullivan encourage changing perspectives to assign success, considering the starting point rather than the destination.

The book opens with the following story:

Dan Jensen was an Olympic speed skater, notably the fastest in the world. But in each game spanning a decade, Jansen could not catch a break. “Flukes” — even tragedy with the death of his sister in the early morning of the 1988 Olympics — continued to disrupt the prediction of him being favored as the winner. 

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The 1994 Olympics were the last of his career. He had one more shot.

Preceding his last Olympics in 1994, Jansen adjusted his mindset. He focused on every single person who invested in him, leading to this moment. He considered just how very lucky he was to even participate in the first place. He thought about his love for the sport itself, all of which led to an overwhelming realization of just how much he had gained throughout his life.

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He raced the 1994 Olympic games differently, as his mindset powering every stride was one of confidence and gratitude — predicated on the gains rather than the gap in his life. 

This race secured him his first and only gold medal and broke a world record, simultaneously proving one of the most emotional wins in Olympic history. 

Friends, knowing who we are on the personal and professional level, can protect us from those voices of shame or guilt that creep in. 


PERSONAL ACTION: Create two columns. On one side, create a list of where you were when you started your business or your position at your company. Include skills and networks and even feelings about where you were in life. On the other side, outline where you are today. 

Look at how far you’ve come. 

COMPANY ACTION: Implement a quarterly meeting to review the past three months. Where did you start? Where are you now? 

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Celebrate the gain!

Only from this place of gain mindset, can you create goals for the next quarter predicated on where you are today.


Ultimately, my hope for you is that you deliver exceptional and memorable experiences laced with empathy toward the customer (horizontally aligned) yet powered by the authenticity of the brand (vertically aligned). 

Aligning vertically maintains our focus on the bottom line and powers horizontal fulfillment. 

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Granted, there will be strategic times and seasons for adjustment; however, these changes are to be made on the heels of consulting who we are as a brand — not in reaction to the horizontal landscape of what is the latest and greatest in the industry. 

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In Conclusion…

Taking back control of your business and marketing strategies requires a conscious effort to resist external pressures and realign with what you want and who you are.

Final thoughts as we wrap up: 

First, identify the root issue(s).

Consider which of the 3 Cs holds the most power: be it competition, colleagues, or customers.

Second, align vertically.

Vertical alignment facilitates individuality in the market and ensures you — and I — stand out and shine while serving our customers well. 

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Third, keep the bottom line in view.

Implement a routine that keeps you and your team focused on what matters most, and then create the cascading strategy necessary to accomplish it. 

Fourth, maintain your mindsets.

Who You Are includes values for the internal culture. Guide your team in acknowledging the progress made along the way and embracing the gains to operate from a position of strength and confidence.

Fifth, maintain humility.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of humility and being open to what others are doing. However, horizontal alignment must come after vertical alignment. Otherwise, we will be at the mercy of the whims and fads of everyone around us. Humility allows us to be open to external inputs and vertically aligned at the same time.

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Buckle up, friends! It’s time to take back the wheel and drive our businesses forward. 

The power lies with you and me.


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