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46 Best Free Online Courses For Whatever You Want to Learn

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46 Best Free Online Courses For Whatever You Want to Learn

Whether you want that job promotion or to sidestep into a new field, you’ll need to commit to learning new skills. One of the best ways you can do that is by taking free online courses.

Blog posts and podcasts are great starting points for exploring a particular topic. But online business courses will provide you with the time and space you need to explore a topic in depth and truly master a new skill. Plus, most courses are made up of on-demand videos and exercises that you can progress through at your own pace.

Below, we’ve gathered the best free online business courses. These cover the main business skills you’ll need to advance in today’s rapidly changing workplace — from digital marketing and coding to selling, managing conflicts, and more. Keep reading to become an expert in whatever subject you feel can best help you succeed.

If you’d prefer, click on one of the following topics to jump straight to courses regarding that topic in particular:

Free Online Courses

Learning new skills can be both time-consuming and challenging. In fact, according to Josh Kaufman, international bestselling author of The Personal MBA, it takes 20 hours to go from knowing nothing about a particular subject to being pretty good at it. Of course, if you want to become an expert, that takes even longer.

Online courses allow you to get a head-start on the fundamental skills you need to grow in your career or switch to a new field. Here are the absolute best ones:

Ready to start developing your skills? Let’s take a look at the best courses below.

Free Fundamental Marketing Courses

1. Inbound Marketing Certification by HubSpot Academy

free online courses: inbound marketing certification

Length: 4-5 Hours

From attracting leads to engaging prospects and delighting customers, this course covers the fundamentals of what inbound marketing is all about. It’s ideal for new graduates who’d like to go into marketing or for any experienced professional who’s considering shifting into a marketing career. It will give you the foundational knowledge you need to move into any marketing job.

Recommended for:

  • New marketing professionals
  • Experienced non-marketing professionals shifting into marketing

2. Build Your Web Presence by Google Digital Garage

Length: 30-60 Minutes

Learn the basics of websites, local business listings, review sites, social media, mobile apps, and more. This course is a helpful introduction to making your business visible online without delving too deeply into the specifics. We recommend it for small business owners and marketers just starting out in their careers.

Recommended for:

  • Small business owners
  • New marketing professionals at small businesses

3. Google Analytics for Beginners by Google Analytics Academy

Length: 4-6 Hours

This course shows new Google Analytics users how to create an account, implement a tracking code, and set up data filters. You’ll learn how to navigate the Google Analytics interface and reports, and set up dashboards and shortcuts. We recommend this course for both beginner and advanced marketers who need a refresher on Google Analytics or need more advanced instruction.

Recommended for:

  • Marketing professionals at every level

Free Content Marketing Courses

4. Content Marketing Certification by HubSpot Academy

free online courses: content marketing certification

Length: 6-7 Hours

Power your business with remarkable content. This course will teach you how storytelling, content creation, repurposing, and promotion come together to build a content marketing machine that grows your business, and your career. While every professional will benefit from taking the content marketing certification course, it’s especially recommended for new content writers and content managers.

Recommended for:

  • New content marketers, content writers, and content managers
  • Experienced non-marketing professionals moving into a content marketing role

5. Viral Marketing and How to Create Contagious Content by Coursera

Length: 4-5 Hours

Ever wondered why some things become popular, while other things don’t? This course explains how things catch on, and can help you apply those ideas to become a more effective marketer. This is a good course to take if you feel your marketing efforts aren’t yielding the results you want or aren’t becoming as widespread as you’d like.

While individual contributors would benefit from taking this course, marketing managers who have a hand on ideation and strategy would most benefit from the knowledge they gain.

Recommended for:

  • Mid- and senior-level marketers with a hand on strategy and ideation
  • Brand managers of all levels

6. Online Video Marketing Course by HubSpot Academy

Length: 2 Hours

This online video marketing training will teach you how to get started with online video marketing to better attract, engage, and delight your audience. It’s an excellent course for individual contributors with a hand on video creation and content creation. Managers would also benefit from taking the first course, “How to Create a Successful Video Marketing Strategy,” if they’ve not yet established a video marketing strategy.

Recommended for:

  • Video and content marketers getting started with video marketing
  • Marketing managers who want to start a video marketing strategy

Free Social Media Marketing Courses

7. Social Media Marketing Course by HubSpot Academy

free online courses: social media marketing

Length: 4-5 Hours

This course provides you with everything you need to build a social media strategy — including tools to help you attract new customers, build loyalty, and shape a positive conversation around your business. It’s a great fit for marketers of all levels who need a strong foundation on social media marketing.

Recommended for:

  • Marketers of all levels delving into social media marketing
  • Business owners who want to create a social media marketing strategy

Once you’ve completed this overarching social media marketing course, you can then jump into the following channel-specific courses.

  • Facebook Marketing (~1.5 Hours): Facebook is a huge platform, ripe with marketing opportunity. Learn how to develop an effective marketing strategy using Facebook that covers all the bases.
  • Twitter for Business Marketing (~2 Hours): You know Twitter beyond the basics, and now it’s time to bump it up a notch. In this course, you’ll learn the advancements in building and launching a successful Twitter marketing strategy.
  • Instagram Marketing (~2.5 Hours): An Instagram marketing and advertising strategy is one of the most powerful ways to connect with customers and drive marketing impact. This course takes you from the beginning to the end of planning an Instagram marketing strategy.
  • YouTube Marketing (1.5-2 Hours): HubSpot’s course in YouTube Marketing is an in-depth, expansive set of tools and lessons that offer successful strategies to grow a monetized, optimized YouTube channel. It’s ideal for social media managers and anyone who would be creating videos for your company’s YouTube channel.

8. Introduction to Social Media Strategy by Skillshare

Length: 30-60 Minutes

Whether you’re looking to foster brand awareness, increase website traffic, or drive sales, this course can teach you how to craft a social media strategy to achieve your goals on Facebook and Twitter. From finding your voice to buying paid advertising, this course walks you through a proven process for creating custom social strategies. It’s ideal for new marketers who need a quick refresher or overview.

Note: Skillshare offers community members free access to its courses for 14 days — you’ll need to sign up as a member to access the class for free.

Recommended for:

  • Marketers of all levels delving into social media marketing
  • Business owners who want to create a social media marketing strategy

9. Video Storytelling for Social Media by Social Creators

Length: 5 Days

This crash course is set up like a challenge. The goal? Help you make high-quality videos with your iPhone or Android device so you can start vlogging and share engaging videos on your social media accounts. It’s ideal if you’re planning to market your brand or business over video-based channels such as Instagram or TikTok, and it’s specially a good fit if you don’t want to spend money on expensive video gear.

Recommended for:

  • Video marketers and content creators wanting to create storytelling videos
  • Freelance bloggers and content creators wanting to create more videos

10. How to Create an Instagram Content Plan by Later

Length: 1-1.5 Hours

This video series is a great introduction to the Instagram world. You’ll learn how to gain more followers, build a community, and create content that drives true engagement. It’s ideal for you if you’re interested in finding influencer partners on Instagram and build a visual identity.

Recommended for:

  • Marketers at small businesses without an Instagram strategy
  • Freelance bloggers and online content creators

11. Free Social Media Analytics Course for Beginners by Quintly

Length: 10-11 Hours

This class will cover the basic principles of social media analytics, and is helpful both for beginners and for marketers who want to refresh their knowledge. It aims to help anybody involved in social media analytics, whether you’re working for a brand, an agency, or the media. We highly recommend this course for new social media marketing managers who don’t know how to measure analytics for their company’s social channels.

Recommended for:

  • New social media marketing managers who are unfamiliar with social media analytics
  • Any marketer who’s interested in specializing in social media marketing

12. Twitter Flight School by Twitter

Length: Various

Twitter Flight School isn’t so much as a course as it is a school for both advanced and beginner Twitter marketers. Whether you’re a social media coordinator or the director of social media marketing at an enterprise firm, Twitter Flight School’s courses will help you build the knowledge and skills you need to scale and improve your Twitter marketing strategy.

The courses have been designed to help you level up your expertise with advertising on Twitter, so that you can succeed. We don’t recommend it if you’re not planning to extensively use Twitter as a marketing channel.

Recommended for:

  • New and experienced social media professionals who are planning to use Twitter extensively
  • Any marketer or professional who wants to specialize in Twitter marketing

Free Email Marketing Courses

13. Cold Email Masterclass by Mailshake

free online courses: cold emailing

Length: Self-Paced

Whether you use cold emails to connect with influencers, build your personal brand, find mentors, or grow your network, there’s no underestimating their power. Sujan Patel reveals eight lessons that will show you how to turn theory into practice, tapping into existing cold email best practices and deploying them in a way that’s both efficient and effective.

It’s not applicable just to cold emails, either. You can use the course to learn email writing best practices that will serve you as you market to leads and prospects who’ve subscribed to your email list.

Recommended for:

  • Any marketer or professional who’s planning to email leads or other professionals in their network
  • Any professional who wants to improve their cold emailing skills

14. Email Marketing Certification by HubSpot Academy

Length: ~3.5 Hours

Email marketing is a necessity to learn. By completing HubSpot’s course, you’ll walk away with expansive knowledge in all things email marketing, from templates to testing, as well as a certification to add to your resume. This is an excellent follow-up to the Cold Email Masterclass, allowing you to specialize specifically in email marketing. You’ll learn to segment your user base and optimize email deliverability rates.

Recommended for:

  • Marketers of all levels who are planning to do email marketing

Free SEM Courses

15. Google Ads by Google Skillshop

free online courses: google ads

Length: Various

If you don’t know where to start with Google’s ad products, Google’s Skillshop for Google Ads may be for you. You’ll figure out where to get started in mini, bite-sized lessons or jump straight into the certification process. Topics include programmatic ads, search ads, discovery ads, and video ads. If you already have experience with Google Ads, you can forgo taking the courses and instead apply your existing knowledge using a series of exercises.

Recommended for:

  • Marketers of all levels who want to further their knowledge or practice their existing Google Ads knowledge
  • Business owners who want to learn how to set up Google Ads

16. SEO Certification Course by HubSpot Academy

Length: 2-3 Hours

Interested in building traffic, but unsure about a successful strategy? Our SEO crash course eliminates the pains of navigating a concrete SEO strategy and provides you with the tools to implement a winning one. Because it starts from a basic starting point, we recommend it for beginner marketers only. If you’ve been in a digital marketing role for a few years, chances are you’re familiar with most of this information.

Recommended for:

  • New marketers who want to learn the basics of SEO and improve their SEO skills
  • Experienced non-marketing professionals who want to learn SEO

Free Sales Courses

17. Inbound Sales Certification by HubSpot Academy

free online courses: inbound sales certification

Length: 2-2.5 Hours

In this certification course, you’ll learn how to grow your sales pipeline, close more leads, and grow your career. It’s ideal for new sales professionals or experienced salespeople who need a refresher or formal training in core sales skills.

Recommended for:

  • New and aspiring salespeople
  • Experienced sales professionals who need a refresher in sales fundamentals

Once you complete this initial certification, you can then dive into more specific topics such as sales enablement and management training.

  • Sales Enablement Certification (Length: 4-5 Hours): In this self-paced online course and exam, you’ll learn how to align marketing and sales for optimal efficiency. You’ll learn to bridge the gap between marketing and sales teams with strategies and tactics from sales leaders.
  • Sales Management Training (Length: 3 Hours): Learn how to define your target market, create a scalable sales process, and build training, coaching, hiring, and on-boarding programs to help your sales team grow.

18. The Art of Sales: Mastering the Selling Process Specialization by Northwestern University

Length: 6 Months

This course is designed to make you more effective and efficient as you pursue your sales goals. Understand how to stand out in the crowd, attract customers, and build support for initiatives within your company. Plus, the most important art in sales is knowing how to get a “yes.” This course teaches this, as well as methods to improve efficiency as a salesperson.

Recommended for:

  • Sales managers who want to improve the performance of their sales team
  • Experienced salespeople looking to level-up their skills

19. The SMART Sales System by SalesScripter

Length: 16-18 Hours

This program is designed to give you a strategy-backed process. It covers building a value proposition, asking the right questions, closing more effectively, and more. You’ll sell more, and even better — selling will become more fun. After you’ve watched all of the videos in the training course, you’ll have an overview of the most important topics in sales.

Recommended for:

  • New sales professionals trying to get a high-level overview of the most important sales topics
  • Sales managers who want to level-up their team

Free Ecommerce Courses

20. How to Start a Dropshipping Business by Shopify Academy

free online courses: dropshipping

Length: 1.5-2 Hours

Dropshipping is a business model where you don’t keep any products in stock at your own warehouses, but rather ship them directly from the manufacturers’ or suppliers’ warehouses. It’s one of the best ways to start an ecommerce business with few overhead and startup costs. In this course, Corey Ferreira shares his methods for finding a product to sell, testing its popularity, and building an unforgettable brand.

Recommended for:

  • Anyone who’d like to start an ecommerce business with a dropshipping model

21. Product Photography for Ecommerce by Shopify Academy

Length: 2 Hours

In this course, you’ll learn how to set up your own home studio and take product photos with your smartphone or digital SLR. This is an ideal course for anyone who’s planning to sell the products they make in their online store. If you’re starting a dropshipping business, you can skip taking this course.

Recommended for:

  • Ecommerce sellers who need photos of the products they sell
  • Marketers at small ecommerce businesses

22. Ecommerce Marketing Training by HubSpot Academy

Length: 30-60 Minutes

If you work for an ecommerce business and want to implement an inbound marketing strategy, this is a good course for you. In this short crash course, you’ll learn the basics of selling more online, and how that fits into an inbound strategy. We recommend taking this course once you’ve got the basics down, such as how to run a dropshipping business.

Recommended for:

  • Ecommerce sellers who want to grow their business

23. Email Marketing for Ecommerce by MailChimp

Length: ~30 Minutes

Learn how to use automation, optimization, and personalization to boost your business through email. Once you’ve got the leads from your ecommerce website, it’s time to nurture them through email marketing. This course will run through the entire process. Due to its inclusion of advanced marketing topics such as A/B testing and segmentation, we recommend it for experienced marketers at an ecommerce retailer.

Recommended for:

  • Experienced marketers working at ecommerce businesses
  • Freelance marketers with ecommerce clients

Free Coding & Developer Courses

24. Intro to HTML and CSS by Udacity

free online courses: intro to html and css

Length: ~3 Weeks

In this course, you’ll learn the fundamentals of HTML and CSS, two core web development languages, along with best practices and professional problem-solving techniques using Developer Tools. This online coding lesson offers easy-to-follow instructions, interactive quizzes, and a tested curriculum that can help anyone learn how to code.

Recommended for:

  • Marketers, salespeople, and freelancers wanting to learn HTML and CSS

Udacity offers a variety of other courses that can teach you to code. Once you’ve covered HTML and CSS, you can then dive into:

  • Intro to JavaScript (Length: ~2 Weeks): After HTML and CSS, JavaScript is an essential language to learn if you’re planning to create high-performing websites. Udacity’s Intro to JavaScript course will cover all the basics you need to know.
  • Intro to Python Programming (Length: ~5 Weeks): Get to grips with key computer science concepts in this introductory Python course. You’ll learn by doing, and will build your own search engine and social network.
  • Self-Driving Fundamentals: Featuring Apollo (Length: ~4 Weeks): Through this course, you’ll be able to identify key parts of self-driving cars and get to know Apollo architecture. You’ll be able to utilize Apollo HD Map, localization, perception, prediction, planning, and control, and start the learning path of building a self-driving car. We recommend taking this course for fun.

25. Learn Java by Codecademy

Length: 25 Hours

Codecademy offers an excellent repository of coding courses. If you didn’t like Udemy’s HTML and CSS class, we highly recommend learning it from Codeacademy instead. One of the languages you can learn is Java, which can be used to create web applications, software-as-a-service products, and mobile apps.

Because it’s a more advanced programming topic, we only recommend it if you’re planning to start a computer science career or develop your own web app or SaaS.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who’s interested in shifting into a developer role or code their own app

26. Introduction to iOS App Development, Xcode, and Interface Builder by Devslopes

Length: 10-15 Hours

This iPhone app development course will give you all you need to create your very own iOS app from the ground up. You’ll specifically learn how to create an app using XCode, Apple’s iOS app builder, and Interface Builder, which is a feature within Xcode. With clear video tutorials that are easy to follow, this course will get you up-to-date with the latest in iPhone app development trends.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who’s interested in coding their own iOS app

27. Algorithms, Part I by Princeton University

Length: ~53 Hours

This course by Princeton University covers the essential information that every serious programmer needs to know about algorithms and data structures, with emphasis on applications and scientific performance analysis of Java implementations. Because algorithms are a more advanced coding topic, we only recommend it if you’re planning to shift into a programming career. If that doesn’t sound like you, start with Udemy’s HTML and CSS course instead.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who’s interested in shifting into a programming career

28. Machine Learning by Stanford University

Length: ~60 Hours

The description of this course reads, “Machine learning is the science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed.” In other words, machine learning allows computers to act based on prior user input. Speech recognition and self-driving cars are examples of machine learning. If you want to create a web or mobile application that uses machine learning to improve the user experience, we recommend this course. This is an advanced coding topic that’s only recommended for current programmers.

Recommended for:

  • Programmers who want to get foundational knowledge in machine learning

Free Personal & Professional Development Courses

29. Conquering the Fear of Public Speaking by Udemy

free online courses: public speaking

Length: 30-60 Minutes

We all fear public speaking — or, at the very least, feel a measure of anxiety whenever we have to give a speech or a presentation. This course will teach you techniques to overcome the fear of public speaking, as well as how to avoid feeling nervous before speaking publicly. It’s a short course, too.

Recommended for:

  • Anyone who wants to overcome the fear of public speaking

30. Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects by Deep Teaching Solutions

Length: ~15 Hours

Whether you’re a student or a young professional, learning how to digest and access information is a key skill to succeed at both school and work. This delightfully “meta” course teaches you how to learn new subjects and retain information.

Recommended for:

  • Students of all levels who want to get better at retaining information
  • Professionals of all levels who want to learn how to retain information

31. Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills by University of Michigan

Length: ~17 Hours

In this course created by the University of Michigan, you’ll learn about and practice four key steps to a successful negotiation. While negotiation skills may be most often used at work, and specifically during a sales call or prior to signing an employment contract, it can also be used in your day-to-day and personal interactions.

Recommended for:

  • Professionals of all levels

32. The Manager’s Toolkit: A Practical Guide to Managing People at Work by University of London

Length: ~29 Hours

This course gives you a practical guide to managing people at work. It doesn’t matter whether you are a first-time manager in a shop or a middle manager in an office environment — the same skills apply to every workplace.

Recommended for:

  • Mid- to senior-level professionals moving into a managerial role

33. Career Success Specialization by University of California, Irvine

Length: ~2 Hours / Week (11 Months)

This series of courses will teach you project management skills, communication skills, time management skills, and financial skills — all of which are needed to succeed in today’s workforce. You’ll also learn business writing and negotiation skills. We recommend it for new graduates or anyone who’s still in college.

Recommended for:

  • New college grads or current college students

34. The Science of Happiness by University of California, Berkeley

Length: 4-5 Hours / Week (11 Weeks)

Feeling down because of the pandemic? We’re right there with you. This course by UC Berkeley will walk you through the concept of happiness from a scientific and psychological standpoint, and give you practical tips for boosting happiness when you’re feeling blue.

Recommended for:

  • Anyone who’d like to improve their happiness in work and life

35. The Science of Wellbeing by Yale University

Length: ~19 Hours

The purpose of this course is to not only learn what psychological research says about what makes us happy, but also to put those strategies into practice. It’s an excellent follow-up to UC Berkeley’s course above. It’ll help you rewire the way you think about happiness.

Recommended for:

  • Anyone who’d like to improve their happiness in work and life

Free Design Courses

36. Graphic Design Course by HubSpot Academy

free online courses: graphic design

Length: 30-60 Minutes

Need to become a graphic designer in less than an hour? This course by HubSpot Academy offers basic concepts in graphic design to create designs that accurately represent your brand. You can then translate these concepts to any tool of your choosing, including Adobe Illustrator, Canva, and even PowerPoint.

Recommended for:

  • Non-design professionals who need to learn the basics of graphic design

37. Learn Adobe Illustrator From Scratch by EduOnix

Length: 10-11 Hours

Adobe Illustrator is one of the best tools you can use for your graphic design projects. In this course by EduOnix, you’’ll learn how to master Adobe Illustrator with real world examples. We only recommend it if you have an active Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.

Recommended for:

  • Designers who need to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator quickly

Free Business & Finance Courses

38. The Fundamental of Business by Smartly

free online courses: fundamentals of business

Length: 2-3 Hours / Week (6-8 Weeks)

Designed with input from business professors, Smartly’s Fundamentals of Business course combines a self-guided software approach with collaborative online case studies and group projects. It’s a flexible yet structured course for the modern professional who wants to learn the basics of business.

Recommended for:

  • Early-career professionals who want to start a business or move into executive roles

31. Stock Market Investing for Beginners by Udemy

Length: 1.5-2 Hours

Learn the basics of the stock market through comprehensive, interesting, and fun lectures. This is an essential course for anyone who’d like to invest and diversify their portfolio.

Recommended for:

  • Anyone who wants to start investing

32. Corporate Finance by New York University

Length: Self-Paced

New York University’s Corporate Finance course is a big-picture class. It looks at the financial principles that govern how businesses raise funds, invest those funds in assets and projects, and return those funds to investors. This would be a helpful course for both entrepreneurs and professionals considering starting a career in corporate finance.

Recommended for:

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Professionals moving into executive roles
  • Professionals interested in shifting into corporate finance

Free Writing Online Courses

33. Good with Words: Writing and Editing by University of Michigan

Length: 18-20 Hours

Good with Words: Writing and Editing prepares you to write strong prose from a grammatical, technical, and syntactical standpoint. This is an excellent option for anyone who’d like to strengthen their writing skills without necessarily diving into additional topics such as marketing or essay writing. It’s a great foundational course for any type of writing discipline, including fiction writing.

To take this course for free, click the “Enroll for Free” button. In the pop-up, click “Audit the course.” This will give you the option to view the course materials without paying for the certificate.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who writes emails, social posts, articles, and web pages in their role

34. Business Blogging by HubSpot Academy

Length: 2 Hours

Business blogging is more than just writing and publishing content in the hopes you’ll attract customers. In this course, you’ll learn how to craft a blogging strategy that drives business growth, create quality blog content that customers love, and build a guest blogging strategy that’s powered by SEO.

Recommended for:

  • Mid- to senior-level marketers who have a hand on their company’s marketing strategy

Free Communication Online Courses

35. Communication Skills – Persuasion and Motivation by NPTEL

Length: 1.5-3 Hours

This course will introduce you to essential communication skills that aid persuasion, guide you through the differences between persuasion and manipulation, and show you how to use strong communication to motivate the people around you. These abilities will be a great boost for both your professional and personal relationships.

Recommended for:

  • Anyone who’d like to improve their communication skills

36. Conflict Management Specialization by University of California, Irvine

Length: 4 Months

With this series of courses by the University of California Irvine, you’ll learn listening skills, verbal and non-verbal communication skills, and how to assemble a conflict management plan likely to yield positive resolutions. While anyone would benefit from taking this course, it’s specially recommended for professionals in people-management roles.

Recommended for:

  • Mid- to senior-level professionals who manage teams or other people
  • Anyone who’d like to improve their conflict management skills

Free Entrepreneurship Online Courses

37. How to Build a Startup by Udacity

free online courses: how to build a startupLength: ~1 Month

In this course, Steve Blank provides insight into the key steps needed to build a successful start-up. You’ll learn the various types of business models, the parts of a value proposition, the concept of customer segmentation, and more. This is a top-to-bottom course that will give you the foundations you need for starting a business.

Recommended for:

38. Business Strategy Specialization by University of Virginia

Length: ~6 Months

Develop your ability to think strategically, analyze your competition, recommend a positioning strategy, and create value. In this course, you’ll explore the underlying theory and foundation of a successful business strategy, and gain the tools you need to understand that strategy.

Recommended for:

  • Entrepreneurs with an existing business they’d like to grow

39. Marketing Fundamentals: Who Is Your Customer? by Babson College

Length: 3-4 Weeks

Marketing Fundamentals: Who Is Your Customer? will help you discover how to acquire the right customers and grow your startup business. While it’s branded as a marketing course, it’s designed for entrepreneurs who don’t know how to begin marketing their new product or service, and who want to understand their target market. That said, it’s also a great course to take if you’re interested in going into marketing.

Recommended for:

  • Entrepreneurs without a marketing background
  • Professionals with an interest in marketing

Free Humanities Online Courses

40. Introduction to Digital Humanities by Harvard University

Length: ~7 Weeks

The term “humanities” encompasses a wide variety of disciplines and fields. Regardless of your favorite humanities subject, learning how to carry out research and visualize the subject using digital tools is essential if you’d like to progress in your career.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who carries out research in the humanities

41. Modern Masterpieces of World Literature by Harvard University

Length: ~8 Weeks

Explore some of the world’s most salient literary masterpieces in Harvard’s Modern Masterpieces of World Literature course. You’ll get a taste not only of the English literary tradition, but of others around the globe, too.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who’s interested in global literature

42. Global History Lab by Princeton University

Length: ~3 Months

If you’re in need of a history course, consider Princeton University’s Global History Lab. We recommend it for beginners who want an overview of history from the 14th century up until now. While the course is sometimes archived, you may be able to access it live and discuss the course materials with other current students.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who’s interested in history

43. Gender and Sexuality: Applications in Society by the University of British Columbia

Length: ~6 Weeks

If you’re interested in studying gender from a theoretical and epistemological standpoint, Gender and Sexuality: Applications in Society is the course you need to take. It will give you an overarching overview of gender and sexuality through a variety of perspectives and lenses.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who’s interested in gender and sexuality

Free Language Online Courses

44. Basic strongish 1: Getting Started by the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia

Length: ~7 Weeks

Learning a new language is always a worthwhile investment, especially if you’re a global marketer or salesperson. This basic strongish course by the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia will help you establish a foundation for further learning.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who’s planning to use strongish at work or for leisure

45. Mandarin Chinese Level 1 by MandarinX

Length: ~6 Weeks

If you’re planning to expand your business into the Asian market, then learning Mandarin is key, given that Mandarin is the most spoken language in Asia. It’s also a popular language for business. Mandarin Chinese Level 1 will give you the foundation you need to take more advanced Mandarin courses.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who’s planning to use Mandarin at work or for leisure

46. Getting Started with French 1 by The Open University

Length: ~6 Weeks

Have you been wanting to learn French? Getting Started with French 1 will teach you the basic phrases you need to interact with others in a French-speaking environment. We highly recommend taking all of the courses in this series as a precursor for more advanced language study.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who’s planning to use French at work or for leisure

Learning is an investment that continues to pay.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

That’s never been truer than it is today. With new technologies emerging at breakneck speeds, there’s a palpable pressure to continuously upskill.

We hope you found the online business courses you need for the next step in your career — whether you’re looking for a promotion or a sidestep into an entirely new field.

Whatever your reason, learning new skills will give you a competitive advantage in today’s rapidly changing workplace. Plus, the more you invest in your learning, the better you’ll grow.

If you’re looking for one single place to learn how to take your career to the next level and/or grow your business, check out HubSpot Academy. It contains tons of free certified courses on everything from inbound and content marketing to social media and sales.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

HubSpot Academy - Grow your business, and your career.


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MARKETING

Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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