Learn the secrets to successful online marketing with these 10 courses – Fortune

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In today’s digital marketplace, personalization is king. Hubspot’s The State of Marketing 2024 report underscores this, revealing that 75% of marketers credit personalized experiences with boosting sales and customer loyalty. This strategic focus is reshaping companies’ online narratives, directly influencing a return on investment (ROI) and growth trajectories.
The digital realm demands a deep understanding of consumer behavior, market trends, and keeping up with technological trends and advancements. For those carving out a career in digital or online marketing, you’re in an era where science meets creativity. 
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Dr. Jonah Berger, a Wharton School professor at the University of Pennsylvania and bestselling author of books like Magic Words and The Catalyst, views the right digital marketing course as a critical piece in the puzzle of success.
“If you already have your product, a class can teach you how to get it to the right customers,” he asserts. Berger emphasizes the versatility of digital marketing education, noting that it can guide entrepreneurs in everything from product design to startup selection.
He advises prospective students to first identify their needs and desired outcomes before choosing a course. “The more that courses help you address a particular tactical need you have, the better off you’re going to be,” he explains. He encourages focusing on “modern marketing” trends such as customer centricity, highlighting the shift towards prioritizing the customer’s perspective over the product or service.
For Berger, truly successful digital marketing lies in “the marriage of data science and behavioral science.” He stresses the importance of understanding customer decision-making while leveraging data for deeper insights. This approach is paramount in a landscape dominated by search engines, social media, and omni-channel marketing strategies.
For those interested in working in the online marketing industry, taking a course can be an effective way to build a solid foundation. Fortune compiled a list of both free and paid online marketing courses you can take on your home computer to help you add the skill to your digital toolbox. 
Enrolling in a free course can give you the necessary skills to get started without breaking the bank. These five free online courses teach digital marketing at an introductory level. Each varies on program length but offers generalized coursework. The list is in alphabetical order.
This one is for people who don’t have a lot of time but still want to dip their toes in the digital marketing waters. To figure out if digital marketing is right for you, CareerFoundry can send you a free five-day short course to your email inbox. Each lesson takes around 15 minutes, offering barebones instruction to the world of digital marketing and making a career change. It’s worth noting that the content you receive is the beginning lessons of a much more robust, four to seven-month long, $6,900 immersive, should you want to opt for the paid version. 
This 40-hour course, offered by one of the most popular search engine companies, teaches digital marketing at an entry-level. The 24-module class, accredited by the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe and The Open University, contains hands-on exercises.
Tutorials include topics like making it easy to find a business on the internet and reaching customers through email and video. After passing each tutorial, the course offers one final assessment, and after taking and passing that, you will receive a sharable award to add to your LinkedIn profile.
Facebook’s parent company, Meta, offers 36 free courses in its Blueprint program. The program aims to give learners fast, self-guided digital marketing walkthroughs and training on sites like Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Topics range from bringing your business online and establishing marketing goals to attracting an audience and making creative Instagram Stories. 
This free course by Simplilearn consists of seven main modules, each containing a self-paced string of video lessons. It aims to provide learners with an introduction to the digital marketing landscape. 
In two hours, you will learn about customer segmentation and persona, plus you’ll learn how to conduct market research and create a marketing calendar. After each chapter, there is a knowledge check, and after completing the class, you will receive a certificate of completion. According to the site, more than 25,000 people have enrolled in this course.
This introductory course from Three Sixty Academy, offered on the Udemy platform, teaches learners the fundamentals of Instagram marketing and how to increase your follower base and maximize ROI. The course consists of nine tutorials over the course of 40 minutes. According to the site, more than 30,000 students have enrolled in this course. 
Taking paid courses can be an effective way to learn marketing concepts and practical applications. By paying for a course, you can access comprehensive content and detailed explanations in a structured learning environment. This can help you gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter and improve your skills. Courses are listed in alphabetical order.
Coursera has a beginner-level course that lasts for around nine hours and is taught by Steve Fritzenkotter, a continuing education instructor from the University of California, Irvine. The course covers everything from search engine marketing and two-way communication with customers to storytelling and reputation management. 
According to the site, it’s free to start, but after a seven-day trial period, you’ll be required to pay $49 monthly. The subscription gives you access to all of the lectures, assignments, knowledge checks, discussion forums, and even a certification of completion. Lastly, the course has more than 10,500 enrollees. 
eCornell’s online paid media course covers the basics of search engine marketing, email marketing, and video marketing through a paid lens. The course tackles topics like social media and mobile ads and will guide you through the process of drafting a paid media marketing plan. 
This two-week, fully online, instructor-led course is targeted towards marketing managers who want to understand the role digital marketing plays in an organization. The course is priced at $1,199 and is part of eCornell’s Digital Marketing program, which is priced at $3,699 and includes four courses. After completing the entire program, you will have earned a certificate.
Harvard Business School Online’s digital marketing course is seven weeks long, self-paced, and contains six modules. The key concepts taught are the evolution of marketing, different approaches to budget allocation, and customer engagement techniques like storytelling and personalization. 
The featured exercises include building a practice budget, calculating a customer’s lifetime value, and advising a real-life company on its marketing plan. The course costs $1,750, and the application is free, but you must be at least 18 years old to apply. 
LinkedIn Learning’s digital marketing career path is a comprehensive program with nine courses. Each one is more than ten hours long and is designed to teach learners how to create effective customer touchpoints, develop content strategies, and gain expertise in SEO and analytics. Upon completing the program, students receive a certificate that can be added to their LinkedIn profile.
The lectures are delivered by industry experts Brad Batesole, who teaches part-time at California State University Northridge, and Marta Dapena-Baron, a former marketing lecturer at the University of Michigan and Cornell University.
To access this course path, users must subscribe to the service. The subscription costs $379.88 per seat per year, with a two-seat minimum requirement for teams.
This $199.99 course offered by Udemy teaches students how to master digital marketing strategy and the fundamentals of social media, SEO, YouTube, email, X (formerly Twitter), Quora, and Facebook marketing. Taught in 17 languages over 22.5 hours of videos and articles, it also teaches you copywriting, making a website, and performing market research. 
According to the site, the course comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and it caters to three target audiences: individuals who wish to enhance their skills for job opportunities, website owners looking to boost their traffic and sales, and pre-launch business owners who are unsure where to begin.
If there’s one takeaway from this article, it’s that there are a lot of options in terms of the kinds of courses you can take. An overwhelming number of options can lead to analysis paralysis, so it’s important to remember that while some courses might sound great, they might not give you the exact results you’re looking for. 
Before spending your hard-earned cash or wasting your time with any marketing course, consider these factors:
The best online marketing course is the one that best suits your needs. While you can scroll through thousands of TikTok and YouTube videos to pick up key information, a structured course can give you the backbone you need to improve your digital marketing skills. 
Whether you want to learn for free or for money, there’s an option for everyone. But if you’re still on the fence about taking an online marketing course, hear Berger’s advice: 
“Marketing touches almost everything we do—we all have a customer. Brand managers sell products, B2B companies sell services, leaders sell ideas, doctors convince patients to take medicine, lawyers try to convince their clients to take action, and employees try to convince their bosses.”
He explains that whether we interface with our customers, spouses, or children, we aim to understand them and meet them where they are. “It’s about understanding who you’re interacting with and delivering them value.” If that sounds interesting to you, then digital marketing could be a good career path. 
Fortune outlined the path you need to take to become a digital marketer, and we also compiled a list of 16 entrepreneurial classes you can take online now.
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