In the past, if you wished to get into marketing, you would simply sign up for a bachelor’s degree in marketing or an MBA. Over time, earning these degrees over the Internet became an option. Today, Internet marketing is such a central part of successful product promotion, any learning approach would need to focus on it. This is where traditional learning methods have begun to use their relevance.
Whether you sign up at a conventional college or learn marketing on a virtual, online degree course, whatever is taught is usually put together on a course cycle that lasts years. The rules of online marketing, on the other hand, change monthly, if not weekly.
Such courses may be a great way to learn the basics of marketing. They are a poor choice, though, if you need to know about the latest and best practices in online Internet marketing today. For knowledge of this kind, fast-cycle courses run by professional marketers can make sense. They come up with the concept in response to a change in marketing practices that they see. They quickly work out what works, establish a course, and teach what they know. The entire cycle completes within a matter of months. For courses that teach how to respond to new Google algorithms, new marketing trends in social media or new technologies, you need to look for sales and marketing courses online that target specific marketing skills or changes in the market.
What do you look for in one of these courses, though? How do you tell a good one apart from one that is merely average or even unsatisfactory?
Do they teach you to code?
Do they teach you SEO?
Optimizing websites for search engine visibility is a science, and requires you to constantly learn new techniques in response to market changes. It doesn’t make sense to just look for your average “SEO course,” though. Just about anyone can now put together a website and claim to teach search engine optimization
The best way to tell if a course is serious about teaching you the latest in SEO would be to check out Moz, Search Engine Land and other leading SEO sites to read up. Once you have a reasonable idea about what the latest trends and technologies are, look on the course pages of different marketing courses to check if those technologies are mentioned.
Search for a niche keyword
Many fast-moving developments in Internet marketing come from certain marketing niches. You won’t find these technologies in regular Internet marketing courses. If you want to learn about them, you’ll need to specifically target courses intended for them. You’ll need to subscribe to every great marketing blog out there to learn what these niches are, and find courses for them. They last no more than a couple of days sometimes, and are often free.
Try the best free learning centers first
There’s no point paying for knowledge that is available for free. Before you sign up to a paid course, you should try Khan Academy, MIT Open Courseware, Coursera, OpenCulture, Alison, Saylor, edX and even YouTube — the best free learning resources for practically any marketing technology that you could need.
These resources will give you a great deal of basic knowledge on what the world of Internet marketing involves today. You’ll be able to learn what people say about their experiences, and where they feel that they fall short. Once you have specific ideas from these courses and comments from fellow students, you’ll be able to zero in on a paid course that specifically addresses areas in which these free courses lack.
Don’t forget the regular criteria that you would judge a course by
Whatever online course you take up, it’s up to you to make sure that you get value for your money. The tests that you would apply to any online course are relevant when you try to learn marketing, too. Apart from looking for a great reputation, you need to look for accreditation. Many quality marketing schools have recognition by one of the six regional accreditation bodies in the US – Middle States Association, New England Association, North Central Association, Northwest Commission, Western Association and Southern Association. While accreditation by itself won’t guarantee quality, it’s a great place to start.
Chandana is a Senior Content Writer for Simplilearn.com. She has a M.A. in English Literature from Gauhati University and is PRINCE2 Foundation certified. Her unique and refreshing writing style continues to educate and inspire readers from around the world.