Is a Digital Marketing Course Worth the Money?

The eternal cry of the millennial, “Can’t get a job without experience, can’t get experience without a job,” has taken on a new life in the digital age.

This movement towards alternative schooling institutions, online courses, and internet certification has given new hope to many young adults. As technology and the internet, in particular, have become more ingrained in our lives, a new American and global dream is taking place with young aspiring careerists.

Traditional schools and universities across America have struggled to keep up with this shift in digital technology, but online courses have exploded in popularity. GenZ and millennials are using these to hack into bankable skills to make money such as coding, project management, and, of course, digital marketing.

There is a new digital education revolution taking place which is clear. But many optimistic students need to understand that these courses are not a golden ticket. Not only do you have to be a self-motivated hard worker but you also have to be wary that you may not attain your dream job or the other promises that are made to you. Or worse, you sink hundreds of dollars into digital education and find out that the skills you learn are completely worthless. Multiple horror stories circulate throughout the internet of countless wishful students being scammed by fake gurus and experts.

So, the question stands: are digital marketing courses worth the money?

6 people in a conference room taking a digital marketing course together

As online education becomes more popular and accepted by employers, it is becoming more and more common for digital marketing boot camps or courses to be a part of that training. With so many options, how do you know which one is the best for you?

We’ve evaluated some of the most popular online digital marketing courses based on fees, online reviews, essential services, accreditation, and curriculum to help make your decision easier.

This post is not intended to be a digital marketing course review, but rather to help you with the decision-making process.

Why Enroll in a Digital Marketing Course?

Digital marketing skills are in high demand

Digital marketing skills are in high demand. They’re only going to become more and more in-demand as we move further into the digital age. Therefore, businesses of all sizes are looking for digital marketing experts.

In fact, according to the McKinley Marketing Partners’ annual trends report, 61% of companies reported that they plan to add digital marketing specialists and professionals to their teams.

Well-paying salaries

With an annual salary being around $80-150k, you can easily see why digital marketing jobs are so sought after since they provide you with stability and growth. Also, companies are willing to pay these salaries as an investment in their future growth. They know that digital marketing is a crucial skill that’s not going away anytime soon and they want to be ahead of the curve.

portrait of a highly skilled and well paid woman because she took online digital marketing courses

Tech businesses and startups are always looking for digital marketing talent

Tech businesses and startups are always looking for digital marketing talent, especially because online marketing is their lifeline to customers. This is mostly because most of them are online-only businesses.

Founders and CEOs are clamoring to add a proficient digital marketer to their team as they are just as valuable as a project manager, graphic designer, or web developer.

Digital marketing jobs have favorable work benefits

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies and organizations have made the switch towards working from home or remotely. This was to help prevent the spread of the virus.

However, despite the drastic change from WFM to back into the office, digital marketing has survived and in some cases, thrived. This is because it’s a skill that can be done from anywhere. And as more and more people are working remotely, digital marketing skills will become even more in-demand.

In some cases, employers are happy to appeal to digital marketers with attractive work benefits such as the ability to work remotely or with flexible hours.

A huge global industry with potential for career growth

As digital marketing becomes more prevalent, the industry is only going to grow. Right now, digital advertising is a $378.16 billion industry in 2020 and it’s expected to grow to in 2021. That’s a lot of growth potential.

Many people want to take advantage of this growing industry by pursuing a digital marketing career.

Digital marketing skills can be learned from home

Digital marketing skills can be learned from home. You can continuously hone your skills while working from home.

The only skill you really need to be a good marketer is the ability to persuade and influence people’s emotions with your words. This involves invoking emotional and logical responses out of your target audience to take the desired action – click that button, subscribe to that newsletter, buy this product. Everything else you can learn from watching YouTube videos while sitting at home.

That doesn’t mean that online marketing courses aren’t a suitable option. Everyone learns differently. What can be comfortable and liberating for one can be unstructured and frustrating for another.

Why You Shouldn’t Enroll In Online Digital Marketing Courses?

There are always two sides to a coin. And while digital marketing courses online may have many benefits, they also come with their own set of weaknesses. Understanding both the good and the bad can help you make a more informed decision on whether digital marketing courses are worth your money.

Fake Gurus and Experts

Marketers are entrepreneurial by nature. They are always looking for new ways to bring about change and make money in the process

Unfortunately, this means that some who will claim they can help you with your digital strategy or online presence but in reality have no idea what they are talking about. Beware of fake gurus and experts.

Seek out digital marketers who have a proven track record of success in digital strategy and online presence. This way you can be confident that they know what they’re doing instead of just promising results but not delivering on them.

graphic of clicking a youtube video whic could be a fake guru who offers online marketing courses

Highly competitive and oversaturated industry

The digital marketing industry is highly competitive and oversaturated. This means that to be successful, you not only need the skills but you also need to have a competitive edge. It’s hard to gain a foothold and establish yourself in the marketing industry with all the competition out there.

You need to learn from an expert digital marketer who already has experienced what you’re experiencing and has the knowledge and skills to take you where you need to go.

Difficult to break into without any prior job experience and connections

Digital marketing is a highly specialized set of skills and you’re unlikely to get the kinds of digital marketing jobs you want without any prior experience or connections.

Find experts who have been where you are and can mentor you on how they built their connections and develop your experience and skills even as a beginner. Then, you’ll have a better shot at getting your dream job.

Online marketing courses for beginners can give you the preparatory knowledge to succeed in this field. Some courses even have job placement programs that help you land your first job. This is great for those who want to start their digital marketing career as soon as possible.

7 Types of Digital Marketing Specialties

To be a digital marketer, you need to have an outstanding command of both creative and analytical problem-solving skills. With creative problem-solving skills, you can build strategies and campaigns that will be effective and impactful.

You also need good business sense so that you can communicate the digital marketing strategy effectively with both internal stakeholders and clients.

Digital marketing is a constantly-evolving field so you need to be able to keep up with the latest changes and trends.

To succeed in this field, not only do you have to grasp soft skills such as time management, problem-solving, and creativity, but online marketing also requires hard skills like knowing how to put together a digital marketing strategy and a working knowledge of a lot of specialized tools.

Overall, there are seven types of digital marketing specialties that fall under two broad categories: Inbound Marketing and Growth Mmarketing.

Inbound Marketing is an online marketing strategy that focuses on creating content, building a solid digital presence, and attracting visitors from search engines.

Inbound Marketing includes skills such as:

  • SEO
  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing

On the other hand, advertising is a digital strategy that focuses on mass outreach using digital channels.

Advertising Specialties include:

  • PPC management
  • Display advertising
  • Social media advertising.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is what most persons are familiar with in digital marketing. It is the process of using social media platforms to create, share, and amplify content to attract customers and build loyal followers, and even grow as a social media influencer in your field.

Social media marketing includes digital marketing skills such as:

  • Managing social media profiles
  • Manage social media crisises
  • Using automation tools to schedule posts and engage with followers
  • Creating digital content for social media
  • Using analytics tools to measure organic performance

To take this to the next level, you can even consider adding social media to WordPress or even connecting your Instagram feed to your website.

SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing a website for Google and other search engines. It also includes the study of search engines and how they crawl, index, and rank websites.

By understanding the intricacies of search engines, you can optimize digital content so that it ranks high on search engines for keywords related to your digital marketing campaigns such as products or services.

SEO skills include:

  • Technical SEO
  • On-page optimization
  • Keyword research
  • Link building
  • Competitor analysis

Content Marketing

Content marketing, also known as brand journalism, is a digital marketing strategy that focuses on creating and publishing valuable content to attract customers. Content can come in many different forms such as:

  • Graphics
  • Blog
  • Video
  • Podcast
  • E-books
  • Whitepapers

Content Marketing includes:

  • Copywriting
  • Content strategy
  • Search engine optimization.

SEO especially is crucial as digital content is often shared on platforms where search engines dominate. Getting your content seen and ranked high on search engines can result in increased website traffic and leads.

The goal of content marketing is to educate, empower and entertain your audience. That way, you’ll solve their problems, build trust, establish yourself as a digital expert and generate sales leads.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is about sending emails that are valuable to your customers. When done correctly, email marketing can generate digital sales and increase website traffic.

Email Marketing skills include:

  • Copywriting
  • Email design
  • List building
  • Segmenting your lists
  • A/B testing

Like content marketing, the goal of email marketing is to create digital content that solves your customers’ problems. Newsletters, valuable content, deals and specials, and company updates are all digital marketing content that can be used to nurture your subscribers.

Marketing Analytics

Marketing analytics is the process of analyzing digital marketing data to improve performance. Marketing analytics skills include:

  • Digital analytics
  • Digital marketing ROI measurement
  • Conversion rate optimization.

Marketing automation tools such as HubSpot allow online marketers to track digital marketing data. They can help digital marketers make sense of their marketing analytics and improve performance by streamlining tasks, automating processes, and generating sale leads.

Social Media Advertising

Social media advertising is the process of using social media platforms to create, share and amplify paid digital advertisements to attract customers.

Social media advertising can be used to promote digital content, such as blog posts, videos, and e-books. It can also be used to promote products and services, as well as events such as webinars and live chats.

Social media advertising skills include:

  • Creating and managing social media ads
  • Using ad tools
  • Targeting your audience
  • Measuring the performance of your digital campaigns

PPC/Search Advertising

PPC, or pay-per-click, is a digital advertising model in which advertisers pay a fee each time their ad is clicked. PPC is often used to generate sales or leads and increase website traffic.

Like content marketing, PPC is also deeply connected to SEO which can help you boost your visibility.

PPC skillsets include:

  • Creating and managing PPC campaigns
  • Using ad tools
  • Targeting your audience
  • Measuring the effectiveness of your digital campaigns.

Cost of a Digital Marketing Course

A digital marketing course fee varies widely depending on the type of course or curriculum, the location, and the instructor or institution.

For example, is the course virtual or in-person? Is the instructor a digital marketing expert? Does the course include access to digital marketing tools, templates, and resources? Is it an immersive BootCamp or a more leisurely online course? Are they the best institute for digital marketing courses?

Depending on the answers to these questions, digital marketing courses fees can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands.

Formal educational institutions that offer in-person, part-time digital marketing courses will charge a few thousand dollars. BootCamps that offer an immersive digital marketing learning experience can cost between $5000 and $15,000. Online digital marketing courses from respected digital marketing experts can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $1000.

Knowing the cost of digital marketing courses can help you determine your budget and the investment you’re willing to make in this career.

Best Digital Marketing Courses

While digital marketing courses vary in cost and duration, some online digital marketing courses stand out for their comprehensive curriculum, stellar reviews, and the expertise of the instructor.

We’ve compiled a list of the best digital marketing courses based on factors such as:

  • Course duration
  • Comprehensiveness of the curriculum
  • Digital marketing skills learned
  • Reviews from customers of the course
  • Instructor digital marketing expertise
purdue online marketing courses

Purdue Digital Marketing

Tuition: $2,250

Course Duration: Six months, 5-10 hours per week

Curriculum:

  • Fundamentals of Digital Marketing and SEO
  • Pay Per Click(PPC)
  • Web Analytics
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Digital Marketing Capstone Project

Electives:

  • Digital Marketing Facebook Master Session
  • Purdue Digital Marketing Master Class
  • Brand Management
  • Advanced Email Marketing
  • Advanced Content Marketing
  • Advanced Mobile Marketing

Reviews

Trustpilot: 4.6

Coursereport: 4.5

Ranked as the number 1 best online digital marketing course by Search Engine Journal, Purdue’s digital marketing course is the longest and most comprehensive digital marketing certification program.

As an accredited research institution, Purdue University nows offers a digital marketing course that is co-created by Facebook and Harvard Business Publishing Education.

The course is praised for being broad, deep, and comprehensive and covers different elements of digital marketing.

Led by Jinsuh Lee, Ph.D. of Marketing, you can benefit from his vast knowledge and experience in digital marketing. And you can take advantage of hands-on experience by solving industry case studies coupled with job placement programs for graduates.

berkeley digital marketing classes

Berkeley Satelite Extension Digital Marketing Bootcamp

Tuition: $9,995*

Student Financing Options:

  • Scholarships
  • Payment plans

Duration: 18-week course (2 days a week and Saturdays)

Curriculum:

  • Marketing strategy
  • Optimizing Campaigns and websites
  • SEO
  • Conversion Tracking
  • Digital advertising and automation
  • Paid search
  • Marketing Automation
  • Customer Relationship Management

Reviews

Coursereport: 4.23

SwitchUp: 3.3

Berkeley Satelite Extension Digital Marketing Bootcamp is an intensive digital marketing course that will help students learn how to market their business online.

It was designed for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and marketing professionals.

If you are not a student of Berkley, you shouldn’t worry as this Bootcamp is available to non-students as well. You have the option of choosing to study virtually or in-person.

Also, it will teach you how to market your business online and give you hands-on experience with solving industry case studies.

Berkeley Satelite Extension Digital Marketing Bootcamp offers a career services team that provides support and mentorship to all online students. The career services team provides:

  • Technical interview training
  • Portfolio reviews
  • Resume support

If you’re in digital marketing or want to expand your skill set, this is one of the best digital marketing courses online.

general assembly online digital marketing courses

General Assembly

Tuition: $3,950 full tuition

Duration: 10-week program (on-campus and online)

Student Financing Options:

  • Employee sponsorship
  • Interest-free loans
  • Monthly installments

Curriculum

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  • PPC (pay-per-click)
  • Google Analytics
  • Display Advertising
  • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Bootcamps have become a popular alternative to traditional schooling, and General Assembly is one of the first institutes for web development and digital marketing courses that helped popularize the model. Although it’s not accredited, General Assembly is respected in the tech world for its courses on digital marketing, web development, and UX/UI design.

Digital marketing graduates receive a third off tuition fees when they choose to re-enroll in another course and train in another skill set. With a global community of over 162,000 alumni, General Assembly has helped individuals achieve their career goals through online, in-person, and corporate training courses.

The digital marketing course at General Assembly is a full-time, immersive program that will teach you how to plan, execute, and measure digital marketing campaigns. The curriculum for the course is designed by GA’s industry experts who have years of experience working with global brands such as Verizon and Johnson & Johnson.

Upon graduating from the digital marketing course, you’ll be able to build a career in digital marketing or be able to add digital marketing skills to your current role.

General Assembly offers a global alumni network. This means that you will have access to peers and practitioners who can help you achieve your career goals. The global alumni network is a great resource for digital marketing graduates because they often say this is where they get a lot of the benefit from this digital marketing course.

digital marketing institute professional diploma received after taking their digital marketing classes

DMI – Digital Marketing Course – Professional Digital Marketing Diploma

Tuition: $2,498

Duration: 24 weeks part-time

No student financing options

  • 14-day money-back guarantee

Curriculum:

  • Introduction to digital marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • SEO
  • PPC
  • Youtube and Display Advertising
  • Email Marketing
  • Website Optimization
  • Google Analytics
  • Digital Marketing Strategy

Praising themselves as the “global standard” of digital marketing courses, the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) Professional Digital Marketing Diploma will give you the skillset to work in any digital marketing role and become a thought leader in the digital space.

DMI has also received high ratings on Indeed (4.3) and positive testimonials from other leading marketing thought leaders such as Reliablesoft.

The course also offers practical exercises for a more hands-on experience, and soft skills training in time management, project management and so many more!

After completing the digital marketing course, you will become a CIM-accredited digital marketer and receive the “Professional Digital Marketing Diploma”.

Digital marketing certificates to Get

There are a variety of free online marketing courses with certificates to hone your various skills. Each free digital marketing course certificate has its own unique curriculum that is tailored to help you specialize in a certain digital marketing arena.

For example, if you’re interested in becoming a digital marketer who specializes in Google Analytics, then you should earn the “Google Analytics Certificate” from Google. The digital marketing certificate will teach you how to effectively use Google Analytics on your website and help you answer user questions, such as user acquisition, engagement, and conversion.

Not only will this look great on your resume but it will help you become more familiar with certain skills and tools to be successful in your field.

Google Analytics

This free digital marketing course will teach you how to collect, measure and analyze data from digital marketing campaigns. You will learn how to use Google Analytics to improve website design, understand customer behavior, and create marketing reports.

You can grab fundamentals of digital marketing and Google Analytics with the Google Digital Unlocked course.

Google Ads

Another powerful certificate that will help you become a digital marketer is the “Google Ads Certificate”. This certificate will teach you how to create, manage and measure digital advertising campaigns using Google Adwords, Google Ads, and other digital marketing tools.

With the digital advertising certificate, you will learn how to create effective digital ads that target specific customer segments, measure the performance of your digital ads and optimize them for better results.

You can check out the Google Ads free certification or grab this Google Ads masterclass on skillshare.

graphic of hubspot academy inbound marketing certification which can be received after completing their online marketing courses

HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification

The HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification is offered by HubSpot Academy and is one of the most popular free online marketing courses available. The certification is designed to teach you how to attract, engage and delight customers through inbound marketing tactics.

You will learn how to create a digital marketing strategy, produce and optimize content, use social media channels to attract leads, and measure the success of digital campaigns.

Once you complete this free digital marketing certificate, you will become an “Inbound Marketing Certified Professional” and receive a digital badge to use on your resume and social profiles.

Hubspot Academy offers the best online marketing courses for beginners which will help you on your journey to becoming an expert digital marketer.

graphic of facebook blueprint certification which can be received after taking their best digital marketing course

Facebook Blueprint

The digital marketing certificate offered by Facebook is called the “Facebook Blueprint”.

This digital marketing course will teach you how to:

  • create a business page on Facebook and Instagram
  • promote your business page through digital ads and posts
  • grow your likes on the page with social media tools
  • create engaging content that inspires action
  • and measure digital campaigns to determine their success.

The Facebook Blueprint course is also free and open to anyone with a Facebook or Instagram account.

Summing up: Is a digital marketing course worth it?

Conditionally, yes.

Provided that you beware of online courses that over promise and underdeliver or provide similar content to that of free certifications, digital marketing courses can be extremely beneficial.

This is especially true if these courses offer:

  • Global accreditation
  • Job assistance and career services
  • Various student financing assistance options

Overall, regardless of your educational background, the majority of employers prefer those who can offer vast experience. Thankfully, this can be gained by either freelancing or working on projects pro bono. Using these strategies will boost the likelihood of you getting hired.

With that said, digital marketing courses can be a great way to improve your resume and sharpen your skills. Just be sure to do your research, find a course that meets your needs, and is accredited.