I am often asked to give recommendations on courses and educational programs: where is the best place to go to study Internet marketing. To do this, you need to answer two questions.
What tasks will you solve with the help of new knowledge? The choice of the course and program depends on the answer to this question.
What is your level of knowledge in traditional marketing? The fact is that the discipline of "Internet marketing" should not have existed. It is nothing more than a set of technologies and tools that allows you to solve the problems of traditional marketing using the Internet.
You can't become a successful internet marketer if you don't understand what segmentation is, if you don't know how to identify the needs of the target audience, what positioning and USP are.
If you have sufficient knowledge in the field of traditional marketing and have already formulated the goals and objectives of future training, let's decide.
1. Specificity of courses
General online courses contain a lot of knowledge in the field of marketing and briefly explain the specifics of the online tools themselves. Lecturers of specialized courses, as a rule, focus on a prepared audience that already has practical skills in a particular area of Internet marketing.
Suppose you are a professional marketer , you ate a dog in traditional communications, you know how to plan TV and radio, you know everything about research, and you yourself have gone through all this more than once. You need knowledge for normal work with contractors, competent hiring of employees and selection of freelancers for digital tools.
In this case, I recommend “visionary” courses, where there is more information about digital transformation, about how potential customers interact with our digital platforms. Of course, these are only general courses, and often foreign ones. They provide a minimal understanding of the current situation in the online advertising market and increase your professional suitability.
If you are the owner or co-owner of a small and medium-sized business , you understand marketing at the level of training, intuition and entrepreneurial flair, then a general course in Internet marketing will be enough for you. You will understand how everything works, "feel" all the tools, learn how to set tasks for employees and freelancers.
If you want to change your profession and become an Internet marketer , there is only one recommendation - go from general to specific. Taking the general course is a good start, but it should be followed by specialized courses, immersion in tools, practice, mistakes, their analysis and self-improvement. The recommendations for this audience are simple - get whatever knowledge you can. And here you have to look at the situation, focus on the real challenges of the business in which you work.
2. Form of study
If you live in Moscow or St. Petersburg, then you have an alternative: choose offline or online courses. If outside the capitals or in another country, then the choice is obvious - only online.
The advantage of offline courses is that you can ask the teacher a question right at the lecture, make friends with fellow students and discuss your successes and failures. It is important. I give lectures to students and in the classroom, and often their questions reflect real cases of someone's business. Together we are looking for solutions and sometimes we find very interesting options.
Modern online schools also create communities, hold seminars where you can discuss accumulated questions in online chats and communicate with teachers. Among the advantages of online schools, I also consider the opportunity to review the lesson. The second and third viewing will fill the lecturer's words with meaning, which at the first time seemed too abstract.
There is nothing free on the Internet - everyone has known this for a long time. Any free educational programs, as a rule, are paid for from the PR budgets of advertising systems, agencies or other market participants. The general essence of such programs is reduced to the description of the basic elements of Internet marketing with a clear bias towards the use of the "customer" tool. And some even make it clear:
"All this guys is complicated, but we have created a tool and will assign you a manager who will do everything for you."
An exception, perhaps, can be considered online tutorials from Google , however, due to their specifics, they cover only the tools provided by their advertising platforms. If desired, they can be used to make a "picture of the world", but, in my opinion, it will be incomplete. Such programs are not suitable for beginners.
I constantly monitor Coursera's digital courses and took a couple of them myself. International programs prepared by the best universities in the world are distinguished by the quality of the presentation of the material, involving video lectures and thoughtful online tests. But in my opinion, they are more visionary and reveal the essence of digital business transformation . To a lesser extent, they provide an understanding of the scenarios for the use of tools in the local market, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. And yes, they are in English.
5. Training details
First of all, choose a school and only then - a specific course. In my opinion, it is worth considering only professional participants in the education market in the field of Internet marketing.
The documents. Pay attention to the documents issued at the end of the course. A government-issued document will not make you a professional, but it will become a real help in finding a job, and will also confirm the seriousness of a school that has passed compulsory licensing to issue such a document.
Mentors. Look for schools where the educational process includes not only lectures, but also work in the community, communication with alumni and fellow students. Many schools have mentors - experienced professionals who can be asked any questions about the material. And there will be many such questions.
Homework. Be sure to pay attention to the presence of homework - this is important, because knowledge becomes a skill only after its application, even if on educational projects.
Be realistic about your capabilities. Even medium-term courses of three to five months will require all of your personal time, and the more you spend, the better the result will be. Take time off from your main job at least for the duration of your thesis.
And one more thing: it is important to understand what self-education decides. Read all the additional materials, look for articles on the topic in the public domain, never stop. Remember that 99% of online marketing educators have never been trained specifically for it. These are people who spent all their free time - and even more! - to become a guru in the profession.