8 best digital marketing courses in 2021 (free + paid)

Post by
Omid G

Discover a list of the best digital marketing courses you should know about. Learn basic digital marketing skills for free, or pay for advance programs.

8 best digital marketing courses in 2021 (free + paid)

Success comes from good judgement, good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.

I heard Naval Ravikant say that on a Joe Rogan Experience podcast episode.

And the older I've gotten, the more I found this to be true — especially as it pertains to my marketing career.

Much of my initial learning about marketing didn't come from a course, it came from free resources, private forums/communities, and managers I had.

Learning marketing has been the single best decision of my life.

It's allowed me to fulfill much of my own curiosities about creativity and business, while also making me financially independent along the way.

During my first marketing internship, I asked my manager why he had chosen digital marketing as a career. And his answer was that he wanted to work from anywhere in the world, on his own time.

At the time I didn't understand why that mattered at all. But since the recent turn of events in 2020, and now my desire to travel the world, it makes a lot more sense.

And because of that, I'm grateful to have chosen this as a career path.

While I did get my initial foot in the door by shear trial and error, trying to grow Instagram theme pages in 2015, later in my career I was able to branch out to other fields of marketing as I began to invest more into my knowledge.

One way I did that was by enrolling in more programs and courses.

But...

If you know absolutely nothing about marketing I wouldn't recommend a course just yet. Go on YouTube and look for popular videos on the subject just to get yourself familiar with things. Or, better yet, start a side project and try to figure out how to grow it.

Once you have a general understanding of marketing, and you're looking to level up in your skills, you can start looking into (paid) courses. Things will just make a lot more sense when you approach it like that.

What to look for in a digital marketing course

Knowing which courses not to take can be more important than knowing which courses to take.

Today, the barrier to entry to creating and selling a digital product online is lower than ever. Because of this, there are lots of courses out there. You can literally find a course for anything these days.

And naturally, some of these courses will be good and some of them might be lacking in some departments. Especially as it pertains to digital marketing, there are tons of shady things being sold in this industry.

Some things to look out for as red flags:

  • Courses that promise you'll make a certain amount of money (avoid make money online stuff)
  • The course seller's main occupation isn't what they are teaching (fake gurus)

When looking for a good marketing course, you should first understand what your main objective is. Are you just getting started learning about digital marketing? Are you a company founder looking to see how to get traction? Are you a professional marketing manager looking to level up to a new position?

Once you understand what your main objective is you can start searching on LinkedIn for other people in that industry. Join communities and start talking to people that are on the same path as you. From there, you'll get recommendations of programs to take from others who have gone through them.

This is the key to finding great content. More often than not, the best content out there has no intention of reaching a lot of people, but because it's so great it spreads via word of mouth.

So, I gathered a list of 8 courses that I think do just that. They were courses I came across as recommendations from mentors and friends that I admire.

The best digital marketing courses in 2021

Here are 8 great courses for digital marketers:

1. Fundamentals of digital marketing (free)

Google's fundamentals of digital marketing course

If you didn't already know, Google creates tons of great free content for people to learn from. One awesome product Google has is called Google Garage — a resource with free courses in digital marketing, career development, and data & tech.

One of the best free resources to learn marketing online, and simultaneously get a certificate for it, is Google's Fundamentals of digital marketing.

The course goes over everything about building your web presence, planning your marketing strategy, learning about SEO (search engine optimization), understanding Google search ads, and optimizing businesses in Google. It also goes over digital marketing fundamentals social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, display ads, analytics, and ecommerce.

It's actually insane how much free information is in this course. If you don't know much about how Google's suite of products work, and need a holistic view of the main digital marketing opportunities today, you need to check this course out.

Course details:

  • Price: $0 (with paid digital marketing certificate options)
  • Difficulty level: Beginner
  • Length: 40 hours, self-paced
  • What's included: Video tutorials
  • Community: No community support

Marketer Milk exclusive: Get free access to the best marketing content

2. Reforge (paid)

Reforge growth and marketing courses

If you're looking to learn how business like Uber, Pinterest, Instacart, and many more popular companies grow, Reforge might be a course to look into.

Creating by former VP of Growth at HubSpot, Brian Balfour, Reforge is a 6 week cohort-based online education platform for professional people in tech.

Reforge is probably the most selective course in this entire list, and this is mainly because there is an application process you have to go through to see if you qualify to take the course — it's pretty selective.

This course is designed more for marketing professionals that already have a couple years of experience under their belt. This is because Reforge only really accepts people that are currently working for a company in tech that has reached product market fit. What they teach in their programs doesn't really make sense for an early stage marketer or founder.

They have tons of programs, with their most popular one (the one I took) called Growth Series. This program gives a detailed overview of the frameworks, systems, and metrics used by large companies to create a foundation for successful growth. It goes over topics around retention and engagement, acquisition, monetization, growth models, user psychology, and experiments.

If you're looking for something more marketing specific, they also recently released a program called Marketing Strategy. This one shows you how to optimize marketing channels and how to scale them. If you don't have a lot of control over product decision in your company, this is a great course to take.

Otherwise, I would recommend Growth Series to give you a more scientific way of thinking about growth.

Course details:

  • Price: $1,995/year
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate, Advance
  • Length: 6-week bootcamp (2-4 hours per week)
  • What's included: Video/written tutorials, templates
  • Community: Community forum included with all Reforge members

Marketer Milk exclusive: Get free access to content about growth marketing

3. Social Media Marketing: Going viral (free*)

Social Media Marketing course on Skillshare

If you're looking for an online learning class about social media marketing, and you're on a budget, you should definitely check out Social Media Marketing: Going viral on Skillshare.

With over 57,000 students already enrolled, this social media marketing course is great for marketing managers that want to learn the top strategies for using social media to create a strong brand and grow their followers.

The course is taught by Cat Coquillette, an artist, entrepreneur, and educator. Cat is a top teacher on Skillshare so you can ensure this course is worth your time.

You'll learn all the pro's and con's of social media, how to create your online profiles, how to create content, and promote your content to reach new audiences and gain followers.

Course details:

  • Price: $0 (with free trial)
  • Difficulty level: Beginner
  • Length: 11 lessons that last just over an hour (self-paced)
  • What's included: Video tutorials
  • Community: Access to supportive online creative community

Marketer Milk exclusive: Get free access to content about social media

4. Product Marketing Core (paid)

Product Marketing Alliance's Product Marketing Core course

Some of the best marketers in the world have a strong understanding of product marketing. Product marketers are often considered to be the best first marketing hire roles at early-stage companies.

If you're looking to get a digital marketing certification as a product marketer, Product Marketing Core by Product Marketing Alliance is an online course you need to consider enrolling in.

Home to the world's largest PMM community, the course comes with over 10 hours of content and goes through all aspects of product marketing. Much like Reforge, this course has a large community of professionals currently working in tech. They also bring in tons of guest speakers from popular companies like Adobe, HubSpot, Unbounce, OpenView, and more — making it a pretty valuable investment for those that want to level up their marketing careers.

Course details:

  • Price: $29/month
  • Difficulty level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advance
  • Length: 10+ hours of self-paced content
  • What's included: Video modules, certificate, optional coursework, weekly live workshops, framework templates
  • Community: Access to the world's largest PMM community

Marketer Milk exclusive: Get free access to content about product marketing

5. Ahrefs SEO Training Course (free)

If you're looking to learn SEO (search engine optimization), SEM (search engine marketing), and inbound marketing, Ahrefs has the best free course around. The SEO Training Course on Ahrefs Academy is a great for anyone that wants to learn how to increase organic search traffic to a website, and learn more about internet marketing.

The course goes over why SEO is important, how to do keyword research, how to optimize pages on your website for search engines, linkbuilding strategies, and technical SEO best practices.

Ahrefs is also in and of itself an SEO tool. I use it for all my keyword research. It's one of the most important tools I use when it comes to content marketing and SEO (they're not sponsoring me for saying that either).

Bottom-line, if you need a free course about SEO, or you're a content marketer looking to up your skills, this online course is one you need to check out.

Course details:

  • Price: $0
  • Difficulty level: Beginner, Intermediate
  • Length: 2 hours of self-paced content
  • What's included: Video modules, certificate
  • Community: No community support

Marketer Milk exclusive: Get free access to content about SEO

6. Blog Growth Engine (paid)

Blog Growth Engine course by Adam Enfroy

Adam Enfroy is a marketing specialist that just released his course, Blog Growth Engine. If you're looking to learn how to blog like a startup, this course is it.

BGE goes over how to start a blog that scales with organic search traffic. He teaches you how to build your blog, do keyword research, build backlinks, rank in Google, and monetize your blog.

Adam goes through step by step how he created a digital marketing strategy that created a 7-figure website in under two years. Adam's work really is impressive in the SEO and content marketing space. And given his marketing efforts were able to get him from 0 to 500,000 visitors/month in under two years is a testament to the fact that SEO is not dead.

The course materials also go over the standard stuff of teaching you how to set up Google Analytics and all the other tools to help you analyze your web analytics. On top of that, it'll teach you how to grow an affiliate marketing business by launching organic marketing campaigns.

The course is great for any existing bloggers struggling to monetize or drive meaningful traffic to their websites, or for anyone starting a new career in content marketing and SEO.

Course details:

  • Price: $1497
  • Difficulty level: Beginner, Intermediate
  • Length: 50+ hours of self-paced content
  • What's included: Video modules, individual lessons, blogging templates
  • Community: Community support included

Marketer Milk exclusive: Get free access to content about content marketing

7. Semrush Technical SEO course (free)

Technical SEO course by Semrush

While Ahrefs has a great free course on content SEO, Semrush has an amazing free course on technical SEO.

The Semrush Technical SEO course is an 8 part module course that goes over everything from understanding internal linking, crawling and indexation, HTTP response codes, international SEO, and more.

The course content gives you a solid foundation of knowledge to start executing in the real world. And the great thing is it's absolutely free!

Course details:

  • Price: $0
  • Difficulty level: Beginner
  • Length: 5+ hours of self-paced content
  • What's included: Video modules, resource links, quizzes
  • Community: No community support

Marketer Milk exclusive: Get free access to content about SEO

8. Demand Curve (paid)

Demand Curve growth marketing course

Demand Curve is an online program designed for those who want to learn more about growth marketing. They are a Y Combinator backed company and have an impressive list of alumni from some big name tech companies.

If you're serious about getting a holistic view of how to grow a tech startup (organically and with online advertising), and want to find a community of like-minded professionals in marketing, this course is one to definitely consider.

The course has 63 modules and goes over everything from growth fundamentals, market and customer research, acquisition strategies, onboarding flows, landing pages, copywriting, conversion tracking, A/B tests, LinkedIn ad, Facebook ads, Google ads, ppc, and tons more.

It's one of those online courses that can pay off quite a bit if taken (and applied) at the right time in your career.

Course details:

  • Price: $2,500 (one time payment)
  • Difficulty level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advance
  • Length: 63 modules of self-paced content
  • What's included: Video modules, Slack community, growth advisor, live workshops
  • Community: Community support included

Marketer Milk exclusive: Get free access to content about growth

Become a sharper marketer

They say knowledge is everything.

It's what enables you with the skills and mindset needed to accomplish amazing things in your life.

And the great thing is that information is so abundant these days. There's so much great and free content being produced every day.

That's why I built this website, Marketer Milk, to help find only the best marketing content out there and share it with you.

The list of courses above are ones I believe in, but you should take my recommendations with a healthy grain of salt. At the end of the day, you make your decisions and we all learn differently.

If you're also looking for other educational resources, you should check out my list of favorite marketing books.

Let me know in the comments if I should have mentioned any other resources!