The 2020 Guide to Online Marketing Certificates and Courses

Whether you work as a marketing manager or aspire to become one, an online course in marketing or certificate program can cultivate the skills and knowledge you need. Do you want to increase your understanding of social media or digital marketing, bone up on your copywriting skills, or improve your ability to work with the media? There are numerous courses that address these topics and more.

Many online marketing courses allow you to move at your own pace while also providing you with real-world marketing scenarios. Course offerings can be taught by marketing pros at top-flight universities, professional groups, or tech companies. Whatever course you decide to pursue, know that if you put the work in, you will end up with the knowledge, credentials, and the confidence needed to further your marketing career.

Can You Study Marketing Online?

By 2025, the burgeoning online education market will reach $350 billion—up from $107 billion in 2015, according to Research and Markets. Higher ed institutions and professional training organizations are offering more and more courses virtually, regardless of discipline. When it comes to marketing, students and professionals can enroll in either full-time or part-time study certificate in marketing programs that can help them learn new skills, expand their career opportunities, acquire academic credentials, prepare to change careers, or stay current in a field that’s rapidly changing due to continual advances in artificial intelligence and other digital technology.

Attending online marketing classes may also broaden employment opportunities in other industries, where a firm grasp of marketing concepts and industry trends can inform day-to-day dealings —the retail and tech industries, for example. To study marketing remotely, you have the option of taking self-paced courses or joining regularly scheduled live online classes. Online courses may be taken individually or as part of a curriculum that offers a diploma or certificate upon completion. The cost of an online marketing certificate varies, depending on who’s offering it.

Topics in Marketing Online Courses

Digital marketing is a broad field that includes search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, social media marketing and more. An understanding of consumer trends and business needs are crucial skills for success in all areas of marketing.

An online marketing course might explore the most efficient way to use Instagram to build an audience or how to analyze website traffic. You may also study best practices for content marketing or dive into marketing specializations such as web analytics, international marketing, strategic marketing, visual merchandising, and healthcare marketing. Or you may learn about opportunities in paid digital media.

Online Digital Marketing Strategy Certificates and Courses

As advances in tech continue to disrupt businesses and how they compete for customers, companies that want to stay relevant and profitable must think strategically and be able to leverage digital marketing tools effectively.

In foundational digital marketing classes, you might learn about the psychological aspect of buying trends, customer persona and digital advertising. In other words, you’ll ask yourself how customers or clients behave while visiting your website and what you can do to keep them coming back. You might also learn about data markets, how to extract value from data, and brand storytelling in a digital world. Some courses will prepare you to develop and implement a comprehensive digital marketing optimization strategy, that includes online ads.

Online Digital Marketing Analytics Certificates and Courses

You can add invaluable skills to your resume, including how to interpret complex data such as demographics and buying habits, by taking online digital marketing analytics classes. These classes may share some similarities with digital marketing strategy courses.

Specific courses offered may focus on understanding the digital marketing channel mix, creating predictive models and implementing predictive analytics, investigating opportunities to create and capture value for customers, optimizing your company’s return on investment, and exploring the future of integrated digital marketing, including video, mobile, and artificial intelligence.

Online Public Relations Certificates and Courses

If you’d like to ramp up your public relations skills, there are myriad online courses specifically focused on PR topics, including media relations, communications theory, crisis communication, strategic planning, marketing to diverse audiences, getting press coverage on a budget, PR writing, and principles in PR.

If you have some prior experience in journalism, communications or marketing, once you have completed an online PR certificate program, you can begin to look into job opportunities such as public relations manager and public affairs specialist.

Online Social Media Marketing Certificates and Courses

You may be a natural when it comes to keeping your personal Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages fresh, clever, and poignant. But using social media to market for a business generally takes additional and specific skills. You have to think about position your brand on social media, how to use advertising on social media, and above all, how to create and build a community.

In a social media marketing certificate course, you’ll learn about social media from a business viewpoint, with lessons in blogging, digital advertising, social trends, big data, audience identification, and marketing strategies. You’ll also take a look at tips for optimizing major social media platforms, including those that are video-driven like YouTube and TikTok.

Online Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Certificates and Courses

If you’re a marketing professional or you’re transitioning into the field, you’re probably at least vaguely familiar with search engine optimization (SEO) or a set of rules for optimizing a website so that it can achieve higher rankings in search engines’ results. In today’s competitive, technically-driven marketplace, SEO is very important. Users tend to trust higher-ranking results. If you want your company to receive a high ranking on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines and garner strong traffic, you’ll need an in-depth understanding of how SEO works.

In a SEO course, you will learn how SEO works, keyword structures, and SEO and digital marketing strategies. Your course may also introduce you to blog writing, validating code, the ins and outs of Google analytics, and WordPress SEO plugins.

Copywriting for Online Marketing Certificates and Courses

To be a successful marketing and PR professional, it helps to write well. Not in a florid fashion, but rather in a way that turns complex concepts into compelling copy that the lay reader can understand. A good copywriting course will teach you to write copy that is streamlined, well-organized, and easy to digest.

The goal of this kind of writing is to attract new clients, make a sale or seal a deal without a direct sales pitch. However, decent copywriters and content marketing editors do more than write compelling copy. They also must have a knack for research, an eye for spotting trends, and a talent for connecting various ideas and talking points. They also need to be adept at grammar, punctuation, spelling, and syntax. In other words, they need to be able to edit as well as write. The best online copywriting courses will help shape you into the kind of writer who can produce smart copy that earns results.

Is a Marketing Course or Certificate Worth It?

What are the benefits of a marketing certificate? Whether you’re new to the marketing profession (and without a marketing degree) or midcareer, an online marketing course or certificate makes a lot of sense. First, online marketing courses are flexible. Most are delivered by way of video and downloads that you can peruse at your leisure. A marketing certificate not only will introduce you to the latest industry trends, it will also allow you to learn new skills and hone your leadership ability. When you’re done, you’ll be poised to hit the ground running.

Marketing Certificate vs. Master's in Marketing

Studies published as early as 2012 reveal that certificate programs are growing in popularity and acceptance. While a master’s in marketing can be a useful degree for the marketing industry and others, you may not be in a position to set aside a couple of years (anywhere from 1 to 3) and spend thousands of dollars to advance your career. A master’s degree is no small purchase.

An online certificate on the other hand is usually cheaper, and even those at the higher end of the price spectrum are a bargain compared to the investment you’d have to make in a full degree program, namely a Master of Marketing. In addition, there are marketing short courses that you can complete in as little as six weeks.

3 Benefits of an Online Marketing Certificate or Short Course Program

In a quality online marketing certificate program or short course program, you learn relevant skills from current industry professionals who share their experience through live videos and hands-on projects that provide real-world lessons. You can focus on one aspect of marketing, like social media, and really dive deep. Or, you could also decide to take an overview course that hits on numerous elements of marketing. You may be interested in marketing courses online because they allow you to work at your own pace while holding down a professional job. And after you’ve completed your courses, you’ll be able to apply your new knowledge and skills right away in your current position or use them to secure a higher position. People choose to earn a marketing certificate for various reasons. Find below a few perks of choosing online marketing short courses:

Develop Your Marketing Leadership Abilities

In order for marketing campaigns in both small and large organizations to be executed successfully, they need a leader. That’s where marketing managers come in. Their job is to create strategies for marketing campaigns, lead research efforts, gauge product demands, identify target audiences, and sometimes, establish pricing strategies for products and services. Marketing managers also build brand awareness through e-mail campaigns, newsletters and news releases, advertisements, and occasionally even celebrity endorsements.

With your newly acquired marketing certificate and leadership skills, you can consider marketing manager roles and more. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects faster-than-average job growth of 8 percent for marketing managers between 2018 and 2028. In 2019, the BLS reported a median annual wage of $136,850 for marketing managers.  However, competition for these coveted positions is strong. Candidates with strong communication, leadership, and organizations skills, along with a good understanding of current marketing trends and multimedia social media platforms, are likely fare best.

You can pursue a graduate certificate from several reputable, established universities that will provide you with a foundation in marketing principles and delve deeper into your areas of interest, such as strategy and planning, consumer behavior, marketing research, or sales management, all while teaching you what it means to be a leader in those aspects of marketing.

Learn How to Strategize Remotely

Online courses not only can help you stay on top of the marketing game and keep your skills fresh and relevant, they can also help you understand how to strategize with and lead a remote team. This is extremely invaluable in situations where teams are remote or work across the globe. Certain programs allow you to gain MBA-level strategic marketing training that focuses on making better business decisions and setting strategic direction for your company, unit, department, or product line. Others prepare you to become an expert in finding opportunities to create and capture value through the customer journey, gain insight into key digital marketing tools to inform business decisions, and maximize value from owned media via SEO, social medial marketing, and paid media strategies, regardless of your location or that of your team members.

Obtain a New Skill in as Few as 6 Weeks

How long does it take to complete a marketing short course program? Program length varies but the beauty of online short courses is the emphasis on the word “short.” You don’t have to invest years of your life to gain the skills and the credentials you’ll need to further your marketing career. You can learn one or more skills that are critical to the marketing profession through a short course in as little as six weeks. You can complete them online and by the end, you’ll emerge with new ideas, strategies, abilities and in-demand skills such as multichannel marketing to drive growth within your company, develop data-driven customer-centric approaches to customer retention, and defend against attacks in the marketplace.