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The internet is full of digital marketing experts, gurus and snake oil salesmen – and women. The one thing that you should know before you pay for courses or sign up to an introductory webinar from a guru is that here are no secrets or hacks to working with digital marketing. The principles are all very well-known now, and the platforms involved have made it easier than ever to learn how to get started.

So where do we start?.

A solid overview of digital marketing fundamentals

Google’s Digital Garage is probably one of the best, but most underutilised tools out there to learn about how business online works.

It’s a free university of sorts, that you can do in your own time, at your own pace. The first course that is suggested of the couple of hundred on offer is the Digital Marketing Fundamentals course. It is their one course that comes with a recognised certification. The entire course claims that it will take around 40 hours to complete all 26 modules, but most people who dedicate time to it, knock it over in as little as 14 hours in total.

One of the best things about it is that it contains an overview of most areas of digital marketing. For those learning to become a digital marketer, it’s a great way to figure out what area interests you the most so you can concentrate your future learning on that topic. Let’s say that the search engine optimisation module interests you. You can now go and learn much more about it both on Digital Garage and in other free online tools. Likewise with social media. If the principles you’ve learned about social media really resonate with you, then you can focus in on that, and pick up your learning at the next free tool.

Focus on Facebook

And that tool is Facebook’s Blueprint. You’ll find it at facebook.com/blueprint. It’s designed specifically for businesses who want to learn more about how to use the Facebook, Instagram and Messenger platforms for business. 

You can start with the most basic tutorials on how to set up a Facebook page or group right through to scaling up your advertising on Facebook’s platforms to grow your business well beyond just the people who follow you. Each lesson lasts between 5 and 10 minutes long and it can give you a curriculum to follow based on what you’ve learned already.

It’s the most underutilised tool that Facebook produces, but it’s so good for learning, at your own pace, how to use all the tools that Facebook have for businesses to promote themselves and engage more with their customers online. In fact, most of the questions you’ll ever have about Facebook for Business will be covered in these lessons so I couldn’t recommend it enough for giving you a head start on making your business work better online.

Learning paid advertising

If Google ads was one of the items that piqued your interest in Digital Garage, then Wordstream offers their PPC University that offers a comprehensive Google Ads advertising course for free. But it doesn’t stop there. It offers 3 free levels of courses on pay-per-click advertising alongside a free course in social media ads and marketing via webinars. For those who are looking to get very specific in to the paid world of social media marketing for their business, or they want to become a digital marketer themselves, this is an excellent free resource to learn all the tools, terminology and principles behind each kind of the major paid advertising options online.

There are literally thousands of free and low cost learning options out there. But my one piece of advice would be to avoid paying for how-to courses on digital marketing because there are more than enough free ones that are excellent. Lean towards the free options from the platforms themselves as they will teach you the best practices. Later, go for the specific courses from others as they will show you some other ways to get even more out of those platforms.

Whatever way you go, paying for digital marketing courses or high-priced coaches who go on roadshows across regional Australia is unnecessary and largely a rip off. I’ve seen their material – and everything that they sell can be learned for free from any of the options I mentioned in this article.