It’s not entirely certain how long we’ll continue to be quarantined at home, but now’s a good a time as any to upgrade our digital marketing skills (with this curated list of free courses and ebooks on SEO, PPC, email marketing, content marketing, ecommerce, and so much more).
Because of today’s current events, an old story about Sir Isaac Newton has been going around. See, when the Great Plague of London was happening in 1665, Cambridge University had no choice but to shut down, and Newton (then a 24-year-old student) was subsequently forced to stay home as well.
(Sure sounds familiar, doesn’t it?)
Here’s what you probably didn’t know, though: during that time Newton had stay-at-home orders? He used that time to invent calculus and parts of optic theory.
Also, Newton has been (allegedly) hanging out in his garden and saw that apple fall from a tree—the same apple that inspired his understanding of gravity and the laws of motion.
Use Your Mind or Lose Your Mind
Times are tough, especially for local business owners and suppliers. Communities not just all over the country, but all over the world, are now feeling the effects of community-wide lockdowns.
For the most part, it’s to keep the COVID-19 virus from spreading, or “flattening the curve”, as we know it today. And as medical experts are working round-the-clock to develop a cure or a vaccine, we’re really all just buying some much-needed time.
Local governments have already begun rolling out assistance programs for small business owners affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The Office of Economic and Workforce Development of San Francisco, for example, has compiled a comprehensive list of resources and information for employers and entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, Sacramento has created an emergency economic relief loan programs to give up to $25,000 loans at 0% interest.
Other cities around the nation have their own similar programs for businesses in need. And in an inspiring show of solidarity, other brands and private companies have also announced their own special initiatives for business owners and professionals that have been somehow impacted by the effects of COVID-19.
So while we’re all weathering out this pandemic at home, now is probably the time to seriously consider doing some upskilling. So when the craziness dials down several notches, we can emerge from our cocoons better, stronger, and smarter.
Here are a few sites you’d want to visit for upgrading your digital marketing skills (while we’re still on stay-at-home orders):
Free Online Courses
Online courses are now more popular than ever—including digital marketing and business—are available on sites like Udemy, Udacity, Coursera, and more.
However, we have to give it up to some of these companies that have gone out of their way to extend a helping hand to business owners and professionals that have been hit hard by the current COVID-19 crisis.
Here are some of our top picks for free online courses to help make you a better online marketer and entrepreneur:
1. Agorapulse's Social Media Manager School
2. AHREF's Free Business For Blogging Course
One of our favorites, AHREFs, has made its ‘Blogging for Business’ online training course completely free. Now’s a great time to start building a bank of awesome content for your brand, so let the experts over at AHREFs show you how.
3. Canva’s Design School
Since you’ve been making use of Canva to make your social media posts and other online graphics, you might as well take your design skills a step further by having a look at Canva’s own Design School.
4. CXL Institute's Free Minidegree Programs
Whether you’re contemplating a career change or just looking to put in some extra skill points into your marketing skills, CXL Institute has a number of highly specialized minidegrees worth looking into.
Especially for serious and determined marketers in industries hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis (such as those in the hospitality, travel, brick-and-mortar retail, transportation, or food services), CXL Institute has a Growth Marketing Minidegree that you might want to sign up for.
After you finish that, check out their courses on Digital Analytics, Conversion Optimization, and Digital Psychology—to help you level up your marketing game while you’re in self-isolation or quarantined at home.
5. eMarketing Institute
The eMarketing Institute has more than a hundred beginner-level digital marketing courses (as well as ebooks and tools) for free, including really useful stuff like Web Analytics, Content Marketing, Email Marketing, and even eCommerce and Affiliate Marketing if you’re interested in trying those out.
6. Facebook's Business Resource Hub
Chances are, your market is on Facebook as well. Now’s a good time to visit Facebook’s very own Business Resource Hub.
Not only do they have ideas and guidelines for continuing to retain business during the COVID-19 outbreak, they also have links to a lot of courses to help you better use Facebook and Instagram for your digital marketing efforts.
7. Google Skillshop
Google’s very own online learning hub, Google Skillshop, is the place to be if you’d like to pick up a certification or two fon some of the search giant’s own suite of digital marketing tools. Level up your Analytics game, learn how to better manage ads, and find out how you can best optimize your Google My Business account.
8. HubSpot Academy
If you haven’t had a chance to stop by HubSpot Academy for the free courses on inbound and digital marketing, now’s the time to do so (while you have all that time on your hands). There’s a fairly wide variety of courses up for free (even before the COVID-19 crisis), including some useful certificate courses for your own upskilling initiatives.
Setting up your own HubSpot Academy account is free; you’ll have access to their library of digital marketing courses and resources right away.
9. LinkedIn Learning
The guys over at LinkedIn had put together a bunch of free learning courses from their fairly extensive library to help business owners, professionals, and entrepreneurs ease into remote working.
The free Linkedin Learning courses include handy lessons on how to lead and manage remote teams, how to use online tools such as BlueJeans, WebEx, Zoom, and Skype, as well as tips on how to manage stress and boost creativity and productivity while working from home.
10. Marketo's Free Training (and Tools)
Adobe’s own email marketing platform, Marketo, has a portal to help you master the essentials of email marketing and automation. Free courses include an overview of digital marketing, the basics of email marketing, and deeper dives using the Marketo platform.
11. Moz's Free SEO Training
Moz has made its SEO training courses completely free. This means that everything you need to know (everything but the final certification) from one of the world’s foremost authorities in search engine optimization is now available to you if you want it while you’re at home and looking up to level your SEO skills.
Offer is good until May 31, so go take advantage of the free SEO training offer while you can.
12. SAP’s Certification Courses and More
SAP, one of the biggest names in tech, has also launched a COVID-19 page to help professionals and business owners settle in during these challenging times. Among other site resources, you can take advantage of some of SAP’s free courses on building bots, building apps, machine learning and more, or even work your way towards a brand new global SAP certification.
13. SkillShare Workshops
Just like HubSpot and eMarketing Institute, SkillShare has a well-rounded selection of courses and workshops for you to explore. Beef up your marketing skillset by learning how to shoot videos (on a shoestring budget), how to finally get your podcast going, how to publish an ebook, or how to bring in more traffic to your site via Pinterest, among many other courses for fun and profit.
Browse through SkillShare’s free classes on business and marketing (among other courses and workshops).
Do you know what we probably enjoy more than a boatload of free marketing courses? A boatload of free ebooks!
Supplement your own personal learning journey with ebooks you can download onto your tablet, phone, or reader and just read. For starters, the aforementioned HubSpot and eMarketing Institute both have tons of marketing ebooks available along with their courses.
Here are a few more worth checking out while we’re all on self-quarantine:
14. Amazon.com’s Top 100 Free Books
In case you have no idea: Amazon.com has 100 free ebooks for each category they have, including titles in marketing (which is under business and money), computers & tech, and non-fiction, among so many others.
15. Flywheel’s Ebooks on WordPress
If you’re passionate about web design as much as the good people behind Flywheel, then you’ll just absolutely love their library of WordPress resources. All you have to do is sign up, and you’ll have instant access to their ebooks and references to download and read at your own leisure.
16. NextGuest’s Crisis Management on Coronavirus Whitepaper
While NextGuest is primarily geared towards those in the hospitality industry, they do have quite a few good whitepapers and ebooks in their resource section, including a Coronavirus Action Plan to help address both the current state and the potential future impact if the situation continues to worsen.
17. Oberlo’s ECommerce Ebook Library7
Ever wondered how it might be like to finally get started on that online store you’ve always wanted? Whether you’re looking to expand your presence online or start a new brand altogether via ecommerce, Oberlo has a fantastic selection of ebooks you might want to browse through and download for yourself.
18. Podium’s Ebooks For Local Business Owners
Another resource collection worth checking out: this library of free ebooks from the folks of Podium. Learn how to better understand your customers, get more reviews, and optimize your business’s social media pages.
19. Scribd’s Read Without Limits
Go crazy and read all you want (not just marketing and business related reads) with Scribd’s Read Without Limits: a 30-day unlimited, cancel-anytime offer on audiobooks, magazines, and ebooks while we’re all on community lockdown.
20. Search Engine Journal’s Free Ebooks
If you’re a serious digital marketer and would like to dive in even deeper into the wonderful world of PPC, SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, and so much more, you’ll then likely want to add these free ebooks into your own personal library.
Other (Non-Marketing) Stuff For Marketers and Business Owners
A well-rounded marketer is an awesome marketer. While we’re all stuck at home, we know that marketing and business are only two of the many other things you have to worry about.
So here are a few bonus resources just to mix things up at home while you’re working on your personal upskilling efforts.
- Audible.com. For as long as schools are closed, Audible.com has opened a specially-curated audiobook library so that kids and families can enjoy unlimited streaming of hundreds of titles all for free.
- ClassCentral.com. Almost 500 free courses on business, computer science, and data science (among others) from top Ivy League universities such as Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale are available via ClassCentral.com.
- Duolingo. Why not learn a new language? Fun and addictive, you can pick up some conversational phrases and work towards fluency in Japanese, Korean, or German, among many other languages (including High Valyrian and Klingon).
- Headspace. Now’s a good time as any to get into meditation if you haven’t yet. As a way to help businesses (and their employees) approach every day with compassion and understanding, Headspace started offering a variety of guided meditations and exercises (including the new stuff)..
- Les Mills. The New Zealand-based fitness brand has given access to more than 100 of its workouts for free until the coronavirus crisis is over.
- New York Times. We gotta hand it to the editors and staff over at the NYT for curating a bunch of surprisingly simple (and surprisingly good) recipes you can try out at home while on community lockdown.
- Urban Farm. If these times have taught us anything, it’s that growing your own food from your backyard is an incredibly handy skill to have. The folks at UrbanFarm.org have a bunch of free webinars to get you started on your path towards self-sufficiency at home.
A Final Word About Leveling Up Your Digital Marketing Skills (While in Self-Isolation)
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. All around the world, businesses of all types and sizes have shown an incredible capacity for innovation, creativity, and compassion even while in the middle of a global crisis.
It’s going to take a while until things settle down for us, so we can expect this list to grow as more companies continue to enact programs to help business owners, professionals, and entrepreneurs in today’s trying times.
Whether you’re a tech giant or a local business, now is the time to keep your creative marketing engine running. Pick up some new skills, build up your marketing skillset even further, and put your new insights and learnings to good use and create something new for your own business or your own career.