I launched my computer repair business, Norm’s Computer Services, at the beginning of 2016. At the time I was something of a newbie as far as marketing was concerned, and with digital marketing in particular. I realised very quickly that it was one thing to have the skills to be successful in business, but quite another to be able to acquire enough clients to be sufficiently profitable. To achieve this would require significant marketing effort.
I had a flyer designed and distributed to 5000 homes in my own suburb. I also personally delivered flyers and business cards to retirement communities in my area. However, it was clear that a mass marketing strategy would be required in order to achieve my goals.
I initially signed up for an SEO service with my domain name provider. Unfortunately I became quickly dissatisfied with the service provided and terminated my contract with them. I then began to explore search engine marketing (SEM), specifically Google Ads (or AdWords as it was known at the time). This became my primary means of marketing for the next three years. It was hugely successful for me and everything I achieved I did so by my own DIY learning.
I decided it would be good to formalise my understanding of digital marketing and it was then that I discovered Google’s Fundamentals of digital marketing course. Who better than Google from whom to learn these principles, as they are very much at the centre of the digital marketing universe.
What is Google’s ‘Fundamentals of digital marketing’ course?
This is a completely free, 40-hour course in which you learn all the basic principles of digital marketing. It would be an excellent introduction for someone starting from scratch with little or no understanding of digital marketing. It would also be useful for anyone like myself who has dabbled in various elements of digital marketing previously.
Personally I found the course useful in confirming that I’d been on the right track, as well as in filling in gaps in my knowledge. It also introduced me to some concepts I hadn’t previously considered. Having a balanced digital marketing strategy, with a number of complementary strategies at work, is essential for consistent success.
What do I learn in the course?
The course consists of 26 modules which cover all the basic concepts in digital marketing. These include search engine basics and an introduction to search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing, social media, content marketing and email marketing.
The course comprises short video segments, each of which is followed by questions to ensure that you’ve grasped the concepts covered. Each video segment is just a few minutes in length so that the material is delivered in bite-sized chunks. There are more questions at the conclusion of each module, and then a 40-question exam at the end which draws on all the modules. On successful completion of the course you are awarded a recognised certification in digital marketing.
Search Engine Optimisation
The SEO section of the course consists of three modules and will enable you to grasp the basics of search and SEO. The modules cover how search engines work and how to get started with SEO. This includes creating an SEO plan with appropriate goals and using relevant keywords.
Search Engine Marketing
The SEM section consists of two modules. These modules cover an introduction to SEM and the search auction. The selection and fine-tuning of keywords is covered in some detail and the modules conclude with a look at how to measure the performance of your ad campaigns.
The section on Social Media also consists of two modules. They cover the basics of social media and how to get started. As with the section on SEM, this section concludes with a look at how you can measure your success with social media marketing.
The section on content marketing is just a single module but it will get you started on the basic ideas. The module introduces you to content marketing and looks at your online audience and how to write appropriate content for them. Again it concludes with a look at how to measure your success.
Again this section is just a single module. It looks at the basics of email marketing and how to write great marketing emails.
The course covers a number of other strategies in addition to those described here, and by its conclusion you’ll have a great understanding of the overall digital marketing landscape. Following this course you may feel that you want to take additional courses from Google or other providers, in order to deepen your understanding of one or more of the concepts covered.
The Fundamentals of digital marketing course is an outstanding course which will give you a Google certification in digital marketing. Not only that but the course is completely free and heaps of fun. You can use your certification as a stepping-stone to employment in digital marketing or, as in my case, to assist you with marketing your own business more professionally. If nothing else it will inform your understanding of digital marketing concepts and mean that you can talk more intelligently with digital marketing professionals. I’d encourage you to sign up today.
This review was written by Norm McLaughlin, founder of Norm’s Computer Services, a local computer repair and IT support business in Brisbane, Australia.