Selecting the right digital marketing partner can feel like guesswork. An agency with well-trained, qualified marketers can set your business up for years of success. However, it isn’t always easy to gauge the qualifications of a marketing team you’re thinking of partnering with. Even marketers with several years of experience may not have the skills helpful for achieving your marketing goals.
So how can you make sure you are selecting a quality digital marketing partner?
Industry certifications can help you figure out how qualified your potential marketing partners are to help you meet your goals. Marketers with certifications from industry leaders understand fundamentals in certain topics and are more likely to have the skills to run a successful campaign. Top companies offering certifications include HubSpot, SEMrush, Google Digital Garage, and many others.
One qualification to look for in a digital marketing partner is Google’s Fundamentals of Digital Marketing certificate. Your partners must have a broad knowledge of online marketing topics, which this certificate provides. Even if your business is trying to accomplish something specific, you still need a partner who understands other areas of digital marketing. Marketing is like a large puzzle, with all the pieces coming together to form a cohesive message. Marketers who don’t understand how it all works together may be less effective in accomplishing your goals.
Because an introductory course doesn’t teach everything, it’s useful to familiarize yourself with the course content so you know what you can expect from marketers with this certification.
What is Google’s Digital Marketing Certification?
In 2017, Google started its Grow With Google program to make launching a career in high-growth fields more accessible. In addition to paid certifications in project management, Android development, and other fields, Google offers 150+ courses through Google Digital Unlocked. One of the most popular courses is the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing certificate. This is a 40-hour crash course covering the basics of digital marketing.
Google’s Digital Marketing certification introduces concepts across a series of 26 modules. Each module presents a key topic in digital marketing through short videos and quizzes. Most modules take 15 to 45 minutes to complete. Topics covered include video, mobile, search, social media, email, and pretty much anything a business can use to promote itself online.
Who can Take Google Marketing Certification Courses?
No preparation is required to enroll in Google’s marketing certificate program. The course is open to people at all levels of education and skill. Since the online program is designed with beginners in mind, enrollees do not need prior knowledge of digital marketing to understand the modules.
Who is the Online Marketing Certification Recommended for?
The courses are great for small business owners, seasoned marketers, and anyone who wants to start a career in digital marketing or build their credentials.
Small business owners will get a crash course in marketing strategy. They will learn how to create a virtual presence, interact with customers, and reach new audiences — all key steps to success. New marketers will get a foundation for building their skillset. Not only will they learn the basics of digital marketing, but they will also be able to dive deeper into any area that interests them after completing the course.
For experienced marketers, the certification is perfect for reviewing old material and identifying any gaps in prior knowledge. Since marketing is constantly changing, the certification will ensure they are up-to-date on areas outside their specialty, which can be particularly useful for businesses looking to partner with seasoned marketers who are also keeping up with current best practices.
Is the Google Digital Marketing Course Free?
The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing certificate is completely free for everyone, regardless of their background.
How do you get a Google Digital Marketing Certificate?
Anyone with an internet connection can access the course through Google Digital Unlocked. To start lessons, learners will create an account that saves progress as they advance through the course.
For most people, the certificate takes 40 hours to finish, and learners can move at their own pace. The modules are divided into bite-sized sections, where learners watch a short video and then answer multiple-choice questions to reinforce their knowledge. A short transcription also accompanies each video. Lessons are designed to be quick, digestible, and easy to understand. After finishing all the lessons and quick quiz materials, students take a slightly longer quiz before moving on to the next module.
Marketers who pass an assessment, testing on all 26 modules, are awarded a downloadable certificate that can be shared on their LinkedIn profile, showcasing their accomplishments to others.
What Courses are in the Digital Marketing Certification?
To make learning more manageable, Google has organized its 26 modules into seven major categories that we cover in more detail below.
Take a Business Online
This section goes over the importance of online marketing and how to build an effective web presence so that customers can find your business online. Marketers will also learn the basics of building an online marketing strategy. By the end of this section, you will know how to get your business started in the digital marketing space.
Make it Easy to Find a Business on the Web
This part of the certificate details the basic principles of search engine optimization and marketing. It highlights how Google ranks websites and what you can do to appear at the top of the search engines result page. Marketers learn valuable new skills related to conducting keyword research and analyzing the success of your campaigns.
Reach More People Locally, on Social Media, or Mobile
Building upon concepts introduced earlier, this section describes other ways to market your business online, such as SEO for local businesses, mobile marketing, and social media. Marketers focus on choosing the right social media channels for your business, forming a strategy, and creating engaging content. With seven modules covering a range of topics, this is one of the longer sections of the course.
Reach More Customers With Advertising
The previous sections teach marketers how to reach customers already interested in their products. Section four goes into more detail on how to build awareness with a broader audience — customers who may not even be aware they need a product. Here, the certification covers email marketing, display advertising, and video.
Track & Measure Web Traffic
What is marketing analytics? And how can it be used to inform your digital marketing strategy? The section answers these questions in-depth, in addition to helping marketers interpret their raw data.
Sell Products or Services Online
This section helps businesses who want to sell products online get started. Going over the basics of a smooth online shopping experience, the modules in this section familiarize marketers with eCommerce and online product promotion tools.
Take a Business Global
Marketers wishing to expand globally will learn the basics of validating new markets, advertising abroad, and delivering their products across hundreds of miles.
What is the Assessment for Google’s Marketing Certificate Like?
After completing the course modules, learners are required to pass a short assessment to receive their certification. The assessment is designed to ensure marketers have a basic understanding of the materials and can take the next steps in digital marketing training.
The final exam at the end of the modules consists of 40 multiple-choice questions. To pass the exam, learners must answer at least 32, or 80 percent, of the questions correctly.
Are Google Certificate Holders Ready for a Digital Marketing Job?
Getting an Online Marketing Fundamentals Google certification is a great start, but not all the training one likely needs to succeed in online marketing. For example, an entry-level job in social media may require its employees to post, create content, and sometimes even run ads on several different platforms. While the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing course cover social media, it does not go into the depth needed for someone to perform those responsibilities with strong proficiency.
The course is also purely theoretical. To run a successful digital marketing campaign, you should look for partners with real-world experience. Even if your partner is just a freelancer, they should have experience running campaigns for real businesses.
Why Should you Hire Talent with Google’s Online Marketing Certification?
Even though the Fundamentals of a Digital Marketing certificate by itself aren’t enough to perform an entry-level job, it represents a good foundation of learning for new marketers. For more experienced marketers, it demonstrates a willingness to keep digital marketing skills updated.
When selecting a digital marketing partner, it is important to look at the team members to evaluate if their experience is a good fit for your goals. With that in mind, there are several reasons why businesses should look for partners with Google’s online marketing certification.
The Google Online Marketing Certification is Comprehensive
There are many online certifications for digital marketing, but few are as well-rounded as Google’s Fundamentals of Digital Marketing. People who complete Google’s marketing certification course will learn the basics of building, launching, and analyzing a digital marketing strategy from start to finish.
It is Designed by Top Industry Professionals
The Google marketing courses are designed with input from top industry professionals — employees who have an insider look into emerging trends of digital marketing. Since Google holds such a massive share of online advertising revenue, it’s safe to assume they know a lot about the industry, especially their platforms. Information about search, display, and pretty much any topic is bound to be accurate.
It is Accredited
Unlike many other certifications, the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing course is accredited by two respected institutions, the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe and The Open University. This means both institutions have reviewed the course and determined it meets their education standards.
It Indicates Drive
Beyond the quality of the program, obtaining the certification demonstrates that the marketer is eager to learn about digital marketing. Spending 40 hours studying is not easy and requires discipline, responsibility, and focus.
For any business planning to work with an agency, certifications are good to look for in team members. They are a sign the agency is knowledgeable and committed to quality service.
What Else Should you Look for in a Digital Marketing Partner?
A great digital marketing partner will pay for itself many times over, so it’s important to look at qualifications in-depth. Before contacting a marketing representative, read their case studies and try to see if the agency has any information about their team listed on their website. Review their backgrounds for prior experience in your industry, service areas, and any relevant education.
If no information is listed on the agency’s website, connect with a sales representative, and look up a few team members on Linkedin. All you usually need is a professional connection to one person to view several profiles. You can see what education, certifications, and experience team members possess. Here are a few things you should look for.
Google Career Certifications
Marketers who have completed their Fundamentals of Digital Marketing certificate and are eager to learn more can enroll in Google’s digital marketing and eCommerce certificate program. The six-month course provides enough depth and practical experience to prepare its students for a career in digital marketing. It is ideal for college graduates looking to enter the workforce as well as career changers.
In addition to going over Digital Marketing Fundamentals, enrollees will learn to use popular marketing tools like Google Ads and Hootsuite and graduate from the program with a portfolio of work samples. Other career certificates offered include IT support, project management, UX design, and Android development.
Access to these courses costs $39.99 per month, and you can apply for a scholarship to waive the access fees.
Google Skillshop Certifications
Wanting to launch a paid search or display advertising campaign? It’s important to look for key certification fundamentals acquired from Google Skillshop. The key difference between Google Skillshop and Google Digital Unlocked is that Skillshop provides training specific to Google products.
Within Skillshop, marketers can become certified in a Google Analytics individual qualification, Google Ads, and other flagship products.
HubSpot has a huge catalog of free online courses where marketers can sharpen their skills. From HubSpot’s 25 certification programs, marketers can learn the basics of digital marketing specialties like SEO, social media marketing, and inbound marketing.
There are even separate courses for digital marketing and digital advertising, two courses similar to Google’s Fundamentals of Digital Marketing certification course. One thing to note is that HubSpot certifications are slightly easier to obtain, only requiring 50 percent on final assessments.
Other Courses & Industry Certifications
There are thousands of free and low-cost ways to learn digital marketing. In addition to HubSpot and Google, marketers can sharpen their skills with courses from HootSuite, YouTube, Facebook, SEMrush, and other companies.
There are also several paid certifications from big-name universities like Duke and Cornell, similar in scope to Google Career certificates.
Experience or Case Studies in Relevant Industries
As agencies mature, they tend to specialize in specific services or industries. To determine if an agency is a good fit for your business, look at the case studies presented on its website. Do you notice many that deal with similar industries? Do they work with businesses similar to yours?
For example, if you own an online store, you may want to choose an agency with experience driving eCommerce growth. If an agency has case studies for mostly B2B companies, they may not be a good fit for you.
Ability to Meet Your Goals
Before seeking a partnership with a digital agency, you must clarify your business goals. While everyone wants to increase their sales, you must have someone analyze your sales cycle and determine weak points in your marketing. You should then set goals that help you address those weak points. A strategist can help you determine where you need to invest to increase activity. For example, if the strategist notices you have poor engagement on social media, they may suggest investing in quality social content marketing to improve your numbers.
Once you have goals set — and a plan to meet your goals based on a strategist’s suggestions — you want a partner that can help you execute your plan. You want to make sure they offer the services you need. If you plan to use multiple channels for marketing your business, working with multiple partners may add unnecessary complexity.
If you want to guarantee success, choose a partner that specializes in what you need most. Agencies tend to offer more services as they grow, but these auxiliary services may not be what they do best. In this situation, you want to read the case studies carefully and analyze their success for the service you plan to invest in.
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