If you’re looking to get to grips with marketing your business and can’t afford an agency, then you’ve probably been on the look out for a workshop/course to help you understand the basics and give you the tools to do it yourself.
But your biggest question is probably which one you should invest your money in, and which you should avoid like the plague?
Because let’s face it – when you are a small business or start-up, every penny counts and you have to make a solid investment that is going to help your business grow.
Yes, some may be free or come with a small fee, but don’t forget that in business ‘time is money’, and while it may be free if it hasn’t been useful to you – you’ve still lost out.
Marketing for many businesses can already seem like a whole other world, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right course and guidance, you can effectively manage your marketing and gain the confidence to do so.
I’ve seen a number of marketing courses popping up all over the shop recently. Which would be fantastic, but then when you delve deeper you have to question their motives and wonder where their ‘expertise’ comes from?
Personally, I’ve attended quite a few digital workshops, as at Datify we’re passionate about continued professional development, and ensuring our team have as much knowledge about our industry as possible.
So, when I started to see every man and his dog offering marketing courses, I felt like it was time to separate the wheat from the chaff, and offer an honest opinion on what to look for and which to put on your list to attend.
Brace yourselves people because it’s about to get real…
Let’s envisage the scenario – there’s a group of local businesses near you offering up some cheap marketing workshop that will help you to kick off your marketing – Yay you think, at last some light at the end of the tunnel.
But hold on eager beaver because it might just a be train ready to take your time and money, and leave you as lost as you were before.
Before you commit to anything, check out the credentials of those running the workshop.
How much experience do they have in the industry?
Do they have any awards or testimonials that can back-up their claims?
When did they start running the workshops?
From taking an investigative approach, you will quickly identify the cow-boy marketers who are simply going to tell you the basics – i.e how to upload a blog post – to those who have a solid strategy behind their success.
You wouldn’t go to a plumber to learn how to build a house, so ensure you are in the company of specialists who can truly offer you the insight and guidance you need.
If they’ve only just started the course, bare in mind that it might not yet be very well established, and you may come away with only a few golden nuggets of advice.
I’m never satisfied with one investigative approach; I think it must come from our co-founder who I’m sure secretly works for MI5. So always take the time to delve deeper into those running the course.
Using LinkedIn and Twitter will quickly show you if they’re active in the industry and if they regularly contribute to any specialist platforms.
Whatever you do, don’t just take followers for face value. Remember they can be bought.
In an ideal world, your educator should have solid experience of the industry, contribute regularly to industry conversations and be able to support their expertise with real-life success stories.
Otherwise, it’s just the blind leading the blind – and nobody wants that!
Nope, not the delicious kind you get on a Friday night I’m afraid, but something that should satisfy your hunger for knowledge.
Aside from the vast amount of advice that’s going to make your brain hurt, what else can you expect to take-away from the course? Is there any supporting material or resources that will continue to support you once the course is over?
Even in the most basic workshops, students should always be offered a point of reference that they can look back to in times of need. Especially when your notes are probably going to be illegible when you get home.
A well-structured course with a knowledgeable educator will give you a take-away that feels almost priceless. If your so-called ‘expert’ makes an excuse about why there isn’t one; then I’m afraid they’ve been wasting your time.
Don’t Be Afraid
Us typical Brits never ask and never complain – it’s what we’re good at.
But when it comes to your business you need to be bolder and braver to get what you want.
If the course outline is a bit vague, then contact the organiser directly and ask exactly what you can expect to get out of the course. Or go further and contact the person who will be taking the workshop.
This will not only enable you to ask burning questions that you may have prior to signing up, but will give you the opportunity to discover more about the expert in charge and help you to truly know if it’s the course for you.
So now that you’re armed with your approach, here’s a few I would personally recommend. Some are completely free, and some come with a fee – no form of chocolate sponsorship involved;
FREE Digital Marketing Courses / Workshops
Future Learn – https://www.futurelearn.com/
Through universities around the world you can learn ANYTHING from Future Learn – literally anything!
The courses are free and you can do them at a time that is convenient to you. Win-win all around.
Plus, what I really like about their courses is that there are videos and plenty of explainer guides so that you don’t feel baffled by jargon.
Whether you’re a business owner looking to get ‘in-the-know’ or have an in-house marketing apprentice you’d like to train up, Future Learn is ideal.
Digital Business Academy – http://www.digitalbusinessacademyuk.com/
Does what it says on the tin I suppose, but the Digital Business Academy was created by Tech City UK to teach you everything there is to know about being digital.
With 11 expert courses, you can learn a variety of topics related to running a business successfully in our digital age.
Again, all courses are online so you can go at your own pace.
Digital Marketing Courses with a FEE
Guardian Masterclasses – £99
I’m slightly obsessed with Guardian Masterclasses, but that’s simply because they’re are probably the most interesting and well-structured workshops I’ve ever been on, and they have the capacity to offer REAL experts who are currently practising what they preach.
Offering regular courses on all angles of digital marketing, they are well worth a venture to the big smoke.
The Chartered Institute of Marketing – £250 pp – £1000 pp
Depending on the level that you and your team are at, The Chartered Institute of Marketing offer a variety of workshops that can give you the skills and confidence to achieve your marketing goals and implement your own strategy.
Events are held both nationally and locally, and as the benchmark of the industry, you are learning from experts who have been in the industry for what may feel like centuries!
Learning should be an enlightening experience that helps you to achieve your goals, so I hope that with this guidance you will find a course that is right for you. Don’t forget that if you really need help you only need to ask, and here at Datify we’re always willing to nudge you in the right direction.
If you have any personal recommendations (no sales pitches), then please comment below.