Modern marketing is a complex topic that can take years to grasp fully. From email to content to social media to analytics, “digital marketing” covers a lot of ground.
Fortunately, the explosion of self-education sites like Udemy, Instant ETraining, and Lynda have made it easier than ever for new marketers to get the information that they need on their own schedule.
Udemy generously offered 50 of our lucky readers a free code to take their Digital Marketing Crash Course (use “marketergizmo” at checkout), but we wanted to provide our own objective review of the 5-hour course so you can decide whether or not this is the best use of your educational time.
The verdict from our reviewer: yes, this course is worth your time.
Read on to learn more about one marketer’s experience with the course.
Digital Marketing Crash Course Overview
I’ve been involved in online marketing for a long time, so I went into this course with a bit of hesitation. I know how hard it is to execute good online marketing, and I also understand the time commitments that you have to invest to do marketing right.
I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that this course also understood these time commitments and that it was centered around a marketing plan that any business owner could use.
The target audience for this course is small business owners who want to get more out of their online marketing efforts.
Right off the bat, I can tell you that there is more information here than any single business owner will ever have time to use.
If this course does nothing else, it highlights just how important it is for small business owners to invest in a good marketing company to take care of the incredible amount of work that goes into reaching an online audience.
One of the elements of this course that I appreciated was that instructor Aaron Fletcher (formerly of Geek-Free Marketing) emphasized several times throughout the course that offline marketing and online marketing should work hand-in-hand to bring any business a steady stream of customers.
As the course moved along, I found a lot of value in it, and I can safely say that it is something that every business owner should check out.
The graphic presentation of this course is slick and well-done.
What I really liked is that each of the lessons use the same format, images and theme to present the information. I don’t know why, but I always find it easier to follow online courses that have a good sense of continuity.
When Mr. Fletcher starts to recommend resources for people to check out, the links to those resources are clearly displayed on the screen. I can be nit-picky when it comes to reviewing online marketing courses, but it is only because I expect to get value from every course I take.
With the way the presentation is set up for this course, it is easy to extract specific points of value that can really be used to improve a company’s online marketing plan.
Throughout the course, Mr. Fletcher offers excellent step-by-step instructions on how to implement his ideas, and I especially liked how each lesson fed into the others. He refers back to previous lessons frequently, which gave me a sense of tying the whole thing together into one cohesive program.
I was disappointed to see a marketing expert put out an expensive course like this without doing some comprehensive proofreading. There were several spelling errors throughout the lessons, and Mr. Fletcher only helped to emphasize those errors when he mumbled over them as he was reading the content.
One of the real complaints I had about this course was how it devalued the idea of being an accomplished writer. We will get into that in more detail later, but for the purposes of the presentation, I can say that portions of the text in this course were poorly written. In some cases, I had to pause the course to read the content just to make sure I got it right.
When the course gets started, Mr. Fletcher’s delivery is even and easy to follow. As we get into the later lessons, he is stammering in his delivery and generally doing a sloppy job at presenting the information. It does not take away from the value of the content, but it does make parts of the content difficult to understand.
This course is filled with excellent marketing information that does offer exceptional value for the small business owner.
One of the things that caught my eye right off the bat is how Mr. Fletcher updates the idea of what is important in marketing information by dismissing white papers as boring and unnecessary. I have to say that I agree with him.
When it came to describing important concepts such as user engagement and the marketing funnel, I felt that Mr. Fletcher’s information was detailed and well-written. He really does give some good ideas in this course, and I was really surprised to find a lot of new ideas I had never heard before.
This is definitely an insider’s course that was written for people who are novices at online marketing, but who want to become experts.
As I was preparing to write this review, I started to think about what kind of information I would want as a small business owner to give me a good foundation for doing my own online marketing.
In reviewing my notes on the course, I can say that Mr. Fletcher has definitely presented a comprehensive approach to marketing online that could immediately move a small business user from a novice to a marketing pro.
This is one of the few online marketing courses I have seen where the instructor actually stops to explain the complex marketing terms they are using. Even I learned something about the way various marketing tactics are applied to content development thanks to the way Mr. Fletcher took the time to give specific details on the marketing terms that are used throughout the course.
This would not be a complete review without talking about the summary materials at the end of the course that Udemy is famous for.
Mr. Fletcher presents a 30-day checklist and an instructional video on how to implement his ideas successfully. The whole thing was easy to understand and extremely easy to follow.
There are areas that Mr. Fletcher simplifies way too much in this online marketing course, and I think it dilutes the effectiveness of the entire presentation.
I liked his template for creating a successful blog, but Mr. Fletcher assumes that anyone can just take his template and write a great blog. That is like saying that anyone can take a single page of instructions and build a great car by simply snapping together the pieces.
You still need to put an engine in that car, and that takes a professional mechanic. The assumption that “writing is easy” was kind of insulting and, in my opinion, misleading.
One of the parts of his approach that I found a little disturbing was that Mr. Fletcher recommended copying and pasting parts of other blog posts to create a blog post of your own. While he did recommend putting quotes around the copied content and citing it, this is hardly a good way to create original content that the search engines will love.
I was also put off by Mr. Fletcher’s interpretation of the word “cheap.”
At one point in the lesson about making videos, he insists that a video camera costing anywhere from $80 to $1,000 is cheap.
My bank account and I respectfully disagree.
He uses the word “cheap” a lot in this online marketing course, but I don’t think he has a realistic grasp as to what cheap is. Paying $100 per month for a marketing service is not cheap, especially for small business owners on a tight budget.
At times, I found the information in this online marketing course to be limiting. Mr. Fletcher jumps right to endorsing WordPress as a website platform and bypasses Joomla and the other potential CMS engines that are popular.
He also offers nothing for people like myself who enjoy creating our own websites from scratch. While I understand that his purpose is to make things as easy as possible, WordPress does not represent the only easy way to make a website.
The Bottom Line: Take the Course
Throughout my review, I have tried to offer the positives and negatives of Mr. Fletcher’s Online Marketing Crash Course so you can make your own informed decision.
I honestly think that he offers way more information than any small business owner will ever be able to use or understand, but that is a good thing.
If you want to get the most out of this online marketing course, then you will need to go through it several times and take a lot of notes. But, then again, that is the purpose of these courses.
I think that Mr. Fletcher has a hit here, and I feel that this course is an extremely valuable resource.
The comprehensive content in this course, its presentation, and the overall flow from one point to the next offer a lot of value to small business owners looking to get into online marketing.
If you own a small business and have always wanted to drive more revenue-generating traffic to your website, then the Online Marketing Crash Course can definitely help you get there.