Don’t learn by watching and reading; learn by starting your own company!
As part of the Digital Marketing Certified Associate course, you can start any online business you can dream of and use your new venture as your course project. Directly implement your learning, all while setting up your business with best-practice teaching.
You may have been thinking about opening an online store, a digital marketing agency, or maybe you just wanted to build a personal portfolio site to showcase your skills.
So if you’re ready to launch, check out what you’ll be doing during your project.
Starting your project
The DMCA Project is broken into four smaller sections, each with their own specific objectives. Each section builds on the last, setting the correct foundations for your site, and helping you build traffic.
Before starting the first section, you will need to define your new venture, choose a target audience, and identify relevant keywords for your site. Your venture can be anything you choose, however, we recommend choosing something you will want to continue with even after the course is complete.
This could include:
- – An e-commerce store selling a product
- – A digital marketing agency
- – A freelancing portfolio website
- – A drop shipping store
- – A new software you have developed
Section 1 – Getting ready to market
You have your idea, now it’s time to get to work!
Section 1 is all about getting your site set up correctly so that you’ll not only be found in search engines but also be able to correctly track and monitor activity on your website through the use of Google Analytics.
Section 1 activities
- Set up a business website – including content and lead capture
- Ensure proper SEO for your website – through keyword research, competitor analysis, and metadata
- Track and monitor your website using Google Analytics – with goals and utm code setup
- Announce the launch of your new venture
Section 2 – Driving relevant traffic
There’s no point having a beautiful new site without anyone visiting!
Using what you’ve learned about Pay Per Click advertising, you’ll start your first search campaigns within Google’s advertising platform, AdWords.
If you have budget, you can turn on these ads to see visitors start to visit your site and begin interacting with your content.
Section 2 activities
- Sign up for a Google AdWords account – including adding retargeting pixel to your site
- Create keyword lists for your ads to target
- Create ads for your keywords highlighting your selling points
- Research and set bids for ads
- Track and monitor the success of your campaigns
Section 3 – Brand visibility and engagement
Time to get social!
Take your new venture to the world by creating a Facebook page with the goal of reaching 2000 users and engaging with 100. But if that sounds like a lot, don’t worry. We’ll teach you how to get there step-by-step.
Section 3 activities
- Create your Facebook business page – including images, logos, and information
- Post relevant content on your page for prospective followers
- Set up your content strategy and post schedule
- Run contests and/or free trials to increase awareness and reach
Section 4 – Content marketing
By now you’ll have organic, paid, and social traffic, and with content marketing, you’ll have yet another stream of prospective customers flowing to your website.
In this section, you’ll create your own YouTube channel and post relevant and engaging videos your audience will love. If you have budget, you can also set up display and in-stream advertising to further boost your traffic and leverage your great content.
Section 4 activities
- Set up your YouTube channel
- Create videos to maximise views and likes
- Generate views through in-display and in-stream advertising
- Target relevant views to drive views and likes to your video
How the project is assessed
The great news is that unlike projects and assignments, you don’t have to do a lot of writing to be assessed for the DMCA project.
Instead, all you need to do is record your analytics each week and at the end of the project, take relevant screenshots, and provide links to your website and social media accounts.
That’s it! You’ll be assessed on actually doing, not how well you can write an essay.
The great thing about the project is that you can spend as much, or as little as you want.
The entire project can be completed for free, or you can pay for extras like hosting, domain names, content creation, tools and apps, graphics, and advertising. However, you won’t lose any marks if you don’t, you’d be surprised how much you can do by yourself for free!
Using your project after your course
Want to know the best thing about completing your project? You now have a business!
This is 100% yours to keep, and can be used as:
- – Your new business or side hustle
- – For your portfolio, including all the metrics and statistic of traffic and conversions
- – As a sandpit you can use to practice or try new concepts on
You also now have the template to go and launch a site all over again, whether it’s for you or a client.
Ready to start your business?
Download the Digital Marketing Certified Associate course guide for a comprehensive look at all course modules and to discover the new skills you’ll learn you can apply to your new venture.
No, we’re not talking about your logo…. Think of this less about colour pallets and image filters and more about how you are perceived by others.
By developing your own personal brand, you can not only tell the world how amazing you are but demonstrate your skills and expertise to an audience of millions. So, how can you go about positioning yourself as a must-hire candidate?
Choosing your niche
If you haven’t done so already, it’s important to choose a niche where you’ll become a thought leader.
This niche can be a specific discipline like content marketing, social media, or SEO, or an industry like education, law, or e-commerce. In many cases, being the go-to expert in a field is much better than trying to be a jack of all trades.
Once you’ve identified your niche, you need to know where professionals exist. What blogs do they read? What conferences do they attend? Do they listen to podcasts? Who are the thought leaders? Do they prefer one social media platform over another?
The answers to these questions will greatly help where, when, and how you distribute content and interact with prospective customers.
Remember, social media is for more than dog gifs and baby photos. Used correctly, it can be a great tool for branding and networking.
- Find the social media channels where conversations are happening This may differ from niche to niche. Generally, business and marketing professionals have discussions on LinkedIn and Twitter. But, on the other hand, fashion and fitness professionals are more likely to use Instagram or Facebook.
- Create a professional profile on these channels Remember, this is the social media channel that the professional world will see. Use your personality, but keep it professional.
- Follow thought leaders within your niche, as well as surrounding niches Not only might they follow you back, but they will infinitely help your learning with their insights into the industry.
- Find relevant hashtags and groups to join Don’t just follow individuals, also keep across topics and join relevant groups. This will be important for when you start posting yourself!
Get the bookmark button ready, because it’s not just social media where the conversation will be happening. Make sure to research:
- Niche-specific news sites and publications
- Blogs and websites focused on your niche
- YouTube channels dedicated to your niche
- Podcasts discussing your niche
If you’re completely lost as to where to start, Alltop is blog aggregator which allows you to search by keywords. Here you’ll get links to popular sites in your niche which post regularly.
You know where the conversations are happening; now it’s time to join in! Here are some simple ways you can start positioning yourself as a thought leader.
- Start commenting Yes, we know, the comments section is the worst. But in these circumstances, they can be a good thing! Niche content comments are far more civil than main-stream sites and are a great place to share your opinion or ask questions. But remember! That these are professionals in your field, so make sure you’re informed before throwing in your two cents.
- Answer questions This can be anything from a quick response on Twitter or a lengthy answer on Quora. Everyone loves being helped by someone in the know, and often a link off to a detailed article you’ve read is a perfect response.
- Ask questions Want to know more about something and can’t find the answer? Ask the world! But make sure they are genuine questions, and be sure to research the answer first. There’s nothing more embarrassing than asking a question that can be answered with a simple Google.
- Give an opinion Got a view of something newsworthy? Tell the world! Groups and discussion forums are great for this, as is Twitter. But just like your commenting, remember that your opinion needs to be well researched and informed.
This is where you’ll really start to position yourself as a thought leader. Creating content is simply the best way to demonstrate your expertise and grow your personal brand.
Types of content you can create
- Blog posts on your own website
- Blog posts on LinkedIn
- Guest posts on niche blogs
- YouTube videos
- Slide decks
Content creation quick tips
- Be sure to share
As much as we wish it wasn’t the case, posting something on the internet doesn’t mean it will be found by the world. Make sure you share your content across all channels including social media and your contact list. If it’s relevant, you can also use your content as an answer to questions you find.
- Play to your strengths
Don’t try and be everything to everyone. Like choosing your niche to specialise in, there’s nothing wrong with only creating content on media you’re comfortable with. If you’re a good writer, create blog posts. You love video? Jump on YouTube. The key here is quality delivery as well as presenting great information.
- Research, research, research
I think we’ve mentioned this before….. There’s nothing worse for your reputation than an uninformed opinion or presenting something that is factually incorrect. Make sure you conduct extensive research before you start creating content so what you are presenting is cutting edge and best practice.
- Bring something new to the table
Research will also help you find something new to talk about. Don’t just create content for the sake of it, or regurgitate a topic that has been covered already. Show a new or fresh idea, or bring a new perspective to the topic.
- Bigger is often better
There is no such thing as a perfect length for thought-leadership content. People are busy and will often only read smaller articles and watch short videos, but if you’re bringing quality go as long as you need. Many niche blogs have articles 10,000 words or longer, while it’s not uncommon to see videos 30 minutes or longer.
- People love case studies
It’s one thing to talk about theory, it’s another to show it in practice. If you can, talk about previous work you’ve completed, or even better, do experiments and report on the results. People love to read step-by-step, warts and all case studies. And don’t be afraid to talk about when things go wrong, there are just as many lessons in failure!
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a rookie digital marketer looking to establish your career, a freelancer wanting to prove your abilities to new clients, or a veteran hoping to upskill in a new discipline, it’s important to get officially certified.
Becoming certified means you have met the requirements of a particular platform or industry body, and have proven your ability and knowledge in a specific area. So get ready to update your LinkedIn and CV, here is our guide to the must-have certificates for all digital marketing professionals.
Like all industries, digital marketing has a number of professional bodies who accredit members based on their competence and experience.
Online Marketing Certified Professional
The Online Marketing Certified Professional (OMCP) certifications verify up-to-date knowledge, education, and experience as determined by experts and research into digital marketing roles. OMCP awards two levels of certification; OMCP Certification for expert digital marketers, and the Online Marketing Certified Associate for those new to the industry.
Both certifications involve exams and proof of experience, with ongoing professional development required to maintain your certification.
The Digital Marketing Institute
The Digital Marketing Institute accredits students through a number of courses at the sub-bachelor and post-graduate levels. Their industry approved courses certify graduates within their profession, however, do not require ongoing accreditation.
The Internet Marketing Association
The Internet Marketing Association offers a Certified Internet Marketer (CIM) certification program online for students. Students who complete the required coursework and pass their final exam become certified and a member of the IMA. The body also has free and premium membership options, but these do not include any type of certification.
Ready to show you’re an expert in a particular marketing or advertising platform? Get certified directly with some of the world’s biggest brands.
Google AdWords Certified Professional
Through the Google Partner’s Program, Google offers digital marketers the chance to become certified in all disciplines associated with their AdWords platform. Google AdWords certification shows that an individual has demonstrated proficiency in both basic and advanced aspects of AdWords and that Google recognises them as an expert in online advertising.
To become an AdWords Certified Professional, you must pass two exams; the AdWords Fundamentals exam and one of the following: Search Advertising, Display Advertising, Mobile Advertising, Video Advertising, or Shopping Advertising. You can also become certified in all or more than one AdWord discipline.
There is no registration cost for Google AdWords Certification Exams, and accreditation lasts for 12 months from the date of passing your exams.
Facebook Certified Professional
Facebook’s advertising learning portal, Facebook Blueprint, offers certification in both the buying and planning of Facebook Ads. Blueprint Certifications are designed for individuals with advanced-level competency in the Facebook Ads platform with badges awarded on completion of exams.
Blueprint also offers free eLearning courses to help prepare you for exams, as well as practice exams to try before you try the real thing. Facebook Certified Professional exams are free to take and requires ongoing testing to remain certified.
Google Analytics Individual Qualification
Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ), demonstrates that an individual has an advanced proficiency in the Google Analytics platform. Like the Google AdWords Certifications, the IQ exam is available on the Google Partner portal and consists of multiple-choice questions that must be answered within 90 minutes.
The IQ exam is free to take, with certification valid for 18 months. Google’s Analytics Academy also offers free online courses to help prepare you for the IQ exam.
Twitter Advertising Certification
Developed in partnership with Simplilearn and Twitter, the Twitter Advertising Certification is available through both Murphy College and Simplilearn. The certification course takes students through Twitter Ads best practice and does not require a final exam or ongoing accreditation.
Tips for getting certified
With so many courses and certificates available, it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. To help cut through all the noise and get the certificates you need, simply follow these steps.
Find your niche
Sometimes it’s better to be a master of one specialty than a jack of all trades or badge collector. By focusing and becoming an expert in one discipline or platform you can really differentiate yourself as a specialist and thought leader.
Don’t just try to pass exams
Yes, it’s important to pass exams, but it’s also just as important to learn the theory behind the exams. Use your learning to become an expert, not just rote learn concepts and keywords. And as tempting as it can be, don’t cheat your exams by Googling answers, if you don’t know the answer in the exam, chances are you won’t know it when it comes up in your professional life.
Take a course
Every certification has associated courses through the certifying body or private providers. To really take a deep dive into the topic, take all the courses you can and really become an expert. Not only will it help you breeze through the exams, you’ll also find nuggets of knowledge you’ll be able to apply in your work.
Just because you pass your exam doesn’t mean the learning is over. Many certifications require reaccreditation or demonstration of professional development, so keep an eye out for courses that might interest you, read digital marketing blogs, listen to podcasts, and watch YouTube channels. Once you’re on the cutting edge of the industry, you don’t want to let your knowledge slip.
See how you can get certified