An online marketing degree can be an excellent choice if you’re looking to get into the field of marketing but are located in an area that doesn’t have many local business schools or you simply don’t have time to commute to classes every day.
Online marketing degrees cover the same concepts and subject matter as traditional programs, including topics like social media marketing, e-mail marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and web analytics, but often at a fraction of the cost, depending on your program of choice.
What is Digital Marketing
If you’re thinking about getting an online marketing degree, there are a lot of things to consider. Online marketing can be difficult to define in a vacuum because it takes on many forms.
Is it web design? Social media marketing? Email marketing or online advertising, like Google Ads or Facebook ads? Each of these forms of online marketing has its own industry, and all those industries have programs and degrees dedicated to them at accredited universities.
The Digital Marketing Institute has compiled an extensive list (45 pages) of schools that offer online degrees and certificates in digital marketing. We included not only Bachelor’s degrees but also Master’s degrees—and even PhDs!
A degree in online advertising will equip you with all of your basic coursework so that you are able to understand and navigate the online environment.
It is a foundational degree, meaning that it isn’t something you can use to specialize in a specific area of internet marketing. Instead, it gives you a broad view into all areas related to online advertising including search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), social media marketing, display advertising, and more.
While none of these concepts are particularly difficult to learn on your own (you can read books about SEO or SEM), having a degree in digital marketing means that you already have a foundation when it comes time for more advanced learning and research.
Since search engine optimization and PPC strategies change frequently due to changes made by Google and other major players, having an accredited degree from a school like Georgetown University would give you an edge over someone without any background training in digital marketing.
Your education could also come in handy when networking with others who also hold an accredited diploma as they may be looking for individuals who are qualified to handle such roles as project manager or account executive.
Networking is one of those things people say they need but rarely actually do; but being professionally trained makes meeting new contacts much easier since you have material assets to talk about at parties, like where you went to school and what courses you took.
User Experience (UX) Design
Understanding how your target customers think, feel, and behave is a key part of great UX design.
Most schools offer a course in UX design or Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) that helps students develop these skills.
You’ll learn what motivates people online and how to design your site to capture those motivations. From navigation to ad placement, everything on your site should be helping users accomplish their goals—not getting in their way.
User testing and user surveys will help you make sure you get it right. Beyond understanding why people are doing something with your site, knowing who they are will help you connect them with marketing campaigns designed for their needs.
Your school may teach digital analytics, which is essential for learning about each user as well as figuring out who uses your website most often.
It may also cover paid advertising opportunities such as Facebook Ads or Google AdWords; integrating these tools into an existing strategy can help drive traffic to your website quickly while generating meaningful data at scale.
Once a user visits your website, it’s important they have a positive experience and come back again so they can experience more of what you have to offer!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The technical skills involved in marketing a business via search engines. Learning how to properly optimize a site so that it ranks well in search engine results is one of the cornerstones of an online marketing degree.
When done right, SEO can be powerful way to attract new customers and increase sales. Key topics include keyword research, link building and content creation.
Though it may sound intimidating, learning these skills doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive.
It does require discipline (you need to consistently update your website), but with some hard work you can position your company for success as internet traffic increasingly goes mobile.
In most cases, you’ll learn how to use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to promote your business. You’ll also learn more about blogging, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, and copywriting.
SEO is a particularly good topic for online marketing degrees because it teaches you skills that will never be outdated.
Google always updates its algorithms to favor sites with higher-quality content that users can easily find.
SEO encompasses not only writing optimized webpages but also learning how to optimize content that is already on your site. An online marketing degree will help prepare you for Google’s future updates by teaching you to create strong, original content that can be found easily by your target audience.
Studies show that mobile internet users—those accessing content and information via cell phones, smartphones, or tablets—will soon outnumber desktop users.
Understanding how to reach these consumers can put your company at an advantage in reaching and engaging with customers. Mobile marketing is a quickly evolving field, but marketers are using two main tactics to get their message in front of customers: location-based services (LBS) and apps.
LBS are used by businesses that want to send special offers or deals based on a customer’s location. For example, you may receive a discount when you visit a store near your home or office.
Apps, meanwhile, allow companies to build their own branded applications for specific industries or audiences. A company might create an app just for its employees that allows them to do certain tasks faster than they could using other channels.