So last week I put myself through 'The Digital Garage' - Googles free online training for anyone who wants to learn more about the basics behind internet marketing strategy.
This is a well structured course of 89 lessons spread over 23 topics. Each topic is relatively easy to digest, with a short video, followed by a multiple choice Q and A to reinforce the learning covered in the video. Upon completing each topic, you are awarded a 'badge' and once you complete all 23 topics, you sit the final exam and if you pass that successfully you are awarded a certificate.
I decided to do the course as I regularly meet with people who have little to no understanding of how online marketing works. These same people are usually small business owners - and I wanted to see if this course would be worthwhile for the regular small business owner to complete.
The bottom line is yes, it's worthwhile - and every small business owner should create a plan to work through this content over a reasonable period of time this year. However, the big takeaway is not what you learn about ' internet marketing' - it's actually more fundamental than that.
What is your plan? What are your goals? How are you measuring success?
I've met a lot of small business owners who have spent too much of their hard earned money paying so called ' experts' to deliver on SEO ( usually promoted as " page #1 guaranteed" ) or run AdWords campaigns, build websites, or build social media profiles and more - all without a single clue as to WHY they are doing it.
The strong message that is brought home consistently across the 23 lessons in Googles digital garage training is this: Create a plan!
I have to say, it's refreshing to hear and its the most important lesson in the entire 23 modules. the bottom line is, you have to know why you are doing something and you have to know how to measure if what you are doing is working. This is a real principle - it's a fundamental to the success of any small business -and its exactly why learning how to correctly formulate and execute internet marketing strategy is so important to every small business.
I don't think I've met many small business owners who have created a written plan for their small business. We get into business for a myriad of reasons - and it is often these reasons, and our own conditioning, which prevents us from achieving success. Because we are rarely acting upon a well thought out plan - we are usually reacting to whatever comes our way.
Typically what comes your way, is the guy selling SEO, the guy selling a website, the guy selling AdWords, or social media marketing, or whatever....
And here is the bottom line, unless you can formulate that offering into a well thought out plan - unless you can work with that 'salesperson' on the fundamental strategy for your business success, you are probably just wasting your money.
It's been said that if you don't have a plan, you'll become part of someone else's. And so here is my final thoughts on why you should do the Digital Garage training.
If you are a small business owner, don't do the Google 'Digital Garage training if you want to become an expert in all things internet marketing...don't do it because you think it will help you run all of those internet marketing elements on your own. Do it because it will help you understand the process of creating the plan, setting the goal and measuring the success of these things. Do it because hopefully it will help you understand some of the fundamentals, so you can make better choices about the people you will engage to help you and why, how and when you should engage them. This course will not make you an expert, but it will help you.
You can sign up and get started here: https://learndigital.withgoogle.com/digitalgarage-au
PS - It took me probably 12 hours to complete the course from start to finish, but dont let that put you off - you can pick and choose which topics to do, and I would recommend you start with the topics that could have the most immediate benefit to your business.
DEFINITELY do the two analytics modules, in-fact, they are probably the best place to start if you already have a website, have already engaged someone to do SEO, or Adwords etc and have no idea how they are performing and improving your bottom line.
If you need help with any of this, feel free to drop me a line.