When you Google for “marketing courses”, the top results will be occupied by articles from one of the aforementioned behemoths and roundups featuring their courses.
To make things different, we decided to create a roundup of “standalone” courses that weren’t published on any major course marketplace.
We started with a spreadsheet of 30 under‐the‐radar courses and reached out to every course instructor, asking for temporary access to their course, so we could get a comprehensive overview of each one.
Out of those 30 courses, only 11 authors gave us access, and we decided to only review the ones that did.
This list is by no means definitive, but we think that’s what makes it so valuable. It’s selectively curated, so you won’t suffer from decision fatigue (or buyer’s remorse).
There are a few things we considered when reviewing each course.
- Who is the instructor, and what have they achieved?
- Is this for beginner, intermediate and/or advanced students?
- How detailed is it?
- Is it up‐to‐date with relevant information?
- What is the structure like? Is it easy to follow?
- What’s the course’s overall quality?
- What type of content does it include?
With that being said, let’s talk courses.
1. AutoResponder Madness (ARM)
You may have heard the saying “the money is in the email list.” People who completed this course can go further and tell you that “money is in every email you send.”
I discovered this course a few years ago, when a prominent client (who has taken all the best marketing courses under the sun) highly recommended AutoResponder Madness by Andre Chaperon.
If you think Ramit Sethi writes damn good email series, you’ve never read Andre Chaperon’s.
And they’re keeping him a secret for good reason… his content is just too good to share, so much so, it makes you want to be selfish with it.
All I’m saying is: If everyone could write email sequences like this man, a lot more of us would be rich.
ARM provides students with a simple, evergreen email strategy “that’ll make every name on your email list worth 200 percent more than it is now (at a minimum),” Chaperon boasts, on his text‐heavy landing page, which I bet you’ll read every single word of.
He calls his secret sauce: “Serialized storytelling.”
Serialized storytelling is “the best way to earn your audience’s attention online is by using email in a connected, ‘serial’ email sequence.”
Why do you love Lost or 24 or Game of Thrones or any other wildly addicting television show? Because of the cliffhangers, plot twists and unresolved drama, which Chaperon refers to as “open loops.”
Not only will ARM students learn techniques like this and more, but they’ll also learn how to automate it all as well.
There are no videos that waste your time with silly introductions and there are no fancy slides. It’s all tactical, meaty text all the time.
If you purchase ARM for $397, you’ll be directed to the self‐paced course dashboard, where, to move onto the next part of the system, you have to mark the prior lesson complete.
Chaperon designed it this way because the best way to master his framework is to learn one piece of the system at a time.
2. SEO That Works
Brian Dean is the founder of one of most well‐known (and respected) blogs about SEO — Backlinko.
He started his professional journey as a freelance writer and SEO consultant. Today, Brian is an internationally recognized SEO expert, an SEO rockstar for many.
His course, SEO That Works, will teach you how to get more organic traffic to your website even if you have never heard of search engine optimization before.
Not only do students get access to four modules, comprised of three to four tactical lessons each, but they also get access to an exclusive Facebook Group and bonus “Insider Sessions.”
During each Insider Session, Dean answers the most frequently asked questions in four to six minute audio sessions. Questions are centered around tools and technology, content, distribution and advanced guest blogging tactics.
Each lesson features a high‐quality video, downloadable transcript, slideshow and worksheets, which you can revisit as needed. Dean recommends watching the lessons in order because he set it up like a system, where each module builds on the next one.
Here I reviewed SEO That Works 2.0, SEO That Works 3.0 releases in February 2018. The new version will have an even better‐looking UI than 2.0 and new (and updated) content.
3. Mastering Drip
Brennan Dunn has taught more than 40,000 freelancers and agencies how to earn more money from better clients, grown his agency to millions in revenue and started and sold a SaaS product called Planscope (and he’s working on a new one on personalization).
Online courses are his money maker though, bringing in more than $100,000 per month. Mastering Drip is one of his most popular courses, which teaches students how to become “marketing automation wizards” using Drip.
Fun fact: Dunn was one of Drip’s very first customers.
Mastering Drip was originally targeted at freelancers who wanted to sell marketing automation services to their clients. Today, the course is really for anyone who wants to learn how to quickly (and correctly) set up Drip to reap maximum return on investment (ROI).
It’s broken up into three sections: Basic, Advanced and Mastery — all of which build on each other.
Each section includes 20–30-minute videos accompanies with some text/notes.
The basic section includes a lot of theory. It explains the terminology Drip uses and lays a foundation for the rest of the course.
The advanced section features personalization strategies and provides a few email templates.
Last but not least, the mastery section not only features a lot more strategies and tactics, but it also includes two pretty cool assets:
- Webinar Template: This template makes setting up webinars a breeze. It just requires you to swap out a few bits of copy, change the date and time, and point it to the right Drip form.
In addition to running Distilled, Critchlow hosts the popular SearchLove conference series in San Diego, Boston and London (2018), runs the SEO split‐testing platform DistilledODN and produces most of the content for DistilledU.
DistilledU is divided into three main sections:
- SEO 101: This course covers the core skills that every SEO needs to understand. Beginners should start with the first module in this section and work down the list of modules. Intermediate and Advanced users can tackle modules in any order.
- Further SEO: This course covers advanced topics, including outreach, linkbait, content strategy, video and SEO tools, taking your SEO skills to the next level.
- Video Library: The video library contains 133 hours of HD videos from SearchLove, in no particular order.
DistilledU features all different types of content, which makes it pretty unique in the online course space. It’s the little details that make it really stand out.
For example, it’s nice to know how long a lesson or module will take you to complete, and you can easily provide feedback on each lesson.
The quizzes are different too. They’re more like interactive exercises (see screenshot below).
One of my other favorite features of this course is the profile “achievements” page. If you’re new to SEO and want to prove what you know/learned, DistilledU provides you with a public profile of “badges.”
These badges will appear on your profile as you successfully complete the course modules.
Unlike the other courses in this post, DistilledU is subscription‐based. It costs between $33-$40 per month, depending on whether you purchase a monthly or annual subscription.
Tommy Griffith has been doing SEO for nearly 10 years, and he used to manage SEO for PayPal and Airbnb before he created ClickMinded, an SEO course that’s been strongly recommended by AppSumo team and Neil Patel.
More than 3,000 students have enrolled to learn how to drive more traffic from search engines, like Google, Amazon, Pinterest and YouTube.
ClickMinded is divided into eight sections (comprised of numerous lessons):
- Introduction: Set up the perfect SEO environment and understand the sales funnel.
- Introduction to Organic Search: Learn SEO fundamentals before diving in.
- Keyword Research: Learn about keyword research and why it’s so important.
- Document Relevancy: Learn how to optimize for search engines.
- Technical Optimization: Learn the technical aspects of SEO.
- Link Building & Authority: Understanding “popularity” metrics on various platforms.
- Start a New Site From Scratch: Learn from start‐to‐finish how to build a new site from scratch in the most search engine friendly way possible.
- The ClickMinded SEO Certification: Once you’ve completed the course, earn your certification by getting an 80 percent or higher on the exam.
My favorite part of the entire course though is Griffith’s bonus sections on:
- Enterprise link building
- Local SEO
- Pinterest SEO (My favorite!)
- YouTube SEO
- Amazon SEO
There is absolutely so much great content — videos, slides, resources/links, worksheets and quizzes — packed into this $497 course.
6. PR That Converts
You may have read this epic blog post on Moz that trended for what felt like weeks on social and received 140 comments. If you haven’t, you should definitely save that link to your Pocket for later.
The writer of that case study — How We Ranked #1 for a High‐Volume Keyword in Under 3 Months — is also the creator of the next course I’m about to share with you.
His latest endeavor is PR That Converts, a course that teaches more than 500 students how PR works in the real world, and no, it has nothing to do with spamming out press releases.
PR That Converts includes four modules, comprised of four to six lessons each. Lesson content includes videos, slides, quizzes, homework and a commenting section, where students can ask questions.
Dragilev designed the course sequentially so you have to complete each lesson before you can move onto the next.
Depending on which tier you purchase (see screenshot below), in addition to the course content, students also get access to:
- An exclusive Slack group
- A large spreadsheet of places where you can guest blog (including emails)
- Access to JustReachOut
- Personal one‐on‐one Skype sessions with Dmitry
- The chance to reach Dmitry’s audience through writing a case study or guest blog post
7. White Hat Link Building
Ryan Stewart is the founder of WEBRIS, a digital marketing agency he launched in 2016. He’s built it from the ground‐up, getting to 1.2 million organic pageviews and making six‐figures in its first year.
Before forming WEBRIS, he helped big brands, including Accenture, Target and Best Buy, increase revenue.
WEBRIS also offers a few marketing training courses. The first course Stewart teaches is a massive source of information on white hat link building.
The course starts out with beginners in mind and gets increasingly advanced as you move through it. It includes videos, text and meaty templates (in the form of Excel files and Google docs).
Stewart even teaches you how to outsource all this work and hire the right people as well.
The course ranges from $849 to $1,949 and allows you to train your entire team, if you wish.
8. Advanced Social Advertising Certification
Before there was Buffer, there was Hootsuite.
Founded in 2008, today, Hootsuite boasts 30,000 customers, 270,000 users and more than 8.1 million Twitter followers, making it No. 2 on Capterra’s list of the best social media management software.
Trusted by more than 800 of Fortune 1000 companies, Hootsuite’s client list is nothing short of impressive, including the Obama administration, Facebook, HBO, Martha Stewart, Virgin, SXSW, Panasonic, Zappos and The Gap.
With all these accolades under its belt, it’s no wonder Hootsuite set out to create a social media academy as well.
While the social media tool offers a wide range of social media courses and certifications, I only reviewed its Advanced Social Media Advertising Certification.
While there is no instructor for this course (the videos are animated, explainer‐like clips), Hootsuite has an advisory board review the course content (see screenshot below).
This course is divided into six lessons, which are further broken down into four to nine bite‐sized videos each. In addition to the explainer‐like clips I mentioned earlier, you’ll also get access to downloadable templates, notes and quizzes.
At the end of the course, you can apply for your certification. If you pass the exam, then Hootsuite adds you to their “Certified Professionals Directory.”
9. Content Marketing University
Robert Rose is the chief strategy adviser for the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) with more than 15 years of experience in helping brands develop content marketing strategies.
He also co‐authored “Managing Content Marketing” with CMI Founder Joe Pulizzi (who recently announced he’ll be leaving to focus on other projects) as well as the “The 7th Era of Marketing,” with Carla Johnson, another Content Marketing University instructor.
Rose teaches the five modules (see screenshot below) students must complete to graduate from Content Marketing University.
Each module is broken up into a few ~1‐hour video lessons accompanied with follow‐along transcripts, and slides as well as exercises and quizzes.
There is a lot of bonus content or “electives” you can take from other instructors, who work at prominent companies, like Orbit Media, NewsCred and Uberflip.
While Content Marketing University is currently closed, enrollment, which costs between $595 and $995 per learner, reopens March 1.
10. Google Analytics Course
You might recognize his Periodic Table of Google Analytics from Jeff Sauer.
Jeff has been in Internet marketing since 2005.
He founded Three Deep Marketing, which he’s grown by 500 percent to $6 million in revenue, buying him a spot on the Inc 5000 list from 2010 to 2013.
Jeff is also the creator of the Google Analytics Training Course that’s been featured on AppSumo and highly recommended by Rand Fishkin, Cyrus Shepard and Mike Sullivan.
If you’re still turned off by your Google Analytics dashboard, this course is for you.You’ll learn how to decipher who your visitors are, how to track your data and finally, how to turn that data into conversions.
The course costs between $497 and $1,997 (although I scooped an AppSumo deal for $39). For that price, you’ll get access to an exclusive Google Analytics forum, your Google Analytics certification, 33 on‐demand videos and more.
11. Online SEO Training Course
She’s an industry veteran with nearly 20 years of sales, marketing and SEO exGill ideas have also been featured in large media outlets, like WIRED, Social Media Today and Search Engine Roundtable.n large media outlets, like WIRED, Social Media Today and Search Engine Roundtable.
In the screenshot below, you can get a glimpse into the course’s structure and content. Each lesson is broken down into smaller lessons, which are mostly text‐based but do include some videos.
Gill recommends completing the course in order although it is self‐paced so feel free to skip around as needed.
In addition to the course content, you also get access to templates, tool suggestions and quizzes to test your knowledge.
12. Ahrefs Academy
This is a Digital Marketing course from Ahrefs. Although it is free, I could not but add it to the list.
It covers all the most important aspects of quality content marketing such as:
- Keyword research
- Competitive research
- Link acquisition
- Strategic SEO
This online course is mostly focused on marketing newcomers, but even the SEO veterans can find a few elegant tricks in it.
Every lesson includes solid examples to back up every advice it gives.
The content of this course was prepared by Tim Soulo, the CMO at Ahrefs, in cooperation with Kathryn Aragon, content strategist and consultant. The beautiful voice you will hear in the videos belongs to Kathryn.
If you think this marketing course is nothing but a promotion of Ahrefs toolset, you can’t be more wrong. It does not teach you how to use Ahrefs. But it teaches you the basics and the best practices of quality online marketing using Ahrefs tools.
Everything you will learn can be easily extended outside Ahrefs.
Which path will you choose?
A wise man once said, “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
This very much applies to online courses.
When you take all the same courses everyone else is taking, you’ll find yourself struggling to stand out from everyone else implementing the same basic tactics.
Keep that in mind when you go to purchase your next online marketing course.
Now, go forth young grasshopper, and may the force be with you.