12 Things to keep in mind while choosing a Digital Marketing Program!
There are infinite options available today when it comes to choosing a career and it can become a nightmare for some, and select the appropriate institute to learn those essential career skills can become even more troublesome.
Digital Marketing (DM) has emerged as the hottest career option. The possibilities in DM are abundant and choices are limitless. That’s why today many of you have the option of choosing DM as a career and make it a success story.
However, there are some myths and facts about DM that many are not aware of. People don’t know where to start and where to seek knowledge of DM. To start working with an agency or company; the criteria is the basic education and prior experience of DM.
DM Institute can play a vital role in providing exposure to the industry to many aspiring candidates who want to pursue their career in DM. The best way to learn DM is to join a course at a reputed institute and learn the fundamental concepts and tools. Many DM institutes offer various DM courses at different fees.
You need to choose the institute that fits your vision & the scope of the career. Many institutes offer numerous DM modules as independent course and collectively offer as a package. We will learn here about, which parameters you should keep in your mind while choosing DM Courses.
• Eligibility for the Program: Self-assessment is very important while planning for any career option. You need to realise your strengths, weaknesses, interests, aptitude and educational qualifications. For any pursuing career in DM, one needs to know about operating computers, mainstream social media sites and a lot of passion for learning new skills. Apart from this, you must have your own computer system (Laptop or a Desktop) for practising.
If you think you have all these characteristics in you then the sky is a limit for you in DM.
• Content / Curriculum of the Course: Content is the heart & soul of DM and while choosing a DM course you cannot ignore the curriculum/content of the program. Please speak to the representative of the institute and get absolute clarity on the contents.
Website creation, Social Media Optimization (SMO) & Marketing (SMM), Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Marketing (SEM), Content Marketing, Google Paid Campaigns, SMS & E-mail Marketing, Web Analytics are mandatory to learn.
Other soft skills like writing, customer journey mapping, presentation skills can be developed over a period of time with practice and experience but your curriculum should contain the topics mentioned above. You need to be sure enough that your institute is covering all these subjects in the curriculum.
• Faculty: Learning any subject from experts not only gives you the best insight but also helps you to understand their approach in various situations.
DM is vibrant and dynamic in nature and its scope is changing every day. The faculty teaching you DM subjects have to be an expert on it and should obtain decent experience in the industry. It will help you to get your fundamentals clear and understand the subject in a better manner. Your guide/mentor should be a good learner of the subject.
An experienced faculty will also share real-life case studies to give you a different perspective on the subject and how campaigns are executed in the market. So, you need to check the background of the faculty and know his capabilities well in advance.
• Duration & Timing: How much time you would like to invest in learning DM tools is the question you need to ask yourself. You cannot rush things and learn them half-heartedly and similarly, you cannot spend 1–2 months learning one module. You need to check with the DM Institute about the overall duration of the program.
Ideally, a DM program should be concluded within 4 — 6 months in case you are opting for a weekend batch and 3–4 months are ideal if you are opting for a weekly batch. You should also see that you get enough time to practice and implement what you learn in the institute, this way your learning skills will be improved and your fundamentals will also be cleared.
• Accreditation from reputed institutes / Govt.: If the DM institute has accreditation from any reputed institute or Government recognition then it gives you a weightage for your future career path in searching for jobs in the industry. Though it is not essential it certainly gives you a plus point while learning the course and even their certificate is recognised in the market.
• Value adds / Tools: It would be interesting to know about the added advantages to join any DM institute. These value addition can be access to the content for a lifetime, inclusion in their alumni group, networking with classmates, seminars/discussion on DM topics, sharing new updates on various tools and industry, conducting sessions on various topics by experts (visiting faculty), providing knowledge on the opportunities in the industry, etc.
These things will really add value to the overall approach towards your career and will help to broaden your point of view while choosing your niche or specialisation in the career of DM.
• Teaching pattern: Due to the recent pandemic situation many institutes are conducting their classes online. Be clear about the teaching pattern. If the course is taught off-line (traditional classroom style) then you should know the timings, batch strength, duration of the lectures, classroom infrastructure. The advantage of off-line classes is that you can clarify your doubts immediately. You can also create a networking group with like-minded people.
Since the pandemic, many institutes are opting for online classes through video conferencing sites. Access to such content is quite easy and you can attend the classes from anywhere, anytime. However the limitation of these courses are also there, it requires a good internet connection, your voice might get lost if the batch strength is more, may not be able to interact with all the co-learners, there might also be some delay in responding to your queries.
You also need to confirm if the online videos are live or they are recorded sessions. If they have recorded session they ask your DM institute about the way to resolve queries. Also, check the date of release of the video, it should not be the older version of outdated content.
Many DM Institutes also provide the access to their Learning Management System (LMS) where you can check your content of the course, materials, assignments & other important information related to the course. Check if your institute has such a facility available.
• Assignments / Case Study: Most DM institutes give homework to their students, they are better known as assignments. You can check the format of the assignments, the deadline to submit the assignments, the ways to complete them.
Case studies provide you with a different perspective on the subject and help you to get an in-depth understanding of the topic. You may check with your DM institute if any case-studies are learned during the course.
• Certification: It is the official document provided by your institute about the completion of the DM program. Certification also helps you to let your potential employers know that you have learnt DM.
Please verify with your DM Institute about the pattern of the certification. Some institutes also provide a separate certification for completing every module and some prefer to provide a consolidated certificate.
Some DM Institutes also offer certifications from Google, but you need to check their validity and recognition in the industry.
• Course Fees & other Costs involved: Probably the most important factor in choosing any course. All the above-mentioned factors determine the course fees such as the reputation of the institute, faculty, content of the course, the pattern of teaching, accreditation of the institute, assignments, value addition, certification. All these factors add up while determining the overall fees.
Each institute has a different fees structure and payment method respectively. It is better to have clarity about this critical aspect before taking admission. Many institutes also provide EMI options for their students, it’s better to opt for such options if it is feasible with you.
Generally, in cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, the course fees start from INR 20,000/- and can reach up to INR 700,000/- There are courses in the market that also provide an incentive program (For e.g. Digital Deepak Internship Program) during the course where you can get your entire fees back after completing your assignments.
Apart from the course fees, there are some more costs that you need to take care of. During the course, you need to design your own website/blog and for that, you need to invest in a domain name and hosting space. It will cost you a minimum of INR 1,000 — INR 3,000 again depending on your requirements and configurations. If you do not own a computer system then you need to invest in that as well. Further, as per your requirements, there are additional investments in themes, plug-ins, software as applicable but they are completely optional.
• Post-completion program support: Once you complete the program you may find a need to refer to your course content in future. You may check with the DM Institute about the extended support after you complete your program. This can be in terms of accessing LMS, interacting with your mentors/faculty, updates for any seminars/webinars organised by the respective institute, etc. If you can get any of these benefits then it’s a good value add for your course.
• Placements Assistance: Last but certainly not least. Many DM institute offers placement assistance to their students. It might be through their faculty or association with DM Agencies or any other source. For freshers in the industry, this can boost the chances of getting a job as soon as the course is completed. It’s good to have such kind of option available while undergoing the DM training.
I have covered almost all the important aspects that you may consider while choosing to pursue a Digital Marketing Course from any institute. You may evaluate each program based on the above points and compare all the shortlisted programs. According to their respective positive & negative points, you can finalise the decision of taking admission.
All the best for DM Program!
Ameya Dhumal | [email protected]