Free Resources to Grow Your Business
Whether you’re new to e-commerce or you need a refresher, there are plenty of resources out there to help you run your e-commerce business and learn new skills. This article covers just a few of the popular resources out there, that you may not know existed. The best thing about them is that you can learn something for free!
Google Skillshop is designed to train people on Google’s Marketing tools. It’s structured like a course, where you proceed from one lesson to another in a series of modules around each marketing tool. At the end of the course, there’s the opportunity to earn certifications from Google.
You can take a beginners course on Google Ads to advertise your business online for yourself. It shows you the difference between search ads and display ads and covers more complex topics such as how bidding works and how ad quality scores are calculated. If you search further on the site you can even learn how to use Google Adsense to create advertising space on your own website, earning you additional income.
There’s also courses on using Google Analytics, which firstly teaches you how to set up analytics on your website and then demonstrates the data you can collect. Further along in the course, you can learn to use the data you collect to grow your business. The knowledge you gain can help you to determine what’s causing customers to convert and what isn’t. You can gain a better understanding of your users and how you can drive more product purchases.
Google even covers how to get set up with Google My Business and Waze, putting your business on the map, which is especially important if you also own a brick and mortar store.
If you’re considering using video for your e-commerce products, then be sure to check out the YouTube course also. The course covers monetisation, in addition to directing you to the Creator Academy. This YouTube specific academy has courses on getting started, content strategy and how to grow your channel.
Google Digital Garage
Google Digital Garage has 126 courses on how to get your business online. If you’re new to e-commerce or are perhaps just considering starting an e-commerce business, this course will grow your confidence in the online world. It covers a range of topics from Digital Marketing Fundamentals and Graphic Design to expanding your business internationally and even career development. It’s structured similarly to Google Skillshop with a video lesson and a transcript, with questions at the end to test what you’ve learnt.
Some of the courses are from international universities and other course content providers, but they’re all free to learn. Some courses will charge for you to obtain a certificate, but if you’re just concerned with acquiring the skills (rather than proving them to someone else) you should be fine!
Much like Google’s courses on Google Ads, Facebook Blueprint is designed to teach people how to use Facebook and Instagram for the benefit of their business. With a mixture of videos and demonstrative images, you can learn the basics on how to use Facebook Ads all the way up to learning more technical information such as the Facebook Pixel and its app tools.
Facebook also offers certification for its courses, but these are not for free. An exam costs approximately 150 USD to take each time and you must wait 5 days before re-taking a test. The tests have to be booked in and scheduled, as Facebook makes more of an effort to prevent cheating by checking your environment. They do this via a webcam and may ask you to remove certain things from your examination environment. Again, as with Google, the certification is only important if you need certification to prove your skills. If you’re learning for the benefit of your own e-commerce business, the proof will be in the pudding!
Twitter Flight School
Twitter Flight School is a set of courses designed for you to get to grips with advertising on Twitter. If you have a presence on Twitter, this may prove useful in getting you set up with ads. It’s not as comprehensive as Facebook Blueprint or Google’s courses, however, it’s not as confusing or overwhelming and it certainly covers the fundamentals.
Whilst not completely free, Skillshare offers a range of interesting courses and how-tos focused on creativity. These lessons, taught by individuals on the site, can help you with improving your product photography, your photoshop skills, copywriting or even UX design. They’re ideal for people with their own independent business, that like to do things themselves.
The classes are taught through pre-recorded videos and you can unlock them when you start a free trial – perfect for getting an introduction into a subject of your choice. After the free 2 months, you’re limited to the free courses only unless you pay.
Amazon Small Business Academy
The Small Business Academy is mainly aimed at businesses that sell through Amazon. It offers webinars and courses on how to create listings or register your brand. However, even if you’re not using Amazon, and you’re looking for alternative e-commerce fulfilment, there are a couple of courses that are very useful, such as the engaging content course.
The HubSpot Academy has a wide range of courses loosely based around marketing and strategy. It covers email marketing, social media marketing, advertising and even elements you might not think of at first, such as GDPR.
There’s a good mix of long and short courses, some lasting 30 mins and others lasting longer than 2 hours. The courses and certifications are free, but you need to sign up in order to access them, which we feel is a fair sacrifice for some free tools.
Using what you’ve learned
Even though some of the certifications are not free, the best way to solidify your knowledge is by putting your new knowledge to good use. It’s common knowledge that you remember things more by doing them, rather than reading about them. And as an e-commerce business owner, you’ve got the perfect opportunity to practise what you’ve learned without paying for certification.