Free Internet Marketing Courses: Are they worth it?

Free internet marketing coursesFor most people who want to start a business online, budgets are small and risk is high. You don’t know what to learn first or what questions to ask. Unless you already have a very clear idea of what you want to do online, it often makes sense to take advantage of some of the free internet marketing courses available.

Contrary to popular belief, “free” does not always mean that something is junk. Many top internet marketers offer some kind of free training as an introduction to their paid product. That may be all you need to get started.

Of course, there is always YouTube for video tutorials and internet marketing blogs for getting other advice. The free resources out there are endless, if you know where to look.

But before you start spending hours researching internet marketing on the web, consider a few of these pros and cons to getting a free education.

The Upside of Free Learning

 

  • Huge Supply. People are always ready to teach you something if you just look for them. It’s how they establish their expertise in a market and build relationships. Just do a search for one question you have, such as “how to get started as an affiliate marketer”.  I got 39.9 million results, with most of them being blogs. Look further and you’ll see that many offer a free ebook or course to get you started.
  • Broad Range of Subjects. Not only will you find a huge supply of free training, you’ll find it on pretty much any subject you want to learn about, unless it’s completely off-the-wall. I challenge you to come up with a question that hasn’t been answered in some way, shape or form on the internet. If it hasn’t, then there’s probably no market for that topic anyway.
  • Multiple Points of View.  When you purchase a specific training program, you’re usually getting the philosophy and approach of just one person or group of people. Once you start looking around for free training, you’ll see a number of different viewpoints. You can then make a decision for yourself as to what approach makes most sense for you and the business you want to create.
  • Multiple Formats.  Not every training program will give you the option to learn in different ways. Some may just give you a series of reports and pdfs. Others may just present their content in video form. When you start looking at free options, you can pick and choose what works best for you. Search in YouTube when you want a visual tutorial. Look for blog posts when you prefer text. Or subscribe to someone’s free email series if you want everything delivered to your inbox. The choice is yours.
  • It’s Free. When you have a limited budget, one less thing to spend money on means that you can conserve your cash for the expenses you can’t escape. Why pay for a video tutorial series on WordPress when you can find blog posts and YouTube videos everywhere that give the same information? Maybe you know you’ll need to pay someone to create a header for you, but you don’t have the budget to pay someone to install it. Then it can make sense to just search for a tutorial that will help you do it yourself.

 The Downside of Free Learning

 

  • Accuracy of Information. Unless you’re already very familiar with the person you’re learning from, it’s next to impossible to know if the information they’re teaching you is up-to-date or accurate. And for most newbie marketers, you haven’t been around the block enough times to recognize a fraud from a helpful expert. Acquire a little skepticism from the start and always look for a few different points of view before committing to one.
  • Thorough Coverage of Topic.  Free training has its limits. Anyone who’s been in the business of teaching internet marketing for any length of time is there to make money, not just help others learn. If they taught everything they knew for free, they wouldn’t be in business for long. You might be able to learn enough basics to get started, but at some point you’ll probably find it worthwhile to invest in some type of in-depth training or coaching to become an expert yourself.
  • Ability to Ask Questions.  If someone is offering free training, there are probably hundreds of people taking advantage of it. That means that the person who’s offering the information will only have a limited amount of time to answer questions. They may not be available to answer any questions at all. If there’s a forum involved, you can always submit your questions there and hope for an answer, but then you’re often relying on the blind leading the blind. Look for sites that have very active forums and you’re more likely to get a question answered. No guarantees.
  • Time Required.  The biggest disadvantage of getting your internet marketing education for free is the time involved. You need to go out and search for the information you need. Then you have to sift through the millions of results to find the nugget of gold with your answer. Even if you’re following a free course, you’ll probably have to supplement it with searches since there are bound to be gaps in the training. If all you have is time, then at least try to spend it wisely by finding and sticking to a few select resources for free learning.
  • Implementation Accountability. It’s a given that we put less value on something that’s free than something we’ve paid for. If you’ve downloaded a free ebook on how to create your first infoproduct, you’re less likely to sit down and use it immediately than if you’d paid for that same ebook. It’s also easy to just keep on searching for more answers and more free resources to learn from. When do you have enough information to get started? It’s much easier to focus on implementing one specific project or business if you’re following a paid course that gives you assignments and holds you accountable for results.

Free internet marketing courses and resources are a great way to get started. I used many myself when I first got online. Some of the things I learned I still use today and others I’ve abandoned because they didn’t make sense for my business. As I’ve focused in on what I want to achieve, it’s been easier to identify resources that are worth paying for. But when you’re first starting out, there’s nothing wrong with trying out some of the free training available.

Curious about where I “learn for free”? Here are a few of the places and people from whom I’ve gotten great information. In many cases, I’ve ended up paying for training from these same people since I loved what I learned. In other cases, I intend to buy training or coaching from them in the future when I’m ready. (Disclosure: Some of these may be affiliate links, so I’d get a commission if you clicked on and bought something through my link).

NAMS: Surefire Passive Income –  I’ve attended 4 of their live events!

Clicknewz.com (Lynn Terry) – Note: I belong to Lynn’s Elite brainstorming group

Nicoleonthenet (Nicole Dean) –  I own Nicole’s Blog CPR course, which is one of my “to-do’s”

Free Weekly Mastermind (Free Facebook group with Dan Morris and Darren Crawford)

Tony Shepherd –  I pay for Tony’s Affordable Mentoring Newsletter, which is about $7/month. There are a ton of resources that come with it.

What’s your opinion on the subject of free vs. paid learning on the ‘net? Do you have a favorite resource?