4 of the Best Local Marketing Courses for Professional Development

The best local marketing courses give you the training you need to stay ahead of the pack. Which course is best? It's the course that minimizes noise. Read More...
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It's tough to keep up.

Local marketing is an ever-changing topic. Search engines and social networks change the rules constantly. New platforms come and go. The best local marketing courses give you the training you need to stay ahead of the pack.

That's the problem.

Which course is best? Which one will give you the education you need to compete in a noisy marketplace? The answer is counterintuitive.

It's the course that minimizes noise.

Education? Training? That's the one thing you won't get

Many courses offer something different.

Instead of education and training that advances your professional career you get... information overload. That's right. Most courses will flood you with useless information. Their courses are filled with a massive amount of detail they think you need.

Details you think you need.

These courses focus on the wrong audience. They target beginners, intermediate and advanced practitioners indiscriminately. Trust the wrong material and you're likely to take unnecessary risks.

Finding the right course requires know-how.

Let's take a look at a few of the best local marketing courses you can use to improve your skill set.

Link: The Ultimate Guide to Local Business Marketing by Perry Marshall

Level: Beginner to advanced

Perry Marshall is a marketer's marketer. His work is legendary, his reputation is stellar. The book I'm referring to doesn't really seem like much of a course does it? Don't let that fool you. This book provides A to Z education on the ins and outs of local marketing.

Local Business Marketing Book Image

Perry shows marketers how to...

  • Generate high-quality leads via search engines in as little as 48 hours
  • Measure local SEO success
  • Get enough favorable reviews in Google and other sources
  • Use display and paid search advertising alongside organic strategies
  • Use organic and paid local marketing via Facebook (as well as when to use it)
  • Use remarketing ads to reduce visitor abandonment
  • Generate leads via organic and paid mobile platforms
  • Use “Goodwill” content to generate more traffic, leads and sales
  • Find the best 80/20 strategies to use in your local marketing campaigns
  • Use “one decision” marketing to maximize revenue

Price: $11.42 at Amazon

What makes this course so special?

Perry's Ultimate Guide to Local Business Marketing is a diamond in the rough. This book gives you the no frills, direct response education you need to evaluate other courses.

It gives you clarity.

You'll be able to quickly identify the courses that are likely to produce results. The courses that are appropriate for your skill level and the courses that are most likely a waste of your time.

It's a solid foundation.

It gives you (a.) a beginner to advanced understanding of local marketing (b.) the education and knowledge you need to identify other quality education sources and (c.) error correction strategies and tactics you can use to identify when you've gone off course.

The downside?

There's no certificate or professional recognition aside from an incredible depth of knowledge.

Link: Local SEO by Brad Batesole

Level: Beginner to intermediate

This course is offered by Lynda.com, a LinkedIn subsidiary. This course is geared towards beginners and those with a background in marketing. It's an excellent primer for in-house employees who are looking to get started quickly.

This probably isn't for advanced practitioners.

On the other hand, there's a significant amount of overlap between Perry Marshall's book and Lynda's Local SEO course. This course takes a deeper dive into the specifics of local marketing, focusing primarily on SEO.

This course shows marketers how to...

  • Maintain citation consistency (and why it’s important)
  • Keep your name, address and phone number (NAP) consistent across the web
  • Win local backlinks (outlining why they’re important)
  • Disavow damaging backlinks and activity
  • Assess online reviews and their impact on local SEO
  • Manage multiple locations, attracting the right amount of traffic, leads and sales for each
  • Earn reviews on Google and other niche platforms

Price: $29.99 per mo / $24.99 annually, free through participating libraries

What makes this course so special?

This course is provided by Lynda.com, a solid company with a proven track record, which is in turn owned by LinkedIn. The course material and content is meaty but not so in-depth that it's overwhelming. Most of us are incredibly busy in our day-to-day lives.

This course gives you the facts.

The straightforward details you need to immediately jump in and make an impact. With this course, you'll be able to take beginners (e.g. interns, graduates and cross trainees) and quickly ramp them up to an intermediate skill set.

This is important if you're looking to grow quickly.

You'll need solid information you can use to reproduce the training you've received. Beginners get a gentle introduction to a complex niche, quick wins and much-needed proficiency.

The downside?

This course is focused more on SEO than it is on local content.

Link: Digital Marketer Courses

Level: Intermediate to advanced

Digital Marketer is the brainchild of Ryan Deiss an internet marketer with 13+ established online businesses in a variety of industries. Digital Marketer provides detailed, comprehensive training on a variety of subjects via their courses and execution plans (EPs).

These courses require intense focus.

They're thorough. Each student takes a final certification exam at the end of each course to verify that they know the material. Students are certified after passing this exam, giving them a title, displayable badge and printable certificate (suitable for framing).

digital marketer cetification

These comprehensive courses show marketers how to...

  • Build high performing conversion funnels
  • Master paid traffic channels, attracting a consistent stream of customers for free
  • Build testing and optimization protocols, producing repeatable results and consistent revenue
  • Master organic search marketing, showing students how to consistently dominate the SERPs
  • Analyze the performance of your local content, focusing on metrics that produce revenue and engagement
  • Train your customer support teams to deliver all-star service on the backend, increasing loyalty, repeat purchases and average order values
  • Get emails and social media posts seen by a wider audience, when deliverability and organic reach is at an all-time low

Price: $495 to $995

What makes this course so special?

Their courses are based on observable results from real, live businesses. Deiss shares the ongoing lessons his team has learned running 13+ businesses in a variety of hyper-competitive niches. His team breaks everything down. They share the budget, strategy, creatives and approaches they've used. Most importantly, they share the results.

This data is unparalleled.

This isn't just a simple sharing of swipe files. It's a behind-the-scenes look at real products. It's data taken from live products that are, for the most part, still being sold in the marketplace.

Brands like Uber, Shopify, HarperCollins, InfusionSoft and Maropost use Digital Marketer's training for their teams.

The downside?

These courses are synergistic. Your results are maximized if you've taken two or more courses. Digital Marketer knows this so they've provided an optional membership plan (priced at $95 per mo / $995 annually).

Link: Moz Training

Level: Beginner to advanced

Moz needs no introduction. Moz, and its founder Rand Fishkin, set the standard for all things search. Moz provides a comprehensive level of training that starts easy then dives deep. Their courses / trainings are broken down into three distinct categories.

1. On-demand training via video archives

2. Live training via their online platform

3. Hands-on team training (e.g. remote or in-person/on-premise)

These courses teach marketers how to...

  • Master the fundamentals of local SEO
  • Understand how local search results are generated
  • Identify and resolve the technical SEO issues common on most websites
  • Optimize site architecture including navigation, folder structure, internal links and more
  • Identify mobile-specific indexing factors
  • Create, manage and maintain local listings
  • Master reviews and online review management (ORM)
  • Identify local search intent and map it to your sales funnel
  • Create large lists of keywords, organized by competitive topic area
  • Align keyword research with the sales funnel

Price: $149 to $10,000+

What makes this course so special?

The Moz toolset. Moz has a variety of proprietary tools that analyze, predict and demystify search engine behavior. Like Digital Marketer, their value is based on real-world information. This gives them a strong and very unique value proposition.

Their toolset includes:

· Mozscape API is an index of more than 5 trillion URLs on the web. This is their secret sauce. It allows them to reverse engineer (somewhat) search engine behavior. Quickly assess a URL's domain authority, rank and trust. Assess URL data at a fine and precise detail.

· Moz Pro enables you to manage your organic search campaigns. Monitor keywords, your link building efforts, site audits and optimization progress from a single source.

· Moz Local manages local search campaigns. Create, manage and maintain local listings. Share NAP data with aggregators, eliminate repeat work and more.

Each of these tools are proprietary.

You may not choose to use any of these tools. You may prefer a competitor, but these tools and their massive index make them invaluable. Their toolset and courses, combined with their proprietary knowledge, gives them data others simply don't have.

Data you need.

The downside?

Their tool is based primarily around search. There's obviously more to local marketing than that. That said, they offer education that savvy marketers won't ignore.

Bonus Courses

Link: The Expert's Guide to Local SEO

Joy Hawkins, founder of the agency Sterling Sky, created a Local SEO course and training manual that's specifically developed for marketing professionals.

Her course offers more than 200 pages of detailed instruction on the advanced ins and outs of Local SEO. Her course includes training on:

  • How to get edits to listings on Google Maps approved faster
  • How to deal with the various types of suspensions that happen in Google My Business
  • Why using the address USPS suggests is a bad idea
  • Need to know information on recent algorithm updates.
  • Finding and dealing with duplicate listings
  • Removing spam from local search results
  • Fixing your map point
  • How to easily create graphs and charts using data from GMB insights (something you can’t see in the dashboard)
  • What rules in the Google My Business guidelines are actually enforced and what you stand to lose by breaking them

2. Twitter Profiles to follow

Twitter gives you real time, up-to-date information on the changes happening in the local marketing scene. If you're looking to gain a competitive edge on your local competitors over time Twitter is an important resource to have.

But Twitter? Really?

Seriously. Relying on Twitter gives you agility. You're able to react to algorithm updates, important changes and requirements much faster than your competitors.

You won't be caught off guard.

·   Danny Sullivan @dannysullivan

Google's public @searchliaison: helping people better understand search & Google better hear public feedback.

·   Barry Schwartz @rustybrick

Barry Schwartz is the founder of the Search Engine Roundtable and has covered search for over 14 years. Barry is also the News Editor at Danny Sullivan's Search Engine Land.

·   Mike Blumenthal @mblumenthal

Widely cited as the foremost Local Search expert in North America and affectionately known among his colleagues as ‘Professor Maps’, Mike Blumenthal is the author of the industry’s most respected blog: Understanding Google Maps & Local Search.

·   Joy Hawkins @JoyanneHawkins

Google My Business Top Contributor, @SMX Speaker, @Moz Local Search Ranking Factors Contributor, Faculty Member of @localuniv. Owner of Sterling Sky.

· Mary Bowling @MaryBowling

Mary has been involved in all aspects of SEO since 2003 and has always been intrigued by Local Search. Speaks frequently on Local Search at industry conferences –SMX, Pubcon, Searchfest, OMS and SES. She's conducted intensive trainings on Local Search for Search Engine Strategies, Planet Ocean, Search Engine Workshops

· Darren Shaw @DarrenShaw_

Founder of @whitespark. Organizer of the Local Search Ranking Factors. Co-creator of the Local Search Ecosystem. Speaker and writer on local search.

You may not choose to use any of these tools and trainings. You may prefer a competitor, but these tools and their massive index make them invaluable. Their toolset and courses, combined with their proprietary knowledge, gives them data others simply don't have.

Data you need.

The downside?

Their tool is based primarily around search. There's obviously more to local marketing than that. That said, they offer education that savvy marketers won't ignore.

What about the other courses?

There are thousands of courses available online. The best local marketing courses have a special kind of appeal. A unique value proposition that validates their knowledge.

They do what others won't.

They've taken the time to build a catalog of knowledge. Others have built successful businesses, sharing the lessons they've learned along the way. Some use software to create uniqueness, they've collected information that others value.

It's the reason I've selected the courses I have.

Sure, other courses are helpful, but the best courses lead with value. They offer a strong value proposition.

You need education and training without the noise

Many courses aren't bringing value to the table. They're creating noise.

If you're like most people, you aren't looking for an information dump. You're looking for education and training. Knowledge that's practical and actionable.

Finding the right course takes know-how.

The good news? you have the know-how. With the right foundation, you'll be able to inexpensively assess the courses in your list. The best marketing courses lead with value.

Value leads to professional success.

Local marketing is an ever-changing topic. Search engines and social networks change constantly. New platforms emerge, others fade away. As we've seen finding the best local marketing course takes work. With the right foundation and a bit of hard work, you'll have everything you need to stay in the lead.

About the Author

Andrew McDermott

Andrew McDermott is the co-founder of HooktoWin. He shows entrepreneurs how to attract and win new customers.