Like many people, my first part-time job was in retail where it didn’t take long to learn that the bane of the business was browsing shoppers. I would dutifully follow them around the shop, hoping they would give me the opportunity to sell them something. They would wander the aisles, look around and leave without ever asking a question, let alone making a purchase.
I quickly learned that the best way to convert a browser to a buyer was to engage them. The time-consuming part was learning how to do it.
The cyber-world is no different. It’s full of visitors who browse a site and never engage.
Fortunately for web professionals, there are lots of options for learning conversion techniques, including college-credit courses and professional certificate programs, both fee and free iterations. Choosing the right one begins with knowing your options.
If It’s Free, It’s For Me!
I’m a big fan of free, with a caveat: nothing in life is truly free and that includes no-cost courses. I say this because your time, like mine, has value and time wasted on ineffectual courses is no different than throwing money down the drain.
I chose the following course from the Coursera catalog, which is a well-respected source of quality MOOCs (massive open online courses) from reputable universities and institutions.
Part of a four course series in Strategic Business Analytics offered by the world renowned Grande Ecole de Commerce (ESSEC Business School) in Paris. The course is taught entirely in French with English subtitles.
There are three cost options for this course and the entire program:
- Prepay for all the courses – $302 (€273.18, £196.99)
- Single course with graded assignments and certificate of completion – $79 (€71.45, £51.53)
- Audit the course without grades or a certificate – Free
This program is from Lynda.com, which is a LinkedIn company. When Lynda started up in the 90s, the site was independently owned and membership was free.
However, there was a charge for the courses. They have now changed their pricing model to offer free unlimited courses for a single membership fee. The costs range from month to month memberships from $24.99 (€22.60, £16.30) to $34.99 (€71.45, £22.82) and annual plans from $239.88 (€216.95, £156.47) to $359.88 (€325.48, £234.75). Lynda courses are non-certificate and non-credit.
Professional Certificate Programs
These programs are usually graded and generally require passing an exam upon completion. The advantage of a certificate program is that it assures either your current employer or future employer that you are certified to have the knowledge that you claim to possess.
This course is offered by SimpliLearn which is run by online marketing gurus Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg. This is a graded certificate course. The course is spread across more than 25 hours and a dozen parts. The cost, which includes the final exam and certificate is $299 (€270.42, £195.04).
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) offers a comprehensive certificate course that is open to both members and non-members. This is an independent learning course that can be completed at the user’s own pace. The entire course requires between 20 and 30 hours. The member cost is $1,399 (€1,265.26, £912.41) and the non-member cost is 1,699 (€1,537.42, £1,108.06). It is a comprehensive course that includes real-world examples that actually work.
Non-certificate courses are ideal for those who are more concerned with increasing their own knowledge base more than bettering their employment prospects. Non-certificate courses are usually less expensive and generally do not include grades or testing.
While Udemy offers a certificate of completion it is not considered a certificate course. This program is a bargain at $149 (€134.83, £97.21) for the complete course which includes 68 lectures and 5 hours of video. They also offer a streamlined Conversion Crash Course that includes 25 lectures and 3 hours of video for $99 (€89.58, £65.49).
Clixio founding partner Matt Dombrow instructs this Online Marketing Institute mini-course on conversion optimisation. The course along with others on the site is open to members only. Monthly memberships are available in three tiers; basic $27 (€24.43, £17.62), professional $47 (€42.53, £30.66), and professional plus $97 (€87.77, £63.28).
CRO leader Peep Laja heads up this course, and he’s built it from all of his conversion rate optimisation experience and features other industry experts. There’s three price points depending on how much content you want to absorb, and the higher prices included credits so that you can converse directly with experts. All pricing options include a certification process so that you can measure yourself and how far you’ve come.
You’ll get access to a library of videos that show experts like Peep talking about CRO, along with recordings from ConversionXL Live and Elite Camp. Prices start from $99 per month (or $890 per year) with a top-tier “all-access” pass for $2500 per year.
If you’re an ecommerce business looking to increase your conversion rate and profits in-house or an agency or consultant looking to upskill, this program could be a great fit.
The course was created by Giles Thomas, an ecommerce expert and CEO of Whole Design Studios & AcquireConvert.
In the program Giles teaches you his data-backed process for ecommerce optimisation, through 70 step-by-step video tutorials and worksheets, including handy done-for-you templates.
Enrollment happens twice a year for $199 a month for 6 months or a one time payment of $999.
The Information That Matters
At the end of the day, the course you choose is a personal decision that should be based on your objectives.
For self-employed individuals, a non-certificate course may be the best choice. For those who are looking to improve their employability, a certificate program may be best. However, if you are pursuing an advanced degree, consider finding a course through a college or university that offers transferable credits that can be used toward completion of your degree.
Finally, the most important thing to remember is that it is the information that matters most, so be sure to choose the course that teaches what you want to learn.