Bringing on additional help as a digital marketing agency owner can be a necessary but equally daunting task. Finding and onboarding help can take up hours of valuable time that you may not be able to lose. So what are your options? Finding qualified contractors who are highly skilled can be even more difficult. Experienced, established digital marketers will certainly charge a steep price for their services, and, even more, they may have limited availability. This reality leaves many small agency owners in the position of having to take on less experienced employees and train them. But how do you balance training new employees while maintaining your day-to-day responsibilities?
Thankfully, is are a variety of resources that you can use to help reduce onboarding time without sacrificing any of the quality. From basic online advertising concepts to certification training and agency growth tips, I’ll walk through what I consider to be the seven best free tree training resources for paid media agencies.
Here we go.
1. Google Academy for Ads
Direct from the source, Google Academy for Ads allows you to provide new hires with a plethora of educational material for everything from Google Analytics, Google Ads, Youtube, and more. Google Academy is great because you know the information you’re getting is up to date with the current features of each platform—and you’re getting it straight from the experts.
The only downside to Google Academy is the fact that it’s coming directly from Google. There are a few drawbacks because of this. As many PPC experts will know, sometimes you have to take what platforms tell you directly with a grain of salt because many times their advice is homogenized for all advertisers. In reality, every client’s business is different and, therefore, some strategies may work while others won’t. The other drawback is that it only includes Google products, and you will have to provide your new employees with other resources for Facebook and other platforms.
In addition to the Academy for Ads, the Google Ads help center is another great resource, and one that your new hires should keep bookmarked for reference.
2. PPC Hero
PPC Hero is a blog by Hanapin Marketing that provides in-depth educational resources around successful pay-per-click account management. From general PPC tips and strategies to articles about remarketing and URL tracking, PPC Hero is a great resource for anyone who needs to learn both basic and advanced strategies.
PPC Hero content covers everything from search, social, display, programmatic, conversion rate optimization, tools, industry news, and opinion articles. Although it may not be hyper-specific to agency management, it will provide a new employee with plenty to sift through.
The biggest downside here? This content isn’t interactive, so while it’s a great resource, it might not be the best way you new hires learn.
3. #PPC Chat and Facebook Groups
Although not a content resource directly, #ppcchat was created by PPC Hero’s Matt Umbro with the intent for PPC professionals to share ideas, ask questions, and address common marketing obstacles and solutions on Twitter.
Because it’s interactive, #ppcchat is a great way for agency owners and new hires to engage with others in the space and learn from other professionals directly. Even better? It’s a great way of staying on top of industry news, whether that’s new strategies, new technologies, or new rules to follow. #ppcchat occurs every Tuesday at noon EST.
In addition to #ppcchat, there are several Facebook groups where owners and managers can share resources and advice with fellow professionals. Here are couple of these that I find useful:
Although these are smaller scales than #ppcchat, these groups offer the same benefit of staying connected to other digital marketers so that you can stay on top of trends in the community. Because these are smaller, your newer employees might feel better reaching out with questions.
4. Facebook BluePrint
Similar to Google Academy for Ads, Facebook BluePrint gives you everything you need to get started with Facebook business manager. Content here is mainly geared toward businesses looking to advertise themselves, but much of the information is relevant for an account manager. The Facebook Blueprint certification itself costs about $150, but that isn’t entirely necessary for an employee to have right out of the gate.
Again, the drawback here being that the material is directly from Facebook itself and not industry experts or folks who have years of experience with the platform’s nuances. It’s also simply Facebook-specific and isn’t catered for agencies or agency owners directly. For a general foundation of paid social knowledge, however, I would consider it one of the best places to get started.
YouTube is for way more than streaming conspiracy videos at 2 a.m. or catching up the skits from late night TV that you missed. The platform actually has a massive amount of valuable and informative content around training employees in various fields.
Just a few results—and an ad—from a quick search.
There are thousands of channels and videos, and once you start digging around, you will surely be able to find what you’re looking for. There are many tutorials and walkthroughs for specific problems that may arise in your employees training. The downside? You’ll also find a ton that you’re not looking for. If you’re looking for agency management advice, be aware that you’ll stumble across a lot of “get rich quick” folks out there with not so great advice.
Here are some of my recommended YouTube channels for agency-related and marketing industry content:
- WordStream: Believe it or not, WordStream has one of the best libraries out there from quick tips and tricks to comprehensive webinars from some of the biggest names in the paid media field.
- MOZ HQ: Some of the best tutorials for SEO, social media, and brand content. With a library of almost endless content, you get to view high-quality videos from SEO professionals and experts.
- Jason Swenk: Jason Swenk is an agency advisor with a variety of videos catered specifically to agency owners. You may not use this content to train your staff, but it definitely doesn’t hurt to get some great advice about pricing, scaling, and, of course, onboarding itself.
- SEMrush: Although a software platform like some of the others mentioned here, SEMrush devotes a lot of effort into making relevant and informative content related to search engine marketing practices.
6. Search Engine Journal
Search Engine Journal has been a fantastic resource for all things digital marketing for some time. SEO, content marketing, social media, PPC, and industry news are all at your fingertips and for free. If there is a topic that you feel your potential employee will need to research, SEJ is a great place to direct them. The articles are written by industry professionals and, similar to PPC Hero, provide insights beyond the standard best practices you will find from Google and Facebook’s in-house content.
The drawback to SEJ (and many others on this list) is that it is great for someone looking to learn more about digital marketing, but not necessarily someone who is looking for agency-specific content. If you want to find content that is tailored to obstacles from your day-to-day agency life, then you may need to do some additional digging.
7. Growth Academy
You’re most likely reading this article because you’re looking for an agency training resource that accommodates your busy schedule but also costs you absolutely nothing. Well, you’ve come to the right place!
As an agency owner in the process of onboarding an employee myself, I must say that WordStream’s Growth Academy is the one-stop-shop for everything someone in my position would need. What differentiates Growth Academy from others on this list is that it combines the educational aspects of the other resources in regard to onboarding employees and training them on the basics, but also it provides a plethora of content specifically catered towards agency owners and managers.
The “Grow My Agency” course itself includes lessons on how to build a PPC offering, pricing tips, finding clients, retaining clients, managing accounts efficiently, and, of course, scaling your agency. The latter being the ultimate resource for agency owners looking to hire new employees and take their operations to the next level. WordStream’s Growth Academy is completely free, so all you have to do is sign up.
Free training for your agency employees
Having the ability to bring on new employees and have the resources in order to properly train them is fantastic. Having these resources for free is even better. There are countless courses and programs out there that charge a great deal of cash to teach you the same things that many of these resources can provide you. Before you sink any additional money into training new hires or trying to learn new skills yourself, give these a go.