As a Marketing Communications tutor, I get a lot of questions about how to start a career in digital marketing. While I could give answers to all those students individually, I believe by writing this blog post I can help multiple students who would otherwise be hesitant or shy to ask this question and those who have just started thinking about this but don’t know whom to approach for advice. In saying that, even after reading this post, you will still need to do your research and educate yourself about this field.
Digital Marketing is one of my favorite classes to teach and one of the major reasons why I feel very passionately about this topic is because it keeps me on my toes with all its new exciting developments. From using cookies for tracking customers’ web activity to now living in a cookie-less world, so much has happened in this field. It certainly has a very dynamic landscape.
So, if like me you are also interested in this field and are ready to start a career, here are a few tips that can help you get your foot in the door:
1) Understand what digital marketing is
Now, this might seem to be an obvious thing to do but a lot of people fail to understand that digital marketing is not just about doing marketing online. It is multifaceted. Being a digital marketer means you need to have an understanding of what SEO is and how it works, how to integrate social media in your broader marketing strategy, how to write content for online platforms, how to improve website UX, how does online advertising work, how is artificial intelligence integrated into the marketing strategy and how to write effective edms, and much more.
Before you get too overwhelmed by all this, keep reading!
All the things I mentioned above are what you should have an understanding of so you can decide what you want to specialise in later. For example, you might be interested in becoming an SEO Strategist or a Social Media Manager, or a Paid Media Specialist. Therefore, a good in-depth understanding of these topics is necessary.
With this comes the tools that are used in digital marketing such as Google Analytics, Mail Chimp, Hootsuite, WordPress, Google Adwords, Google tag manager, Google keyword planner, ahrefs, UTM builders, and plenty of other tools. But how on earth are you supposed to know all of this without getting work experience? Well, this is where certifications will help you. Further, look for detailed updated guides on Google on the specific topic you are interested in such as Moz regularly updates its guide on SEO. Make sure you start with the beginner’s guides, not the advanced ones.
2) Digital Marketing Certifications
There are a lot of free certifications available online that you can do, for example, you can start with Google Analytics for Beginners certification, Fundamentals of Digital Marketing on Google Garage or choose from a variety of course offered at Hubspot Academy. I have personally done courses from Google and Hubspot and they have helped me a lot in improving my skills. SkillShare also has some good courses and so does LinkedIn Learning.
If you are interested, General Assembly also offers an intensive Digital Marketing Course. Even though this is a paid course, a little birdie told me it’s totally worth it. There is also Facebook Blueprint certification that can help you advance your skills with Facebook’s family of apps and services. Trust me, the certifications can really help you stand out from the rest of the digital marketers.
3) Venture into the wild
According to an article on Forbes, “a successful digital marketer, you have to be incredibly entrepreneurial in your thinking” and I 200% agree with this statement. You need to start your journey by yourself. The first step is to educate yourself about this field but after that, you need to implement what you have learned. Start with building a website. This will not only help you build your skills in CMS but also content writing and SEO. You can then promote the blog on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram depending on where your audience is. You can build a website for free on Wix or WordPress. Create an online presence for yourself. Show people who you are and what you are passionate about. Read my blog post on why you need to have a personal brand.
If you don’t know what you want to post about, start working on a mock project. This will help you get an understanding of who your target audience is, define marketing objectives and then create a marketing strategy for achieving S.MA.R.T objectives. An added advantage would be that you will in turn build a portfolio for yourself that you can add to your resume.
If nothing else, start writing about topics in digital marketing and solidify your knowledge even more. For basic social media graphics, check out Canva. It has all you need to start your social media marketing. Learning without practicing is going to be of no use for you.
4) Network, Network, Network
Networking is important not just in digital marketing but in every industry. You need to network with industry leaders and also with those individuals who are in the roles you want to be in. You can gain from their experience while creating your presence, so the next time they are hiring, they would think of you.
If you are offered an unpaid internship, do it. Getting work experience, even if it is informal experience, will really help you in this field. Once you have your blog set up and a little bit of experience, start looking for internships and graduate roles.
Hint: look at the careers page of digital marketing agencies
5) Stay Updated with Industry Trends:
Last but not the least, keep yourself updated with the industry trends. Digital Marketing is an evolving field and things change in the blink of an eye. Subscribe to blogs like Hubspot, LinkedIn Marketing Team, Moz, and Search Engine Land. Also, read up articles on Mumbrella, Marketing Land, Marketing Week, and Medium.
These are the five steps that you should be following while looking for a role in digital marketing. However, your formula for success is going to be only your unique formula. So, find out what works for you and what can help you stay motivated throughout this whole process.
Just remember one thing: Never stop learning!
For more details, you can watch this video too 🙂