How to Start a Career in Digital Marketing: 10 Tips
The fastest way to start your digital marketing career
Careers in marketing become increasingly popular because it’s a growing industry that allows you to leverage your creativity, connect with thousands of people and allows for flexible working options. Digital marketing is all about delivering the brand’s message to prospective customers all around the world.
To get started as a marketer, you’ll need to master a few skills and tools that all marketers use in their daily job. However, obtaining a college degree is not mandatory, so entering this new and exciting professional is manageable for everyone.
In today’s guide, our career consultants will explain what exactly it takes you to land your first job as a digital marketer even if you don’t have the needed experience and skills right now. You’ll find out which skills to master, how to gain real-world experience and stay motivated along the way. Let’s get started!
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What are digital marketing careers?
The primary responsibility of digital marketers is to grow brand awareness, promote products and services, increasing the number of subscriptions, website visits and sales accordingly. To achieve these goals, marketers put a lot of skills into practice: from the understanding of a sales funnel and consumer psychology to proficiency in search engine optimization, social media, and various analytical tools.
Although a lot of companies seek a Digital Marketer specifically, this line of career includes plenty of niche, more specialized jobs. So, if you’re most comfortable with a certain area in marketing, you can find a job that better suits your skills and interests. For example, the most popular marketing jobs include:
✓ Content marketing manager
✓ Social media manager
✓ Mobile marketing specialist
✓ Web designer
✓ SEO specialist
On average, digital marketers earn $61,828 per year. This career offers amazing opportunities for growth. After years in this profession, you can get promoted to a Chief Digital Officer and earn approximately $228,257.
Is marketing career the right fit for you?
The first step towards your career in marketing is to define if this type of job is right for you. Pursuing this career simply because it’s trending, your friend succeeded in it or you expect to earn a decent salary while working remotely isn’t the best idea. Here are our top signs that you’ll feel comfortable working as a marketer:
✓ You enjoy the ongoing learning. Online marketing is a very fast-paced industry. New tools and approaches to work appear, the best practices change and evolve, and you need to proactively adapt and try new things in order to be competitive. If you are thrilled to learn new concepts and practices, you’ll enjoy being a digital marketer.
✓ You have an analytical mind and are detail-oriented. Unlike the common misconception, marketing isn’t all about creating witty posts for social media, posting ads and writing email copy. Most importantly, you’ll need to analyze the outcome of your efforts and act on it, concentrating on the practices and online platforms that bring maximum visitors and conversion. And for that, you’ll need to master plenty of analytical tools and software.
✓ You understand the basics of psychology. To better appeal to the wants and needs of your target customers, you need to understand what motivates and drives them. For that, you need to be aware of consumer psychology and how people make buying decisions.
✓ You are open to challenges and experiments. Not only marketing trends and practices change on the go as we’ve mentioned above, but also effective marketing is a creative process. For you, this means that there are no ready solutions and you’ll need to invent them using creative thinking and intuition.
✓ You’re great at communications but can work independently. Excellent communication skills are a must for any marketers. You’ll have to heavily interact with other teams to gather information about product or service to create a strong campaign. Moreover, you’ll need to persuade the target consumers to buy into what you have to offer.
If the above points sound like you, it means that you’ll thrive in a marketing career. Now, let’s take a look at the exact steps you’ll need to take before you land your first marketing job.
10 tips to start a marketing career
Whether you want to start a career as a SMM specialist, SEO professional, content creator or a marketer who combines all the above functions, use the following tips:
1. Learn the basics first
Although it’s quite possible to land your first job without a degree in marketing, you do need to understand how digital marketing works and what it takes to grow brand awareness and sales. You’ll need to learn theoretical foundations of online marketing. Here are a few resources where you can do it in your free time:
✓ An online marketing course from Google which explains the fundamentals of digital marketing for beginners, free of charge;
✓ Introduction to social media strategy from Skillshare this course explains how to advertise on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as well as basics of paid advertising;
✓ Inbound digital marketing by Hubspot introduces the essentials of creating landing pages, blogging, and conversion optimization;
✓ Other online courses from Coursera or Udemy – you can choose from the abundance of online courses depending on the niche specialization you’ve chosen.
2. Learn how to work with analytics
Other than using their creativity to reach the maximum audience, the marketer needs to evaluate the results of their efforts. To access whether a particular campaign was successful, marketers heavily rely on analytical tools. They derive meaningful insights from this data and communicate them to the rest of the team to adjust the future campaign, find out what works with their target audience, and what doesn’t. In this way, they adjust the future campaign to increase views and conversation. Depending on your target specialization in marketing, you might benefit from the following analytical tools:
✓ Google Analytics – a comprehensive marketing tool that shows how many people viewed your campaign, clicked on ads as well as many other aspects of the campaign;
✓ Crazy Egg – a heat map tool that shows with which elements of your site the audience interacts most and where on the website they focus their attention;
✓ BuzzSumo – is a tool that shows trending and the most frequently shared content topics in your industry. It’s indispensable for social media and content professionals.
3. Understand how SEO works
Search engine optimization (SEO) is about getting your website, blog, and social media posts seen by as many people as possible. To make the content more appealing for search engines and increase the site rankings, marketers create content that answers search engine query, add keywords, work on user on-site experience, and make the content share-worthy. Regardless of the area of marketing you’ll work in, knowing SEO is an absolute must. Again, the internet offers a number of comprehensive SEO guides for beginners.
Like any other aspect in content marketing, the best practices in SEO constantly evolve and change. As a marketer, you’ll need to keep up with updates and use the new, fresh practices when launching your campaigns.
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4. Become an expert in paid advertising
The term ‘paid ads’ means buying placement in online media to promote your company or product. Working on growing the organic traffic is essential, yet in certain cases, paid ads can generate more prospects and more purchases. In particular, you’ll need to master Google Ads that allows you to place the ads across the relevant platforms as well as at the top of search results. There’s also an option to get a Google Ads certification, which will definitely affect your employability.
As a part of launching digital marketing campaigns, you’ll also need to place ads across social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, etc. In particular, many businesses rely on Facebook advertising platform as getting organic traffic here is tough. So, you might want to get familiar with this platform early on.
5. Perfect your writing skills
Even if you don’t plan to be a pro copywriter, a career in digital marketing requires strong writing skills. Why is this important? Firstly, you’ll need to create written marketing materials in line with your audience’s wants and needs (or check the pieces provided by content creators for relevance and engagement). Secondly, a poorly written blog post or landing page not only can turn off the potential customers, but also will undermine trust to your brand. The majority of digital marketing is focused on content these days, so the ability to produce a strong copy, blog post, or social media post is essential.
You might want to take an online course in copywriting, writing for digital media, or social media writing – or move on to the next step and learn everything from practice.
6. Start a website or blog
Companies prefer hiring marketers with hands-on experience in the field. What to do when you’re only getting started and have none? The best way both to practice theoretical marketing concepts you’ve learned and gain the first real-world experience is to start your own blog and promote it online. You don’t have to invest a lot of money in it – try free techniques for growing organic traffic at first.
Why is it important? Firstly, your blog will serve as a portfolio and a mock project for showing off your marketing skills. It’s sufficient for an employer to evaluate your writing, communication, SEO and other skills essential for a marketer. The process of developing a blog takes time and learning at first, but after a few months you’ll enjoy the results.
7. Improve your social media presence
While having a professional-looking social media accounts are important for any professional, it’s doubly important for a marketer. Based on your online profile, your marketing skills will be evaluated. In other words, if you have a profile full of curious and engaging postings, pictures that show your versatility and a solid number of friends/followers, this will additionally prove your ability to establish and grow the web presence. Thus, you are likely to be as successful in growing a business page.
So, give your online profiles a critical look, remove what’s inappropriate, and make them an eye candy for any occasional visitor. Subscribe to marketing channels and groups, connect with other professionals and influential people in the world of marketing. By the way, active networking through the social media can additionally generate professional opportunities for you.
8. Offer help to friends or go freelance
A blog works great for building practical skills in writing, SEO, and attracting audience to your website. But how do you work on your social media marketing skills which are required by the most companies hiring marketers? The simplest way is to offer your services to a friend running a small retail store, a coffee spot or a nail salon. Every business is in need of new clients and better popularity of their brand, so your help in promoting them via social media will be helpful.
You might also offer these services on a freelance basis. Join an international or local freelance platform and offer your help at a low fee or even for free. Your goal now is to acquire hands-on skills, so focus on gaining experience in the first place.
9. Find an internship or entry-level position
If freelancing is not your cup of tea and you want a faster immersion into the world of marketing, consider joining a digital agency or company as a digital marketing assistant or intern. Entry-level positions don’t pay much (some of them don’t pay at all), so you’ll need to get your finances in order first. Yet, while working next to experienced and established professionals, you’ll learn the ins and outs of marketing and grow in a profession faster than if you had tried to figure things out on your own.
Moreover, while working in a digital agency, you’ll get an exposure into different marketing specializations and decide where you’d like to go next in your career (if you haven’t decided it yet). But be sure to revise the office etiquette rules to make a better impression on your future colleagues and boss.
10. Perfect your marketing resume
Whether you’re a student hoping to obtain your first marketing job or an experienced professional who wants to switch to marketing career because of its creative side and flexibility, you’ll need a strong resume. Specifically, our resume writers pro suggest that you use the following tips to create a resume for a marketing job:
✓ Start with a catchy summary. A summary is an elevator pitch of your resume. Just like the header of the blog post or a social media entry, it should capture the recruiter’s attention and inspire them to learn more about you.
✓ Highlight hard and soft marketing skills. Hard skills that the top companies demand from marketers include MS Excel, Google Analytics, basic HTML/CSS, SEO/SEM marketing, SEO tools, data visualization, and more. Adaptability, flexibility, emotional intelligence, communication, and stress management are the soft skills you might want to focus on.
✓ Make it an eye candy. As a marketing, you know that product packaging is important, and the same works for your resume. A properly formatted and aesthetically designed resume will grab the hiring person’s attention and motivate them to spend more time on your resume.
✓ Use strong language. Using top resume words will determine how the reader perceives you. Strong action verbs such as Conceptualized, Implemented and Created will build you an image of a person who is ready to take initiative, is full of energy and ideas.
✓ Focus on the results. When the recruiter looks through your resume, they expect to see results, even if you have limited experience. So, focus on tangible results of your work. Growing your personal blog to 1,000 visitors in two months counts as result, and increasing sales through Instagram by 20% for your friend’s shoes store does as well.
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