If the thought of working online for your favorite brand excites you, you should consider a job in digital marketing. Digital marketing, or online marketing, is the promotion of brands through the use of the Internet or other forms of digital communication.
In this article, we will discuss how to become a digital marketer; we’ll go over everything from education to pursue to skills needed, and what to include in your portfolio and resume for your first entry-level job.
Choose Your Specialization
There are many marketing roles out there, and what you choose depends on where your strengths and passions lie. Let’s explore some of the common career paths.
- Digital marketing: This is the most general marketing career path because it encompasses many marketing channels and online outlets. Common formats digital marketers focus on include websites, social media profiles, emails, and search engines. Digital marketing managers use a specific digital marketing strategy to plan out digital marketing campaigns for their company.
- Content marketing: Content marketers create content like blog posts, ad copy, landing pages, white papers, and e-books. Their goal is high-quality content creation that helps makes a difference in the lives of their audience.
- Social media marketing: Fast becoming one of the most popular career paths in the industry, social media managers create and publish posts on social media that will help build their brand.
- Visual marketing: Graphic designers, video marketers, and web designers focus on the visual side of marketing. They help convey the message of a brand through visual storytelling; which is anything from charts, graphs, pictures, website layouts, or video ads.
- Search engine marketing (SEM): Search engine marketers focus on getting the brand’s website higher on search engine result pages. This includes using strategies for both paid search (PPC) and organic growth (SEO). Pay-per-click (PPC) is a form of digital advertising where an advertiser pays a publisher when the ad is clicked. Search engine optimization (SEO) focuses on keyword research, as well as quality written content and visuals.
- Influencer marketing: Working with influencers to promote brands has become a very effective marketing technique. It is sometimes called affiliate marketing. These influencers include celebrities, public figures, or experts in certain industries who have a large following on social media. These influencers have established a connection with their audience, which enables brands to benefit from the followers’ trust in influencers’ opinions.
- Email marketing: Marketers who focus on email campaigns specialize in notifying customers and leads about the goings-on of the company. The email content typically will include things like special offers, newsletters, or upcoming product announcements.
If you already know what sort of digital marketing job you’d like to get, it will help you easily plan out your education. For higher-paying careers where you will need to have fundamental marketing knowledge, consider getting a bachelor’s or master’s degree. If you are looking for more hands-on knowledge, we recommend a bootcamp or certification courses.
Digital marketing degrees
If you are interested in taking your marketing career long-term, it could be beneficial to learn the fundamentals in a reputable marketing program. So does that mean you’ll have to go back to school?
Depending on your career specialization, the amount of education you need may vary. However, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “A bachelor’s degree is required for most advertising, promotions, and marketing management positions.”
If you decide to go for a bachelor’s degree, make sure it is in a business field like advertising, journalism, marketing, or communication. Classes should include topics on:
- Business law
- Computer science
- Communication methods
- Visual arts
- Consumer behavior
- Art history
Digital marketing courses
With that being said, you don’t need a marketing degree to get a job in this field. If you look at job postings for marketers, you will notice that they require a bachelor’s or equivalent diploma. However, they do not specifically ask for a marketing degree. You can still make a hefty digital marketing salary with no degree.
If you’ve already gotten a bachelor’s degree in another field, consider taking some courses to learn the ins and outs of digital marketing. Knowing what you will specialize in can help you focus on the necessary courses. For instance, if you want to specialize in SEO marketing, take some courses in computer science.
After finishing a course, learners are awarded a digital marketing certification; a huge advantage on a resume.
Digital marketing bootcamps
Are you ready to gain knowledge in a short amount of time? Try out a digital marketing bootcamp. You will be immersed in the subject and learn a lot quickly. Digital marketing bootcamps will give you practical and hands-on knowledge that you can easily apply to real job opportunities.
Formal education typically does not provide these things, and employers sometimes prefer applicants who have completed a recent bootcamp because they know up-to-date practices in the industry.
Bootcamps can last anywhere from 5 to 31 weeks depending on the program you choose and if you go full-time or part-time.
There are also master’s degrees in digital marketing available, though they may not be necessary. These degrees typically focus on concepts like sales and marketing psychology. These degrees may help you stand out from the crowd, but you will still need real-world experience and know the latest goings-on in the field.
Develop Soft and Hard Skills
To prepare yourself for a digital marketing career, it is wise to first develop a skill set that will help you succeed in the industry. Here are the most important digital marketing skills to develop:
- Adaptable: Since digital marketing tools, practices, and standards change so quickly in this day and age, it is essential to adapt to the frequent changes. Learn to become comfortable with a fast-paced environment.
- Curious: Be able to ask questions and have a desire to learn more about new changes in the industry. If you don’t, your knowledge base becomes outdated and you aren’t likely to succeed.
- Interpersonal skills: Not only will you likely be working in a team, but you will also be working with clients and other colleagues. You will need to be able to build strong working relationships with those you interact with daily.
- Creativity: When you work in marketing, you will be faced with unique challenges that do not have an easy answer. You must be able to think of creative ways to solve these problems and deliver the message to customers in a way that gets their attention.
- Listening skills: Being able to listen to what the audience wants is essential to delivering it to them. And you should be able to interpret or listen to the data without projecting your own opinions too much onto it.
- Good communication: Marketing is about communicating to an audience. Learn how to express what you want to say in ways where it comes across to your target audience clearly and effectively.
- Writing: Everything you do as a marketer will be centered around writing and copywriting. Anything from podcasts to product page copy to Instagram posts will need descriptions that accurately depict the content. If you find grammar and spelling difficult, use apps like Grammarly to help you.
- Data analysis: Everything we do on the Internet is measurable in some way. That is why being able to collect and interpret data is essential for digital marketing. Marketing analytics tools include lots of numbers, so you must understand what the metrics mean to figure out the best path for your marketing strategy. Google Analytics is an important data analysis tool you should get familiar with to help understand website performance.
- WordPress: Almost half of the websites today are built using WordPress. Being familiar with this content management system comes in handy.
- Domain-specific ads: Whether you will be using Google Ads, YouTube ads, Facebook ads, or any other domain-specific ads, you will need to be familiar with these advertising platforms.
- SEO/SEM: Be sure to know the basics of search engine marketing (SEM) to ensure your website will be the most visible it can be for paid and organic search, as well as contextual advertising.
- Social media: The best way to reach customers these days is through social media platforms. Be familiar with established platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and also new ones like TikTok.
When you have a strong online presence, you are putting yourself out there for the world to easily see what you’re all about. And starting your own social media profile or blog is a good way to show proof of your marketing skills. Be sure to showcase original content that will draw in a network of people including possible employers, potential customers, and future associates.
You can also participate in marketing networking events to meet other professionals in the digital marketing industry. Live events include activities like presentations, workshops, and lessons that will help you learn and expand your marketing knowledge.
These events allow you to rub elbows with other digital marketing professionals and find your people. Not only that, you will be able to learn from industry experts, get advice from professionals, and learn more about trends occurring in the industry. And learning about future trends will allow you time to get prepared.
Build a Digital Marketing Portfolio and Resume
With the many applicants for quality marketing jobs, get a leg up on the competition with a digital marketing portfolio. A quality portfolio makes you more credible, and a potential employer is more likely to trust that you’re a good candidate.
A good digital marketing portfolio will not only show the finished product but also lay out the processes used. Include any articles you’ve written, posts you’ve created, website layouts you’ve developed, and anything else that shows off your skills. Make sure to share any credit with team members you worked with. This proves that you can work in a team setting and succeed. Add in any SEM or SEO data analytics recording your successes.
Are you a complete marketing newbie with no experience? In this case, include any hands-on exercises you did in your marketing classes. Also, start a social media account that is professional looking and marketing-focused to give employers something to look at. Or you can start a blog about something you are passionate about.
When you’ve got all your work together, place it in a neatly organized binder. Alongside your portfolio, include a resume. Your resume should be concise, with hard numbers indicating any skills you possess or experience you’ve had. Be creative and add your personality to show your employer who you are. Additionally, try to tailor your resume to each job you apply for. This makes it clear that you are very interested and are confident in your qualifications for the position.
Apply for Entry-Level Positions
There is no shortage of entry-level positions for digital marketers out there. With your portfolio and resume in hand, apply for a digital marketing job that interests you.
If you don’t have much work experience, consider working for free in an internship marketing position. In exchange, you will get valuable references and testimonials to prove to future employers that you are a good candidate.
Although it can be difficult to start at the bottom, you may actually enjoy the work, igniting your career forward to higher positions. Some common entry-level positions include:
- Entry-Level Digital Marketing Specialist
- SEO Specialist
- Content Marketing Specialist
- Social Media Manager
- PPC Specialist (SEM)
- Graphics Designer
- Affiliate Marketing Manager
We’ll See You Online
We’ve explored the main digital marketing specializations, discussed degrees and courses to expand your knowledge base, and listed the top soft and hard skills to have. Once you’re ready to launch your digital marketing career, you’ll want to network with other professionals and make connections within the industry. You’ll likely find a good entry-level position where you can present your portfolio and resume to wow them.