How to Become a Digital Marketer

Author Emma Knightley
Topic Careers

Are you a recent graduate, traditional marketer, or a tech-savvy entrepreneur who’s ready for an exciting career change? Do you want to excel in a field that bolsters unlimited learning opportunities and potential for rapid personal growth?

If you are ready to become a highly in-demand digital marketing professional, you are in the right place.

With 2 million jobs forecast to be available by 2020 in the UK alone and the increased use of the internet—there's never been a better time to start a new career as a digital marketer! 

What is Digital Marketing?

Traditional vs digital marketing

Digital marketing is the combination of all the marketing efforts a company uses via digital media to connect with potential customers, such as websites, email, search engines, and social media. Marketers connect with consumers on devices like phones, tablets, and laptops. It involves understanding where your potential customers will be online, what device they will use to connect, and meeting them there.

Digital marketing differs from its traditional counterpart in that traditional marketing campaigns focus on selling the customer a product. Digital marketing focuses on providing value to potential customers where and when they need it. The goal of digital marketing efforts is to put what a person wants or needs in front of them when and where they are looking for it.

Digital marketing is an umbrella term, and there are many specialized jobs involved in the industry, including SEO, social media management, content marketing, data and analytics, and PPC to name a few.

Skills Needed to Work in Digital Marketing by Specialty

Skills Needed to Work in Digital Marketing by Specialty

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

People are looking for information on Google and other search engines. Optimizing websites to come up organically in search engines is a fundamental aspect of digital marketing. An understanding of how to integrate keywords into content, change alt text, collect backlinks, and so on are essential parts of this strategy.

Social Media Management

Running Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn is another aspect of digital marketing. You have to be able to attract followers and engage with them on a level that’s meaningful to them. An in-depth understanding of who is using what platform and when will help drive your social media campaigns. 

You want to use creative storytelling to post on relevant trends. To do so involves researching not just your audience, but also what they are interested in right now. It’s a fast-paced aspect of digital marketing that requires steady management and an ability to think on your feet.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a big job. As a content marketer, you are both a creative thinker and data analyst. You use both of those skills to create content across multi-media platforms to spark the interest of your audience so that they come to you for more—which ultimately creates more leads and more conversations.

Data and Analytics

An understanding of Google Analytics is a must. One of the benefits of digital marketing over conventional methods of marketing is its measurability. You must be able to use your skills to interpret which of your marketing campaigns are the most successful. The metrics can be complicated but being able to use them to paint a picture of your target audience and what motivates them will give you the tools to scale your campaigns and increase overall profits.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Where SEO focuses on organic traffic, PPC is the sponsored ad equivalent. The digital marketer bids on keywords that when searched will have your ad come up in the paid ad listings. A person in this role is responsible for driving traffic to a website, and the digital marketer determines what action the customer takes once there. It requires analyzing data to reduce ad spend and increase ROI.

How to Become a Digital Marketer

Aside from the professional skills and the education you possess, digital marketers bring a certain attitude to the table. They are go-getters and thought leaders. If you want to be one, you will need to think like one. The best way to do that is to learn from them.

Take an Internship

If you are just starting out, an internship can help you gain experience and expand your portfolio. Being around other industry professionals will give you exposure to the different aspects of digital marketing and help you determine which is your preference.

Follow Thought Leaders

Digital Marketing Thought Leaders

Digital marketers today understand that the field is growing at such a rate that sharing industry secrets isn’t creating competition or taking business away. Many digital marketers will not only tell you what they did, but they will share with you case studies showing you how they did it. Watch them, listen to them, sign up for their emails.

Network, Network, Network

You want to be a digital marketer, so go where digital marketers are and talk to them. Attend networking conferences or sign up for online groups. Often, it’s from these places that unexpected opportunities are born, and they can be great learning experiences.

Always Be Upgrading

Whatever you are good at, you should strive to be better. And if there is something you need to work on, there’s nothing stopping you from mastering it. As a digital marketer, you will always be upgrading your skills, and there is no shortage of courses, eBooks, and webinars both free and paid to help you keep your skills fresh.

Transition to a Role in Digital Marketing

If you have a four-year degree or experience in any number of fields, as long as you have a keen interest, you can make the transition to a role in digital marketing. 

A few careers with skills that will translate well include but are not limited to:

  • Journalist
  • Teacher
  • Writer
  • Data Analyst
  • Newspaper Editor
  • Print Marketer
  • Sales
  • Retail Management
  • Blogger

Final Thoughts

If you want to be a digital marketer, you’ll need to have drive, ambition, and a real passion for the business, in addition to the tech, education, and professional skills required. 

You have to understand that digital marketing efforts are all about what you can do for the customer, not what you are trying to sell to the customer. If this sounds like your dream job, start learning today

Emma Knightley