Congratulations on choosing digital marketing as your career path. The rise in digital media usage has led more businesses to rely on digital marketers to target their ideal audience and reach an audience globally. Needless to say, it is one of the fastest-growing job sectors.
While this presents an opportunity for budding digital marketers, it also comes with a downside of the industry being competitive.
You must know your way around popular digital media channels and strategies to kick-start your career and climb the digital marketing ladder.
This handy guide on how to start a career in digital marketing will help aspiring candidates hone their skills, gain confidence, and get first-hand experience to begin your career as easily as possible.
How to Start a Career In Digital Marketing?
Overnight success is a myth. A lot of struggle goes into learning a new skill, executing it, and mastering it. So while choosing digital marketing as a career field is the first step in your journey, you are bound to go through peaks and valleys before becoming truly successful at it.
From struggling to learn areas of digital marketing, and then learning how to actually implement what you’ve learned into a successful marketing campaign, you must learn how to be patient as it’s extremely rare for people to just blow it out of the water right away and start going viral immediately with their marketing efforts.
However, to make your journey less daunting and hassle-free, we’ve compiled a list of a few tips below.
Learn Digital Marketing Basics and Pick Your Channel
Digital marketing is a broad term that refers to several marketing processes on the internet. As such, it covers numerous components used for online promotion.
You must learn the ins and outs of primary digital marketing components and focus on your area of specialization to get started. Popular digital marketing channels include:
- Social Media Marketing. It refers to marketing on social platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, Youtube, Twitter, and more. If you’re an extrovert and love to make new connections, you will enjoy working as a social media marketer.
- Content Marketing. It involves using different content types in digital marketing campaigns including blogs, social media posts, webinars, video ads etc. This component essentially requires implementing unique ideas and is the right fit for creative minds.
- Email Marketing. Although old-school, email marketing has the potential to take businesses to new heights by marketing services and products using emails. It also requires you to tap into your creative side and introduce new and distinctive ideas for email marketing campaigns to help more effectively move people through the marketing funnel and into paid customers..
- Search Engine Marketing includes paid search advertising and search engine optimization (SEO). It is more about skill and smart work and less about creativity. You will determine what your target audience is searching for online and then create ads or blogs targeting those particular keywords so that your business shows up in front of the people who are most likely to buy your services/products.
- Affiliate Marketing. This is an area of marketing that requires you to generate sales by getting others (including your own customers) to rave about your company so that others want to buy your products or services too. You will then be responsible for paying them a commission based on the amount of sales each of these affiliates bring in for the company.
- Video Marketing. With 244.4 billion digital video viewers in the US, video marketing is second to none. It involves marketing on Vimeo, YouTube, TikTok, and other video platforms to help raise brand awareness and hopefully conversions.
Note that the list isn’t exhaustive, and you’ll always find more options to explore. Ideally, go for the field that piques your interest as you always want to be in a field that you’re actually interested in rather than just try to get any job you can get. Doing what you love naturally boosts your chance of success.
Build Your LinkedIn Profile
It isn’t only about what you know but it can also be about who you know.
So, if you’re wondering, “How can I start a career in digital marketing,” now is the right time to consider building your professional network.
With around 830 million users, including digital marketing specialists, LinkedIn is an excellent platform for connecting with like-minded people and learning from experts. It also helps you stay updated with the industry news and enlighten yourself with the latest digital marketing trends.
However, networking will only work if you already have the right Marketing work experience that hiring managers want. Simply connecting with people on Linkedin and asking for a job because you graduated with a certain degree will not be a good use of your time. Get the right work experience you need (JobPrepped’s Digital Marketing Training + Immediate Work Experience Program gives you this if you’re struggling here) and then you can start building your network now that you have something they value and are actually hireable.
Start Your Website
Because there is no learning without execution, building a website gives you a chance to apply digital marketing concepts to the real world. Digital marketing isn’t based on theoretical knowledge but instead requires practical implementation.
Put simply, knowing how SEO works for example is not enough; you must learn how to apply different techniques and strategies as this is what hiring managers want to hear you discuss during your interviews to show that you’ll be able to bring good results to their company.
Regardless of the company you work with, you’ll be asked to promote different websites to boost organic traffic through social media, blogs, or pay-per-click advertising throughout your career.
Starting your website is a great way to gain practical skills and become more confident about your abilities in how to drive to traffic to a particular website which is a key thing all digital marketers are going to be expected to be able to do.
Undoubtedly, going this route and trying to build a website requires a big learning curve and takes time when you’re starting; but this will give you some practical experience on driving traffic which is always good. There are much easier ways to gain the work experience that hiring managers want as we’ll discuss below, but, building a website and driving traffic is something you could dabble with on your own.
Get to Know Some Digital Marketing Tools
Because paying for premium marketing tools isn’t possible for starters, you can familiarize yourself with free digital marketing tools. There are plenty of free marketing tools to get acquainted with the basics and make digital marketing more seamless.
- Google Search Console lets you see indexed pages in Google, sites similar to yours, and keywords your website ranks for.
- Google Analytics. Are you unsure how your website is performing in search engines? Google Analytics has you covered! It allows you to see helpful data, from the number of people visiting your site to the pages they land and the time they spend on a specific page. Tons of actionable metrics let you mold your existing strategies for the better.
- Canva. Fret not if you’re facing a budget squeeze and cannot invest in a paid design tool! Canva lets you take your social media marketing to the next level with free and enticing design templates.
- Buffer is yet another free marketing tool that allows you to automate social media posts. You no longer need to keep an eye on multiple posts at a given time; the platform caters to your needs and makes your work stress-free through automation.
Check out more free digital marketing tools to level up your digital marketing game and automate regular tasks to improve efficiency.
Find a Mentor and Be Open to Feedback
Connecting with a mentor is a good way to learn the foundational blocks of a digital marketing career and ensure you minimize the room for errors.
Reaching out to someone close for advice helps you quickly find a solution and avoid mistakes that may lead to more severe problems.
One of the best ways to find a mentor is to build your community on LinkedIn. Several professionals use the network regularly and are willing to help others kick-start their careers. Although they won’t be able to hire you unless you have the right Marketing work experience they need, they can give you career pointers such as informing you what work experience is becoming more and more coveted in the digital marketing space (Social Media, Email, PPC, and SEO/SEM) so that you can focus on getting the right work experience that companies want so you’re more hireable.
So, apart from building your LinkedIn profile, do not hesitate to reach out to professionals in their DMs. However, keep your messages professional and respectful, and learn the art of effective communication to avoid hurting your reputation.
Stay On Top of the Latest Digital Marketing Trends
The digital world is progressing by leaps and bounds, and you cannot expect to advance your career unless you keep up with the changing trends. LinkedIn Pulse and Twitter are great reliable real-time sources of news.
You must stay on top of leading industry trends to demonstrate your willingness and determination to grow your digital marketing career. Hiring managers and employers often question the recent updates in an interview so you want to make sure you’re on top of this so you can pitch marketing strategies that will actually work in your interviews.
So, ensure to brush up on the latest trends and know how you can utilize them to your advantage; it will help eliminate uncertainty during an interview as the marketing strategies you pitch during your interviews is what we really care about as this shows us how knowledgeable and what kind of impact you’ll bring if we hire you.
Start an Internship
Once you’ve gained some digital marketing knowledge, it’s time to hit the digital marketing job boards. An internship can be an excellent way to learn the ropes of digital marketing.
Working on several projects allows you to learn how digital marketing works in the real world. It teaches you digital marketing fundamentals and lets you learn from industry experts and be more certain about the area you want to master. However, in order for your internship to actually be worthwhile in helping you secure an actual paid job, you need to make sure you are gaining the right work experience that hiring managers are asking for in their job description.
Marketing internships have become NOTORIOUSLY known for hiring people and then just having them do the same unimportant tasks over and over again to grow their company. When interns leave, they then have a hard time getting a full time job as they didn’t get valuable work experience. This is a VERY VERY common problem for marketing interns so just make sure you’re getting a lot of varied work experience in areas that companies are actually hiring for or else that particular internship is not going to be a good use of your time as it won’t help you get hired at a company full-time which is usually the end goal of anyone seeking an internship.
Further Your Career
Do you plan to work with a company in-house, land a job as a freelancer, or start your own agency?
After a few years into your digital marketing, you should explore options to advance your career so you can start earning more and live the lifestyle you want as Digital Marketing has tons of opportunities for you. While staying in-house is the typical route, freelancing offers more freedom and hands-on experience to boost your income.
Working from the comfort of your own home is something a lot of digital marketers rally value and this is a big reason why a lot of people break off into freelancing after a few years in the industry. In fact, someone who has a few years in the digital marketing industry usually doesn’t have too much difficulty getting freelance work lined up for them because they’ll now have a book of business where they can show the results they were able to get over the years which is what clients want to see when hiring a freelancer.
Alternatively, you can start your own agency to work with several clients simultaneously. While it has the potential to maximize your earnings, building your company isn’t a walk in the park but the payoff can definitely be there if you’re willing to work hard for it.
Go for this option only if you’re excellent at digital marketing and have a budget to invest in the resources as you’ll truly need to know all areas of digital marketing (Social Media, Email, PPC, and SEO/SEM) in order to run a very successful agency.
The rapidly evolving digital marketing industry offers endless opportunities, but only if you know how to start a career in digital marketing. So while learning, networking, and understanding the latest trends is one thing, you must also gain the right marketing work experience to land your dream job.
If you need any help launching or growing your digital marketing career, JobPrepped’s Digital Marketing Training +Immediate Work Experience Program, helps budding digital marketers get the exact training and hands-on real marketing work experience needed to land a job and further their careers much faster as the Marketing work experience you’ll gain from JobPrepped is the main reason why 94.3% of JobPrepped students get Marketing Interviews or Job Offers within 3 weeks.
Because Marketing Hiring Managers prioritize Marketing work experience when seeking efficient and skilled marketers to hire, make sure you focus your efforts on gaining the exact Marketing work experience they are asking for in their job descriptions as this will help you launch and advance your Marketing career 10x faster.