Digital marketing is a field that involves helping promote businesses and services in the online space. Becoming a digital marketer means stepping into this niche in the marketing space to create digital media marketing campaigns. These campaigns are typically focused on various digital channels, including email marketing, website, social media platforms and live chats.
Becoming a digital marketer may open doors to joining a marketing agency, working in the marketing department of a business or company, consulting or doing freelance work. Learn how to become a digital marketer, common skills and education requirements, and why you should do so.
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What Is Digital Marketing?
The answer to the question “what is digital marketing?” is simply this: any marketing efforts conducted to endorse goods, services and brands via a digital platform. In its essence, it is any marketing conducted via the internet. Digital marketers work in advertising agencies or marketing departments and create advertising campaigns either for clients or for the company in whose marketing department they are working.
The job responsibilities of digital marketers are to help create awareness of and interest in the company’s products or services. This may be done via a website or social media channels, mobile devices and even emails. Besides creating marketing campaigns (and their components), digital marketers may also do market research and analyze data to establish which marketing efforts are performing well or where they need to make adjustments. They may also be involved in the financial end of the marketing spectrum, such as establishing marketing budgets and ensuring that they are complied with and developing pricing strategies for products or services.
To understand what digital marketing is, it’s also important to know some common areas of digital marketing:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Pay Per Click (PPC)/Paid Search Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- Marketing Automation
- Email Marketing
- Digital Public Relations (PR)
- Inbound Marketing
- Sponsored Content
Skills Needed to Work in Digital Marketing by Specialty
Digital marketers may focus on one area that they specialize in, although they are more likely to hold a variety of skills related to digital marketing. Niche areas in the digital marketing sphere include content marketing focused on search engine optimization (SEO), copywriting, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising including online advertising like Google ads, social media marketing, as well as email marketing. Along with this, you may also specialize in data and analytics.
Content marketing, along with copywriting, is a part of digital marketing strategy. While content marketing refers to written content with the intention of converting a visitor to a paying client, copywriting is the text that is specifically written to make a sale. Content marketing includes web articles that are optimized for search engines, while copywriting is the text included in anything from web pages to social media ads with the purpose of hooking a client and getting them to buy something.
Besides written content, digital marketers may focus on data analytics to see how their digital marketing campaigns are doing and whether they need to make some changes to encourage more conversions.
Common Steps to Become a Digital Marketer
A bachelor’s degree is typically required for marketing positions and may help you work toward becoming a (digital) marketing manager. These degrees cover aspects, including marketing, market research, sales, consumer behavior, communication methods and technology. They also may cover topics relating to visual arts, art history and photography.
The road to becoming a marketing manager may also include a number of years’ work experience in marketing or sales related roles like sales representative, public relations specialist or buyers and purchasing agent.
In order to become a digital marketer, you may consider taking a bachelor’s degree program and a few courses that focus on specialized skills in the digital marketing sphere.
Step 1. Complete a bachelor degree.
A bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising, communication or journalism may help lay the foundation that you will need in your role as a digital marketer. Although you could complete courses in digital marketing specialty areas, a bachelor’s degree in marketing or a related field allows you a structured program that helps teach you fundamentals of digital marketing or find a specialty.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a bachelor’s degree is required for marketing positions including advertising, promotions, and marketing management positions. For advertising management positions, some employers prefer a bachelor’s degree in advertising or journalism.
However, it may be possible to work in digital marketing with an unrelated degree. The BLS recommends taking courses in:
- Business law
- Computer Science
Courses in computer science, for example, may help inform strategies to build online traffic through SEO, while courses in business and math can help inform budgets and media spends.
Step 2. Learn important digital marketing skills.
Digital marketing involves more than just compiling words and images to generate sales. Digital marketers may want to have a variety of skills in order to allow their clients to make informed decisions and create marketing campaigns with the highest likelihood of converting consumers to customers. No matter your area of digital marketing, it is important to continuously learn. Find the commons skills if you want to be a digital marketer below:
Data Analytical Skills: One of the advantages of being a digital marketer is your access to quick and real-time data. Learn how to collect, compile and analyze these helpful data via tracking tools, such as Google Analytics, as well as to better understand your customers and to tweak a digital marketing campaign.
Content Writing: According to Neil Patel, a New York Times best-selling author website content is a fundamental part of digital marketing. By generating valuable content, digital marketers engage with customers, generate leads and sales and grow a company’s visibility through organic web traffic.
Communication Skills: As a digital marketer, effective communication does not only mean a compelling story to public consumers but also means clear and concise plans you need to explain to a broad-based team of staff members and possibly clients. And it is a must-have skill to get promoted to a marketing manager.
Creativity: Thinking creatively and generating new ideas to attract consumers are also very important skills to learn for digital marketers.
While you could get the knowledge and specific skills from courses or a degree and diplomas, you may also gain valuable real-world experience from participating in digital marketing internships, where you will have the opportunity to learn numerous tools that may be used to create advertising campaigns, track their progress and success and retarget specific target demographics. Being knowledgeable of at least some of these tools may help increase your value as a digital marketer.
Step 3. Consider certifications, bootcamps and courses.
You might consider attending a digital marketing bootcamp or completing a digital marketing course along your journey to becoming a digital marketer. Bootcamps are generally fast paced and cover large volumes of information in a relatively short amount of time. Digital marketing bootcamps usually focus on specialized skills dedicated to a specific niche, in this case, digital marketing. Instead of covering a broad scope, these bootcamps aim at thoroughly covering a specific topic or aspect. They may also include practical and hands-on components that provide you the opportunity to gain real-life experience while you are learning.
Digital marketing courses also allow for specialization with some fundamental coursework thrown in. These courses may be helpful for entry-level candidates as they thoroughly cover the relevant coursework. However, you may also find more advanced and specialized digital marketing courses. Courses in digital marketing may give you a certificate on completion.
Step 4. Get your first entry-level digital marketing job.
There are a number of roles in digital marketing that may be available to entry-level workers. An important part of applying to a first job in digital marketing is setting yourself apart from all the other potential employees. This could be by gaining unique and valuable skills or completing an internship or bootcamp. You may also consider offering your services for free in exchange for testimonials and to build up a proven track record. You may then use this as a portfolio to illustrate your success in running certain digital marketing campaigns.
Be realistic in the role that you will step into. You may need to start out at the bottom and work your way up by learning new skills and getting experience. Entry-level positions in the digital marketing space may include marketing coordinators, marketing analysts and marketing specialists.
Step 5. Earn a master’s degree in digital marketing.
A master’s degree in digital marketing may be useful but is not necessary to get into the digital marketing field. They tend to cover similar concepts as traditional marketing master’s degrees like sales and the psychology of marketing. Besides that, master’s degrees in digital marketing vary fairly broadly in their focus. Some digital marketing degrees that you could consider include:
- Master of Science (MS) in Digital Marketing and Design
- MS in Digital and Social Marketing
- MS in Marketing Analytics
- MS in Digital Marketing Communication
- MS in Global Digital Marketing
- MS in Digital Marketing Strategy
Holding a master’s degree in digital marketing may set you apart from other candidates in terms of academic knowledge in the field. However, it is important to stay up to date on the latest technologies and continue learning.
Digital Marketing Job Outlook
According to the BLS, the group of occupations that include advertising, promotions, and marketing managers is expected to see a 6% growth in the ten years spanning from 2019 to 2029. This growth is higher than the average for all occupations taken together.
However, this growth and median wage varies by occupation, location and industry. The median wage is the wage where half the workers in that occupation earn more than that amount, and the other half earn less than that amount.
According to O*NET OnLine, search marketing strategists have a bright outlook and earned a median annual salary of $88,550 in 2019. Marketing management positions are also expected to grow and the median annual salary in 2019 was $136,850. Individuals considered as advertising and promotions managers earned median annual salaries of $136,850 in 2019 as of September 2020.
Last updated: March 2021