Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers.
Digital marketing has become a hot career path for marketers and there’s no end in sight. Digital marketing is shaped by the rise in internet, social media, and mobile phone usage: as of 2018, worldwide there are more than 4 billion internet users, about 3.2 billion social media users, and 5.14 billion mobile phone users. The way we buy things has changed and thus, the way we market things has changed, too.
The outlook for digital marketing careers remains strong. Digital marketing will continue to grow and evolve as technology continues to do the same. Experts predict a slow and steady growth in internet usage. We’ll see an evolving emphasis on video and voice marketing. AI, data mining, and deep analytics will continue to influence digital marketing strategies.
Digital Marketing Careers
With all this in mind, it’s easy to see how digital marketing can be an exciting career path for many marketing professionals. There’s already a significant shortage of digital marketing talent; a recent study shows there’s high demand for skilled digital marketers, but the talent supply is lacking. The report shares that more than half of all marketing hires will be digital specialists, with content and digital advertising being the most sought-after areas of specialization.
Launching Your Digital Marketing Career
Whether you’re a recent grad or an experienced marketer seeking to diversity your career, there are easy steps you can take to build your digital marketing skills.
- Understand the different core areas of digital marketing: search engine, website, content, email, social media, mobile, video, and affiliate marketing. You don’t need to become an expert in every area, but digital marketing is integrated so you need to have an understanding of each core segment. You might choose one or two areas in which you want to develop expertise, and you can then gain exposure and build your knowledge in other areas over time
- Learn about SEM and SEO. Search Engine Marketing & Optimization are core components of any digital strategy. Both are about increasing your website’s visibility. Search Engine Optimization is about gaining more website traffic by ranking higher in search results, and Search Engine Marketing includes the tactics – paid and organic, that help you get more SEO. All areas of digital marketing incorporate some aspect of SEO.
- Explore different digital advertising alternatives. Learn more about Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn sponsored posts and advertising on Instagram and Snapchat. Browse different ad campaigns online and see how different brands use digital advertising to capture an audience.
- Speaking of social media, you need to become social media savvy. You can’t fully understand the potential of advertising on say, Instagram, if you’ve never logged into Instagram yourself. If you’re not going to be a heavy social media user, at least make sure your educated about each channel and you understand how brands use social to communicate and engage.
- Become familiar with different digital marketing tools. There are more than 7,000 different technologies and platforms that support every area of digital marketing. What are the top tools for email marketing? Managing social media? Conducting SEO research? Tracking digital marketing analytics?
- Speaking of analytics, one beautiful aspect of digital marketing is that everything can be measured in concrete terms. A strong digital marketing is very analytics and data-driven. Complete the Google Analytics courses & become Google Analytics certified. It’s free and it’s an instant credibility builder.
- And…. speaking of courses … you must stay up to date if you want to grow as a digital marketing professional. The landscape is constantly changing and evolving and you need to keep your skillset sharp. There are many options available to you and most are online. Udemy offers a complete digital marketing course. Coursera offers digital marketing training from the University of Illinois. You can find digital marketing courses in Lynda.com, skillshare, and LinkedIn Learning.
All of the major martech companies offer extensive learning resources. Subscribe to their blogs, explore their websites and learn everything you can.
- Get some experience. Do freelance work to get your feet wet. Check out companies like UpWork and Fiverr to try some gigs. Get an internship. Do work for friends, small businesses, or volunteer groups in your community. You’ll learn with every project you take on, and you’ll also build a portfolio of your work over time.
One final tip – and this applies to any profession – is to build a network and to find a mentor. Connect with other digital marketers and lean into the latest issues, trends, challenges they are discussing. Learn how others built their careers and explore areas of digital marketing that might interest you. A mentor can help guide the way.
The future is bright for digital marketers. Tell us, what challenges are you having, or, what did you find to be effective in growing your digital marketing career?