Say you consider yourself pretty tech savvy. You might even spend your fair share of time on social media. If you’ve seen job listings like “Digital Marketing Specialist/Manager/Analyst” or the like, you might be thinking, “Huh, I wonder how hard it is to get a job in digital marketing.”
Well, if you’re considering a role in digital marketing, you’re in luck. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that digital marketer positions will actually grow by 10% between 2016-2026.
If you want to learn more about what it means to be a digital marketer, what characteristics make a good one, and how to improve your digital marketing skills, read below and decide for yourself if digital marketing should be your career of choice.
First, what is digital marketing?
The term “digital marketing” isn’t just a buzzword used by tech enthusiasts. Digital marketing is important to businesses and presents a lucrative opportunity for career-seekers.
Digital marketing is similar to traditional marketing in that products or services are advertised with the goal of either brand recognition or sales.
For example, any ad you see on the internet, your phone, or other devices falls within the realm of digital marketing. Our world is saturated with digital marketing ad campaigns. They can take many different forms but chances are, if you regularly use a phone or computer, you see hundreds of ads every day.
So what’s the difference between a role in digital marketing and traditional marketing, and what are the benefits?
The ability to track progress
With traditional marketing, tracking the effectiveness of your ads is actually really difficult. Say, if you run an ad on TV or take out an ad in the paper, it’s extremely difficult to know just how many people saw it, who actually purchased a product because of your ad, how to target them later with a similar product, and if your ad through one publication was more effective than your ad in a different publication.
However, in digital marketing, brands are able to use pixels, tracking links, and analytics to see the exact number of people that visit their website, their demographics and location, the most frequently visited pages, and other metrics. They can then use this information to build better-targeted ads by understanding who makes purchases and why.
Not all digital marketing is the same: choose your specialty
Even if two people have the title, “Digital Marketer,” their roles may actually look very different. This means that many people with different skill sets can be successful digital marketers.
Some of the specialties a digital marketer may have are:
- CPC and PPC ads
- Email Marketing
- Mobile Marketing
- Web development
- Web design
- Video production
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media management
What are digital marketers like?
Great digital marketers will feel a sense of competitiveness by nature. The desire to learn, improve, and beat out the competition will go far in a career in digital marketing.
They’re also great analytical thinkers. If you’re the type of person who can look at a lot of numbers and see the story they tell, then you may be great at telling what ads are working and which ones should be discarded.
Digital marketers will also have a creative side, or, if they don’t, they’ll know how to outsource to someone who does. Many ads these days are both visual and use creative copywriting to draw the reader’s attention. Depending on the size of the company you work for, you may be responsible for the creative side yourself, or you may be expected to work in collaboration with creatives to come up with ads that are eye-catching and effective.
Now, how do you actually land a job in digital marketing?
While in other industries, you may have trouble finding accurate and helpful information to educate yourself online, digital marketing isn’t one of them. There are vast amounts of resources online that you can use to build your skill base before you venture into a career in digital marketing. Websites like Udemy, Google’s Online Marketing Challenge, and even YouTube are great resources for learning and improving your digital marketing skills.
Before going after a career in digital marking, do your best to know what you already do and don’t know. Once you figure that out, improve your weakest skills, update your knowledge of new trends, and stay current with industry best practices.
Start with an internship or freelance work
These days, it’s hard to get a job without any experience whatsoever in your related field. Luckily for aspiring digital marketers, experience isn’t all that hard to come by. Before you take the first step towards your marketing career, try taking a half step and start by freelancing or interning at smaller companies.
One thing that’s great about digital marketing is that the impact you have on a company is quantifiable. Say you create an ad that increased your company’s web traffic by 25% and you saw a 5% increase in sales in your first quarter? That’s something to make note of and include in a cover letter the next time you’re looking for a digital marketing role.
Create a blog and use your social media
One of the best ways to grow as a budding digital marketer is by growing your own brand. Create a blog and use what you know to grow and develop it and look for ways to get your content in front of others.
Leverage your social media accounts and grow your followership from here. Carve out a niche for yourself. Doing these things will enable you to learn on the job and will help you when applying for future positions.
The goal of creating a blog and leveraging your social media comes down to this: building your personal brand. Your personal brand is the reputation you build for yourself as a job candidate and this reputation will often precede your interview. Do your best to publicly display your experience and expertise so that it’s obvious to potential employers if and when they decide to look you up on social media.
Get a Mentor
Mentors have gone through what you are going through and have a wealth of knowledge to share. The right mentor will save you years of mistakes. Ask specific questions and learn from their past mistakes. Be ready to apply as you are learning.
Your mentor can be your favorite successful blogger or anyone you look up to in the marketing field. It must be someone who is actualizing the caliber of success you aspire to achieve.
No one is an island, and this is very true in digital marketing. Do your best to reach out to like-minded people, attend conferences and events, and talk about your love for digital marketing and your career goals. You never know when an opportunity might just be lurking around the corner.
Digital Marketing is a great career that can be very rewarding. The demand for digital marketers exceeds the supply and the skill gap is projected to get even wider.
To do well in this career, remain a lifelong student, as the industry is ever-changing. The world is full of resources to help you become successful.