Looking to get a job in digital marketing? You’re not alone. Digital marketing is one of the most in-demand skills in today’s labour market. With the recent boom in eCommerce, over 14% of retail sales in 2018 occured online, with consumers spending over $517.36 billion. That figure is expected to increase almost 15% each year.
It’s not only eCommerce and products reliant on the internet. People looking for service businesses look online first – 87% of people begin their purchasing journey with an online search.
Those are some pretty stunning figures that show the potential for digital marketing.
The good news is that despite job growth in the digital marketing industry, demand still far outstrips supply. The market is far from saturated yet. Particularly for small business – according to the latest figures. Almost half of small businesses in the US do not even have a website.
With these figures, it’s evidently a good time to be a digital marketer. But how the hell do you become one? Read on for our some tips from our journey from civilians to marketing experts.
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Take an online course
Online courses are relatively cheap, self-paced and often really worth your time.
- Udemy has great courses across a broad range of topics from strategy to specific channels.
- Google offers free training for Google Ads (formerly Adwords) and Google Analytics. These two tools are used by most digital marketers, so it’s a no-brainer to take these free courses. You can even earn a certificate to showcase to potential employers!
- If you’re looking at becoming an SEO. Distilled U is a really good place to start. It’s a reasonably priced subscription platform that covers the essentials of SEO, all the way up to advanced pieces like content strategy.
Learn how to Google things, properly
As a digital marketer, google is going to be your best friend. Don’t understand an acronym? Google it. Strange error message in your marketing software or interface? Google it!
Seriously, once you realize that the answer to most questions can be found on Google, your learning will accelerate. You’d be amazed how often software engineers rely on Googling error codes and StackOverflow. If the internet went down, we’d be in serious trouble.
Here’s a list of some handy search tips to help you find the information you need faster.
A personal favourite is using a colon to search specific sites. This is useful for finding specific information or phrases on a website.
The syntax is as follows:
Mark Zuckerburg site:cnn.com
When you type the above query into Google you’ll get a list of all the mentions of Mark Zuckerburg on CNN. Nice.
Join online forums and communities
Online communities can contain the best marketing tips and tricks you can find. These forums are frequented by real digital marketers, who share their experiences on what works and what to avoid. They can be an invaluable resource to get real insights and best practices from the field.
This is by no means an exhaustive list – do some googling of your own. Some of our favourites are:
- GrowthHackers is a great aggegator for case studies and the latest techniques from the digital marketing community. They also have a great newsletter with a digest of their hottest posts – highly recommended.
- Reddit channels like /PPC and /SEO haveinvaluable tips. With responsive community members who endeavour to answer questions (as long as they haven’t been asked before!) and contribute to people’s journey. It’s particularly good for newcomers.
- Ahrefs Insider is a nice little private facebook facebook group. It has a particular focus on SEO (Ahrefs is a great SEO tools) but there is a lot of general marketing discussion to be had too.
Think like a T-shaped marketer
Digital marketing involves a lot of skills and channels: paid search, copywriting, email marketing, SEO, design, web development, data analysis, research, strategy – the list goes on.
And It’s a long list!
Frankly, it’s a bit overwhelming. What’s the solution? Become a t-shaped marketer!
T-shaped marketers have a broad skillset of general digital marketing skills. With a focus on only a couple of areas of deeper expertise.
A t-shaped marketer should understand fundamental skills like branding, copywriting and research, but specialize in 1-2 channels, for example email marketing and paid search.
The actual areas you choose to specialize are up to you. But having a strong foundation of knowledge in a broad range of skills will make you even more attractive in the jobs marketplace.
No one likes working with someone who is easily blocked, so if you can don’t need a developer to spin up a landing, edit a blog or copywrite some ads, you’ll get shit done faster.
There are a dizzying amount of skills, tools and techniques in the digital marketing world. You can’t expect to be an expert in every one of these skills, but rather you should pick 1-2 main skills as your main focus, while knowing the basics of others.
Consider unpaid internships to build your skill
This is isn’t an option for everyone, but if you have an additional job that can support your expenses, an unpaid internship can help you learn the in-the-field skills to land a paid gig.
No amount of learning and theory can beat real world experience. I actually began my marketing career as an unpaid intern, which led to a promotion to a paid role at that company, and laid the foundations of knowledge to build my career.
This can work well if you find a company that will let you work part-time on their marketing campaigns, meaning you’ll still have time during the week to earn money while you build your skills.
Set up job alerts
Set and forget email summaries of new jobs using the following channels:
- If you’re looking for a job in the startup world, look no further than AngelList. It’s a super-handy job listing site where you can see things like salary and equity up-front, and easily filter job alerts by skillset, location and a bunch of other variables.
- Google is a very effective channel for job searches. Google aggregate job postings so all you have to do is set search a query like “marketing jobs new york” and Google will pull up some listings. From there you can narrow by date, location, company type and much more. You can even save jobs for applying to later, and set up an alert by clicking “Turn on email alerts for this search”. Groovy.
- Linkedin is a good place to both:
- Showcase your expertise – most potential employers will check out your Linkedin.
- Hunt for jobs. Linkedin allows you to show recruiters that you’re open to being contacted, and most companies post their latest openings to the network also.
Digital marketing can be a lucrative, and fulfilling career. With the increasing growth of eCommerce and the merging of our physical and digital worlds, it’s not going anywhere.
Above all, the most critical guarantee of success in the industry is grit and perseverance. You can read as much guides and tips online as you want, but the ones who will succeed are those who are willing to put in the hours, work hard and execute on their plans. The hardest part is committing, best of luck!