How to start your digital marketing career

How to start your digital marketing career

Since the pandemic, the demand for eCommerce has continued to spike and the trend is only going to increase. There has been a significant increase in job seekers trying to get into the digital marketing industry making it more competitive than ever before.

The good news is that we live in a digital world and marketing budgets are moving away from traditional channels and towards digital advertising. According to the US Digital Marketing Forecast Report, by 2023, CMOs will spend almost $150 billion on search marketing banners,  advertising, and email marketing in the US alone.

So, how do you get your foot in the door in this competitive yet growing job market?

Here are some insights to help you land your first digital marketing role and rise through the ranks.

Pick a digital marketing path to focus on

There are so many digital marketing career paths and before you go down this road, ask yourself what you want out of your career. Some questions you can ask yourself include:

  • What am I good at?
  • What do I love doing?
  • What skills do I have in the digital marketing industry?
  • Am I an analytical or a creative person?

Answering these questions will help you to determine which unique career path to follow. However, when applying for the first job, you will have no room to be picky.

The most in-demand digital marketing skills include SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Content Marketing, Digital Analytics, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, Conversion Rate Optimization, Marketing Automation, and Affiliate Marketing.

Make proactive learning your buddy

With the acceleration in growth in the digital marketing niche, traditional career paths have been disrupted increasing the need to bridge the digital skill gap.

Topics like SEO, online brand storytelling, web and social analytics, the voice of customer analytics, digital campaign creation, and more have just recently come to the limelight and with this comes new job roles. Google makes thousands of changes to its algorithm annually and these are just a few aspects of the digital landscape that have changed.

Previously, these topics were not covered in the mainstream curriculum but careers in these fields can earn you 6-figure salaries with a few years of experience.

With the increase in demand for digital marketing skills, education providers are now recognizing it as an established career path. You can study an online master’s in marketing that cover these topics equipping you with high-in-demand skills and specialization.

You can also look for short courses in your area of interest. Certifications make your resume stand out earning you an entry-level position. Udemy has over 55K digital marketing courses and there is also Google Academy, HubSpot Academy, Facebook Blueprint, and Hootsuite Academy that provide similar courses for you to access .

Practice What You Learn

You can only build confidence in your skills and yourself if you put in the work. Regardless of the number of tutorials you watch and courses you take, you’ve got to practice. Employers want to see you putting all the theory you’ve accumulated into practice.

The best way to get your foot in the door is to get some real-world experience. Start your website and build something you can proudly show off to potential employers. You’ll learn a lot about your project, and this will keep you proactive and motivated, helping you stand out during the interview process.

Volunteering is a great way to cross the ‘no experience’ bridge. If you know a small business owner you can help with digital marketing, which is a great place to get started within the industry. Set them up on social media if they have no online presence or create their website and integrate SEO into your content. Measure and track the results of your efforts to see if you’re using sound strategies. This will not only help you learn valuable skills but also give you a good portfolio and hopefully earn the business more online traction.

These strategies will build your credibility and garner more interest in your work.

Know digital marketing tools

When starting out, it’s quite difficult to pay for premium digital marketing tools to help you out. However, there are plenty of free tools to help you kickstart your career. If you’re doing SEO, look out for tools like AnswerThePublic or Ahrefs Webmaster Tools. If you’re into analytics, Google Analytics have so many actionable metrics for you to see the performance of your work. For social media scheduling, Buffer and Later are some free tools to try. For email marketing, Mailchimp and Converkit are free and easy-to-use.

Apply for jobs

It’s time to hop on various job boards to showcase your newfound skills and portfolio.

Try freelancing websites like Upwork, Fiverr, and FlexJobs and apply for some entry-level positions. Ensure you have good certifications to help you nail your first gig. Competition is fierce so don’t give up if you don’t get the first few jobs you apply for.

Prepare for your first interview to help you get more comfortable in showcasing your skills and experience. The Briefcase Technique is a goldmine to help you land your first job.

  • Take a deep dive into the company you are applying to by researching them.
  • Discover the major digital marketing problem they are dealing with.
  • Create a solution to help them solve this problem.

In your job search, don’t forget to network. Look for online communities in your niche and join them. Also, find people you admire in your niche, consume their content, share it, promote them and figure out how you can help them achieve their goals.

If you crush the interviews and get an offer, get ready to negotiate your first salary. The first offer is not the best and once the excitement has died down, get to business. Keep in mind that your first salary lays the foundation for the years to come. Use tools like Glassdoor to gain insight into the market rate.

Wrapping it up

Regardless of the digital marketing path you choose there are two things you should keep in mind, never stop learning and always keep networking. These will help you excel in your career.

Your first job is just the beginning as it makes you ready for the big leagues.