So in our previous feature, we had established that digital marketing as a career is one of the most lucrative careers out there right now. We also know that it is a career whose demand is not about to decline anytime soon. That is because, more and more aspects of our lives, businesses, and education, among others. Keep getting digitized and playing out on the internet.
As someone who is about to clear high school and thinking of plunging right into the job market. Or perhaps someone thinking of changing careers; your current job market is facing a slowdown, and you are thinking of turning to a new career. Or someone thinking of making extra bucks on the side to meet the tightening economic squeeze.
Whatever your reasons, digital marketing is one of those ‘easy to crack nuts’ if you play your cards right. And we previously established that it pays well above the average national annual income for Americans. So I guess the next question you should be asking yourself is: How do I become a Digital Marketing Specialist?
How to Become a Digital Marketing Specialist
After extensive research online, we have come to the conclusion that the following route should very well put you on the path to becoming a digital marketing specialist. Without much further ado, let us delve into the steps to becoming a digital marketing expert:
- Learn the Basics of Digital Marketing
The first step towards becoming a digital marketing specialist is to learn about digital marketing. That is a no-brainer, right! However, we will advise you to take some caution as digital marketing is – by no stretch of the imagination – a one discipline career.
The digital marketing industry encompasses various disciplines, techniques, and methods used to promote digital content online. But if we were to mention a few of these disciplines, techniques, and methods. Our list will include:
|Content Marketing||Social Media Marketing||Email Marketing|
|Video Marketing||Affiliate Marketing||Search Engine Marketing|
|Website Marketing||Programming & Coding||Mobile Marketing|
Looking at the various disciplines, techniques, and methods mentioned in the table above. It is fair to say no single person can master all the disciplines, not forgetting we left out some disciplines. It, therefore, falls upon you to identify a discipline you are better endowed in, then pursuing it.
The good news is, we took the trouble to go into details in our previous post, to talk about the various options for learning digital marketing skills. There are universities and colleges you can go to and get educated, or you can take your computer and take the online tutorials. Be sure to check out our previous post on how to acquire some of these digital marketing skills.
2. Put into Practice SEO Skills and Perfect Yourself
While SEO (Search Engine Optimization) skills fall under the discipline of Search Engine Marketing, we mentioned in the table above. It plays a pivotal role in digital marketing, so much so that any digital marketing professional worth their salt ought to have mastered it thoroughly.
That is because much of digital information online is channeled through search engines. Take, for instance, you are thinking of buying a Christmas gift for your 10-year-old nephew. Assuming you are a teen in your early 20s, chances are high you don’t know what current age 10-year-old boy likes.
So you will turn to Google and type in something like ‘best Christmas present for a 10-year-old kid.’ Or something along those lines. The bottom line is, you need to learn how to game the system; by playing by the rules search engines use to index web pages with regards to a given keyword.
3. Have a Good Grasp of PPC Advertising
To underscore the importance of having a good grasp of the working of search engines, particularly the behemoth Google. We are going to list mastery of PPC Advertising as one of the major steps to becoming a digital marketing specialist.
As a marketer, you are going to spend a lot of time and money one PPC Marketing campaigns. That will happen either on Google Ads or Facebook. To be a digital marketer worth his or her salt, you need to know the different kinds of PPC campaigns you can run, accurately measure engagement, and analyze the results.
Some of the resources that will be available to you for use includes Google Ads Guide, Facebook Blueprint, and Bing Ads Academy. All three are free guides and courses on running PCC marketing campaigns on the given platforms.
4. Get Social Media Marketing Skills
Social media is a big thing in the world that we live in today. The typical person wakes up, and the first thing they do is grab their phone and get updates on the whereabouts of people and things they care about on social media. Before they sleep at night, their smartphones are the last thing they view before shutting their eyes, still keeping up with updates on social media.
It, therefore, goes without saying, if you want to be seen by many eyeballs. You have got to be present on social media. The problem is that it is a not-so-secret secret, and everyone, including your competitors, are on social media. Everyone is targeting the same pair of eyeballs; well, all factors held constant.
There lies a big problem; the targeted end consumer is already tired of all the unsolicited messages from advertisers bombarding them on their screens. They might as well have grown numb to it, which makes getting their attention an uphill task for you as an advertiser.
To be a digital marketing specialist that towers over the competition. It would be best if you found creative ways to thaw the ice and attract, once again, the already feigning interest from the end consumer. It, therefore, follows that only posting stuff on social media does not, and will not cut it.
It would help if you had a new breed of social media posting. Less text and more multimedia posts (pictures and videos) to capture the attention and eventually the hearts of the end consumer. It would be best if you found a way to make them not scroll passed your postings on social media. Please post something that will make them want to click through to your landing page and make a purchase, subscribe, or give out information.
We previously featured an article on how to spruce up your social media game. So do yourself a favor of looking into our previous posting to get enlightened on how to ‘rock out’ on social media.
5. Content Marketing
Content was the King. Content is the King. Content will always be the King. ‘O hail the King.’ The main thing your target audience wants or needs from you is content. If you can deliver content that picks their interest, inspires their imagination, captures their heart, and satisfies their desires. Then you hit the proverbial ‘home run.’
Good content should achieve the above in addition to being optimized for the platform on which it is being conveyed. For instance, you might have a good storytelling capacity, but most of your target audience does not like reading through huge blocks of text. If you could perhaps use shorter sentences and paragraphs, then your readership will increase tenfold.
Content comes in the form of text, pictures, audio, or video, which in turn could be in various platforms such as blog sites, YouTube videos, podcasts, and landing pages. As a digital marketing specialist, you need to understand what excites your target audience.
Then package your content in line with that; in the shape, size, and format liked by the audience. The content in itself needs to captivating, which calls for creativity and originality. You also need to be consistent in the frequency with which you are churning out your material. Making sure your content is up-to-date and relevant.
These are the key things that will make your followers keep coming back to your platform to view (consume) your content. The good news is, there is always something you can do to improve the quality of your content. That includes taking classes both in-class and online.
For instance, there are numerous content marketing tips and guides available online. Some of which we covered in our previous features that will help you level up the quality of content you will be churning out.
6. Email Marketing
In the world of instant communication via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, among others. Some people might be thinking that emailing is a relic form of communication that ought to be somewhere in the museums besides telegram.
Well, newsflash! Emailing is still a fairly popular form of communication, especially in formal settings. You can dismiss it at your peril as it has proven time and time again, a reliable channel of digital marketing.
Although it proves to be most effective when used at the last step of a sales funnel. Where, as a digital marketer, you want to finalize a sale, get more leads, and increase customer engagement.
It would be safe to say that all other forms of digital marketing (SEO, Social Media Marketing, PPC Campaigns, Content Marketing, etc.) serve the purpose of generating leads for email marketing. It is through emails that the sale will be finalized.
The good news is, there are ways you can improve your emailing game by minimizing the chances of your emails getting spammed. There are various courses and tutorials (online and offline) that will hone your emailing skills and give your efforts more traction in as far as your email marketing game is concerned.
It is important to point out that in most businesses (especially the small ones), the role of email marketing specialists is often directed under the digital marketing manager. As they often lack specialized email marketing personnel, and the role could often be taken up by someone within the digital marketing team who has taken specialized training in email marketing.
7. Team Management Skills
As we have established time and time again, there are various roles under digital marketing. The mentality of Jack of all trades will not cut it in this industry. Some roles are worlds apart, for instance, coding and content marketing.
It is highly unlikely that someone who has specialized in programming and coding can also show up competently when it comes to creating content for marketing. The two disciplines are two worlds apart. Even then, if by some stretch of the imagination that staff could pull off both tasks, there are still other roles like SEO, PPC Campaign, video marketing, and social media marketing, among others.
An effective digital marketing team needs to have a division of labor, with each department having specialists who have mastered a given specific field. To be successful in digital marketing, you need to create a team of specialists, with each specialist mastering a given field.
Then together, you can take up a holistic digital marketing task and divide among yourselves roles and tasks per your core competencies. However, a big team comes with its inherent inefficiencies, the biggest of which being slow and sometimes a total breakdown of communication.
When managing a particularly big team, it is recommended that you use some of the industry’s best practices such as using project management tools. You must identify clear goals and targets for your business, give them the necessary training among other things. That will be in your capacity as the digital marketing manager, the overall manager of the team, team leader if you prefer.
Other than the technical skills needed to manage a team, you also need to have the soft skills of people management. That entails knowing how to inspire people, motivate them, conflict resolutions, and the ability to empathize with people’s situations.
If you are working with a small team, like say a team of freelancers. You still need to have some managerial skills, which will include things like planning, organizing, and facilitating among others.
8. Data Analysis and Reports Preparations
A big part of a digital marketer’s role is to analyze data and prepare reports. That happens on many fronts, such as in the digital marketing department and on the client’s side. In the table below are some of the best-known data analysis and report preparation tools.
|Google Analytics||Google Data Studio|
|Google Search Console||Facebook Ads Reporting|
|SEMRUSH (HubSpot, Moz, Ahrefs)|
From data analysis, you get an insight into your marketing efforts such as how much traction they are getting and where you need to improve. You also get data to compare your performance in one period against a previous period. These insights can go a long way if used to make informed decisions on your next endeavors to market the business.
After a comprehensive data analysis, the insight gathered therein needs to be presented in such a format that they are easy to digest — that where report preparations come in handy. The insight you get from your previous marketing project could be used during a pitch for your next client.
That report needs to quickly and comprehensively communicate your efforts and achievements; it needs to be simple yet detailed enough. While practice does make perfect, and you will get better at preparing reports as time moves along. You can shorten that learning curve by taking some online courses on analytics skills. They include:
- Google Analytics for Beginners
- Google Search Console
- SEMRUSH Academy
- SEO Reporting Tools and Must-Have Features
9. Get Certified
Getting certification proves to the world that you have been through the channels and processes designed to hone your skills as a digital marketer. Sure, you can take online courses and go at it on your own and achieve tremendous results.
However, having been certified gives others (potential clients and employers) the confidence that, at the very least, you are conversant with the generally accepted best practice standards. Getting a digital marketing certificate is also one of the easiest and fastest ways to becoming a specialist, especially when you pass through an up-to-date and market-relevant digital marketing training course.
Luckily, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to how you can get certified. There are physical classes you can attend lessons at leading universities and colleges. After passing the exams, you become certified.
You can also opt for online classes, which work with your availability if you are currently working. In this case, you can take evening and weekend classes over the computer while in the comfort of your own home or during your break-time at work.
There is also the option of getting certified by a renowned digital marketing company. That can happen in many ways, including attending boot camps hosted by such companies. Perhaps even enlisting as an intern at such companies, and at the end of the program, you get certified.
So you got your certification, well and good. However, you should know that it can only help you by opening the right doors for you. It will be upon you to ‘show up to the task’ to keep that job or prevent you from being shown the door out. You will need to demonstrate your worth once that paper (certificate) has gotten you to a certain position.
For more information on how to get certified, look at some of our previous posting where we go into depth on online courses and institutions offering digital marketing training.
10. Continue Learning
In no other industry is the old saying ‘learning is a continuous process’ truer than in the digital marketing industry. In this industry, the dynamics are so many and changes happen so fast and frequently. What you learned yesterday and works today may not work tomorrow.
On second thought, forget that ‘may not work tomorrow.’ What you worked in the morning may not work in the evening, and here is why. Google is always pushing out updates to its search engine algorithms; Facebook is adding new features to its platform, Google Ads policy are now running autonomously using an artificial intelligence system (AI).
Taking all that into consideration, you see the digital marketing industry as a very volatile industry. Changes are happening fast and frequently; you are very likely to be rendered irrelevant and old-fashioned in a matter of days, if not hours.
The volatility of the industry is since it is riding on technology, and technology is developing fast. For instance, the dynamics of mobile marketing was thrown into a tail-spin when companies such as Samsung and Huawei launched foldable phones.
The foldable phone introduced a new variable – foldable OLED displays – and all marketing techniques designed for the conventional smartphone had to be re-addressed afresh.
The bottom line is, you have got to keep an open and inquisitive mind if you want to remain relevant in digital marketing. A conservative approach will not cut it in this industry. Look at the current trends, what new things are happening in the market, and be open-minded to experimenting with the unknown.
Sticking to your old guns – this is what has always worked for us mentality – might be your undoing. The good news is, you don’t need to go back to school to learn new things afresh. There are a plethora of resources online where you can brush up on your knowledge and learn new things trending in the market.
Why Digital Marketing is a Promising Career
Now that we have talked about how to become a digital marketing specialist. Let us reiterate on why this career path is ideal and suitable for just about anyone.
Compared to most other professional fields. The price of getting trained and starting to practice as a professional in this field is much lower compared to other fields. Take, for instance, training to become a high school teacher. You will part with a lot of money as the tuition fees. You will also probably end up with a student loan debt noose around your neck for a lot of your working life years. On the other hand, digital marketing fees are generally affordable and one may even decide to pay close to nothing by taking the online classes.
The cost of operation is also significantly less. At the barebones minimum, a digital marketing specialist needs a good laptop and an internet connection to get started. That is why you see jobs within this industry can be done remotely.
If you are thinking of setting up a business as a digital marketing agency, you can cut down some of the setting up costs like office space and furniture by simply working out of a co-working space. Hire your staff remotely and make all your pitch to your clients online by presenting them with a digital version of your portfolio.
On the other hand, if you were setting up a different kind of business, especially where you need customers to walk-in. The setting up cost will quickly rise, as you need a brick-and-mortar premise, stock and supplies, hire attendants to be on the premises among other overhead costs.
2. ROI – (Return on Investment)
In our previous post, we went into details on the annual paycheck various specialists within the digital marketing industry take home. We established that, on average, digital marketing in America make more than the average national income in the country.
Yet, on the other hand, with these professional tools, less time and money in their training, but are now making more than the national average income. If that is not a good ROI, then I don’t know what is a good ROI.
When executing an order, the cost of production (what you utilize to deliver a digital material to a client) is often not that expensive. Though that is not to say that you should charge less since a lot of time and brain effort goes into curating these digital content.
However, compared to other forms of business, where you need supplies and attendants you find with digital marketing, what you are selling to your clients have a higher markup (margin) between the cost of production and the final prize the client pay to you.
3. Mobility and Flexibility
Working as a digital marketer gives you and your business a lot of mobility and flexibility. You can decide to work from home, while on vacation, and even when attending other life commitments. As long as the quality of your work is not questionable.
Compared to other types of work where you are required to report to the office from 9-to-5, with your boss hovering over your shoulders, digital marketing gives you more mobility, flexibility, and freedom to explore other life and economic opportunities. I guess in a nutshell. I would describe the general benefits of freelancing to be more or less the same as the benefits of working as a digital marketing professional.
The road to becoming a digital marketing specialist may be shorter than those for other professions, but the dynamics are many and frequently changing. You are supposed to be continuously learning and unlearning old things to remain relevant amidst the fast-moving windstorms that is technology development.
Article provided by, The Digital Marketing Recruiter – a recruiting firm focused exclusively on filling digital marketing positions throughout the USA
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