According to the U.S.News statistics, the marketing manager position is #14 among 100 the highest-paid jobs in the United States. Many young people choose digital marketing as their job. But do they know what it takes to get into digital marketing?
Nowadays, anyone can learn marketing and find work without having a degree. But it requires constant learning.
Before writing this article, I checked Reddit for questions about entering digital marketing. I wasn’t surprised by the number of topics that disclose the ways of getting into marketing.
And I wasn’t surprised by the versatility of answers as well.
So, I gathered here the essential steps one should take to become a digital marketer.
1. Evaluate Your Soft Skills
Marketing job requires one to have versatile skills – from analytics and SEO to blogging and social media promotion.
Business owners also mention the so-called ‘soft skills’ that they expect from their workers. Those skills help marketers communicate with the management and co-workers, adapt to the ever-changing environment and constantly learn new things.
The most anticipated marketing soft skills include:
- Collaboration — Marketers need to communicate well with other company departments. They should be good listeners with a reasonable level of empathy.
- Flexibility/adaptability — They should be able to adapt to various challenges they face in a constantly evolving marketing landscape.
- Learnability — New tools, trends, and tricks appear daily, and marketers should always keep abreast of all those things to stay competitive.
- Problem Solving — Each day digital marketers face multiple problems that they should solve fast. Sometimes they need to solve them with limited resources (including money and time).
— CIM (@CIM_Exchange) May 24, 2017
2. Check Out Your Hard Skills
Hard skills are no less versatile than soft skills. They include a huge set of competencies like the knowledge of marketing tools and services, strategic planning and many more.
When you only start your path into digital marketing, you may be good only at some of these competencies. But if you’re serious about your career, you should master as many of them, as you can.
- Analytics — It’s the cornerstone of a marketer’s work. Marketing managers implement data-driven decisions, analyze metrics, and use many tools to measure and develop marketing strategies. Thus, if you see the drop in traffic, you should investigate what factors may have impacted it and create a strategy for improvement.
- Content marketing — Content creation, curation, and distribution is another high-demanded skill of digital marketers. The idea behind content marketing is to showcase the product/service without promoting it directly.
- SEO — It is a driving force that takes the content to the top of searches and puts it in front of the eyes of the customers. Optimize the content by conducting keyword research, setting Meta-stuff (titles, descriptions), building backlinks to it, etc.
- Outreach — It’s the part of an SEO strategy that allows building backlinks to the content naturally. The trick is in getting the link without ‘asking’ the blog owners and influencers for it directly. Offer great content that they would want to link.
- PPC and digital advertising — It is a realm of paid campaigns that promote the product or service directly. A marketing manager should understand how to run AdWords campaigns and Facebook/Twitter Ads; how to set up retargeting, and more.
Other required skills and knowledge assets may include public relations, branding, and storytelling, social media communication, etc.
Good news: you don’t have to master all of them at once when you enter a marketing niche. Focus on one or two skills at the beginning. You can learn other fields over time.
3. Get Some Certifications
You may be surprised, but marketing is that niche where you can succeed without any degree or diploma. Most traditional institutions teach outdated marketing theories and provide almost no practical advice.
On the other hand, certifications from well-known online courses may come in handy. Most companies still choose between two equal applicants the one who has some qualifications. So it won’t hurt having a couple of certificates at hand.
You don’t necessarily have to get expensive courses and worry if they will pay off. There are a lot of courses that you can join for free. Here are a few more to learn marketing:
- Google Analytics Academy — It helps students understand and use GA on an everyday basis.
- Google Digital Garage — Free training for digital skills that allows anyone to get certifications in various fields of digital marketing.
- Hubspot Academy — Free certifications for various marketing niches – from content creation to social media
- Learn PPC — This free course from WordStream will help you master pay-per-click marketing from the basics to the most advanced techniques.
- Facebook Blueprint — Training courses that help users master Facebook Ads.
4. Establish Your Online Presence
You have to claim your place in the marketing community. Your blog can become evidence of your knowledge and skill level. Just remember that your goal is not to monetize the blog, but to build a friendly community. Your website can be your portfolio as well.
There are multiple platforms where you can start blogging:
- WordPress — A popular platform where you can start your full-featured website.
- Medium — An online publishing platform for those who enjoy writing, reading and communicating.
- Blogger — A Google-hosted free platform for bloggers.
Сonnect your social media accounts with the blog. Social media are also great for looking for your first job opportunities.
- LinkedIn is one of the best platforms for professionals. Companies often hunt for new employees there
5. Learn More Tools
Marketing tools save time and offer valuable insights for your marketing campaigns.
Mastering the most popular and helpful tools before entering the work will boost your experience. A mention that you are good with some of them also adds a few points to your resume.
Some of the must-learn toolsets are:
- Google Analytics— A major tool for monitoring and analyzing your website performance in organic search.
- Google AdWords —Your primary place for creating, setting up and analyzing paid campaigns in Google.
- BuzzSumo — A great tool for content research – from guest blogging, influencer outreach to content strategy development and more.
- BuzzStream — The tool helps manage and track your outreach campaigns.
- Ahrefs —The best tool for checking website links (yours and your competitors’), researching keywords and running the site audit in full.
- HootSuite — An excellent tool to manage your social accounts and run SMM campaigns from one place.
- ActiveCampaign — An email marketing service for email campaigns, marketing automation, and sales.
You don’t have to purchase accounts to try out these tools. Use their trial versions, read reviews and learn from the experience of other users. Anyway, just being aware of the popular marketing software and services is a huge plus!
6. Keep Learning, and Read (A Lot)
Digital marketing is a flexible niche where you can’t rest on the oars. You are working in an always-changing environment, so you have to keep up with the latest trends, data, and information. Even the skills that business owners require from marketers may vary over time.
So you have to monitor marketing-related resources to stay ahead of your competitors.
Your primary sources of fresh information will be:
- Marketing-related blogs (Coschedule, HubSpot, Glen Allsopp, Brian Dean, etc.);
- YouTube Channels (those of companies and influencers like Noah Kagan, Ryan Stewart, Moz, etc.);
- Podcasts (Authority Hacker, Marketing Over Coffee, etc.);
- Facebook groups, Slack channels, Reddit, Quora, and other communities;
- Curated lists of the latest and greatest posts, tips, tools, etc.
Follow reputable marketers on Twitter to check out their latest insights and recommendations. Attend marketing events and conferences. Those are great places not only to learn from the experts but also to establish contacts, and getting a job offer.
One of the best things about digital marketing careers is that you can start from any level. You can be a copywriter, or a content marketer, or a social media manager, etc.
The more skills you have in your skillset, the bigger your chances to get a good market position is.
You should market yourself correctly. Thus, you will get the experience and add more skills to your portfolio. One of the good ways of getting more experience while learning is helping non-profit organizations. Then you can find an entry-level job and start from there.
So, never stop learning, crave for knowledge, and you will get into digital marketing faster.