How to Become a digital marketing professional
How to Become a Digital Marketing Professional: Working in the digital marketing industry is a great experience. In this post, I will explain how to become a digital marketing specialist with no previous experience in marketing.
Becoming a digital marketing specialist requires a lot of effort and hard work, but it is the best digital marketing job you can get in the online marketing industry.
However, if you are willing to put in the required effort, nothing is stopping you from pursuing a career in digital marketing.
In this guide, you’ll learn what a digital marketing professional does, how to build the necessary skills, and what to expect in terms of annual salary.
What does a digital marketing specialist do?
A digital marketing specialist is a professional with a variety of skills, responsible for the online promotion of a website (business or products), using all available digital marketing channels.
He must have good knowledge of all digital marketing disciplines and tools. Job responsibilities include:
- Design, implement, and monitor SEO campaigns
- Analysis and optimization of PPC campaigns
- Overseeing content marketing campaigns
- Leverage social networks (for traffic, awareness, and sales)
- Manage other members of the digital marketing team
- Coordination of the activities of all digital campaigns
- Set goals and analyze the performance of all digital marketing channels
The difference between a digital marketing specialist, search engine optimization (SEO), or pay-per-click (PPC) specialist is that a digital marketing specialist needs to be an expert in more than one field and have extensive knowledge of how digital marketing works in general and not just one speciality.
10 steps to Becoming a digital marketing specialist
These are the 10 steps to follow to become a digital marketing specialist.
- Learn the basics of digital marketing
The first step to becoming a digital marketing specialist is to learn what digital marketing is and how it works.
Digital marketing is not a single discipline but a term that summarizes several techniques and methods that you can use to promote a website or products online.
The most important digital marketing channels are:
- Website Marketing
- Search Engine Marketing (including SEO and PPC Advertising)
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- Video Marketing
As a digital marketing manager, you need to know the role of each channel, what it does, and how to use it.
- Work as an SEO expert
Once you have a general idea of what we mean by digital marketing, the next step is to master SEO and become an SEO expert.
SEO plays a vital role in the success of a digital marketing campaign, which is why it is important to know how to optimize a website for search engines.
Building SEO skills will make working with other online marketing techniques easier.
While you are likely to have SEO experts on your team, as a digital marketing expert you will have to supervise them, the most effective way to do this is to get hands-on experience with SEO.
- PPC Expert
A significant amount of your time and budget will be devoted to managing PPC campaigns on Google Ads or running a Facebook ad campaign.
As a digital marketing specialist, you need to know the different types of campaigns you can run and how to properly measure and analyze results.
Depending on the size of your team and your industry, it is common for a digital marketing campaign to have only PPC campaigns working so mastering the PPC is more than critical.
- Building social media marketing skills
Besides using paid advertising on Facebook, you also need to know how marketing works on other networks.
Depending on the type of website you want to promote, you may have to explore other social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, or even Pinterest marketing, and therefore you must have the necessary skills.
- Executing content marketing campaigns
To run all your digital marketing campaigns, you need content that has the following characteristics:
- Satisfies the user’s intent
- Interesting for users to read
- Optimized for each platform (SEO, FB, etc.)
- Generates rankings, leads, and conversions
The content can be in the form of text, video, or audio and can be in different formats like articles, YouTube videos, landing pages, podcasts, etc.
As a digital marketing expert, you need to prepare a plan on what type of content to produce, and when and how to measure the performance of each type of content.
This is what content marketing is all about.
In a well-organized digital marketing team, your job will not be to provide content (you will have writers dedicated to this task), but it is your responsibility to ensure that the right type of content is produced for different campaigns.
- Learn how email marketing works
Email is still one of the most popular selling tools. Despite the advent of social networks, marketers are using email marketing to finalize sales, get more leads, and interact with their customers.
Email marketing is usually the last step in the marketing sales funnel. All other digital marketing campaigns (Search Engine Optimization, PPC, Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing), Email Marketing Lead Generation, and Email Marketing will increase sales (or any form of conversion forms), through a series of targeted emails.
In most teams, the role of the email marketing specialist is missing, so the responsibility for running email marketing campaigns falls directly under the direction of the digital marketing manager.
- Build team management skills
To become a digital marketing professional, you must have good team management skills.
The reason is that part of your job responsibilities will be to lead and manage a team of other professionals that make up the digital marketing team.
In large digital marketing agencies, the digital marketing manager is the team manager (or team leader if you prefer) and along with technical knowledge, needs to have the skills to manage a team of people.
This means knowing how to work with project management tools, setting goals and objectives, training your team, and all the other tasks anyone in a management position is supposed to do.
For small teams or freelance digital marketing experts, you may not have to manage people but you still need to know how to create project plans, define milestones, and monitor project progress.
- Learn how to use data analysis/reporting tools
Besides monitoring and optimizing digital marketing campaigns, part of the daily tasks of a digital marketing professional is data analysis and reporting.
Whether reporting to the marketing department or directly to the client, a digital marketing manager needs to know how to use the many digital marketing tools.
10 Marketing Ideas to Promote Your Business Without a Budget
The tools to know are:
- Google Analytics
- google data studio
- Google Search Console
- Facebook Ads Reports
- SEMRUSH or similar (Ahrefs, Moz, HubSpot, etc.)
- Get a Digital Marketing Certification
One of the fastest and most effective ways to become a digital marketing specialist is to follow a comprehensive digital marketing course.
The Digital Marketing course will teach you everything you need to know about digital marketing without having to read separate guides or search for additional resources.
Getting a digital marketing certificate from a reliable company, it’s a great way to prove your knowledge of digital marketing.
Getting certified does not prove that you are a good digital marketing professional but it does show that you have the necessary knowledge for the job.
Of course, to secure a position in a large agency or company, you need several years of work experience and ways to demonstrate your expertise (success stories, case studies).
- Stay up to date with the latest digital marketing trends
Google makes thousands of updates annually to its search results and algorithms, Facebook is adding/changing new features all the time, Google Ads is moving towards AI, etc, etc.
The changes taking place in the digital marketing industry are ongoing (I will say daily) and they are many.
Learning never stops for digital marketing experts and this is something that makes this profession so interesting and challenging. Never get bored because there are always new things to learn.
If this is something you cannot accept, then being a digital marketing specialist is not the best option for you.
On the other hand, if you love working in a dynamic environment, you need to make sure you stay on top of the latest trends and the resources below will help you do just that.
Search Engine Roundtable – Covers topics related to SEO and digital marketing. A must-see resource for digital marketing professionals.
Think With Google – Latest Marketing Research and Digital Trends
Martech – Daily updates on everything related to digital marketing
Facebook Newsroom – Updates on Facebook Marketing and Related Topics
Google Blog – Updates on all Google products and services
How much do digital marketing professionals earn?
Now that you know what it takes to become a digital marketing specialist, you may be wondering if it is worth the effort.
As with many professions, the salary of a digital marketing specialist depends a lot on experience, country, and type of job (working for a company or self-employment).
The annual salary for digital marketing professionals in the United States ranges between $40,000 and $60,000.
The following table shows the median annual salary for digital marketing professionals (from payscale) in the United States according to years of experience.
If you plan to work as a freelancer, an experienced digital marketing manager can earn up to $140 per hour.
If you want to become a digital marketing expert, you have to keep three things in mind:
You need to learn how to use each digital marketing channel.
Digital marketing is a dynamic industry and continuous learning is part of the daily routine of a digital marketing professional.
Salary and compensation depend a lot on years of experience and results.
You don’t need to have a formal college degree, although there are many schools that offer digital marketing degrees.
If you are willing to learn and put in the effort, there is nothing stopping you from starting your career in digital marketing.