How to Become a Digital Marketer
70% of marketing leaders in the UK say that they’re worried about a shortage of digital skills, according to a report by the Digital Marketing Institute. This is great news if you want to become a digital marketer, as you’ll find plenty of jobs to pick from.
Interested? Here’s our quick guide to kick-starting your career.
What Qualifications Do Digital Marketers Need?
There are several different pathways you can take, depending on your current qualifications:
Apply to do a marketing/digital marketing degree.
If you haven’t been to university, you could apply to study marketing at degree level, or see if you can get on a degree through clearing. Most degree courses are accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing and some include a valuable year-long placement in a marketing role.
Take a postgraduate qualification in digital marketing
If you already have an unrelated degree but you’re keen to pursue a career in digital marketing, why not study marketing at postgraduate level? Master’s degree courses are open to graduates of any discipline and government-funded loans are available.
Take a short digital marketing course
If you don’t want to commit to degree level study there are plenty of short, affordable digital marketing courses that will help you to master individual tools of the trade like Google Analytics, Google AdWords and Facebook Insights. Alternatively, you could opt for a longer diploma that covers all of the main digital marketing specialisms, from SEO with an online SEO course to social media marketing and online social marketing courses.
Apply for an apprenticeship
A digital marketing apprenticeship will provide you with valuable on-the-job marketing training and experience. The type of apprenticeship you apply for depends on your current level of education.
Digital Marketing Apprenticeships
Entry: You need to be over 16 and show that you have the ability to complete the programme.
Level: Level 2, equivalent to 5 GCSE passes.
Entry: A level two apprenticeship or 3-5 GCSE passes.
Level: Level 3, equivalent to 2 A level passes.
Entry: An advanced apprenticeship or level 3 qualifications such as A levels, level 3 NVQs or a BTEC National.
Level: Level 4, equivalent to a foundation degree, an HNC or the first year of a degree.
Entry: An advanced apprenticeship or Level 3 qualifications such as A levels, level 3 NVQs or a BTEC National. Some employers require specific grades.
Level: Level 5-6, equivalent to a full degree.
As a Beginner, Where Should I Start in Digital Marketing?
A simple search online will reveal a multitude of free resources to help you increase your digital marketing know-how. Google’s Digital Garage is a great place to begin. It’s also worth following a few digital marketing experts. We recommend checking out Neil Patel’s blog, The Moz Blog and Social Media Examiner for starters.
Experience is highly valued in the world of digital marketing, so if you’re doing a course that doesn’t include a placement, try asking local marketing agencies whether you could do a couple of weeks’ work experience. This will help you to understand how digital marketing campaigns work and give you the chance to network with professionals. Alternatively, ask local charities or small businesses whether you could produce some content for their blog or social media accounts.
What Does a Digital Marketer Do?
While every digital marketer needs to know how to carry out essential tasks like keyword research, there are also a number of digital marketing skills you could specialise in.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
This specialism involves creating online ad campaigns, analysing their success and producing reports. You’ll use tools like Google AdWords, Facebook Ads and Bing Ads.
Social media marketing
This involves helping businesses to develop their online presence via social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You’ll create social media strategies, plan content, manage communities and track the effectiveness of posts.
SEO (search engine optimization)
This involves ensuring that web pages appear at the top of search engine results, in order to increase the number of visitors. You’ll be researching keywords, link building and using web analytics software.
This involves creating content marketing strategies. You’ll produce engaging copy for blogs, websites, landing pages, marketing emails and social media. You’ll also adapt your tone of voice to suit your target audience and using copy to persuade readers.
This specialism involves producing and sending email newsletters and promotions. You’ll be creating persuasive copy, producing attractive templates and using data and analytics software to test out different variables.
If you become a digital marketer you could work with businesses, charities and government organisations. Larger companies often have in-house marketing departments, while smaller ones tend to offer work on a freelance or contract basis. Remote and flexible work are also common.
Many aspiring marketers start their career by joining a digital marketing agency. These provide general online marketing services to a range of clients, although some specialise in particular sectors.
Popular Career Pathways for Digital Marketers
The field of digital marketing offers a very broad spectrum of possible career paths and salaries, for example: