Chances are you’ve heard of digital marketing, and chances are even greater that you’ve likely been the target of digital marketing. But what exactly is digital marketing? And how does one go about beginning a career in digital marketing? Champlain College Online is here to answer all of these questions and more.
What is Digital Marketing?
Let’s first define digital marketing and how it differs from traditional marketing. While traditional marketing may focus on print ads in a magazine, a billboard or physical marketing through in-store signage or direct mail, digital marketing exists solely online. Digital marketing can occur on several types of platforms, and many that we use everyday. Examples of digital marketing can be found on search engines like Google, social media channels (think Facebook or Instagram), in promotional emails, and even on other websites that help connect businesses with future customers or clients. This means that digital marketing is infinitely more trackable and data-rich than traditional marketing allowing for a variety of jobs in the field.
Businesses and organizations often look to digital marketing to help achieve their business goals and grow their brand awareness. Because there are so many tactics and strategies to help grow a company’s bottom line, the role and responsibility of a digital marketer can vary greatly. This is perhaps one of the most appealing reasons to become a digital marketer: there is no shortage of opportunities and your career can go in several directions based on your interests and strengths.
Why Choose Digital Marketing as a Career and How Do I Begin?
According to a 2019 Pew Research study, about three-in-ten U.S. adults say they are almost constantly online. Moreover, marketing and communication occupations are projected to grow 8% from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations, and proprietary research conducted by Education Advisory Board (EAB) using Emsi Analyst™ for Champlain College Online found that the need for market researchers and marketing specialists will increase 40% in that same time period. The median annual salary for these occupations is over $132,000. These are all compelling reasons why the digital marketing field is a great place to be.
What Skills Do I Need to Become a Digital Marketer?
One of the greatest things about entering into digital marketing is finding out that there is a need for all types of personalities and skill sets, including both soft skills and technical skills. But keep this in mind: just because you may not be an expert right now, there’s always an opportunity to grow your skills!
Soft Skills for Digital Marketing Careers
Soft skills are often related to personality traits. Are you a people person who naturally takes initiative? A great communicator either verbally or with the written word? Do you have the emotional intelligence to project someone’s problem and help come up with a solution? Are you persuasive or a problem solver?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, chances are you have the makings of being a great digital marketer. If you are naturally curious and want to listen and learn, and you possess a strong work ethic, the digital space could be a great place for you to spread your wings.
Technical Skills for Digital Marketers
While soft skills are attributes you’ve likely already developed, technical skills are typically acquired through training. It may be easy to count yourself out of landing a job if you don’t hold some of the required technical skills, but many HR professionals agree that most technical skills are far easier to teach than soft skills.
Depending on your careers goals, some examples of technical skills necessary to excel in digital marketing could include:
- Content Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Content is at the core of digital marketing and understanding how copy impacts a website and its ability to show up on a search engine is crucial. Coming up with a strategy on what to write and how to write it is going to be impactful for any organization looking to boost their digital marketing.
- Video Editing: Videos are an incredibly effective way for a business to tell its story and to attract potential customers. Even more attractive? Video can be used across channels, from websites to social media. You don’t have to be a master cinematographer to be an effective digital marketing professional, but knowing how to create a short video and optimize it for conversion is a great place to start.
- Website Development: There’s a chance that this sounds daunting, but in truth, the development of a website or webpage can actually be fairly easy with all of the tools available. Whether you are interested in building a storyboard or working on a conversion form, digital marketing professionals are encouraged to know the basics of HTML5 and CSS.
- Data Analysis: Almost every facet of digital marketing can be tracked, which means there is no shortage of data waiting to be analyzed. Many monitoring tools and reporting tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Business Manager are straightforward, but it’s always a good idea to brush up on how to use this data to tell a great story. If you can be innovative with the data you are collecting, you will be a valuable asset to any industry.
What Are Examples of Entry Level Digital Marketing Jobs?
Landing a job or internship is one of the most surefire ways for newcomers in the digital marketing space to start working in the field. Here are a few examples of entry or mid-level jobs in the digital marketing field.
- Digital Marketer: this is usually considered a generalist role. Most of the time, you will find this type of role at a company that is looking to grow their marketing department. In this role, you could be doing everything from managing paid ads, to writing emails, to updating the website with search-friendly content.
- Content Marketer: This is an ideal job for someone who not only excels at writing, but also knows (or wants to learn) the role of content in the customer journey. Different types of messaging is needed depending on where a customer falls into the sales funnel, and a good content marketer is skilled at writing persuasive content that drives the consumer towards conversion.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialist: What good is a website if it can’t be found by a potential customer? This is where an SEO specialist becomes invaluable. An SEO specialist will understand all of the technical aspects of writing content and will know how a site should be set up to ensure maximum visibility on Google and other search engines. SEO specialists should be comfortable in both data collection and analysis.
- Email Marketer: In addition to writing marketing website content, employers may be looking for someone who will solely focus on email, someone who will write and execute all marketing email campaigns. An email marketer is typically responsible for targeting consumers or prospective consumers with messaging through email, with the goal of increasing brand awareness or leads. Oftentimes an email marketer will be responsible for the layout and design as well as reporting the success of each email campaign, making it a well-rounded position.
- Digital Marketing Analyst: Whether you are running paid search ads or ads on Facebook and Instagram, a digital marketing analyst is responsible for developing and maintaining online campaigns. Analysts are also responsible for analyzing and reporting on marketing data that helps determine the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
Of course there are several other roles that fall into the digital marketing sphere. It’s not unheard of for an organization to merge two or three of these areas, so never be afraid to get creative when mapping out your ideal digital marketing career.
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