How To Become a Digital Marketer [8 Step Career Guide]

Sakshi GuptaSakshi Gupta | 8 minute read | May 31, 2022
How To Become a Digital Marketer

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According to LinkedIn, digital marketing specialists are some of today’s most in-demand professionals. And it’s no secret why. This year, digital ad spending made up 53.9% of total media ad spending, which is up from 39% just a few years ago. And all indicators point towards that number continuing to increase. 

With such promising prospects, it’s safe to say that becoming a digital marketer is one of the safest decisions you can make. Companies need digital marketing experts, now more than ever. 

But how does one become a digital marketer? Well, one way is to follow this eight-step career guide. 

What Is Digital Marketing?

In digital marketing, channels such as social media, digital advertising, and email campaigns are leveraged to build a connection with potential customers. 

Digital marketers design campaigns, then use analytics tools to measure and optimize these campaigns. Because the impact of digital marketing is measurable, digital marketing professionals can make timely adjustments to their strategies. This helps businesses increase their conversion rates and improve the quality of their leads.

Digital marketing is far more cost-effective than traditional marketing techniques, and it allows both small and big companies to compete on the same playing field. According to the Stefanini Group, digital marketing is the growth engine for many businesses in various industries. Moreover, it has the potential to increase a business’s revenue by 5% to 8% in just 12 months. 

Related Read: Why Is Digital Marketing Important?

What Does a Digital Marketer Do? 

Many specializations fall under the umbrella of digital marketing. These specialties include: 

  • Social media marketing: These digital marketers are responsible for creating content across various social media channels to help promote the company’s products and services. 
  • Inbound marketing: These marketers optimize a company’s website so that it can convert potential leads into customers. 
  • Email marketing: These marketers nurture the relationship between a brand and its customers through email campaigns
  • Reporting and analytics: After a digital marketing strategy has been implemented, these digital marketers analyze its impact and then optimize the strategy accordingly. 
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How To Become a Digital Marketer

  1. Pick a Career Path That Interests You

  2. Build Your Foundational Knowledge

  3. Take a Course or Earn a Certificate

  4. Acquire Practical Experience With Real-Time Projects

  5. Build a Portfolio

  6. Design Your Resume

  7. Find a Mentor

  8. Apply for Relevant Jobs

Whether you’ve just graduated from college or are looking for a career change, you can become a digital marketer with no experience. Here’s how to do it. 

1. Pick a Career Path That Interests You

If you don’t have any experience, you can kick-start your digital marketing journey by focusing on one of these specialties: 

  • SEO: Search engine optimization specialists identify keywords and link their content to relevant sources to boost traffic. SEO specialists also earn high salaries and are always in demand. 
  • PPC: With pay-per-click advertising (PPC), marketers only pay when a prospective customer clicks on their ad. This cost-effective strategy helps marketers generate leads and drive traffic to their websites organically. 
  • Email marketing: Email marketers create awareness about products, services, and new marketing campaigns by designing emails and sending them to their customers.
  • Content marketing: Many part-time marketers kick-start their careers with content marketing or content creation, which involves writing engaging blog posts, social media posts, and other types of content. 
  • Social media marketing: These marketers handle a company’s social media accounts and ensure smooth interactions with customers. They also lead campaigns that will teach more and more people about the company and its offerings.

Related Read: What Does a Social Media Marketer Do? and How To Get Into Social Media Marketing

2. Build Your Foundational Knowledge

If you’re new to digital marketing, you should build your foundational knowledge by learning from professionals and experienced teachers. Getting a marketing degree is one of the most traditional ways to do this, but it isn’t the only way to learn. Many experienced marketers and experts use platforms like YouTube to share their digital marketing knowledge. You can also look for webinars and podcasts, or you can do things the old-fashioned way and read a book.

3. Take a Course or Earn a Certificate

If you want to further your career, consider taking a course or earning a certificate.

A marketing course teaches you valuable knowledge and skills in digital marketing, while a digital marketing certificate validates your skills, and is a great way to show employers that you have what it takes to get the job done. Both are important, and if you can, you should look for a course that also helps you obtain a marketing certification. 

4. Acquire Practical Experience With Real-Time Projects

If you’re looking to gain some real-world experience, try helping a friend with their business’s social media page. This way, you can learn how to implement the concepts you’ve learned from courses, certificates, and online tutorials. There are also many freelance sites, such as Fiverr and Upwork, that you can explore to find an opportunity to partner with a client who may assist you in building your career. 

5. Build a Portfolio

how to become a digital marketer: Build a Portfolio

Once you have enough real-world experience, it’s time to create a portfolio. Your portfolio will help you stand out from the competition and is just as important as (or even more important than) your resume, as it shows potential employers what your work is like.  

You should include the best projects you’ve worked on, and you can even add some testimonials from these clients.

6. Design Your Resume

A good marketing resume contains all the relevant information that an HR department might be looking for in an excellent candidate. If you haven’t designed a resume before, many templates are available online for aspiring digital marketers. 

A good resume will demonstrate your worth to potential employers. So make sure that you emphasize the results that you’ve achieved in the past. You can also highlight the skills you learned while working with a mentor or other digital marketers and the growth you aim to achieve in this field. Lastly, don’t forget to include your technical skills and your formal education. If you have taken any online courses, mention them as well. 

7. Find a Mentor

how to become a digital marketer: Find a Mentor

Mentors, and the advice they offer, can be invaluable. But how do you go about finding one?

The best way to find a mentor is to network. Make it known within your social and professional circles that you’re looking for a mentor. LinkedIn is also a great platform for this. 

8. Apply for Relevant Jobs

If you’re confused about what kinds of jobs to apply for, make a list of your skills and then see which positions are a match. You can also ask a mentor, if you have one. They’ll be able to offer invaluable advice about the kinds of candidates different companies are looking for to fill different roles. 

Job boards are the most popular way to find your next position, but they aren’t the only way. Check out the websites for different companies you’d like to work for. Almost all of them will include available jobs on their site. And if you have a handful of dream companies, try reaching out to their hiring managers directly.

Related Read: How Long Does It Take to Become a Digital Marketer 

What Skills Do You Need To Succeed as a Digital Marketer?

Whether you want to become a marketing specialist or a more holistic generalist, you’ll need these skills to succeed:

  • Written and verbal communication: Digital marketing, like all marketing, is a form of communication. So being able to clearly communicate your ideas—both in writing and verbally—is crucial. Consider this: Would you hire someone to do your marketing if they couldn’t express themselves clearly?
  • Research and analysis: As a digital marketer, your research and analytic skills are also vital. Whether you are responsible for SEO or email marketing, you need to understand analytical tools to ensure that you can easily measure the impact of your marketing efforts.
  • Time management: Digital marketers divide their time between planning and execution. While both are important, good marketers understand that there is a balance between the two. You don’t want to spend all of your time planning, with no time left to execute your strategy, but you also don’t want to jump into the execution stage without a plan. Time management is essential to achieving this balance. 
  • Project management and prioritization: As a digital marketer, you will be given many projects. Prioritization can help you manage each one properly and reap the benefits for your company.

How Much Can You Make as a Marketer?

how to become a digital marketer: How Much Can You Make as a Marketer?

Digital marketing salaries are definitely attractive. However, the packages vary according to each candidate’s experience and digital marketing skills. Let’s break those down:

  • Entry-level: A junior digital marketer can earn an average salary of nearly $49,000 per year. The pay can vary according to experience and skills, as well as location.
  • Mid-level: A mid-level digital marketer can earn a salary of more than $73,000 per year. 
  • Senior-level: Finally, a senior digital marketer can make more than $82,000 per year, depending on their location and the position. 

FAQs About Becoming a Marketer

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about becoming a digital marketer.

Can You Learn Marketing on Your Own?

Yes. Many online sources—such as webinars, podcasts, and YouTube videos—can help you learn the nitty-gritty details of marketing. You can also access paid and non-paid courses online that can guide you. 

However, if you’re going to head down a self-taught path, it helps to have a mentor who can guide you throughout your journey. 

Do You Need a Degree To Become a Marketer?

Many digital marketers don’t have a marketing degree, and if you have lots of experience, you might not need a degree at all.

However, it is always great to have a strong educational foundation with a degree in marketing. It adds value to your resume and will teach you the basics. Check out these jobs that you can get with a marketing degree

Can You Earn 6 Figures as a Marketer?

Yes, it is possible to earn six figures, provided that you can offer the right set of skills. If you are successful in becoming an industry expert, you can earn even more. 

Is Digital Marketing Hard To Learn?

No, it isn’t hard to learn digital marketing, as long as you are eager to build a successful digital marketing career for yourself. For example, if you are good at writing and communicating, you can quickly become an excellent content writer. Similarly, if you have a passion for designing campaigns and being creative, it’ll be a cinch to learn digital marketing.

Since you’re here…
Ready for a career in digital marketing? Our Digital Marketing Bootcamp promises fresh digital marketing skills and a professional certification in just a few months. Test our curriculum with this free digital marketing learning path, and check out our salary guide to see what you could be making.

Sakshi Gupta

About Sakshi Gupta

Sakshi is a Senior Associate Editor at Springboard. She is a technology enthusiast who loves to read and write about emerging tech. She is a content marketer and has experience working in the Indian and US markets.