How To Get Into Digital Marketing (with Steps and FAQs)
Updated 14 August 2023
Digital marketing is a branch of marketing that deals primarily with the online promotion of products, services and brands. The skills and career path of a digital marketer differ somewhat from a more traditional marketer. If you're interested in getting into digital marketing, it's valuable to know which skills and qualifications set you up for landing your first role. In this article, we explain how to get into digital marketing and answer some frequently asked questions.
How to get into digital marketing
With the increasing demand for digital services, many people wish to know how to get into digital marketing. Digital marketing can be important for companies and brands, as a significant proportion of consumers are reachable via digital means like social media. If you're thinking about a digital marketing career, consider the following steps:
1. Do your research
Before taking any steps towards getting the skills or qualifications necessary, it's important to understand what the role involves and what you can expect. The skills and qualifications of a digital marketer are highly transferable, so you might find there are other jobs that better suit your abilities and interests. Digital marketing requires lots of creativity and a willingness to constantly interact with people, often strangers. You're also going to benefit from a good working knowledge of the various media digital marketers use, such as social media platforms, video and paid promotions.
2. Get a relevant degree
A good way of preparing yourself for a digital marketing career is to acquire a relevant degree. A bachelor's degree in a field like marketing, business studies, public relations or management is a good choice. A degree in one of these fields proves you have a commercial focus and provides the right tools and skills to become a digital marketer upon graduation. There are also dedicated digital marketing bachelor's degrees at many universities, which could be ideal if you're certain that this is what you want to specialise in.
To be eligible for a bachelor's degree like these, you're typically going to require up to three A-levels, though this differs from one university and course to another. A higher national diploma is another way of becoming eligible for a university degree.
3. Acquire college qualifications (optional)
If you'd prefer to get into digital marketing through a route other than a bachelor's degree, there are some college-level courses that you might consider. You can complete these in addition to a bachelor's degree if you feel they'd improve your chances in the job market. Qualifications you might consider include a Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Marketing, a Level 3 Diploma in Digital Marketing or a T Level in Digital Production, Design and Development.
The requirements for these qualifications are typically somewhat lower than a university degree. You're required on average to have between two and five GCSEs with good grades. Many qualifications specifically require GCSEs in English and maths.
4. Apply for internships
Once you finish a relevant education, internships are a good first option to gain experience and exposure to the world of digital marketing. In many cases, internships don't provide pay, so make sure to evaluate your finances before committing. During an internship, you may shadow a professional digital marketer to learn from them while you provide assistance. Internships can also be good opportunities to meet people and start developing your own professional network.
5. Research reputable digital marketing companies
It's usually a good idea to familiarise yourself with the most reputable and competent digital marketing companies. This can help you decide whom you'd like to work for, and you might also get an idea of how the best digital marketers operate. Finding these companies and learning about them can also help you develop your long-term career plan. Even if you hope to eventually establish your own digital marketing firm, learning from experience at the most reputable businesses can give you a significant advantage.
6. Apply for digital marketing positions
Once you've got a list of the most reputable digital marketing firms that you'd like to work for, you can start sending job applications. A good place to start is with their job vacancies pages. Even if they aren't advertising for any vacancies, it can still be fruitful to send them your CV and a letter of motivation. This increases the chances of you getting a future position, as they're going to already have your contact details. You can also search for digital marketing positions.
7. Develop your digital marketing skills
As you work and gain experience as a digital marketer, you're almost always going to benefit from the development and acquisition of new skills. These can help you perform your duties better and increase your chances of professional advancement. They might also lead you to specialise in a particular area of digital marketing. Some of the specialist areas within the field include:
campaign research and metrics
social media marketing
search engine optimisation (SEO)
communications and PR
These sub-specialisations allow you to focus your efforts on an area that you excel at or one which particularly interests you. If you're thinking of getting into digital marketing from another background like software development, writing or data analysis, one of these specialisations could be a valuable first step.
Digital marketing FAQs
Below is a list of frequently asked questions that related to the field of digital marketing and the expectations associated with it:
How much does a digital marketer get paid?
The national average salary for a digital marketer is £26,316 per year. If you advance to a higher position, the national average salary of a marketing manager is £37,211 per year. Salaries vary for specialised roles. For example, the national average salary of a social media manager is £31,554 per year.
What does a digital marketer do?
The primary responsibility of a digital marketer is to promote a product, service or brand through digital channels like websites, online advertising and social media. This involves working closely with other marketing professionals, such as graphic designers, data analysts and web developers. You can also expect to work with clients and external agencies. Important tasks include the management of social media platforms, e-communications, promoting services online, researching digital trends and observing competitors and market changes.
Are there short courses for digital marketing?
Yes, there are some shorter courses available if you want to get into digital marketing. These can also be useful for expanding your skill set. For instance, you might look into completing a short course in a specialised area like mobile marketing or digital copywriting from the Institute of Data and Marketing. You may also consider a broader qualification in digital marketing from The Chartered Institute of Marketing, which offers qualifications for various levels.
What are the important skills of a digital marketer?
The skill set of a digital marketer is similar to that of a normal marketer but with additional competencies that allow them to perform their functions through primarily digital means. Consequently, the skill set of a digital marketer can be quite varied and overlap with other professions. Common and useful skills include:
social media usage
data analysis and visualisation
search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM)
persuasion and sales
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation and is a way of generating web traffic organically. Search engines favour certain websites over others based on particular traits, such as the usage and combination of keywords and terms. Good usage of SEO can help a website or page receive much more online traffic without the need for paid advertising. This is why SEO knowledge is very important for digital marketers.
Where do digital marketers work?
Since digital marketers primarily handle digital activities, you can expect a large portion of your work to take place in office environments. If you work within the marketing department of a larger company, the majority of your work is probably going to be in the relevant office space. But if you work for a digital marketing agency that serves other clients, you may travel from time to time to meet with clients and arrange service provision.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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