According to Internet World Stats, over 51% of world population now has some form of internet access. Billions of people are browsing the web each day, going about their digital lives. As was the case with newspaper, radio and television, companies and enterprising individuals quickly seized on the opportunity to promote themselves and their businesses via this new mode of communication. The demand for digital marketing specialists has surged accordingly.
Digital technologies develop at a rapid pace causing the internet landscape to exist in a constant state of flux. Nowhere is this more evident than in the sphere of digital marketing, where ideas and practices can go from being cutting-edge to becoming obsolete in the space of months.
A Path to Constant Development
It takes a certain kind of person to succeed in these volatile conditions. Digital marketers are individuals who thrive by engineering creative solutions on the fly, always having a finger on the pulse for new digital developments. It takes very little to fall out of the loop for a digital marketer, but the rewards can be lucrative as well.
To help those of you still interested get started, we have prepared a crash-course in what it takes to become a digital marketer in the current day and age. While no one can guarantee you success, getting your fundamentals right is certain to place you ahead of the competition.
Master The Lingo
Every field of human activity has a certain kind of language as its basis. The prerequisite for starting to learn about digital marketing, talking to people in the business, doing research, etc. is learning the appropriate terminology. Digital marketing is especially notorious for coming up with new terms on the fly because the industry is prone to evolving rapidly.
For starters, make sure to become acquainted with concepts such as search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing (SMM), pay-per-click (PPC), influencers, as well as others. There are plenty of sources online which get you up to speed with the necessary information.
Develop Core Skills
After getting used to the vocabulary, the next step is to develop core digital marketing skills. Ultimately, marketing is about creating a message for the purpose of matching a customer with a service or product. A skilled marketer needs to know how to craft this message on a technical and creative level, as well as how to make sure it reaches the right people. In practice, this means learning how to use web-based technologies (such as HTML, CSS, JavaSript, etc.), brushing up on creative, technical and business writing, and taking basic economics, management and psychology courses.
While all this can seem daunting at first, rest assured that there are plenty of options online, both free and commercial, for learning and developing these skills. Services like Udemy, Coursera or Lynda are great places to start.
Gain Practical Experience
Now that you have developed core competencies, it is time to put them into practice. Your skills are effectively useless if they only exist on paper, so use what you have learned to start a project. Luckily, the easiest place to start is close by, and it involves trying to market yourself.
Use what you have learned to optimize your social media profiles to receive more views and followers for example. Offer to design a website or a blog for your less marketing savvy friends. In the digital marketing business, your portfolio speaks louder than words, and the sooner you start growing it, the better.
Grow your Connections
While it is common for digital marketers to work as freelancers, this does not mean you are going to be working alone. Ultimately, working in marketing is about influencing people, and your chances of doing so successfully depend on who you're working with. While studying and practising your skills, you were sure to come across other people who were doing the same thing.
Maybe you were having trouble with a difficult concept and a colleague helped you out, or you gave a useful tip to someone just starting out. Keep in touch with these people, they might prove to be invaluable in the future. Your portfolio might be impressive, but knowing the right people to get in touch with when you need something is often times more crucial for success.
Hunt for a Job
Once you feel comfortable with your skills and practical know-how, try looking for a job. The best place to start is your immediate region, which can mean your local community, your city, your state, your country, or your wider language-area. Digital marketing is the new norm when it comes to advertising, so even smaller businesses have to rely on it to stay relevant in the marketplace.
Look around for job posting, both offline and online. Ask friends and family members if they've known of vacancies in companies they work in. And if you are feeling especially confident, use your newly developed skills to approach a business you would like to work with, and advertise yourself. There is no better way of demonstrating that you are the person for a marketing job than this.
Keep in Touch
Getting your career off the ground is an important milestone, but development as a digital marketer doesn't end there. As we tried to stress at the beginning, the business of digital marketing is extremely dynamic at the moment, with no signs of settling in the near future. And in order to stay ahead of the curve, you need to evolve along with it. Hopefully, this article helped you secure the first foothold on your path of development.