Breaking into a new industry can be difficult, especially one like the digital marketing industry. According to the Bureau of Labor’s recent statistics, now is a great time to try. Data reveals that employment of advertising and promotions managers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2014 to 2024. For those working in the digital marketing world, this could be even higher.
To guide our students and alumni in breaking into the digital marketing world, the experts at Fremont College have compiled our top ten tips:
Tip 1: Be Eager to Learn
Living in the technology revolution, you see how technology can change and advance almost daily. The digital marketing industry is no different. It is both fast-growing and incredibly competitive. Because of this, you must be willing to learn, even after you finish your formal education. With so much competition for jobs in this industry, it is easy for hiring managers to differentiate between candidates who have a displayed willingness to learn and those who do not.
Tip 2: Stay Current
Just as you must be willing to continue learning, you must actively continue learning. Keep up to date with the latest news, trends, and release in your industry. An easy way to do this is to follow major digital marketing websites, like Social Media Examiner, and influential people in the industry on social media. If you fail to keep up with changes made to paid advertising platforms and algorithms by major players like Google and Facebook, you will not get the results you seek.
Tip 3: Network
When you are trying to break into an industry, one of the most valuable tools at your disposal is networking. By effectively networking in your industry, you will quickly surround yourself with an ongoing support network that is there for you when you run into problems. This support network can also open doors to opportunities you may not have found otherwise. There are several ways you can network:
- Attend industry meetups and conferences
- Create a LinkedIn profile and connect with others
- Join an association or other professional groups
Tip 4: Get a Digital Marketing Degree
To really stand out from other job hunters in the industry, complete a certified digital marketing program. Though I do have a bias for the digital marketing degree program at Fremont College there are a handful of schools now offering similar programs. Unlike many other industries, the digital marketing industry has not imposed barriers to entry. This means that any job candidate with a loose grasp of industry terminology can potentially get a position. This will likely change as the industry matures, but for now, you should focus on doing everything you can to set yourself apart from these other candidates.
Tip 5: Don’t Forgo Your Personal Projects
While your portfolio should be filled with professional examples of your work, do not forget about your personal projects. With digital marketing, things are not black and white. There are a lot of gray areas that can produce good and unique results. With search algorithms always changing, what is true today might not be true tomorrow. If you feel like you do not have time for personal projects, consider using your personal projects to test out new theories or multiple disciplines, like SEO, PPC, Social Media, and Content Marketing.
Tip 6: Build a Personal Brand
To be an authoritative digital marketer, you should have a visible online presence. How can you show a potential employer that you can build their company’s online visibility when you have none of your own? By building your own personal brand, you will create a strong online presence that you can use to highlight skills an employer is looking for.
Tip 7: T-Shaped Marketer
The term “T-Shaped Marketer” refers to someone who has a basic understanding of multiple marketing disciplines, but specializing in one or two particular skills. When a company seeks to hire a digital marketer, they typically want the most well-rounded candidate. Candidates with a broad digital marketing skill set will be highly sought after by employers, especially if they also possess the knowledge to cross over between the different areas within the industry. It is not only practical for the company who is hiring but it is also good for a marketer who can leverage knowledge from one discipline and apply it to another. For example, if you know the top 3 keyword phrases that bring in your best leads from a paid search campaign are X, Y, Z you can then use those same keywords in your organic search campaigns to help bring in more qualified leads.
Tip 8: Money Talks
Remember that in any market, profit is the motivation. You can set yourself apart in an interview by talking about the return on an ad campaign you ran, for example. While employers are looking for creative minds, they really want to find a candidate who can get the most return for the smallest investment. Having concrete evidence that you can contribute to the bottom line can be invaluable.
Tip 9: Learn the Correct Terminology
As a professional digital marketer, it is expected that you will be comfortable with acronyms like PPC, SEM, and SEO to name a few. If you fail to grasp correct terminology in your field, it will be a clear sign to employers and other professionals that you only possess a beginner’s skill set and will need further training. For those in the SEO field, you will also need to keep up to date on the many algorithm changes in real time to ensure that your website is properly optimized and in compliance with current best practices. Scanning current blog posts on websites like RankWatch on a daily basis is critical for anyone looking to keep their site relevant to search engines.
Tip 10: It’s Okay to be Nerdy
While digital marketing can be perceived as glamorous, the truth is that it’s often more technical and data driven. Take for instance my post on “What Is Semantic Search and How Does It Affect Me.” This is just one narrowly focused topic but as a marketer it is important to know these concepts and how to best apply them to a website. If you neglect to leverage these types of tactics you could be missing out on volumes of traffic, additional conversions, and ultimately new leads. That is a lot to swallow if you’re a business owner or a marketer trying to help grow a company.
Though you may not be developing websites from scratch, as a digital marketer you will be communicating your marketing strategy to a team of developers and/or designers who will incorporate it into a finished product. Having a basic knowledge of HTML and graphic design will help you tremendously when explaining your vision and goals to those who will make them happen. Knowing more of the technical side will also help you stand out among the less technically minded job candidates in an employer’s eyes who don’t know how to properly structure a website, optimize internal and external anchor text, and other important website elements.