Career in Digital Marketing – 11 Ways to Start Today

If you spend any amount of time online, you’ve probably heard the hoopla about Career in Digital Marketing.

Everyone seems to say the same things: Digital marketing is growing exponentially, and digital marketers are in demand more than ever.

But is it true?

Let’s take a look at some of the latest statistics…

Online marketing is growing without a doubt, but even though it can provide an excellent salary, it provides something even more lucrative.

Unlike a lot of jobs, digital marketing is personally rewarding.

You get to make a difference, whether by impacting a company’s bottom line or by helping people and businesses get the products and services they desperately need.

By the end of this article, you’ll understand how to jumpstart your own digital marketing career.

But first, let’s look at a few of the many benefits digital marketing provides.

Provide Value and Make an Impact

I used to work at Open English which is an online English-language school. One of the things that motivated me the most was knowing that I was helping people improve their lives by giving them access to a great learning platform.

I know I helped hundreds of thousands of people by crafting and spreading a compelling marketing message. Many times, I was rewarded as customers recounted their personal stories about how the platform changed their lives and gave their families a better future.

When you hear that from your own customers, you’ll fully understand the incredible gratitude and inspiration that floods your soul. It inspires you to do more and be more every single day.

You can’t say that about most jobs, wouldn’t you agree?

A Chance to Grow

More than 4 billion people are now connected to the Internet, and that number is growing daily.

Digital marketing is one of the few careers that allows you reach across the entire globe and, with well-crafted words and images, touch the hearts and minds millions or even billions of people.

Amazing, isn’t it?

Beyond scope, however, digital marketing is exciting because it is evolving and growing at rocket speeds.

Social media is just one playing field for digital marketers, but the breadth and scope of that landscape exemplify the immense opportunities that exist in the various mediums.

For example, Facebook Ads began a mere 11 years ago in 2007. In just 10 years, ad revenue grew from zero to a staggering $33.76 billion dollars.

Likewise, Google rolled out Adsense in 2003, and in just 14 years, their ad revenue climbed from $0 to $72.69 billion.

The arena digital marketers work in changes constantly, so top marketers are always learning, always adapting, and always improving. This career never gets boring!

For example, Google releases, on average, two updates per day. And while these updates do not always directly affect their Adsense algorithms, they do affect them indirectly.

And if you’re one of the 2.23 billion people who use Facebook, you don’t need to be reminded of all the changes Facebook comes out with on a regular basis.

Beyond social media, though, companies need marketers who are always up-to-date on the latest strategies, platforms, and trends.

Effective digital marketing strategies are absolutely essential for any business who strives to succeed in today’s world. It’s not just an option anymore; it’s a necessity.

Skilled marketers are always in demand.  If you can expertly craft and disseminate marketing materials that increase a company’s revenue, conversions, and ROI, you will never suffer a lack of opportunities or income.

Enter an Arena with High Pay and High Demand

How much can you earn as a digital marketer?

The reality is that this is one field where you can almost write your own ticket.

As noted earlier, there are self-employed digital marketers making over $150,000 a year.

The BLS reports that, in 2017, the median salary of a marketing manager was $132,230 USD.

In a survey by Muhammed Ali Hafiz, 57% of digital marketers earned more than $50,000, with 42% earning more than $75,000 per year.

A quick search on the popular job board,, further illustrates the illustrious demand available.

Instantly, my search showed that more than 62,000 companies are seeking a digital marketer to hire – just that one job board! Indeed’s data indicates the average annual salary of a digital marketer is around $63,527, so you’re not going to be arduously slaving away for a pittance.

The field is much larger than that, however, as companies look for marketers with specialized skills. For example, search for “conversion rate optimization manager” or “social media marketing” and tens of thousands of more jobs appear.

The BLS reports that job growth in advertising should grow by 10% in the next 6 years (adding nearly 24,000 new jobs in that time frame).

However, that may be an underestimate. Other pundits say certain digital-marketing specialties may grow by as much as 43% every year.

When you become a digital marketer, you enter an arena with nearly unlimited potential when it comes to available jobs, income, and opportunities for growth.

Now that you realize the incredible potential, where do you begin to delve into this exciting field?

How Can I Get Started A Career in Digital Marketing?

Unlike traditional advertising jobs that often required a formal degree, today’s digital marketers can land a lucrative career without a bachelor or master degree.

Here are 11 ways to get started:

1. Learn for Free Online

With the Internet, there is no shortage of free education for determined learners. You can watch videos on YouTube. Plenty of practical advice is offered for free by marketing masters such as Neil PatelMozBrian Dean, and Search Engine Land.

Ahrefs Academy offers free courses backed by substantial data, although they are geared to using Ahref’s suite of marketing tools. You can still glean highly useful information from them even if you opt not to use their software.

Hubspot Academy offers a plethora of marketing courses, as well.

Google offers free Google Ads certification (even the exam is free!) and Facebook offers free classes for Facebook Ad certifications (but the exams to get certified will cost you).

Don’t forget the podcasts, as well!

Subscribe to a few (or a lot) and listen when you drive, when you do those mundane chores around the house, or simply listen and wind down as you prepare to go to bed.

If you prefer reading over watching or listening, Google currently has over 550,000 websites ready for you to view just for “learn digital marketing”.

But since 550,000 may be a bit overwhelming, you can begin by checking out CopybloggerDigital Marketer, or Digital Marketing Institute.

PROS: Free; Easily Accessible.

CONS: Time-consuming to find what you need; may encounter information overload.

2. Freelance: Build Your Skills by Doing

Experience is the best teacher, so why not start gaining experience now?

Initially, contact your friends and family and see how you can help them. Post ads online and offline offering to work for free.

Can’t find anyone to work for?

Create a profile and find clients on fiverrUpworkFreelancerPeople per Hour, or even Craigslist.

After you’ve improved your skills and gathered results, you can raise your rates and be a bit pickier when choosing clients.

PROS: Anyone can employ this method; it’s a win-win situation.

CONS: Little-to-no income at first; time required for both learning and implementing.

3. Hire a Coach or Mentor

One of the fastest ways to become a pro is to learn from a pro who’s already “been there and done that”.

Courses, books, videos, and podcasts are great, but nothing beats one-on-one feedback from a seasoned veteran as you progress through your journey.

Research people who have already done what you want to do and reach out to them via their websites, social media venues, or through their editor (for authors).

Can’t find contact info?

There are websites to help you with that, too.

PROS: Fast-track learning; personalized, expert advice.

CONS: May take a while to find one; possibly expensive.

4. Start an Online Business and/or Blog

It seems everyone has a blog these days, but why is that?

Maybe because content marketing works.

With useful content, you can expand your reach, build trust, establish credibility, and build relationships.

People are bombarded with ads all day every day. It’s no secret that traditional ads are becoming less effective.

But content consumption is at an all-time high.

People crave high-quality content.

Start an online business and add helpful useful content.

As more people learn about you and what you offer, your skills and credibility increase. Also, the feedback they freely offer is like having a free mentor who helps you improve even faster!

PROS: Fairly inexpensive to start. Build experience and credibility. Great way to learn quickly.

CONS: Some expenses involved, although they can be mitigated. May involve a steep learning curve, since you’ll have to learn about website creation and maintenance, content creation and writing, and various business activities, in addition to marketing.

5. Intern

Internships can be paid or unpaid, but they offer plenty of valuable experience.

Join a networking group, go to meetups, and research different intern opportunities that may be available online.

PROS: Incredible learning opportunity and hands-on experience.

CONS: May be difficult to get accepted; may be located far away.

6. Attend Marketing Events or Conferences

Conferences and marketing events are wonderful ways to meet others in the field and learn from experts.

For example, SMX East has a lineup of 47 experienced professionals providing advice and information on the latest trends in search engine marketing.

There are events and conferences in different locations and different specialties throughout the year, so search online for one that fits your schedule and budget.

PROS: Best way to network and learn from top pros.

CONS: Tickets and travel can be expensive.

7. What Kind of Marketer Do You Want to Be?

Digital marketing encompasses a wide array of marketing specialties, so explore your options.

Find the type of marketing that piques your desire and suits your personality the best.

Unbounce created a succinct infographic depicting different areas of online marketing.

Which one appeals to you the most?

Find top people in that field, learn about them, reach out to them, and find out more about it.

It’s easy to find “success stories”, but dig a bit deeper and learn about stories of people who struggled or weren’t successful. There are lessons to be learned there, too.

8. Will you be a T-shaped Marketer or a Specialist?

If you choose to specialize in one area, such as email marketing, SEO, or content marketing, will you choose a sub-niche and specialize even further?

If so, seek out a specialized marketer and get them to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Make sure you can see the whole picture.

PROS: If you choose a broad area to master, you may not have the opportunity to deepen your skills and knowledge as your area of expertise is wide. A narrower focus often allows for more in-depth, specialized expertise. However, a broader focus allows you to impact different areas of a business, not just one or two.

CONS: A narrower focus may mean you’re not as well-rounded as other marketers. Also, it may be harder to find traditional employment, if that’s your goal.

Learn the career track of a digital marketer and find out who you’ll want to be in 6 months, vs 1 year vs 5 years

9. Where Do You Want to Be in 6 months, 1 year, or 5 years?

People have a tendency to say they want something, but they look from the now and hope from the best in the future.

It’s more useful to start in the future, though, and work your way backward to the present.

What do you want to be doing and where do you want to be 5 years from now?  How about 1 year?  What about 6 months?

Once you have an idea of the path you want to follow, it’s time to align that dream path with reality.

Learn the career path required for your desired path. Talk to those who are already where you want to be and get their advice.

Can’t reach any?

Post a query on Reddit or Quora. Seasoned marketers will (most likely) answer.

Know exactly what you need to do, and get a realistic picture of the time frame required to attain your goals.

You won’t become a CMO in 6 months. It takes years of experience. However, the rewards are well worth it.

10.  Take a Digital Marketing Course Proven to Help Students Like You

Our course has a step-by-step framework that helps aspiring digital marketers fast-track the learning curve.

We’ve had over 300 students go through our course with amazing results. Some have gotten pay raises, some were offered better jobs, and a couple have gone from being a waitress to a full time marketer!

Additionally, some of our students have started their own digital marketing agencies. Business owners have increased their leads and revenue.

You have a lot of options when embarking on your digital marketing journey. The best way to start is to combine a few of these tips together. For example, you can read blogs, start a business, and take a course.

This combined approach will fast-track the inevitable learning curve and provide you with much faster results.

Avoid knowledge-hoarding without having any hands-on experience. Execution is the key to learning.

There are different types of learning curves, it’s all based on your motivation and how quickly you would like to shorten that curve

Make sure you understand one thing, though:

You will always have to keep learning! The digital-marketing field is an exciting one, but it evolves frequently and quickly.

I started my career in digital marketing about 15 years ago and haven’t looked back.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have many clients and jobs that have made me a very well-rounded, digital-growth-minded marketer. I’ve spent millions of dollars on advertising and provided even more millions back in return. I’ve had my big success stories, but I’ve also learned from many mistakes.

11. Pay Attention to Details

Let me offer you some advice, since I’ve been where you’re at.

Attention to detail is key!

When a client wants to spend $3000, and you accidentally add another “0” because you wanted to go home or got distracted, suddenly you realize you overspent by $37K. You get this clenching knot in your stomach as you contemplate how you are going to tell your boss and the client about what happened.

Luckily for me, the ROI on that campaign was amazing and it ended up being a “great” initiative on my side!

I was transparent about what happened to my boss, and he supported me because mistakes can happen to anyone!

Guess what? It has never happened again!

You, too, can become a digital marketer. It’ll take perseverance, motivation, and desire. But you can do it, regardless of whatever obstacles you think are standing in your way. If you decide to take the leap, you’ll be so glad you did. The rewards are amazing!

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