A laptop, a computer, or even a smartphone (must-have gadgets of the 21st century) is enough for you to have experienced the power of digital marketing at least once.
It could be from something as simple as an ad displayed to you after searching something you want on Google, a retargeting ad on Facebook about a laptop bag you were eying on Amazon or a cold email about your resume being selected for a job you didn’t apply for.
In simple words, digital marketing is all about making optimum use of all the digital platforms to promote the products and services of a business.
Digital marketing as a business sector is booming rapidly and is in constant need of skilled professionals.
In this article, I have put forward a detailed plan of how to become a digital marketing specialist in case you are interested in joining the league of professional digital marketers like myself but don’t know how to get started.
By the end of this blog, you will understand the basics of digital marketing fundamentals and will be able to decide which of the four areas of digital marketing you should specialize in.
Specializing in any field, including search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) ads, social media marketing, and overall digital marketing, will widely open up the job market for you in this growing field.
Let’s get started by understanding what a digital marketing specialist actually does.
What do digital marketing specialists do?
A specialist in digital marketing is a professional with a wide set of skills and is responsible for promoting a website (business or products) online by making the most of all possible digital marketing platforms available.
The most important task of a digital marketing specialist is to have a clear understanding of all digital marketing fields along with various tools and techniques of the trade. Responsibilities for the work includes:
- Creating and managing SEO campaigns
- Run and optimize PPC campaigns
- Oversee strategies for content marketing
- Optimum use of social media to attract traffic, generate awareness and increase sales
- Managing the entire digital marketing team
- Coordinate all digital campaigns’ activities
- Set targets and evaluate the progress of all channels of digital marketing
The distinction between a Digital Marketing Specialist (DMS) and an SEO specialist is that a DMS needs to be skilled in more than one field and have a solid understanding of how digital marketing works as a whole, not just a particular discipline.
It takes a lot of hard work and sheer determination to become a digital marketing specialist. Still, it’s the best digital marketing role you can find in the digital marketing business.
Fortunately, there is nothing keeping you from exploring a career in digital marketing if you are prepared to put in the necessary effort.
With that being said, let us explore the steps that you need to take to become a specialist digital marketing
11 steps to become a digital marketing specialist
- Learn digital marketing basics
- Get a job as digital marketing executive
- Master SEO Skill
- Master Paid Ads skill
- Execute Content Marketing Campaign
- Build Social Media Marketing Skill Set
- Learn Email Marketing
- Develop data analytical / Reporting Skill
- Develop Team Management Skill
- Follow latest trends in digital marketing and stay up to date
- Take a digital marketing course
Don’t worry, we will explore each one in detail, let’s dive in.
1. Learn digital marketing basics
Just like any other skill in the world, you have to start the process of becoming a Digital Marketing Specialist by learning the basics of digital marketing.
Which means learning what digital marketing is and how it works is the first step to becoming a digital marketing expert.
One thing to understand is that digital marketing is not one thing but is a concept that perfectly captures a variety of approaches and strategies that can be used to advertise a website or online products.
As a digital marketing expert, you need to understand the use and importance of different digital marketing platforms, including Website Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Paid Marketing, Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Video Marketing, and more.
2. Get a job as digital marketing executive
You have to crawl before you can run. With the same philosophy, before you can become a DMS, you need to learn your way up by getting a job and working as a Digital Marketing Executive.
Usually, a digital marketing executive is mentored by another Digital Marketing Specialist or the Marketing Manager and is responsible for setting up and maintaining the company’s online presence.
Additionally, as a digital marketing executive, you will get exposure to other areas of digital marketing including SEO, Content marketing, social media marketing and more which will help you understand which fields of digital marketing are you most interested in and can specialize in that field accordingly.
3. Master SEO Skill
Now that you have an understanding of what digital marketing means, mastering SEO and becoming an SEO expert is the next move.
SEO has an important role when it comes to the effectiveness of any digital marketing campaign, which is why learning SEO is important.
Mastering the tools and techniques of SEO will also make it easier to work with other digital marketing approaches.
While it is more likely that you will have skilled SEO experts in your team, you will have to manage them as a digital marketing specialist. Perhaps the most effective way to do this is to master SEO yourself.
Interested in becoming an SEO Expert? Check out my 9 step guide on How to become an SEO Expert
4. Master Paid Ads skill
When you aim to develop your PPC campaigning skills, developing and auditing your ad campaigns on either Google Ads or Facebook Ads will occupy a large amount of your time and budget.
There will be times when your digital marketing campaigns will only consist of PPC campaigns, and in times like that, it is crucial for you to know the what, why and how of paid marketing.
As a PPC expert, you need to know about the various types of campaigns you can execute and how to calculate and evaluate those ads’ outcomes accurately.
Check out this interesting blog by Neil Patel to learn more about Paid Ads Entrepreneur’s Guide to Google Ads.
5. Execute Content Marketing Campaign
Content is the soul of any marketing campaign, be it via email, social media or blog. It is high-quality content that binds everything together.
When I say high quality, what I mean is content that appeases the user’s intent, is engaging enough for the audience to continue consuming it, is SEO friendly and has the potential to generate leads and impact lead conversion.
Unlike the popular theory, content is not just written content. It can be in the form of text, video or audio and may be in various formats, such as blogs, videos on YouTube, podcast, and more.
A digital marketing expert’s duty includes preparing a content strategy that includes clear instructions on what kind of content needs to be created and how to evaluate the success of each type of content. That is it! Removing all the jargon, this is what content marketing is all about.
Your role in a well-structured digital marketing team may not be to provide the content (you will have dedicated writers for this assignment), but it is your duty to make sure the right form of content is created for the various campaigns.
Check out my step by step guide on how to develop a content marketing strategy.
6. Build Social Media Marketing Skill Set
A social media marketing specialist is responsible for integrating marketing and social media management to improve the social media presence of the company.
They are responsible for engaging with potential customers on various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and more.
A social media marketing specialist ought to have the experience and understanding of each social media site, tactics for social media marketing, and the knowledge of how to leverage content to make it relevant for social media platforms.
Further responsibilities of a social media expert include the task of creating a social media marketing strategy and running various campaigns.
They also need to take care of creating content, planning budgets and scheduling regular posts to be published on social media platforms.
Check out this blog by HubSpot that takes a deep dive into How to Learn Social Media Marketing.
7. Learn Email Marketing
One of the most successful methods of online marketing is email marketing. Marketers use email marketing to finalize a deal, get more leads and connect with their clients.
Traditionally, email marketing is the last stage of the marketing sales funnel when the lead is almost at the close.
Any other digital marketing strategies, including SEO, PPC, content marketing and social media marketing, generate email marketing leads.
On the other hand, email marketing, with the help of a series of targeted emails, will close the sale (or any conversion).
There is no dedicated post for an email marketing specialist in most companies, so the task of executing email marketing campaigns usually is handed over to the digital marketing manager.
If you wish to learn more about the art of email marketing, check my detailed article, which answers ‘What is Email Marketing and How Does It Work?’
8. Develop Data Analytical / Reporting Skill
In addition to tracking and optimizing digital marketing strategies, analyzing data and preparing reports are part of a digital marketing professional’s everyday tasks.
A digital marketing manager needs to know inside-out of various digital marketing tools, whether reports are direct to the marketing department or the consumer.
Regardless of the reports generated and studied for boosting the efforts of the marketing team or the data is requested directly by the clients on one of the PPC campaigns, a digital marketing manager needs to know inside-out of various digital marketing tools that provide in-depth data of all sales and marketing campaigns.
The tools that a digital marketer must know include Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Data Studio, Facebook Ads, Google Search Console, and more.
9. Develop Team Management Skill
You need to have strong team management skills to become a digital marketing professional.
Leading and overseeing a team of other professionals that make up a digital marketing team would be part of your job duties.
A digital marketing manager is basically a team leader who needs to have the requisite skills to handle a team of people and technical expertise.
This includes learning how to work with task management tools such as Asana and Trello, setting goals and priorities, tracking and optimizing projects, and mentoring the team members and other people management activities to be done by an individual in a managerial role.
10. Follow Latest Trends In Digital Marketing And Stay Up To Date
The best and one of the biggest challenges of becoming a digital marketing expert is that you have to constantly keep learning because, in this field, there are changes that are taking place constantly.
Miss a few, and your next campaign will not give you the results you expected at all.
Learning never ceases for digital marketers, and this is something that makes the field really fascinating and stimulating.
You never get bored because there is always something new to learn and conquer.
For example, Google makes thousands of updates every year to its search results algorithms, and Facebook adds/changes new features all the time as well.
If you cannot keep up with the constant learning curve, being a digital marketing expert is not the right option for you.
While on the other hand, if you enjoy the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape, you need to make sure that you keep up to date with all the latest developments and the industry’s tools.
Many digital marketing experts like myself cover all the happenings in the world of digital marketing. Here are some of my favorite blogs to follow
11. Take A Digital Marketing Course
Completing a digital marketing course is one of the best and most effective ways to become a digital marketing professional.
In the course, you will be taught everything you need to know about digital marketing without bothering to learn from different guides and search for relevant study material.
A certificate from a reputed authority is an excellent way to demonstrate that you know digital marketing ABCs.
However, being certified does not mean you will surely land a job and become a successful digital marketer.
It simply means that you now have the skills and potential to become a digital marketing specialist.
Of course, you need many years of working experience and ways to demonstrate your experience in order to gain a place in a major agency or business.
If this intrigued you and you are interested in taking a course, check out my blog about 7 Best Online Courses on Digital Marketing (free and paid).
Now that you know the 11 things you need to opt for digital marketing specialist career, let us understand how much a digital marketing specialist earns.
Digital Marketing Specialist Salary
You might be wondering if it is worth the effort now that you know what it takes to become a digital marketing specialist.
Like many occupations, a digital marketer’s salary is highly dependent on the experience, country, and type of work (full-time or freelance).
According to research by Payscale.com, the national average of digital marketing professionals in India is ?4,69,221.
A digital marketing specialist with less than one year of experience is supposed to receive an average gross salary of ?236,470, including bonus and overtime.
With 1-4 years of experience, a digital marketing specialist receives an estimated amount of ?325,255. A DMS with 5-9 years of experience gets an average total salary of ?501,119.
With 10-19 years of experience, a digital marketing professional receives an estimated amount of ?1,047,619 compensation based.
Keep in mind that these numbers are growing day by day as the demand for DMS keeps increasing. Just like any other field, you can even make more if you perform better.
Additionally, you can double your income in your digital marketing career by taking up multiple freelance clients as well.
You need to be conscious of 3 factors if you’d like to become a digital marketing specialist. You must learn how to use all digital marketing platforms.
Digital marketing is a competitive field, and continuous learning is part of a digital marketing professional’s regular routine.
Your monetary compensation as a DMS depends on years of experience and the results you bring to the table.
If you are willing to learn and take appropriate initiatives, there is nothing to prevent you from pursuing a career as a digital marketing specialist.
That’s all, folks!
What did you think of this blog?
Let me know in the comments and share your experience in how to become a digital marketer.