How to Become a Digital Marketer: 10 Steps to Success

Everything you need to know.

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

How to become a digital marketer

Are you interested in pursuing a career in digital marketing?

This article will cover the topic of becoming a digital marketer, including the various roles within the field. We’ll discuss the daily activities that the average digital marketing specialist will encounter, and the skills and knowledge required for moving up in the field.

Regardless if you’re simply curious about becoming a digital marketing professional, or have years of experience and looking to shift your career, this article may give you more insight and help you make a more informed decision.

Let’s get started!

What is a digital marketer?

Digital marketers are a major part of the success of online business. They’re the ones that work behind the scenes to connect end users to a product or service by targeting the correct online audience. Using a mix of creativity and analytics, they navigate the digital realm to build brand awareness and drive sales.

What does a digital marketer do?

Digital marketers are the multi-talented wizards in the world of marketing. They possess a wide range of skills, all aimed at engaging audiences and propelling business growth in the digital realm. Let’s delve into their main responsibilities:

  • Content creation: They’re the masterminds behind captivating content. Whether blog posts, website copy or social media updates, their goal is to attract and hold the audience’s attention, providing valuable information and maintaining a consistent brand voice.
  • Email marketing: Here, digital marketers design and send newsletters and promotional emails. This isn’t just about sending out emails; it’s about crafting messages that resonate with the audience, encouraging engagement and loyalty.
  • Social media marketing: These professionals manage a brand’s presence across social media platforms. They create and share content, interact and engage, shaping the brand’s digital persona.
  • Data analysis: In digital marketing, data is king. Marketers analyze metrics to understand customer behaviors and preferences, which in turn informs their strategies and helps in making data-driven decisions.
  • Search engine optimization: This involves optimizing web content to rank well in search engine results. It’s a blend of technical know-how and creativity, ensuring content is not only informative but also discoverable.
  • Digital marketing campaigns: They plan and execute comprehensive campaigns that span across various online channels. These campaigns are meticulously designed to reach target audiences, employing a mix of marketing tools and techniques for maximum impact.

What are the different types of digital marketer jobs?

In the diverse world of digital marketing, a variety of specialized roles cater to different aspects of this dynamic field. Here’s a closer look:

  • SEO specialist: Enhances website visibility in search engines using technical and creative skills to improve rankings and drive traffic.
  • PPC specialist: Manages and optimizes pay-per-click advertising campaigns, focusing on maximizing ad visibility and efficiency while controlling costs.
  • Content marketing specialist: Develops and strategizes diverse content, like blog posts and videos, to attract and engage the target audience in line with brand goals.
  • Social media marketing specialist: Builds and maintains a brand’s presence on social media platforms, creating content and strategies to increase reach and engagement.
  • Email marketing specialist: Crafts and sends email campaigns to engage customers, aiming to communicate brand messages effectively and boost customer loyalty and conversions.
  • Digital marketing manager: Oversees all digital marketing aspects, strategizing and implementing campaigns across various channels and leading specialist teams to meet company goals.

What is the workplace of a digital marketer like?

As a digital marketer, your workplace can be as diverse as the field itself. You might find yourself in a bustling agency where creativity never sleeps, or in a corporate setting where strategy and brand identity are king. Smaller companies or startups offer a more dynamic environment where you might wear multiple hats.

Employers range from marketing agencies to retail giants, tech companies and even non-profits. Each setting offers unique experiences and learning opportunities. And with remote work on the rise, you could even be crafting your next big campaign from the comfort of your home.

In this role, adaptability is key. Whether it’s keeping up with the latest trends on social media platforms or crunching numbers for data analysis, your environment will constantly evolve. It’s an exciting, fast-paced world where no two days are the same — perfect for those who crave variety and innovation in their career.

What kind of hours do they work?

A career in digital marketing means entering a fast-paced and constantly evolving environment. The nature of this industry often shapes the work schedules of its professionals.

Generally, digital marketers adhere to a full-time schedule. However, it’s not uncommon for these hours to stretch beyond the standard 9-to-5 framework. This extension typically occurs during critical periods, such as approaching deadlines or the peak of digital marketing campaigns, reflecting the industry’s dynamic and demanding nature.

How much do they make?

The salary landscape in digital marketing varies, influenced by factors like your experience, area of expertise and geographical location.

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals some insights: as of May 2022, the median annual income for market research analysts and marketing specialists, a group that includes digital marketers, stood at $68,230.

There’s a wide range in earnings, with the lowest 10% making around $38,280 and the highest 10% exceeding $131,850 per year. The hourly wages also vary, from $18.40 on the lower spectrum to $63.39 on the higher end.

Certain industries offer particularly high wages and employment opportunities for digital marketers. For example, in software publishing, the annual mean wage can soar up to approximately $107,000. This information highlights the financial rewards available in digital marketing, especially for those who gain experience and specialize in sought-after areas.

In a snapshot:

Digital Marketer Salary

What is the job outlook?

The outlook for a career in digital marketing looks highly optimistic. Data from the BLS indicates a substantial growth trajectory in the field encompassing market research analysts and marketing specialists.

The sector reported employment of 868,600 individuals in 2022, and projections suggest this number will rise to 985,200 by 2032 — a notable increase of 13.4%. This significant growth trend underscores the escalating relevance and demand for digital marketing expertise in the business sector.

Moreover, with an expected annual average of 94,600 job openings from 2022 to 2032, the field demonstrates a dynamic and evolving nature.

This scenario presents a wealth of opportunities for both new entrants and established professionals in digital marketing. It’s a clear indicator of the expanding needs and prospects in areas like content marketing, social media marketing and SEO, marking digital marketing as a career with a vibrant and positive future.

Are you suited to be a digital marketer?

Are you curious about whether digital marketing is the ideal career path for you? It’s a field that requires more than just the appropriate skills and certifications; it’s equally about aligning with your personal interests, strengths and career aspirations. This is where CareerHunter plays a crucial role.

Our specialized career test is designed to assess your professional preferences and aptitudes, offering clarity on how well you might fit in the world of digital marketing. If you’re pondering over joining a digital marketing boot camp, enrolling in online courses or aspiring to roles such as a digital marketing specialist or manager, our test delivers customized insights.

These insights are invaluable in shaping your career choices, ensuring that your path in digital marketing not only matches your capabilities but also aligns with what you genuinely enjoy. This tool is instrumental in forging a career that is not only rewarding but also sustainable in the dynamic landscape of digital marketing.

What do you need to become a digital marketer?

Stepping into the world of digital marketing? Great choice! But what do you need to start your journey? Here’s a quick list to get you on track:

  • Strong understanding of social media platforms: Knowing how to engage audiences on platforms like Facebook and Instagram is key.
  • SEO knowledge: Understanding SEO is crucial to make content visible and attractive to search engines.
  • Data analysis skills: Being able to interpret and use data effectively helps in crafting successful digital marketing campaigns.
  • Content marketing savvy: Creating compelling content that resonates with your audience is essential.
  • Email marketing skills: A knack for crafting engaging emails that motivate readers to take action.
  • Digital marketing certifications or degrees: While not always mandatory, these can give you an edge and a solid foundation in digital marketing principles.

How to become a digital marketer

Venturing into digital marketing offers an exhilarating world of possibilities. No matter if you’re a newcomer to the industry or looking to switch careers, there’s a structured approach to becoming a digital marketer. This guide provides a roadmap for your journey:

Step 1: Research the field

When starting down the road to becoming a digital marketer requires a complex understanding of the field. It’s a diverse landscape, encompassing several key areas.

For example, content marketing focuses on creating and distributing valuable content to attract and engage audiences, while SEO is about optimizing this content to improve its visibility in search engine results. Meanwhile, social media marketing involves using platforms like Facebook and Instagram to establish and grow a brand’s presence and connect with customers. Then there’s email marketing, where the aim is to craft engaging emails that captivate and retain your audience’s attention.

This foundational knowledge is vital as you navigate through the multifaceted world of digital marketing.

Step 2: Educate yourself

A career in digital marketing means merging creativity with technical prowess.

The first step is to arm yourself with knowledge. Begin with online courses, which are plentiful and varied. These courses cover essential topics like SEO, where you learn how to make content visible and attractive to search engines; data analysis, which helps in understanding market trends and customer behavior; and the nuts and bolts of planning and executing digital marketing campaigns.

Consider enrolling in a digital marketing boot camp, an intensive program designed to give you a deep dive into the field. Look for courses that balance theory with practical application. This means not just learning the concepts but also applying them through exercises, case studies and projects.

These educational experiences are vital, laying down the foundational knowledge and skills you need to navigate the complex digital marketing landscape. They also offer a chance to explore different areas within digital marketing, helping you to identify your interests and strengths.

Step 3: Obtain certifications

In the digital marketing realm, certifications act like badges of honor on your résumé, signaling your commitment and expertise. Look for reputable digital marketing certifications offered by established organizations or online platforms.

These certifications typically focus on specific, in-demand areas such as Google Analytics, a crucial tool for data analysis; content marketing, where you learn how to craft content that resonates with your audience; or mastering various social media platforms, essential for effective social media marketing.

Each certification deepens your understanding and provides specialized knowledge, making you a more versatile and competitive candidate in the job market. They also demonstrate to potential employers that you’re proactive about staying current in this ever-evolving field.

Step 4: Gain practical experience

The true test of your digital marketing knowledge comes when you apply it to real-world scenarios. Start by taking on practical projects. This could involve managing a blog, where you can practice content creation and SEO; handling social media accounts, which hone your skills in social media marketing; or volunteering for digital marketing tasks with local businesses or non-profit organizations.

These experiences allow you to see the direct impact of your strategies and learn from practical outcomes. Hands-on experience is invaluable — it bridges the gap between theory and practice, helps you understand the nuances of digital marketing in action, and builds confidence in your ability to handle various aspects of a digital marketing campaign. Plus, it adds weight to your résumé and portfolio, showcasing your skills to future employers.

Step 5: Develop a specialization

While a broad skill set is beneficial, specializing in a specific area can make you more marketable. Whether it’s SEO, email marketing or social media marketing, deepening your expertise in a particular area can set you apart.

Step 6: Build a digital marketing portfolio

Your digital marketing portfolio is your personal showcase, a tangible proof of your professional skills and accomplishments. It should include a variety of projects highlighting your expertise in areas like SEO, where you’ve improved website rankings; social media campaigns that have increased engagement or followers; successful email marketing campaigns that have driven results; and compelling content that you’ve crafted.

Document the strategies you used, the execution and, most importantly, the results. Did you increase website traffic? Boost email open rates? Grow social media engagement? These details illustrate your ability to deliver real-world results.

A well-rounded and results-driven portfolio is a powerful tool when applying for jobs or pitching to clients. It’s not just about what you know; it’s about what you’ve done with that knowledge.

Step 7: Stay up to date with industry trends

The digital marketing landscape is ever-evolving, with new technologies, platforms and strategies emerging constantly. Staying abreast of these changes is crucial for your long-term success.

Regularly follow industry blogs, listen to podcasts and subscribe to newsletters that focus on the latest digital marketing trends and tools. Engaging with online communities or forums can also provide insights and perspectives from peers in the field.

This ongoing learning process ensures you’re always at the cutting edge, ready to adapt and implement new strategies. By keeping your knowledge up to date, you’ll remain relevant and valuable in an industry that prizes innovation and adaptability.

Step 8: Network and connect

Networking is key. Connect with other marketing professionals and digital marketers through social media, industry events or local meetups. Networking can lead to job opportunities, mentorships and collaborations.

Step 9: Start freelancing or interning

Freelancing or securing an internship can be a game-changer in your budding digital marketing career.

As a freelancer, you’ll have the opportunity to work on diverse projects, allowing you to apply and hone a broad range of skills. You might find yourself crafting email marketing campaigns for a startup, managing social media for a local business or implementing SEO strategies for a personal blog. Each project not only builds your portfolio but also enhances your understanding of different market sectors and client needs.

Step 10: Apply for jobs

With a solid foundation, start applying for jobs. Tailor your résumé to highlight relevant digital marketing skills and experiences. Don’t overlook entry-level positions, as they can be steppingstones to more advanced roles.

Each step of this journey equips you with the skills and experiences needed to thrive in the dynamic world of digital marketing. With dedication and passion, you can build a fulfilling career that keeps pace with the evolving digital landscape.

Final thoughts

Embarking on a digital marketing career is a journey of continuous learning and adaptation. Start by understanding the field, then educate yourself through online courses and certifications. Gaining practical experience, whether through personal projects, freelancing or internships, is crucial. Specialize in an area that resonates with you, and showcase your skills in a comprehensive portfolio.

Always stay updated with industry trends, and network extensively. Remember: each step you take is building towards your role as a digital marketing specialist or manager. Stay curious, be adaptable, and embrace the dynamic nature of digital marketing to forge a successful and fulfilling career.

Got a question? Let us know in the comments section below.