Are you thinking about a career in Digital Marketing?
Let's face it, you've spent the last four odd years of your life struggling through university only to find out that you have ZERO skills that put you in a position to make an impact at a workplace. Moreover, The beautiful ads that say “live like a digital marketing nomad” keep popping up on your Facebook feed and you have no idea how those people make money while traveling around the world.
To make it worse, you keep seeing people posting videos shot in fancy Lamborghinis titled 'I went from working at McDonald's to making a 100K a year” and you keep asking yourself just one little question - HOW?
Well, I'm not here to lure you into the idea of making a 100K overnight.
If you're still reading, I'm going to help you give your digital marketing career a kickstart so that some day with the right amount of hard work and application of knowledge, you make sufficient successful leaps in your life.
What Do Digital Marketing Experts Do?
Let's start with understanding what a digital marketer does. A Digital Marketer is responsible for developing, implementing and managing online marketing campaigns. These campaigns promote a company and its products and services.
He or she plays a major role in enhancing brand awareness within the digital space as well as driving website traffic and acquiring leads. You can learn more about the Digital Marketing career here.
Now that we know what a digital marketer's profession looks like, lets see how we can prep to jump into the career.
Remember, it's a lifestyle not a JOB.
It is important to understand that to be a successful marketer, you need tons of good ideas and inspiration. It may seem like ideas are easy to fabricate but in reality, having the right ideas for the right brand or product at the right time (whilst not breaking the bank) can be extremely difficult (but not impossible of-course).
As an aspiring digital marketer, it is essential that your lifestyle facilitates the natural growth of ideas in your mind. Six of the best ways to do so (in my humble opinion) are:
1. Make Time For Social Media
Start following the top digital marketers out there. If you're in the North American market, you should definitely follow people like Neil Patel and Kevin Payne who post at least 5 noteworthy blogs a day. These resources will be extremely helpful in understanding the scope of the profession in depth.
You can also follow people like me, who re-tweet posts by people mentioned above as well as contribute to their own ideas once in a while. Also, find marketing agencies around you and follow their social handles to gain some agency insights (follow ElementIQ on Instagram). I was personally not active on Twitter until I jumped into the field of Digital Marketing.
My Facebook and Twitter profiles would look very similar before I learned the hard way that Twitter is NOT for personal interaction. I have now come to an understanding that it is an amalgamation of Facebook and LinkedIn which lets you connect and build relationships with people who you look up to. This makes it an ideal lead generation and networking tool.
2. Follow Brands With Great Marketing Strategies
While some brands have digital marketing agencies that take care of their online presence for them, many brands have an in-house team that works behind the scenes and delivers appealing content.
It is a great idea to follow these brands on different social media platforms. Some of the brands that I follow are Mercedes-Benz Canada, Apple, Adidas, Nike, Mini, Chevrolet, and Sony. Brands like Dollar Beard Club (Check out the founder interview) and Mini (their North American launch strategy is noteworthy) have inspirational start-up and expansion marketing strategies. Great case studies to dive into as an aspiring marketer. It does not matter if your list looks a little different from mine. What matters is to be able to put yourself in the shoes of bigger brands and help yourself prepare for impactful roles in the industry.
3. Stay Organized
Like any other career, marketing requires you to be organized. Especially if you aspire to work in an agency setting. You may not be the kind that wakes up in the morning and makes their bed (I'm not either) but you will need to get into the habit of carrying a pen and diary for notes (or a digital notepad like Evernote). Managing your time appropriately and prioritizing important tasks is something you will learn eventually as long as you put in efforts to stay organized.
As simple as these things may seem, in reality, they can be the TOUGHEST to overcome. Especially when you find yourself downloading many files and images a day, managing multiple tasks for multiple campaigns, and working on various projects with different timelines. Organizing your tasks will do wonders for you in the industry. If you have a friend that is good at this, get help from them. The ElementIQ team has Sam and Joseph to look up to in terms of organized living!
4. Know The Tools Of The Trade.
As someone who aspires to be a digital marketing professional, it is a good idea to start off by learning about various tools that are used in the industry. If you know your tools well, you don't have to spend time familiarizing yourself with them when you finally land your dream job. Instead, you can get to using these tools right away and get things done!
I understand that some tools are more technical than others and it may take less or more time to understand their optimal usage depending on your technical abilities. Thus, I have shortlisted some tools that most people will have no problems understanding, irrespective of their technical aptitude and prior knowledge.
These tools and applications are not necessarily (directly) used in formulating or analyzing a campaign but are used to carry out daily tasks like communicating, designing and planning.
If you've not checked out slack yet, it's time you do! Slack is the ultimate team collaboration tool your team will ever need. It provides a neat and user-friendly communication space not only for direct messaging but also group messaging.
What is great about this tool is its ability to allow third-party application integrations. You can seamlessly send documents to your colleagues whether they are on your computer or on third-party apps like Quip and Google Docs. If you're on the go, Slack is availableinn the App Store for both iPhones and Android phones.
If all this doesn't convince you, let me tell you that the free version of slack is so efficient and offers so much that most agencies haven't felt the need to upgrade to the full version yet.
As someone who uses a Mac, I absolutely dislike the capabilities of collaboration that Microsoft Office boasts about. Be it the lack of cross-platform abilities or the ugly user interface, Microsoft Office is just not an option for the beautiful documents I strive to create at work.
Quip is an amazing cloud-based document creation platform that makes collaboration easier than ever before. Also, it integrates seamlessly with slack making things even better! Zero redundancy, seamless collaboration and a price of 0$ is what gives Quip the EIQ approval.
I had no skills in designing or editing pictures before I started working as a digital marketer.
Canva is what changed the game. Canva is an online tool that allows you to edit photos and images without having prior Photoshop or designing experience. I highly recommend playing around with it and watching some YouTube tutorials.
Once you get a hang of these tools, it might me time to dive into some technical tools like MailChimp, Moz, Google Analytics, Google AdWords etc. The ideal way to master these tools would be to either watch YouTube tutorials, read books (A good starter book: SEO For Dummies), complete the respective certifications or to get your hands on to some free trials and play around!
5. Get Certified
There are two very specific reasons as to why I would recommend being a Certified Professional in whatever career you choose.
The first reason is that certifications tend to keep you updated and never let you stay out of touch. Most certifications come with an expiry date and you must re-take the test before it expires. Obviously, this means that you re-iterate the salient topics and get new updates along the way.
The second reason is more résumé focused. Your résumé might list a few digital marketing skills but the only way to prove to an HR rep that you deserve and interview, is by backing those skills up with a certification (a relevant portfolio helps too).
I've listed some of the certifications that I felt were most helpful to me. I will be writing more in detail about each of them in a different post (comment down below if you'd like me to write on a specific topic).
As a digital marketing professional, communication is unquestionably key. There are very few aspects of digital marketing in which communication does not play a major role.
If you're trying to get into the Social Media Management side of marketing, communication is of utmost importance. I can vouch for the fact that it is not difficult to improve your communication and grammatical abilities since English is not my first language and I've managed to exponentially improve my communication skills over time. I spent hours reading books and watching movies to improve my linguistic abilities as a child and I still continue to do so.
My university accredited certifications in communication and English language testing have helped employers understand that I have the skills required to communicate effectively to an audience that I intend to market products or services to.
I learned very early in my internship that it is absolutely pointless to present ideas without data to back them up. The most effective way to present ideas for a campaign was to analyze data from similar campaigns or similar companies/products and use this data to back my idea.
All of this came into picture once I got my hands on to the Google Analytics platform. The Google Analytics certification is a short 2 step certification ranging about three to four hours each, which allows you to understand the data that flows behind marketing campaigns. It is absolutely worth the effort and it doesn't cost a penny!
Although online advertising is a nexus in itself, it is essential as a marketer that we understand the basics of how advertising on the internet works irrespective of whether you want to specialize in PPC management or not. Google AdWords is Google's advertising platform. Bing has a similar platform.
To be AdWords certified, you must complete the AdWords fundamental exam and complement it with either one of five specialization exams (Search Advertising, Display Advertising, Video Advertising, Mobile Advertising, Shopping Advertising). It takes about 3 hours to prepare for each exam and they are all free.
I would also recommend following Google Adwords on twitter for quick updates on the platform and upcoming changes, just to stay in constant touch with one of the most important advertising platforms out there.
Digital Marketing works on the principles of Inbound Marketing. If you haven't already understood the concepts of inbound marketing and how it differs from outbound or traditional marketing, I would recommended starting by watching this video on YouTube. The HubSpot Inbound Certification is the best way (by far) to understand what digital marketing really is and how it works. Also, just like the Google Academy courses, this course is available free of cost at HubSpot Academy.
6. Find an Internship
Once you've got a fair idea of these skills, it is actually time to jump into the industry. What better way to start than an internship with EIQ! Find out more about the ElementIQ internship program here.