How to Become a Digital Marketer in 6 Months
Most graduates coming out of college fail to make an impact in the industry since they don’t possess valuable skills. Specifically marketing graduates aspiring to be at the forefront of strategy making & brand management get a reality check as they are pushed towards sales or telecalling.
That’s when we realise the importance of having a skill that can pave way for a successful career & a bright future. Reach out to any of your digital marketer friends and they will let you know how their job is exciting & challenging, digital marketing is here to stay & it has revolutionized the way brands want to reach out to their customers.
In a way, it has changed how a number of businesses used to handle their marketing campaigns. There seems to be no end to the number of opportunities that come up in this space since more and more people want to expand their business online.
Why Learn Digital Marketing?
The scope of digital marketing is ever increasing it is being adopted by major corporations across the globe. You can get yourself placed in the best agencies, get to work with big brands, work as a freelancer and take up multiple projects, or expand your own business venture by incorporating digital marketing strategies.
When it comes to learning digital marketing, your age doesn’t matter at all. If you’re a student, there’s not a better time to explore digital marketing as a beginner. If you’re a business owner, it is never too late to take your business on digital platforms increasing your customer base. With digitalisation gaining a lot of momentum in recent years, there’s not a better time to get started.
Practical Learning is the only effective medium that puts light on every aspect as you work on projects & understand the details involved. Getting access to courses online isn’t bad, it is good enough to build your basics, it gives you an understanding of how to go about the process, over 90% of your learning will depend on the projects that you take up, the response that your website or campaign gets.
Trial & error plays a significant role as well, experimentation is key, your knowledge acquisition will depend upon how you observe the process & the results, based on that, you need to analyse what are the elements that are working well, what elements need to be replaced for the campaign to see better results.
I’ve been associated with Digitally Social for a long time now, many of our readers, students reach out to us to become a certified digital marketer. Most of them complain that the courses & e-books available on various online platforms are of no good as they are mostly theoretical. So, we decided to provide all resources through an article that will help beginners to get an overview of how to go about learning digital marketing, this article is an organized medium through which we guide you to take up digital marketing as a career.
Using the guidelines provided by us, you will be well equipped to call yourself a digital marketer with multiple projects that you would have already completed in the span of the next 6 months. This plan is for anyone who wants to start from scratch & be hireable as a digital marketer provided that you put in the necessary efforts.
Step 1: Pick an Interest Area
Through digital marketing, our main motive can be to get people to our website, make them visit our website multiple times & make them take any action on the website. These 3 phases can be called Acquisition, Retention & Conversion.
You need to excel in all these areas to be called a specialist digital marketer. These 3 areas form a funnel for those who visit your website.
When you’re starting out focus on any one of those areas since you won’t be aware of your interest area initially, you will build a general idea as you begin working on projects under each area, once you figure out the area that excites you the most, you can hone your skills by gaining expertise in that area.
Agencies prefer digital marketers who can manage multiple functions, so when given the responsibility to run a social media campaign, you need to be aware about every element involved rather than having a vague idea.
You will be expected to step up & take up various responsibilities while you are working at an agency.
Let us understand the functions that come under each area of focus, having a combination of these functions is highly considered if you want to be involved at multiple stages of the funnel.
As mentioned earlier, the first area is the Acquisition Stage where your responsibility is to get the attention of the prospects, you want to attract them to your website & make them aware of your presence. The following functions & strategies come under the Acquisition stage:
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Marketing
The next step is to hook the prospects & users, it is the Retention stage, here you try to reach out your target audience & try to build a form of loyalty, the following tools are used under the Retention stage:
The final stage, where you expect your customers to take an action that benefits your firm or brand, it is called the conversion stage, the focus is on:
Landing Page Design
As you are getting started, you can pick one or two functions from every stage, that can help you become more of a generalist digital marketer.
You can go for any area or function, it doesn’t make much of a difference, but it is always beneficial to have copywriting skills along with other functions.
Copywriting is a must, if you want your marketing campaign to have original content, without it the other functions won’t be that effective. Copywriting helps in multiplying your efforts as you’re able to deliver the message very clearly & the probability of achieving better results increases.
Step 2: Build Resources to Learn
Learning digital marketing without practice is of no good, you need a platform & certain tools & resources to get started. Many people fail at the initial stages as they read innumerable blogs or books without implementing any of the data that they go through.
However, we’re are going to make sure that you don’t end up like that since we are following a well-curated path that leads us straight to becoming a professional digital marketer.
You need a sandbox, a place where you can practice whatever you’re learning & the insights that you research. The following factors must be kept in mind before you begin implementing:
1. Budget Friendly: You don’t have to go over the board and invest a lot in the initial stages of learning
2. Risk-Free: You don’t have to worry about failing, you can freely display your work as the stakes are not too high.
3. Reach out to platforms: The projects built by you need to be put out there in the market for people to understand your potential, it will help create opportunities.
Applying this can get you valuable insights in the form of feedback, make sure you share your projects with people having a considerable amount of knowledge in the digital marketing space & you will get to know what are the things people in the industry are actually looking for.
This testing phase can help you improve your skills & match up the industry standards.
Now, the next step would be to figure out the project you want to start working on, the most preferable & accessible medium to start your online journey is by setting up your blog.
A blog has a lot of potentials & it can help you understand a number of details regarding digital marketing. It allows you to access analytics, how are people responding to your content, you can test a number of tactics on your blog to get a deeper sense of how digital marketing works.
If you’re looking out to start a marketing blog, we would suggest you not to go for it since the internet is filled with marketing articles that are of no good. Go for something that you’re really interested in, let it be your hobby or anything that generates a lot of curiosity among readers, people undermine the significance of relatable content.
If your content resonates with the readers, they will preferably try to share your content with their peers as well. So rather than going for something that everyone is writing about, you should focus on creating content that you actually like & know a bit about.
Eventually, you must go looking out for growth channels to market the content you have published. So, if you want to go for social media as a platform to reach out to people, you need to be clear & pick one platform for ads (Facebook or Google) & try to completely focus on that.
There is always scope for expanding aggressively but you don’t want to burn yourself out by trying too many things at once.
If you’re trying to advertise with your own budget without any funding, the experience can be expensive & frustrating because advertising is a continuous & slow process, it will burn a lot of money. So, first, let us learn about the free channels that you can access.
Step 3: Practicing & Prioritizing
Once the sandbox is in place, you’re all set & there should be no stopping you. Keep putting out content, make reports on the responses the content is getting, optimise the channels you’re active on & completely shift your focus on learning how you can increase traffic, increase the retention rate & see if customers are positively responding to your call to action.
Once you start implementing what you’ve learned, you need to do it with a professional framework. We don’t want to be slogging without seeing constructive results.
Using the ‘Bullseye process’ can be a gamechanger to get the traction channels & increase the reach on various platforms.
1. Analyse every traction channel that can be utilised, create a spreadsheet & manage the data by rating each traction channel based on how well it is working for you, the cost acquired on each of these channels, the timeframe when the channel is implemented & how many leads or customers are coming through.
2. Based on the results, classify your strongest channels that are working great for you & offering amazing opportunities & the others that are working out moderately.
3. You need to prioritize your strongest 3 channels.
4. Keep testing the shortlisted channels, increased testing allows you to understand the potential of every channel.
5. Finally, you have the right channel that is getting you maximum traction at the initial stages, the channel might change as your project progresses & grows.
We need to use the 50% rule that is to spend 50% of our time on our offering & 50% of our time on gaining traction.
The Bullseye Framework helps us to set & test our goals as we practice, it also gives us a greater understanding of the various areas that play a key role in digital marketing, it germinates ideas that can further be experimented with.
Let us discuss an example, suppose you’re looking towards Instagram as an acquisition tool, you would try to grow your profile on the platform & then research the ways you can drive traffic through it, rank the different ideas on a spreadsheet, select the top 3 opportunities, design and inexpensive test with the defined goals mentioning the reach or traffic you want to achieve with a defined timeframe.
At the end of the test, you would have arrived at the conclusion with the numbers telling you the channels that are best for your niche.
Your initial focus should be to be thorough with the acquisition channels before going towards optimization or conversion. We’ve researched & found out the best guides to help you select acquisition channels for your own project.
Influencer Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing
Search Engine Ads: Google AdWords Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide
You need to select anyone that excites you, but you have to be consistent, keep experimenting & record your observations closely to analyse them as you move forward.
Until now, we have figured out:
1. Areas that require initial focus.
2. Created our own sandbox to practice.
3. Worked on gaining traction for your project
4. Created a spreadsheet with the desired channels & goals.
5. Tried & tested the strategies & recorded observations
You need to follow the above steps until now before we can move ahead, it will help create a foundation for what we are about to learn.
Step 4: Research & Prepare
If you’ve reached this step, that’s great because you’re making amazing progress, after experimenting channels of acquisition, it’s time to expand your knowledge about other areas & learn about their applications. Once again, the only way to learn will be to do it yourself as you work in it, practical learning is what stays with you long-term.
You need to keep following this path:
1. Executing the marketing strategies on the platforms.
2. Successful attempts must be recorded & a system must be created for consistent progress.
3. The channels & strategies not working out after running for a specific amount of time, should be scrapped to manage the resources well.
For every area that you’re trying to learn in digital marketing, you need to find experiments that can be applied & tested. Focus on finding case studies that can help you learn from people’s first-hand experience.
This would help you understand what exactly worked for someone else, test it yourself & if it works out for you, you saved yourself a lot of time.
Make it a part of your schedule to research & read what’s happening in your niche, this practice can make a huge difference as you get new ideas to experiment as you come across various brands & people. This is a great way to augment your skills.
Now while this a great step of acquiring insights & knowledge, you simply cannot afford to spend too much time reading & not actually working on the initiating process. Our mind is always looking for quick results, but we need to be patient while we’re trying to increase our reach as it can be a time-consuming process.
You need to be committed to your plan and avoid any temptations because whoever is promising you instant results or a shortcut to digital marketing success is most probably lying to you.
Step 5: Look for freelancing projects
This step isn’t mandatory but let’s make it very clear, more than any of what you learned through any course or blog or by working on your own side project, freelancing & actually working for a client will test your resilience. When your client is paying you for doing their project, there is an expectation that you need to match & in the process you get to learn a lot.
This will help you advance towards becoming a professional digital marketer. You’ll be coming across areas that you aren’t familiar with, such instances help you learn your way through it & in most scenarios, the client or business you’re working for will give you feedback & insights that will expose your weaker areas allowing you to work on them.
An opportunity to work for someone who has expertise over the subject allows you to learn from their knowledge, this is possible through freelancing. UpWork is a great platform to help you find opportunities to take up projects, freelancing will also help you create your own network in the industry.
If you’re able to continue the cycle of experimenting & learning, being consistent during the process, within no time you would be heading towards a position in the agency you’re looking to work with.
Being diligent & responsible is a must, do not fall for misleading articles promising you quick results because that isn’t practical. Make sure you are passionate towards your project, that will keep you motivated even when things are not working out.
Best of Luck!