Watch the video above or read the transcript below…
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”
– Zig Ziglar
And with an average salary of over $100,000 in Australia in 2022 – this might just be the perfect time to start your career in Digital Marketing.
One of my most popular videos on YouTube has been my Digital Marketing 101 Introduction to digital marketing. And now I wanted to go one step further and talk about what it’s like to actually work as a digital marketer and help you decide whether it’s the right path for you.
I’ve now worked in Digital Marketing for 4 years as an online freelancer, as a strategist at a digital marketing agency and as an in-house digital marketing specialist in a corporate role. So if you’ll like this post and video make sure to head over and subscribe to my YouTube channel I’ll be sharing all of my best tips and taking you step-by-step through all of the different areas of digital marketing we’ll be discussing at the end of this post.
Why digital marketing and why now?
The most profitable products and services often aren’t actually “the best”. The best sellers on Amazon aren’t the best-written books, the highest-earning YouTubers aren’t necessarily the most talented, ‘the best’ often just means ‘the best marketed’. You can have the best product in the world but if you can’t get people to buy it then it’s quality is sadly irrelevant.
And with everything that’s been going on in the world, now more than ever before people are dependent on their digital presence for the success of their business. Nearly, every profession from teachers to therapists have had to think creatively about how to operate their business online. Physical stores have had to set up online shops to accommodate restrictions on people physically coming to the shop. And people who have gotten by with running their business for decades marketing purely through word-of-mouth recommendations have now had to look to digital for help.
It’s a no brainer then, that Seek have stated that the projected growth in the number of available jobs for a Digital Marketing Manager in the next 5 years is a crazy 21.7% Also according to ntegrity 88% of companies are struggling to find digital talent, with 42% saying it’s their biggest or a major challenge. And these trends are reflected globally as well.
The trend is clear – digital marketing both in terms of jobs and in terms of company budgets has now taken over traditional marketing as Digital Advertising spend has reached over $8.5 billion annually in Australia alone.
This also means that digital marketing skills are not only a hot commodity now… but they’re only about to get hotter. But are they right for you? Let’s find out.
Is digital marketing right for you?
There are some jobs in the online universe that lend themselves better to analytical minds while others lean more towards the creative side. Digital marketing is perfect for anyone who excels in both areas. If you are someone who loves creating videos or graphics for social media but you also enjoy staring at complex strategies, graphs and charts and measuring the successes of your efforts, then this might just be the career for you.
Can you succeed as a digital marketer if numbers aren’t your thing?
Quite honestly I’d say no because being able to create an epic marketing strategy and the assets necessary to put it into action is just one piece of the puzzle. You need to also be able to look at the whole picture and determine what’s working and amplify it, and also see what’s maybe not working so well and know how to fix it.
For example, a client might say they want to get more people onto their email list and task you with getting more people to their website. It would then be your job to look at all of the client’s stats which might help you determine that actually they get 1000 people to their website every day but only 10 people convert to leads, so the problem isn’t with traffic but with the rate of conversion so your focus would then go towards finding ways to turn more of the website visitors into leads.
That’s the analytical part of you… then the creative part would come in when you get to actually create the new lead magnet which might be an eBook or free training, creating the landing page to allow people to sign up for it… then the email that delivers their free offer.
Then in addition to this analytical and creative side of you, you also have to be good at reading people and giving them what they want. Because marketing as a whole is all about predicting what people will want and how they will want a message delivered and when it should be delivered to them. So if you’re someone who already does this in your day-to-day life then this might just be the right time to make some money off of this skill!
How can you build up your presence?
One of the most frequently asked questions I get from my students is ‘how do I get a client when I have no portfolio to show off, and how do I create a portfolio without clients?” It’s a great question with a simple solution.
Now when I apply for full-time roles or approach freelance clients all they have to do is Google me to find my courses and all of my videos and blog posts and find out if we’re a good fit for one another. But when I first started I started with a one-page website with a sample of my copywriting style – which was just a screenshot of one of my Instagram captions. It also had a sample of a very basic Facebook Ad I put together for my own Facebook page, I also included some graphics I designed – again for my own business.
Are you starting to see a pattern? I was my own first client.
This did two things. First, it took a lot of the pressure off by allowing me to practice on myself and if I screwed anything up then it wasn’t an issue. And it also allowed me to build up a portfolio of samples of my work I could show off to future clients. And as a bonus, building this presence up also meant that clients often discovered me through my online presence as well.
So I recommend that if you’d like to start your digital marketing career this year, start by first creating an online presence for yourself to show off your skills. Make sure to check out my video of how to create your free one page portfolio site as well to help you out.
And remember, you don’t need to be an expert at this – you just need to be better than the client.
And in the wise words of Sir Richard Branson: “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
What qualifications do you need to get started?
I know there are amazing digital marketing degrees out there, but having now worked freelance, agency-side and in-house in a corporate environment I can honestly say that NOT having a degree in marketing has never been an issue for me. That being said, there will be some roles especially within government bodies where a formal qualification is a requirement. But I’d very confidently say that the time and money you would spend on a 3 or 4-year degree would be wasted because in a couple of years the digital marketing world will look completely different.
So my advice is to start with a few affordable online courses to learn the basics and then practice, begin working with clients and continue learning as you go.
That’s kind of the beauty of marketing – the learning never stops because the brilliant minds at Facebook and Google are always thinking about the next big thing that will help them push their platforms to the next level.
What areas do you need to be skilled in?
I believe that digital marketing divides itself neatly into two overarching themes – strategy and implementation. And in order to be successful with the former, you need to begin with the latter. Some things you need to be familiar within the marketing world from the implementation side would be:
Intent-based social networks like YouTube and Pinterest where people go to look for answers to their questions or to be inspired.
And engagement-based social networks like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and TikTok where people go to be entertained and engage with their favourite brands.
And in addition to understanding the organic or free methods of growing on these platforms you would also need to understand paid advertising on these platforms.
Then you would need to understand the fundamentals of conversion copywriting, search engine optimisation, search engine marketing, content marketing, email marketing, landing page design and graphic design.
You may never need to touch web development in terms of having to code a website but it’s good to have a basic knowledge of the back-end of platforms like WordPress and Shopify as they’re the two most popular CMS tools for service-based and eCommerce businesses.
And at the larger enterprise levels, you might also need to have some familiarity with CRM systems such as Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce or HubSpot.
Then when it comes to the strategy side of things you need to understand how all of these elements work together towards a common goal. You would need to be able to create marketing funnels using some or all of these elements to help your clients achieve their desired outcome. And you would need to be able to analyse and interpret the data gathered from the actions of people flowing through your marketing funnel.
Ok – now I want to ease your mind by telling you that you do not have to be an expert at all of these areas, you will likely end up specialising in the ones that most appeal to you. For example, I prefer working with Facebook Ads over Google Ads but I made sure to understand both in case my client was maybe also running Google Ads with another freelancer and I needed to understand how my own marketing efforts would fit in with these.
So the key difference between a digital marketer and a Facebook Ads specialist for example… is that a digital marketer would be across everything that’s happening around that Facebook Ad, not just the Ad itself.
And the great news is that although yes, companies do look for hard skills and specific knowledge learned through training, soft skills are actually even more important.
In fact, the top seven characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including those with different values and views); having empathy and being supportive of co-workers; being a good critical thinker and problem solver, and being able to make connections across complex ideas.
So if it’s good enough for Google – you can bet it’s good enough for a lot of other employers out there.
So if like me, you get bored with doing the same thing every single day and want to earn great money with this dynamic career, then Digital Marketing might just be the career for you.
And Google’s Digital Garage is a great free resource for learning the ins and outs of digital marketing as a beginner so make sure to check that out along with my resource full of digital marketing resources for beginners. And if you’re still looking for more places to find advice on the topic, check out this comprehensive list of the best digital marketing blogs.
If you still have questions about how to get started with digital marketing – let me know in the comments below!
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