The way that businesses market themselves has changed dramatically in the past few years. As the world turns more digital, companies big and small have discovered the tremendous impact that a solid digital marketing strategy can have on the success and growth of a business. This year is no exception.

In 2021, the importance of digital marketing cannot be underestimated.  

In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about the digital marketing industry and career path. We’ll guide you through the intricacies of the digital marketing world, as well as show you how you can kickstart a career in this exciting industry.

Ready? Let’s get started.  

Launch Your Digital Marketing Career

Learn the technical skills needed to build an audience, create a brand, and drive sales. Study with a flexible, online schedule, a personal mentor, and peer groups.



What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing refers to the process through which you promote a brand, product, or service using digital channels. Though it sounds simple, digital marketing is a much more complicated process that involves many moving parts and takes time to learn.  

Many companies spend millions of dollars employing teams of marketing professionals who focus their time and energy into ensuring that their company’s digital presence is well-established.  

Entire books, courses, and degrees are made about digital marketing. It’s a growing field that is constantly developing, with new discoveries being made every day. The strategies and techniques that work today may not be as effective tomorrow. As such, effective digital marketers need to maintain a learner’s mindset, conducting research and reading studies about what works best for today’s audiences.  

No one digital marketer can do it all, and the career opportunities in this field tend to break down according to the specific channels used in digital marketing efforts.  

Digital Marketing Channels

When we discuss digital marketing channels, we're referring to the mediums or platforms marketers can use to find their target audience and promote their business.

This is different from the types of digital marketing techniques you can use, which we'll discuss soon. Essentially, a digital marketing channel is the place where you can apply different marketing techniques.

The digital marketing channels are:

Search Engines

Search engines are the single most important element of a digital marketing strategy. If your site isn't optimized for search, new customers may not be able to find you and will turn to a competitor instead. Search engines are the vehicle your target audience uses to find what you offer. For this reason, every marketing effort you make needs to be tailored to the current search engine guidelines.

This channel comes with various digital marketing techniques such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid search. These and other types of digital marketing are most effective when you, as the digital marketer, provide true value to your target audience.

Search engines serve users, providing them with only the most relevant information. Being an ethical digital marketer means creating quality content that helps search engines match you up with your target audience.

Your Website

The success of your business will depend greatly on your company website.

Your customers need a place to find all the information they need about your business. Without a website, it'll be difficult to implement any digital marketing strategy, as there is no real foundation to your online presence.

Social Media

Whether you love social media or hate it, it’s important to note that having a social media presence directly impacts the success of a business. No matter your industry, your target audience uses social media, and it’s important for your business to go directly to them.

Having a social media presence allows you to engage with your target audience and create brand awareness. This can have a direct effect on your revenue and sales, which will then determine the health and growth of your business. Your digital marketing strategy simply must have a social media marketing plan.

Other Websites

Like social media, email is one digital marketing channel you just can’t ignore. Your target audience uses email for almost everything. This offers you a big opportunity to reach and engage with them directly.

You will need to be careful when using this channel to market your business. Using the right email marketing techniques will help you personalize your messages to each potential customer. Email is a channel that is very personal to your audience, and the key to using this channel effectively is respecting your audience’s timeand attention.

Types of Digital Marketing

There are many types of digital marketing techniques available to digital marketers. Many of them encompass two or more channels and involve the complicated process of testing, tracking, and figuring out what works best for each one.

Here are some of the most important types of digital marketing:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – If you want your business to be found, you need to do everything you can to ensure you rank in the top spot in search engine results pages (SERPs) organically. This is where SEO comes in. Using SEO strategies means doing everything you can to get search engines to rank your page higher than others. This can mean targeting keywords, optimizing your website, or improving content quality.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)- Search Engine Marketing is similar to Search Engine Optimization in that the goal is to appear on the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). The difference lies in that SEM uses paid advertising techniques to achieve the same result, whereas SEO focuses on ranking higher in an organic and natural way.

Content Marketing – Content marketing focuses on creating, publishing, and promoting content to your target audience. As a digital marketer, your job is to ensure that the content that is published is of the highest quality, offers real value to your target audience, and is an accurate representation of your business.

Social Media Marketing – Social media platforms are incredibly popular. As such, they are great channels to promote your business. Social media marketing centers on the techniques and strategies you use as a digital marketer to promote your business on social media. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are some of the most popular and widely used social media platforms.

Email Marketing – Email marketing is by far one of the oldest forms of digital marketing. Many businesses use email marketing to reach and engage with their target audience. They may also use it to communicate with their customers or ask for feedback. This can be an extremely effective technique, if it’s done correctly. The key to a successful email marketing technique is ensuring that every email you send out provides the maximum value to each recipient.

Affiliate marketing – This is a popular digital marketing technique where you offer an incentive to an individual or business to promote your business. Many businesses do this by using affiliate links, where the affiliate individual or your business links off to your business on their website or platform. In turn, they receive compensation for promoting your business.

Native marketing – This digital marketing technique uses paid advertisements that match the context and content of the website they are featured on. These advertisements are usually placed on external channels such as social media feeds or websites. They’re designed to look natural, so many website users can’t distinguish between the native ads and the actual content.

Why is Digital Marketing Important?

Digital marketing is important for one main reason: it works. Seriously. In a world that is turning more and more digital every day, digital marketing is becoming the most effective way to reach your target audience and promote your business.

Because of this, establishing a strong online presence is more important than ever before.

A solid digital marketing strategy can give you access to a wider audience of potential customers. It can also increase sales by guiding your customer across the entire sales funnel. Underestimating the effectiveness of digital marketing can have a negative impact on the success of your business.

Benefits of Digital Marketing

If you’re still not convinced on the importance of digital marketing, here are just a few of the benefits of having a digital marketing strategy for your business:

A solid digital marketing strategy will help your business reach its full potential in a cost-effective and efficient way. It’s no wonder more and more businesses invest their time and money in improving their digital marketing efforts.

Careers in Digital Marketing

At this moment, there is a high demand for digital marketing jobs. Most businesses understand the importance of digital marketing, so there is a great variety of roles within the digital marketing field. If a specific part of the digital marketing process stands out to you, you’ll likely find a role related to it.

Some common roles include:

There are just some of the digital marketing-related roles out there. When it comes to this field, you can always find a role that fits the part of the digital marketing process that you enjoy most. All you have to do is look.

Are Digital Marketing Jobs in Demand?

The short answer is yes.

Market research analysts and marketing specialist are one of the occupations that have the most job growth in the United States. This makes sense, as the importance of digital marketing will only increase as the role of technology in society grows.

You can definitely expect this career path to continue growing and offering aspiring digital marketers like you more opportunities.

What Does a Digital Marketer Do?

If you’re wondering what a digital marketer does, just know that it’s a lot. In essence, digital marketers do everything necessary to create brand awareness, generate leads, and covert leads into customers.

This sounds much simpler than it is, and many businesses employ multiple marketing specialists to take care of different sections of the digital marketing process. You can usually expect a business to have at least an email marketer, social media marketer, content writer or copywriter, SEO specialist, and a brand manager.

Of course, it varies from business to business.

How Much Do Digital Marketers Make?

The median annual wage of a market research analyst or marketing specialist is $65,810. However, the digital marketer’s salary can change depending on your specific role within the field of digital marketing.

According to Salary.com, this is the median annual salary of these various roles:

What Skills Does a Digital Marketer Need?

Like with any job, a digital marketer needs a solid combination of hard and soft skills. Each will help digital marketers fulfill their role efficiently and collaborate with other members of their digital marketing team.

Hard Skills: These are job-specific skills that you can measure. Some hard skills that digital marketers need to have include:

Soft Skills: These are personality-based skills that determine the way you work by yourself and with others. Some soft skills that digital marketers need to have include:

How Do I Become a Digital Marketer?

There are a variety of ways you can become a digital marketer. If you’re sure that this is the right path for you, you can start by considering what you like most about the digital marketing process. This will help you pin point what you want to specialize in, which will in turn help you determine what to study.

You can also work on your hard and soft skills while you learn to get better prepared for your new career. There are many important requirements to meet, so getting a head start is always helpful.

When it comes to requirements, many employers also expect aspiring digital marketers to have an educational background on the field.

Education in Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a popular and competitive field where every bit of knowledge and experience counts. For this reason, you might consider following any of the following education paths.

Digital Marketing Degrees

There are a lot of ways to learn more about the digital marketing field and become certified. A degree is one of the most common ways to do this. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most expensive and time-consuming ways to learn digital marketing. Still, if you’re interested in an in-depth understanding of the field, as well as college degree, a digital marketing degree might be right for you.

Digital Marketing Certificates

On the other end, there are also digital marketing certificate programs available to the aspiring digital marketer. These tend to be more cost-effective than college degrees and take up much less time to complete. However, they might not provide you with the in-depth knowledge you might be looking for.

Digital Marketing Courses

Another great option for aspiring digital marketers are courses and bootcamps. This educational path can be considered a happy medium for aspiring digital marketers who want in-depth knowledge for a reasonable price. They’re also great for those looking for the one-on-one guidance of a professional mentor.

If you think the bootcamp path is right for you, consider Thinkful’s Digital Marketing Bootcamp. You’ll learn everything you need to know about this field, as well as how to get started down the digital marketing career path.

Digital Marketing Resources

Even if you’re already taking digital marketing courses or working towards a degree, you can always benefit from learning more about this field. The following resources will help you learn more about the interesting field of digital marketing.

Books

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Perfect for: This national bestseller is an absolute must-have for digital marketers. It teaches you about the ways in which you can influence others and persuade them into certain behaviors. It also explains the concepts of social proof, the scarcity mindset, and reciprocation.

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Perfect for: This book is perfect for anyone who wants to have a better understanding of why and how things become popular. It’s perfect for aspiring digital marketers like you, as this book will teach you the ins and outs of what makes a brand/product/service increase in popularity and even go viral.

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

Perfect for: This book will help you learn the different ways you can improve how you communicate with your customers. It will also help you understand what makes a brand go from good to great by using your brand to tell a story. It’s a must-read for digital marketers at any stage.

Tools

These are a lot of great tools available to the aspiring digital marketer. These tools help you manage all aspects of the marketing process, so pick the one that works best for you.

Digital Marketing Tools

From collecting data to measuring success and analyzing results, these tools will help you with some of the essential parts of the digital marketing process:

Communication Tools

Businesses don’t usually have one person to manage everything. The digital marketing process is far too complex and is better implemented in teams. These communication tools will help you stay in touch with your colleagues:

Productivity Tools

Productivity is an important part of any workplace effectiveness. As such, it’s important to have the right tools to keep yourself productive while carrying out the digital marketing process. Here are some awesome productivity tools to get you started:

Terms

There are a lot of terms you need to learn in order to get a better grasp of the digital marketing field. Without this knowledge, learning about digital marketing can get confusing, so make sure to study up on the important terms.

Here are some of the important digital marketing terms you need to know:

SEO: The process of optimizing digital content in a way that helps your content rank higher in search engines in an organic way.

SEM: A type of paid digital marketing technique that helps your content rank higher on search engines.

SERP (or Search Engine Results Page): This refers to the list of results you get from completing a search query in a search engine.

On-page SEO: Refers to the process of optimizing afront-end web page for search engines.

Off-page SEO: Refers to the optimization efforts you make outside of your own business website.

Technical SEO: Refers to the process of optimizing the back-end of your business website for search engines.

PPC (or Pay-Per-Click): A type of advertising technique where the advertiser pays for having their ad displayed only when a user clicks on it.

Keep in mind that there are many more terms you will learn in your digital marketing journey. These are just some of the most important ones that will help you understand this complicated process much better.

Pursuing a Career in Digital Marketing

Becoming a digital marketer doesn’t happen overnight. Fortunately, this is a growing field that is only increasing in importance. As a result, you have many opportunities to start your journey towards this career path.

To kickstart your journey, you need the knowledge and skills to be an effective digital marketer. If you're ready to get started, you might consider an online digital marketing bootcamp to help you learn everything you need to know. We’ll help you learn the skills you need to land that job in digital marketing that you so desire.

Take a leap towards your new career.

FAQs

Why is digital marketing a good career?

Digital marketing is a vast field, and the key skills in high demand. Businesses depend on their marketing strategy and are always looking for an awesome digital marketer who will help them grow. The digital marketing career path gives you a variety of specialized roles you can pick based on your skill and preference.

And frankly, it’s downright fun to be a part of the team that helps a business reach its full potential.

What’s the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing?

Traditional marketing involves print ads, direct mail, television, radio and any other print material you can think of. While this form of marketing was once very effective (and still is, to an extent), there are now limits of how far traditional marketing can reach.

Digital marketing involves channels such as search engines, websites, social media platforms, and email, among others. Currently, digital marketing is a lot more effective than traditional marketing, simply because of the important role technology plays in society.

Does Thinkful offer courses in digital marketing?

Yes! We offer a Digital Marketing Bootcamp that covers all you need to know about the digital marketing career path. You can choose between a part-time or full-time approach that fits your needs and current lifestyle. You’ll also benefit from the one-on-one guidance of a professional mentor. Schedule a call with an admissions representative to learn more about becoming a digital marketer.

Launch Your Digital Marketing Career

Learn the technical skills needed to build an audience, create a brand, and drive sales. Study with a flexible, online schedule, a personal mentor, and peer groups.



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