So, you want a career in digital marketing, but what exactly does that entail? Whenever you interact with a brand online in any way, from their Google search results to the emails you receive from them, you’re engaging with the combined research, analysis and creative talent of a digital marketer. Clearly, there’s a lot of work that goes into the job – here are six of the skills you should be mastering if you’d like to pursue this career.
1 – SEO & SEM
Or rather, search engine optimization and search engine marketing. SEO relies on organic search and anyone can implement SEO strategies on their website for free. SEM refers to paid search engine advertisements. There are a number of free keyword research and SEO tools – including Google’s very own – that you can use to plan strategies or even investigate what works and what doesn’t before attempting SEO and SEM. It’s pretty easy to pick up with your own research and practice, although a course will definitely make the process easier.
2 – Data Analysis
Arguably the most important on the list, data analysis is the foundation you’ll build all your marketing tactics off of. Digital marketing involves a lot of trial and error, and consistent data analysis will show you which of your tactics are working and if you’re achieving your client’s goals.
Data analysis is pretty easy to master with research and practice. There’s a lot of information available online about KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and which are best to track for particular digital marketing goals, as well as many analysis tools to learn – those will do half the work for you and you can readily find courses online.
3 – Graphic Design
While a lot of companies have their own graphic design positions, most digital marketing jobs require at least beginner graphic design skills. You need to be able to deliver clean and interesting designs that contribute to a cohesive company aesthetic.
Thankfully, learning graphic design has been made a lot easier in recent years. By simply watching tutorials and experimenting with free applications like Pixlr, you can build a design portfolio very quickly and soon upgrade to Photoshop, the industry standard. If you aren’t artistically inclined, give Canva a try instead – this website offers templates for you to build off of, and plenty of digital marketing jobs require experience in it.
4 – Social Media Marketing
Nowadays, social media is probably the most effective form of marketing. There are a ton of new social media platforms to master and new trends produced almost every day to keep up with. More than that, you need to set achievable social media goals, research your target audience’s social media habits and learn how to effectively communicate with them.
Clearly, learning social media marketing requires more than the knowledge you have from simply browsing social media. Luckily, free social media marketing courses like the ones HubSpot offers are available to master all the intricacies of marketing on every platform you can think of. For practice, try setting up accounts advertising your own work.
5 – Copywriting
As a digital marketer, a huge chunk of the work is copywriting – landing pages, SEO implementation, social media captions, and plenty more. You need to learn how to communicate each individual client’s voice and how to speak directly to their consumers, as well as how to transfer this knowledge to each digital space you’re writing for. Do research about how to write effective copy, study the copy of popular brands that get a lot of engagement and practice on your own time – consistently writing is the only way to get good at it.
6 – Email Marketing
Email marketing is much more complex than sending out product updates. Whenever you give your email to a company, you’re added to a newsletter list or drip marketing list. As a digital marketer, it’s your job to determine what types of content these emails should include, as well as what subject line and opener will win the most clicks. Most companies will use email marketing tools like Mailchimp, which often have free options that you can explore and experiment with while studying up on best email marketing practices.
It sounds like a never-ending list of tasks to master, but each area of digital marketing feeds into the rest. There are plenty of free digital marketing courses online to help you see the bigger picture, too, if you’re new to everything on the list. Take your time doing careful research on the individual parts and soon, you’ll be adept enough to put the pieces together on the job.
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Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.
Feature Image: Adobe Stock