13 Tips for Starting a Career in Digital Marketing

6 March, 2019

20 mins read

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So, you want a career in digital marketing. At the time of researching for this article, there were 4,904 digital-marketing-related jobs on Seek around Australia. Four of these were to fill positions available Localsearch.

However, if you scroll through the jobs listed, you’ll be inundated with acronyms like SEO, SEM, HTML, CSS and job titles like:

  • Digital marketing coordinator.
  • eCommerce manager.
  • Digital marketing assistant.
  • SEO specialist.
  • Marketing and digital facilitator.
  • CRM expert.

And so on.

Where do you even start? How do you progress to the upper tier roles? Should you specialise in one area or do you be a Jack of all trades? Our 13 tips for starting a career in digital marketing will help you navigate these early on decisions and how to take your position to the next level.

P.S. if you do need help with some of those acronyms, we have a glossary of the top digital marketing terms to help you out.

Digital marketer showing stats

Personal Development

Tip 1: Create your own online branding.

Proof is in the pudding, right? If you’re not already on LinkedIn, and utilising it daily, go sign up or update your profile now. It’s a great way to network with industry professionals and brands, find out tips and news, and oftentimes, businesses will post their digital marketing job ads there first. Even if you’re not currently looking to be employed, you should be staying in the loop.

You may also want to create a website with a blog (to share your knowledge as you build upon it), a professional Instagram and even a Twitter, which is a great platform to connect on a more personal level.

Tip 2: Network like a pro.

It’s all good and well to have a LinkedIn, but you should also be actively networking as much as possible. Starting a career in digital marketing is like any other—you need connections, or at least open yourself up to opportunities.

But let’s be real. You can’t attend every conference or event. In our article, How to Network Like a Pro, we share some of our top tips for networking in person and online, so there’s no excuse not to get out there.

Network for a successful career in digital marketing

Tip 3: Get organised.

Below, we talk about about choosing a brand-focused or client-focused role. In either role, you’ll need to have strong organisational skills to follow-up on different aspects of a campaign and all the working parts and people.

Using organisational tools, such as Asana or Trello will help you monitor tasks and projects on individual and team levels, as well as set reminders. You can link these programs to apps on your phone, so you can mark off or add tasks on the go that sync to your computer.

Tip 4: Listen as well as you speak.

In any digital marketing role, you’ll need to engage with others in your field, other areas, management, and normally, clients. While you’re there to offer your expertise, remember, other people will have different priorities, views and backgrounds. Listen to what others have to say and use any feedback or rebuttals in a constructive manner. It may even be an opportunity to learn a new skill or fact—no one can know it all.

At the same time, you need to confidently be able to communicate your point and negotiate, if there is room to do so. There can often be a lot of opinions involved on one subject matter, even for small subjects like choosing a colour or a single word. Being able to provide information to support your claim, positives and negatives of a point and highlight the expected journey from a decision made will help you to clearly get across your opinion.

Professional Development

Tip 5: Start by covering the basics.

As you’re researching tips for starting a career in digital marketing, we’re going to assume you know a bit about the different areas, including eCommerce, search engine marketing and optimisation, social media and the rest. While in the future you may find you have a knack for a particular area, don’t be too choosy in the beginning.

To start, you should be picking up as many skills as possible to build your portfolio. If you’re not pursuing a degree or official course already, look at doing as many short courses, even free ones, as possible. Reading blogs, such as ours, is also a good way to keep up with the latest strategies and news.

Top 3 Free Digital Marketing Courses

Tip 6: Don’t overlook starting your career at the ‘bottom’.

If you’ve ever read Scandilands by Kyle Sandilands, you’d know getting your foot in the door and putting in every ounce of effort you have can get you big places.

When you still have little-to-no experience, the first thing you should do is be looking for a gateway into a reputable business. Of course, if you have the experience, you may have the right skillset to go for more sought-after roles, but looking further afield may help you get into the business of your dream.

Once you have started work, take the time to learn everything you can about the customers, business and the products and services. Devote yourself to performing above and beyond, demonstrating your knowledge and skills wherever you can. Most importantly, never say no to an opportunity—even if it’s a chance just to get your name known by management. Trust us, it gets noticed.

Even boxing up a package can help a career in digital marketing

Tip 7: Pick a specialisation but don’t limit yourself.

Here’s the thing, there are so many different areas within digital marketing. It’s an amazing idea to focus your time and energy on an area you’re passionate about and skilled in, however, it doesn’t mean you should stop there.

Most areas of digital marketing cross over at some point. For example, a content writer, who is writing copy for websites, social media and ads will need to understand the basics of SEO, social media engagement and user experience. Being able to bring more to the table will help open more doors for a successful career in digital marketing.

Tip 8: Look into legalities.

Nothing dampens an amazing marketing campaign like finding out you’ve broken the law or gotten your client in legal hot water. While it’s the responsibility of the business to know the advertising laws in their industry, knowing the ins and outs on their behalf will make you and the business you represent stand out from the crowd.

Helpful articles regarding digital marketing laws in Australia:

Does the AHPRA prevent medical advertising in Australia?

SMS Marketing Laws in Australia & Your Business.

Tip 9: Cross-skill outside of digital marketing.

Being adaptable is gold in the world of digital marketing. You’ll come across people who specialise in user experience, which is focused on targeting customers by solving their problems and giving them an easy experience. Then there are those who specialise in the hard sell of products.

Having a background in customer experience and/or sales can drastically help you in a digital marketing role. As will being able to read the psychology behind consumer behaviour, how colours affect mood, natural eye movement and other human traits. The more you know about people and how they react in situations, the easier your job will be.

Technical Development

Tip 10: Get tech savvy.

Digital marketing is, as it obviously states, digital. In any role, you’ll be required to use software, which could be used to report, manage content or records, set up advertising, design assets and more. It will also come in handy if you have some coding language skills.

Even if you may not need to use them, learn how to use the basics for:

  • Setting up Facebook and Instagram business and Google My Business accounts.
  • Google Suite.
  • Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Google Keyword Planner and Trends.
  • HTML, CSS, Javascript or another coding language.

Learning code for a better career in digital marketing

Tip 11: Learn how to measure and report on analytics.

In the digital marketing world, you’ll hear a lot about return on investment, AKA ROI. For something to be worth the investment, it must bring good results. However, with so many ways to ‘do’ digital marketing, a good result may not necessarily mean financial gain.

For example, when a business starts a social media page, an investment may be how many people follow their page or like a post. Whereas for search engine marketing (SEM), your focus would primarily be to lower your cost per click (CPC) so it costs less to convert each person to buy.

Whatever area you focus your talents on, ensure you know the many ways you can measure the results of your efforts. To do this, you’ll need to become familiar with the reporting tools for your relevant area, as well as software like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to store information. Analytics software, such as Google Analytics and social media insights, are normally embedded into whatever programs or methods you’re using. So, do you research into how to navigate and interpret them well.

Tip 12: Decide if you’d rather be brand or client-focused.

Every digital marketing service, agency or business will work differently. However, whether you work for clients or directly for a brand will change everything drastically again.

A brand focused digital marketer works on the strategies and implementation for the business they are employed. While a client-focused digital marketer is hired to work on the strategies and implementation of individuals and businesses seeking their products or services. You can also have SaaS (Software as a Service), but that would fall under brand-focused.

Each have their pros and cons, while having different things to teach you, so it all depends on your preferences. Generally speaking, a brand-focused role will enable you to see projects out from the planning stage through to implementation and monitoring as a whole. A client-focused role will require handling many accounts for different types of companies and give you a broader industry knowledge.

Tip 13: Stay in the loop.

The world of digital marketing is constantly changing. As you may start your morning by watching the news or reading the paper, you should be making researching your area a daily habit. One way is to subscribe to newsletters of reliable sources of digital marketing news and advice (like ours) so the information comes straight to you.

To save yourself even more time on searching, Google Alerts lets you tag certain topics, and they’ll email you trending articles of that day at a time you set. A word of advice, some acronyms are multi-use and will field interesting results. For example, Seo is the first name of a popular South Korean actor and singer in the group 5urprise, as well as being a popular acronym for search engine optimisation.

Thinking about Localsearch to start or take your career in digital marketing to the next level?

At Localsearch, we help more than 30,000 businesses grow each year using the latest and greatest in digital marketing. Within our team, we have experts in design and development, content, SEO, SEM, social media, user experience and more to give Aussie businesses everything they need, all in one place at a great price.

Working for Localsearch gives you the opportunity to grow your skills and your career, while

Head to our Localsearch careers page for more information.

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