How to Become a Digital Marketer

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September 5, 2023
6 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/4/22

Digital marketing has been on the rise in recent years. Read on to learn all about how to become a digital marketer. 

As technology advances, businesses must adapt their marketing strategies to remain competitive. Consumers are spending a considerable amount of time online and relying on mobile phones more than ever. This shift in consumer behavior towards digital platforms offers businesses more opportunities to reach and engage with their target audiences. 

There are many reasons why companies turn to digital marketing. Traditional marketing tactics are more expensive, less adaptable, and far less engaging than digital marketing. Top-performing businesses use digital marketing to gain a competitive advantage, increase engagement and boost brand awareness. 

Digital marketing is a growing, dynamic field with a high demand for skilled professionals. If you’re interested in pursuing this exciting career path and wondering ‘how long does it take to become a digital marketer’ or the average digital marketing salary, keep reading. This guide will go over everything you need to know. 

Laptop digital marketing

Steps to Becoming a Digital Marketer

You’ve come to the right place to learn all about how to become a digital marketer. Follow these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving a successful career as a digital marketer. 

Complete a Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor’s degree program provides a comprehensive understanding of digital marketing. So, it’s wise to try your best to get into a college or university that offers a marketing or digital marketing degree. 

Alternatively, many digital marketers have BAs in communications, journalism, and advertising. Having a BA on your resume shows interviewees that you’re a critical thinker with a work ethic. 

If you opt for a digital marketing program, you’ll learn all about the different aspects of marketing, including the following. 

  • Social media marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
  • Email marketing
  • Content marketing
Social media marketing

Studying digital marketing at a university or college provides students with industry-relevant skills. You’ll learn how to develop and implement digital marketing strategies, use different marketing tools and technologies, and analyze data to measure the success of campaigns, among other valuable skills. 

With a degree in digital marketing, you can stand out from the crowd in a highly competitive job market. Many employers prefer candidates who have formal education and training in the field.

You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with industry professionals and build your professional network, which can help you secure internships, jobs, and other opportunities in the future.

Overall, a bachelor's degree can provide you with the knowledge, skills, and credentials you need to succeed in digital marketing. So, do your best to find a university or college that offers a digital marketing or relevant program. 

Build a Portfolio

A portfolio lets you showcase your digital marketing skills and creative edge to potential employers or clients. It provides tangible evidence of your abilities, which can be more convincing than just listing them on a resume.

It’s always important to highlight your achievements, so build a portfolio that shows off your successful digital marketing campaigns and projects. This can demonstrate your ability to generate leads, increase website traffic, improve conversion rates, and achieve other business goals.

When becoming a digital marketer, it’s key to differentiate yourself from others. A portfolio can set you apart from the crowd and demonstrate your unique approach, creativity, and passion for digital marketing. It can also help you identify areas of strength and weaknesses and develop strategies for improvement. 

Building a personal brand can help you get ahead, and a portfolio helps you do this. By exhibiting your work and accomplishments, you can establish yourself as an expert in the field and attract more clients or job opportunities. 

Overall, building a portfolio in digital marketing is a valuable tool that helps digital marketers put their best foot forward.

Earn Certifications

Earning a quality digital marketing certification can go a long way in your career as a digital marketer. They’re designed to test your knowledge and skills and demonstrate you have a solid understanding of digital marketing principles and practices. 

A certification from a reputable organization, like Google Ads, Google Analytics, Facebook Blueprint, and Hubspot, can add credibility to your professional profile. It shows you’re committed to staying up-to-date with industry trends and best practices.

In a crowded job market, certification can give you a competitive advantage over other candidates. It can demonstrate to employers that you have a specialized skill set that sets you apart from other applicants.

Certification programs often provide in-depth training and education in specific areas of digital marketing. This can expand your knowledge and skill set, allowing you to take on more complex projects and campaigns.

They can also provide valuable networking opportunities with other professionals in the industry. You may have the opportunity to connect with other certified digital marketers and build relationships that can lead to new job opportunities or collaborations.

Earning a certification in digital marketing can be a valuable investment in your career. It can demonstrate your skills and knowledge, add credibility to your professional profile, and provide professional development and networking opportunities.

Earn a Master’s Degree

Getting a master's degree in digital marketing can offer many benefits. It provides you with advanced knowledge and skills in the field. You’ll learn about emerging trends, cutting-edge technologies, and innovative marketing strategies that can give you an edge in the job market.

A master's degree program will teach you to think strategically about digital marketing. You’ll learn how to develop and implement comprehensive marketing plans that align with business goals and drive results. 

You’ll also develop leadership skills essential for managing digital marketing teams. You’ll learn how to motivate and inspire others, communicate effectively, and make strategic decisions.

Many master's degree programs in digital marketing offer specialization options, such as social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), data analytics, and more. Specializing in a specific area can help you stand out from the crowd and pursue a career path that aligns with your interests and strengths.

A master's degree in digital marketing can open doors to higher-paying and more senior positions. With advanced knowledge and skills, you may qualify for digital marketing manager, marketing director, or chief marketing officer roles.

What Does a Digital Marketer Do?

Digital marketing meeting

A digital marketer is responsible for promoting a business, brand, product, or service through digital channels, such as social media, search engines, email, mobile apps, and websites. 

Their primary goal is to reach and engage with their brand's target audience. To do this effectively, digital marketers need to boost brand awareness, drive traffic, generate leads, and ultimately convert them into loyal customers.

Some specific tasks a digital marketer might be responsible for include:

  • Developing digital marketing strategies and campaigns
  • Creating content for digital channels (social media posts, blog articles, email newsletters, etc.)
  • Conducting market research to identify target audiences and analyze consumer behavior
  • Managing social media accounts and advertising campaigns
  • Implementing search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to improve website rankings
  • Running email marketing campaigns and analyzing their effectiveness
  • Creating and analyzing reports to track the performance of digital marketing efforts
  • Collaborating with other teams, such as UX designers and copywriters, to ensure the brand image and tone are consistent across all marketing channels.

Overall, a digital marketer's role is to use digital channels to connect with potential customers, build relationships with them, and ultimately drive business growth.

What Skills Do You Need to Be a Digital Marketer?

To be a successful digital marketer, you’ll need a combination of both hard and soft skills. The specifics depend on what brand and industry you focus on; however, the following skills will help you along the way. 

  • Marketing Knowledge: Understanding basic marketing concepts, consumer behavior, and market trends.
  • Digital Marketing Tools: Proficiency in using digital marketing tools such as Google Analytics, SEMrush, Hootsuite, and others.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Knowledge of SEO techniques and the ability to optimize website content and structure for search engines.
  • Content Creation: Ability to create engaging and relevant content such as blog posts, social media content, and email newsletters.
  • Data Analysis: Ability to analyze data and make data-driven decisions using tools like Google Analytics, heat maps, and user feedback.
  • Communication Skills: Strong communication skills, including writing and public speaking, and working well with a team.
  • Creativity: A strong ability to think creatively, develop new ideas, and keep up with the latest marketing trends.
  • Project Management: The ability to manage multiple projects at once, prioritize tasks, and meet deadlines.

Being a digital marketer requires a blend of technical, analytical, and creative skills, as well as the ability to work well with a team and adapt to changing market conditions. It’s also important to be creative, curious, and up-to-date with the latest marketing trends.

Digital Marketer Salary & Job Outlook

The digital marketing salary and job outlook in the US vary based on factors such as experience, industry, location, and specific job roles. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US's median annual wage for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers was $133,380 per year as of 2021. 

However, entry-level digital marketing positions, such as social media specialists or digital marketing assistants, can expect lower salaries starting around $40,000 to $50,000 per year. Senior-level digital marketing roles, such as Director of Digital Marketing, can earn well over $150,000 per year.

The job outlook for digital marketers is generally positive, as businesses increasingly focus on digital channels to reach customers. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers is projected to grow 10% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.

Digital marketing is a growing and dynamic field with many career growth opportunities, and salaries can vary widely depending on various factors. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in this exciting field, now is the time. There’s potential to earn a high salary, flex your creative muscle, and have a lot of fun.

FAQs: Becoming a Digital Marketer

You’ve hopefully gained some clarity on how to become a digital marketer, how long it takes to become a digital marketer, and the average digital marketing salary. Keep reading if you have any more questions!

1. How Can I Start as a Digital Marketer?

The first step you can take is to take some time to develop your skills. Read up on digital marketing, and take some free online courses, tutorials, or internships to get started. 

The next step is to browse marketing and digital marketing courses you can take. There are so many options out there. So, do your research and find a program that suits your needs. 

2. How Long Does It Take to Become a Digital Marketer?

The time it takes to become a digital marketer varies. It depends on your level of knowledge and experience, the specific area of digital marketing you’re interested in pursuing, and the intensity of your training.

So, it essentially depends on what route you take. Some bachelor's degree programs span three to four years, while certifications can take months to one year. In general, becoming a digital marketer is a continuous learning process that requires ongoing dedication. 

3. Is It Hard to Become a Digital Marketer?

Becoming a digital marketer requires a combination of skills and knowledge, but it’s not necessarily hard. However, it does require effort, dedication, and a willingness to learn. It’s necessary for digital marketers to stay on their toes and up to date with the latest industry trends and best practices.

4. How Much Do Digital Marketers Make?

The average annual wage for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers was $133,380 per year as of 2021.

Final Thoughts

If you’re keen to become a digital marketer, staying ahead of the curve is essential. The best way to do this is to be continually eager to learn. Digital marketing is an ever-changing landscape that requires a multifaceted skill set and a commitment to ongoing learning. 

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