How to Switch into Digital Marketing

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The evolution of the internet has definitely turned digital marketing into the leading component of marketing strategies and actions of businesses worldwide. In a reality where digital communication has long surpassed traditional communication channels and over 200 million people actively use social media, it is obvious that digital marketing will keep growing and evolving.

You might think that this spells lucrative employment opportunities and chances for career growth, and you would most certainly be right. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for a digital marketing specialist in 2020 was around 140 thousand dollars per year, or around 68 dollars per hour, while the job outlook for 2021-2029 is currently at 6 percent, which is much faster than average. But what are the most important things to know and keep in mind about digital marketing, before you try to switch into it? In this article, we will try to shed some light onto the main aspects of this industry, as well as the best ways to get a career in digital marketing.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing is actually an umbrella term, used to refer to marketing that is done via all online mediums: social media, video content, written content, e-mail, mobile apps, e-commerce platforms, and even e-books. The tools used by digital marketing specialists are also quite diverse and include, but are not limited to: influencer marketing, content automation, copywriting, search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM), data-driven marketing and many more. Furthermore, digital marketing applies to offline media as well – television, digital billboards, SMS, MMS and call centres.

Although the goals of digital marketing are pretty much the same as for any type of marketing – to raise brand awareness, improve brand and product image, sell products and services and stimulate customers to return and become regulars – the segmentation, targeting and traceability of marketing efforts are greater and more powerful than ever before. Digital marketing allows advertising to be data-driven, behavioural and collaborative, thus ensuring better returns on investment, allowing companies to spend their marketing budgets more efficiently. Another great advantage of digital marketing, is that the systems do most of the analytical work, leaving enough time for the marketing manager to build long-term strategies and make educated, well-informed decisions.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Digital Marketing Career

Before making any career switch, you should first consider all the pros and cons, and really think them through.

A career in Digital Marketing comes with the following perks:

  • Overall, the industry is growing at a fast pace. You are practically guaranteed to find countless job opportunities, at any given time. Plus, with a positive job outlook for the next decade, your career will most likely turn out great in the long term as well.
  • Salaries are already high, compared to other industries, and will surely keep growing in the foreseeable future.
  • The task diversity in digital marketing is amazing – you will never get bored and will have very little routine in your daily activities. Online marketing is one of the most versatile fields out there, providing exciting, challenging jobs.
  • You can finally put your soft skills to good use. Digital Marketing is as much about creativity and communication, as it is about technology and data analysis. This means that your humanities talents will not go to waste.
  • The industry offers numerous opportunities for remote or part-time employment, which means that you keep being the master of your own time and location.

However, as is the case of any industry, there are some disadvantages as well:

  • It is challenging to stay ahead of the game. With the industry always evolving, at an almost alarming rate, it will take all your perseverance and acuity to keep up with all the latest technology, news and platforms. Otherwise, you risk becoming less attractive to employers.
  • Digital Marketing is an extremely competitive industry. Popularity and success always attract competition, which translates to other individuals competing for your job, as well as other companies vying for your segment of the market. If you are not competitive by nature, then this industry is probably not the best for you.

How to Make the Switch to Digital Marketing

Once you have weighed in all the pros and cons, and still decided to try your hand at digital marketing, you need to prepare yourself for the move. Regardless of your current occupation and industry, there are several skills and abilities that you need to brush up on, whether by self-education or courses, before you start looking for your first job:

  • Creativity is the key to success in any marketing role, but even more so online. The internet is literally flooded with creative ideas and concepts, and you need to bring something new to the table, if you aim for greatness. The good news here, is that creativity can be taught and improved, like any other skill.
  • Communication skills are extremely valuable as well. Most of your job will be about communicating with customers, stakeholders, employers, platforms and other businesses. Needless to say, your English needs to be perfect as well.
  • You need above-average software skills and knowledge. This includes operating systems (both desktop and mobile), apps, designer software, website and marketing analytics tools, ad serving tools and the basics of at least one programming language (HTML, CSS, JavaScript etc.)
  • A solid grasp on how social media, SEO/SEM, database marketing and online marketing campaigns all work, as well as when and where to use them.

The most important thing to take home here, is that much like any other path, your career in Digital Marketing will mostly be about trial and error in the beginning. As soon as you land your first job and start gaining experience, things will start clearing up and you will see the way ahead for further career development. Do not give up easily and keep persevering until you make it!

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