As consumers spend more time using the internet and less time with other channels – advertisers are also forced to follow this trend. The ads have to be there where the eyeballs are. Unfortunately, digital marketing is not as simple and straight forward as traditional marketing. Digital marketing is best done in-house and cannot be outsourced to a digital marketing agency for various practical reasons. This is the reason that digital marketing experts are sought after all over the world right now and the demand for such candidates will only go up in the future.
If you have a marketing background and want to become a digital marketing expert; you may be wondering which is the best way to go about it. There are several courses on digital marketing which are being offered as workshops, online courses and one-on-one coaching programs.
There are even MBA programs with specialization in digital marketing such as this one: NYU Stern MBA Digital Marketing. There are certification exams such as HubSpot Inbound Marketing certification program and Google Adwords certification. But does attending all these courses and getting all the certificates make you a digital marketing expert? The answer is a big NO. It may help you learn the fundamentals and even some advanced concepts in digital marketing but it does not make you career ready for a position like Digital Marketing Manager. Digital marketing expertise comes with digital marketing experience.
The best way to become a digital marketing expert is to start practicing digital marketing from today. The best thing about digital marketing is that you can start doing it at a very small scale. All you need is a computer, an internet connection and a small amount of money to play with. You can learn digital marketing by applying the concepts in your own mini-project. Here are the things you can do right now:
Applying Digital Marketing on a Small Scale
- Choose a topic you are passionate about and start a blog about it. Cost: Approx $50 per year for domain and hosting.
- Learn a little about SEO and write SEO optimized articles in your blog.
- Install Google Analytics tracking code and see if you are getting some traffic to your blog. Explore Google Analytics.
- Open an Adwords account and do some keyword research to see what people are searching for in Google to find information on the topic you are blogging about.
- Write more articles and publish on your blog.
- Open a Facebook page dedicated to your blog (apart from your personal page) and share the articles on your Facebook page.
- Promote your page with Facebook advertising. Budget for promotion can be as low as $10.
- Implement Facebook like box in your blog.
- Embed social sharing buttons in your blog articles. You can do this using WordPress plugins and it is free.
- Sign up for an email marketing service such as Aweber. Costs $20 per month. Also try MailChimp.
- Embed email signup forms in your blog and collect subscribers. Email subscribers whenever you publish something in your blog.
- Promote your Facebook page through email marketing and in turn also get more email subscribers from your Facebook page.
- Promote your blog via Adwords. Get started with very low CPC bids. Most new Adwords accounts get a free $100 credit for promotion. If you don’t get it, call Adwords support and they will give you free credits to get you started.
- Sign up for Google Adsense and deploy advertising codes in your blog.
- Convert your blog into a mobile friendly blog and create mobile ads in Adwords.
All the above steps can be done in 30 days by investing one hour per day. After you do all the steps above your would have gained a bit of hands-on experience in the following areas which pretty much sums up to the following major components of Digital Marketing:
Components of Digital Marketing
- Content marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Paid Search (PPC)
- Email marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Digital Display Marketing (Ad Ops)
- Web Analytics and Reporting
- Mobile Marketing
30 hours of experience does not make you an expert in Digital Marketing but you will be a much better qualified digital marketing professional than most of the people out there on the market. After this you can continue scaling up your mini-project and add even more things to it. For example, Google webmaster tools integration is something I have not mentioned in the above list but it is important for digital marketing. Your expertise will increase to the level you are ready to scale up your project.
I became a digital marketing expert on my own. My first project BikeAdvice.in started with the steps mentioned above. I kept scaling it up to a point where it reached more than 1 million page views per month and it was one of the leading motorcycle portals in India at that time. It became a fully operational business with 5 team members, significant revenue from display advertising and deep relationships with leading motorcycle manufacturers in India. As of now that project has been acquired by a big media company.
The job of a Digital Marketing Manager
Practical hands-on experience of applying digital marketing principles added with some qualifications and certifications makes you an ideal candidate for a job profile such as Digital Marketing Manager of a brand or company.
As a manager of digital marketing you will be responsible for spear heading the entire digital marketing wing of the company. You may also have to manage a team of people who will be ready to execute specific digital marketing actions. Digital marketing is most effective when all the components of digital marketing are used in such a way that they complement each other. This is also called Integrated Digital Marketing. If the company is large enough, the job title can be VP of Digital Marketing where several managers report to the VP. Such jobs are coming up fast and can be highly lucrative.
If you are not interested in a full time job like I have just mentioned, you can still use your digital marketing expertise to consult, speak in conferences and universities and grow your own internet projects.
So what are you waiting for? Get started becoming a digital marketing expert