A Guide to a Successful Digital Marketing Career
- 6th October 2016
- Posted by: Juan van Niekerk
- Category: Digital Marketing
The field of marketing has undergone significant changes with the emergence of technologies that have broadened the reach of not only marketing campaigns, but also the types of marketing that has become possible. Digital marketing currently dominates the way that companies interact with their customers as they have become easier to contact and cater to with customised and targeted marketing campaigns.
Given that digital marketing is only growing in stature and efficacy, it has become a field that has a great demand for qualified professionals, affording them the chance to start a lucrative and rewarding career. Below we will look at the steps that will help you to do just that and give some insight into what you can expect in your first role as a Digital Marketer.
Choose a creative role
The role that you choose will have an impact on the amount of creativity that you will be afforded. While you will undoubtedly have the chance to show your creative side in any digital marketing job, choose a role where you will feel comfortable with the level of creativity that you will be given.
Freelance or agency work
Working as a freelancer or joining an agency will see you receive projects that are diverse in nature as you will be expected to create marketing campaigns for various organisations and individuals. This will also ensure that you are able to work very closely with clients, building a relationship with them and learning how to meet their specific goals and requirements.
As a freelancer or agency worker, you will need to manage your time effectively, as you will most likely be paid at an hourly rate. This is an essential skill in any digital marketing role, as time management can mean the success or failure of a marketing campaign. This is also true for your ability to adapt to changing client needs and multitasking. You will be working closely with multiple clients at the same time and ensuring that each of their demands is met will require you to think on your feet.
The salary that you can expect when working as a freelancer or for an agency will depend on the number of clients you are able to acquire. The skills that you have learned will also have a drastic impact on what you can expect to be paid. Earning a digital marketing certification will certainly have a positive impact on your skills and knowledge of the digital marketing field and will relatively affect your income.
Since you will very likely be in a position where you will need to work your way up the digital marketing ladder, there is a massive opportunity for career progression when working as a freelancer. The same is true for agency workers, as you will start out with a minimum amount of clients and will need to work hard at not only acquiring, but also retaining them.
Joining an organisation
Working directly for an organisation will somewhat limit your creative input as you will need to work inside the parameters set by the organisation as far as target audience, long term goals and the frequency of marketing campaigns is concerned. You will however have the opportunity to help grow the organisation’s brand and apply a more intense focus on their target audience.
Your focus will lie on the long-term goals and needs of the company with a strong focus on reaching the intended target market of your organisation. This will entail the creation of a recognisable identity for your brand and creating marketing campaigns that will reach their intended targets at the right time and via the desired channels such as e-mail, SMS or social media marketing.
Your expected salary when working for an organisation will very likely be higher than that of a freelancer or agency worker, as organisations have started to realise the value of skilled and certified professionals. Since there is a skills gap between traditional marketing and digital marketing professionals, there is a real need for this gap to be filled by individuals with an in-depth knowledge of digital marketing.
Always enquire whether there will be a chance at career progression when interviewing for a digital marketing position within an organisation. It is very often the case that senior positions are filled and positions may only open up when someone leaves the company. You may need to consider moving to a different organisation if you are striving for career progression as senior roles are considered to be stable, reliable positions, meaning that individuals that fill those roles are not very likely to abandon them.
Creating an effective CV
Once you have obtained your certification and have decided where you would like to start your career as a Digital Marketer, it will be time to prepare yourself for interviews with either agencies or organisations. This will, of course, mean that you will need to create a CV detailing your skills, knowledge and education in the field of digital marketing as well as marketing yourself as an individual. An effective CV will help you to stand out among other candidates that are vying for the same role while remaining neat, concise and professional.
Customise your CV
Each interview that you will be attending will be different and might concern different roles. Your CV needs to reflect the skills and knowledge that most closely pertain to that specific role. Since your potential future employer is very likely sifting through hundreds of Cvs that are aimed at the same position, they will be concentrating on the ones that match the criteria for the role. This will help you to stand out as an applicant and will keep your CV out of the generic pile.
Remember that digital marketing is a field where you will be expected to create unique and specialised campaigns that are customised to each client. A generic CV will leave an impression of indifference, whilst a CV that is customised to a specific job role will give an impression of someone who is willing to adapt to requirements. Your CV is, after all, a first impression of yourself.
Know the company
Each organisation will have a different target audience that they want to cater to, based on the product or services that they provide. Do your homework and learn as much as you can about the organisation before attending your interview or, if you are able to, before sending your CV. This will help you to better understand the direction that their digital marketing department follows and you will be able to build a much better rapport with the interviewer.
Remember that any hiring organisation will look to employ the candidate that will bring the most value to the company. Be sure to include any special skills or traits that are aligned with he needs of the organisation. Sell yourself as the perfect fit for their company and bring across how you can add value to their operations.
Create a professional CV
Many applicants overlook the fact that poor grammar and spelling can cost them the chance at an interview and, ultimately, the position that they applied for. Grammar and spelling on your CV reflects your ability to communicate effectively, something that is paramount in the digital marketing industry. A marketing campaign with typing errors or incorrect grammar could cost a company a valuable client and can severely damage the credibility of the organisation. Submitting a CV that has been proofread and corrected will come across as organised and professional.
The interview stage
Once you have written and sent your CV to potential employers, you will need to prepare for the interview stage of the recruitment process. This can be a very daunting experience as you will come face to face with the person or people who will decide on the best candidate for the role. You will need to answer questions relating to the industry and also the specific role that you have applied for and you will be scrutinised in order to establish whether you will make a good fit in the organisation.
Since you have done some research on the company whilst preparing your CV, you should have a basic understanding of the company’s direction and services or products that they offer, as well as a fundamental understanding of the target market that they cater for. Now you will have the opportunity to delve a little deeper into the organisation as you prepare to sit your interview.
Google is a great resource of information and can help you learn more about your potential employer and what their company is all about. Look for new products or services that are being offered and be prepared to discuss these during the interview. Another great resource of information is the company’s Wikipedia page, if one has been created. This will give you a deeper insight into the inner workings of the organisation.
Be sure to follow the emerging trends of the digital marketing industry. This will help you understand where the industry is heading and will give you a unique insight into the direction that the company may follow in the future. This information will also be helpful if you are asked to give examples of digital marketing campaigns that you deem to be effective in the present and how that may change in the future.
Ensure that your certification is up to date and that the skills that you have learned have not become outdated. New technologies and marketing mediums are emerging at a remarkable rate and staying on top of these could mean the difference between being considered for the position and being overlooked completely.
Keep your social media clean
There is a very good chance that a potential employer will check your social media accounts before even meeting you, with an even greater chance of that after your first interview. Even though social media is not meant to be a recruitment tool, it certainly has become one. Potential employers will view your social media as a reflection of your personality as well as your interests and hobbies and will help them learn more about you as a person and your reputation.
Talk about experience
Any experience that you have built up in the digital marketing field will only count in your favour and you will undoubtedly be asked about this during your interview. When detailing any work that you have done, try to mention any problems that you have faced and which steps you took to overcome them. Don’t be vague when quoting numbers or statistics as these may seem “made up” or expansive.
The fact that you have experience in the industry and have overcome obstacles will count in your favour and will ensure that you stand in good stead when the time comes for a decision to be made as to which candidate to employ. Always ensure, however, that your information is accurate, since any discrepancies may seem like boasting or even an outright lie that will instantly derail your chances at being employed.
Remember the basics
It is all well and good to be as prepared as possible for an interview for a specific role, but don’t forget to adhere to the basic rules of the interview:
- Do your best to be at least 10 minutes early for the interview. This will show that you are taking the process seriously and that you are eager to begin the interview.
- First impressions do count and the first thing that the interviewer will notice is your appearance. Be sure to dress appropriately and professionally.
- Introduce yourself to everyone that is attending the interview and remember to maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
- Sit up straight, speak clearly and concisely and be sure to listen intently to any questions that are asked to avoid the interviewer having to repeat themselves.
Growing your career
As you progress in you career as a Digital Marketer, you will want to set goals and priorities as to what you wish to achieve in the future. If you feel that you have become stagnant, you may want to undertake further studies to ensure that you can administer the latest and most effective marketing techniques.
Use the Digital Marketing Diagnostic tool to test your current skill level.
Take factors into account that will not only benefit your career, but keep you happy at the same time. Is the location where you are working in an area that you consider to be appropriate? Are the people that you are working with relatable and friendly? Are you reaching the monetary gains that you set out to when you started your job?
These can all be deciding factors in whether you are happy in your role or whether you need to make a change in your career. No one enjoys working in an environment or situation where they feel uncomfortable, whatever the reason may be. If you find that you are not happy with your current situation, you may consider applying for a position at a different company, or starting your own digital marketing business. Remember that there is also the option of working for an agency.
Career progression can be a massive factor in whether or not you are enjoying your job. If a company promises that you will be afforded the chance at promotion, or offers to provide further learning opportunities and these promises prove to be false, it can have a major impact on the state of mind of their employees.
Once you have decided which direction you would like your career to take, it will be much easier to assess where you currently stand and what needs to be done to ensure that you reach the goals and objectives that you have set for yourself.
A career as a Digital Marketer can prove to be very lucrative, depending on your experience and the position that you hold within an organisation. Below are some of the average salaries that you can expect in the digital marketing field according to each job role:
Judging from the numbers mentioned above, it is plain to see that a career in digital marketing can not only be rewarding in the sense of fulfilling your creative needs, but on a monetary scale as well. The best possible start that you can have to your career as a Digital Marketer is to invest in your own education. Your chances at landing your dream job will increase exponentially upon obtaining a reputable and up to date certification.
Once you have made inroads into your career and have built up enough experience, you will be regarded amongst your peers as a specialist in your field and you will become an in-demand professional, creating even more opportunities to grow your career to the heights that many have only dreamed of.