A career in digital marketing is hugely varied, frequently challenging, and constantly rewarding. It’s therefore no surprise that many are drawn to this exciting field… and yet a lot of people are unsure of where to begin.

Whether you’re looking for a change of career, launching a new business venture, or you’re a recent school-leaver, following the steps below will enable you to become an experienced and reputable digital marketer.

1. Discover the core marketing principles

This first step to becoming a digital marketer is perhaps the one that’s often overlooked. Let’s be honest: most of us want to jump straight in and start experimenting with branding, with web design, with social media platforms, and with all the exciting tools digital marketers utilise.

But hold your horses!

To succeed in the field of digital marketing, it’s immensely helpful to understand some of the theoretical concepts and principles that underpin marketing. Concepts such as the marketing mix, segmentation, the customer lifecycle, planning campaigns, and return on investment (ROI).

This foundation will inform everything a digital marketer does.

It will allow you to identify your target audience, create an offering that meets their needs, and communicate with them in a meaningful way. The bottom line is that you’ll become a more effective digital marketer when your skills are built on this foundational understanding.

2. Practise key digital marketing skills

Now you can practise those digital marketing skills you’ve been so eager to try! The thing is, a digital marketer’s skill set is constantly evolving, as demonstrated in research conducted by the Digital Marketing Institute.

Yes, you’ll need to gain experience with social media management, web design, and SEO. But have you considered developing skills relating to mobile and marketing automation? What about video and other forms of content marketing?

If any of these terms are alien to you, consider enrolling on courses or attending webinars. You can also read guides and watch how-to videos on websites such as Smart Insights, HubSpot, and Neil Patel’s blog in order to practise and hone your skills. And if you’re just starting out, explore the possibility of shadowing industry professionals to develop a portfolio that shows off your skills.

3. Build your personal brand

If you’re applying for digital marketing roles or want to establish yourself as a digital marketing consultant, you need to be aware that potential employers and clients will Google you.

So what kind of online footprint are you leaving? What will people find if they search for you?

As a bare minimum, take time to craft a complete LinkedIn profile. Detail your work and educational experience, list your digital marketing skills, and connect with colleagues, friends and clients, encouraging them to endorse you or even write recommendations (effectively mini-reviews).

But don’t stop there. Share digital marketing-related content that you’ve produced through LinkedIn and other social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. This demonstrates to potential employers and clients that you’re a digital marketer who knows their stuff!

4. Get some digital marketing training

Everything I’ve described can sound like a lot to take on. That’s why QA Ltd has created a Level 3 Digital Marketer Apprenticeship covering everything I’ve outlined above.

Over the course of 12 months, you’ll be supported in a digital marketing role by our coaches, empowering you to learn and apply new skills on the job. You’ll also receive regular off-the-job training in our online classrooms, where you’ll grapple with the core marketing principles and consider what these would look like in your work context. All the while, you’ll be producing a portfolio of evidence demonstrating you’re a quality digital marketer, thereby enhancing your personal brand.

If you want to take your learning a step further, QA has recently launched a Digital Marketing Degree Apprenticeship, enabling you to attain a full university-level qualification while working.

So if you want to become a digital marketer, get in touch and discover why we're the UK's leading provider of tech apprenticeships.

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