Career Guide

How to Become a Digital Marketer

The number of tech careers out there compared to 10 years ago is significantly larger. Among the fastest-growing fields is digital marketing. So, how do you become a digital marketer? What skills do you need for it? The following guide teaches you all about this lucrative field.

Digital marketing has become a domain of advertising in its own right. It’s a new enough field that the bar of entry isn’t too exclusive, but some skill is necessary to thrive in it. Read on for a guide to digital marketing as it stands today.

$57,212

Average Digital Marketer Salary

125,103

Open Job Listings

20,000

Hiring Companies

What Is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing has become a domain of advertising in its own right. It’s a new enough field that the bar of entry isn’t too exclusive, but some skill is necessary to thrive in it. Read on for a guide to digital marketing as it stands today.

What Do Digital Marketers Do?

There are as many possible duties under the heading “digital marketer” as there are online businesses. The jobs may overlap and work with each other in a variety of ways. Terminology is not always consistent between companies.

Digital marketers are responsible for some or all of any digital campaigns, or efforts to use digital media for some tangible results, such as getting new customers and leads. They get the word out on their client’s goods to the target market through various digital channels. These channels could be any online port, including websites, social media, email marketing, and what have you.

Any marketing actions taken on these channels need to be measured. This is to see if the effort involved is worth the cost. The digital marketer uses some form of analytics to track how campaigns are doing. They make sure the client’s search engine rankings are healthy and competitive. This can involve continually learning about new platforms and means for tracking metrics.

Digital Marketing Job Description and Terminology

Digital marketing involves a variety of tasks, from SEO (search engine optimization) to business relations. Since digital marketing is a fairly new career, it brings with it several new terms. It’s worth taking the time to learn them:

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

This is the practice of increasing the odds of your website appearing at the top of search engine (such as Google) listings. The practice is not an exact science due to the secretive nature of Google’s ranking algorithms. But a number of the best practices have emerged in the field to increase a site’s visibility.

PPC (Pay Per Click)

PPC is when an advertiser pays an online publisher to drive search traffic to their website. This involves a bidding process for certain search words or phrases. For example, if you win the bid on “oil changes in Boston” for your Boston-based garage, your page will appear before others.

CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization)

This is the process of increasing the percentage of website-visitors-turned-customers. This could mean they purchase something or their contact information is acquired (see ‘call to action’ below).

Bounce Rate

This is the rate determined by how long a user stays on your website. A high bounce rate means they get to one page and leave fairly quickly. You want users to remain on your site for a while and maybe buy something (see ‘Call to Action’ below). However, having them on longer also increases your rankings in search results.

Call to Action (CTA)

This is when you prompt your users to do something with your site. Ideally, they’ll make a purchase, but it could also just be giving you their email address.

KPI (Key Performance Indicator)

The KPI is how success is measured in a marketing campaign. It could refer to the number of clicks or the number of sales completed, among others.

Influencer

You’ve no doubt seen this term floating around celebrities touting their wares online. An influencer is a one-person advertising force, who promotes products or services on his/her social media, such as Facebook. To be considered an influencer, you must have enough of a following to influence purchasing decisions on a large scale.

B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer)

Just like they say, these terms refer to what audience your marketing is trying to reach. The strategies and platforms for both can be very different.

Digital Marketing Positions

There are several roles involved in digital marketing. Below are some common titles that companies post openings for. Note that the terminology is still in flux, so one company’s “Social Marketing Manager” might be another’s “Online Presence Coordinator”.

SEO Manager

In this role you’d analyze online content for possible improvements in SEO rankings. This would likely involve a lot of work with Google Analytics or other search analysis tools. 

Content Marketing Specialist

This specialist creates the plan for how to organize and use online channels to get your word out the way you want it. 

Social Media Manager

This person manages the schedule and content of material posted over social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Digital Marketing Manager

Like a director overseeing everything, a digital marketing manager makes sure all digital channels are working together and not at cross-purposes.

What Are the Required Skills for Digital Marketing Careers?

With as wide a range of jobs as digital marketing encompasses, there’s just as wide a range of required skills. Some general areas are useful in any area of digital marketing. They can help anyone thrive in it, no matter what form of work you are doing.

Most importantly, you need to be comfortable being in a state of continual learning. Perhaps even more than a software developer, your tool set could change drastically over a few months. If you’re able to adapt and learn quickly, you’re in a good position to work in the field. This doesn’t just apply to technology.

Since some of these jobs didn’t exist a few years ago, expect that completely unheard of titles will appear a few years from now. Once hired in a position, your job may change considerably. This could be because of new technology or the latest social media platform that’s taking the world by storm.

This requires you to adapt. Digital marketing is new, but it’s still rooted in traditional advertising and marketing. Background working in these fields or coursework in them will help tremendously. As new as it is, you don’t want to reinvent the wheel if you aren’t required.

How Much Do Digital Marketers Make?

The benefit of a new(ish) field is that prospective workers have plenty of opportunities to choose from. Some companies are still playing catch up with digital marketing efforts and realizing the benefits of having in-house experts doing this work. Four out of 10 job listings in marketing want digital marketing skills. SEO jobs increased by 43 percent from 2017 to 2018.

The range of positions under the umbrella of digital marketing is wide, making it difficult to get an accurate salary range. That said, surveys are very optimistic. Conversion rate optimization ranked the highest (over $100,000) with content marketing and SEO following right behind.

A quick look at Glassdoor.com shows $57,212 as a national average for job titles under that heading. Do note that one company may have a very different idea of what that job entails than another.

Keep in mind that digital marketing salaries vary widely based on several factors including location, experience, and specialization. To give you a better idea of what to expect in the field, we compiled a list of the average digital marketing salaries. These salaries are based on 15 big metro areas in the United States.

Also, keep in mind that some digital marketing professionals earn up to $30,000 or more in bonuses and extra payments. This means the average salary numbers don’t always provide the most accurate reflection of reality.

CityAverage Salary
San Francisco, CA$73,303
Los Angeles, CA$59,692
Portland, OR$56,877
New York, NY$62,984
Philadelphia, PA$51,303
Seattle, WA$60,144
Minneapolis, MN$61,891
Atlanta, GA$53,895
Phoenix, AZ$52,729
Boston, MA$60,759
Miami, FL$53,148
Chicago, IL$57,573
Milwaukee, WI$51,949
Cleveland, OH$53,969
Dallas, TX$55,337

$57,212

Mean Annual Salary

10%

Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)

125,000

Number Employed

Digital Marketer Salary by Years of Experience

How to Become a Digital Marketer

In some ways, it’s still a wild west when it comes to a digital marketing career. There’s a lot that’s not codified and the playing field is continually changing with new technologies and media.

For some, this can be a daunting thing. However, others relish the opportunity to jump into a new field. If this sounds like a fantastic opportunity for you, a career in digital marketing might be just the thing you want. Consider your local bootcamp for your introduction to the field.

If you want to become a digital marketing professional, it’s best to start by researching the career extensively. After reading up on it, it’s time to find an education program that teaches you how to become a digital marketer.

Digital Marketing Learning Paths

Digital Marketing Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps are a new arrival in the world of higher education. And while digital marketing probably doesn’t usually involve much coding (if any), the bootcamp model works just as well. These short-term and intensive programs are designed to teach adults the skills they need to be competitive in the workforce and find a job.

College/University

Traditional colleges and universities are a popular and proven way to train for a digital marketing position. Students often graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business or marketing, a master’s degree, or an MBA.

Self-Study

Some digital marketing professionals work their way up through a company and land a job from experience alone. This approach takes time, but it’s very possible to be promoted into the position from another job. However, you likely won’t quickly become ‘marketing certified’ through this route.

What Companies Are Hiring Digital Marketers?

Facebook

Cybersecurity Engineer Positions: 43

Average Salary: $136,581

Apple

Data Science Positions: 152

Average Salary: $63,807

Amazon

Data Science Positions: 1,330

Average Salary: $122,515

Google

Data Science Positions: 766

Average Salary: $111,650

2021 Best Digital Marketing Bootcamps

FAQ

What does a digital marketer do?

Digital marketers promote a business or product through technology. Marketing campaigns may involve email, social media, videos, or ads placed on large websites.

How much does a digital marketer make?

The average salary of a digital marketer is around $57,212. This doesn’t include additional bonuses. Experienced professionals in the industry can earn upwards of $100,000 a year.

What skills are needed to work in digital marketing?

Traditional marketing skills are still needed, even when working digitally. Digital marketers must also stay up to date on the latest trends, what platforms are most widely used, and how to quickly adapt.

How long does it take to become a digital marketer?

Coding bootcamps with digital marketing programs can usually take 3 to 6 months to complete. Part-time and self-paced online programs may take longer.

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