Quick Guide: How to Get Started in Digital Marketing

by | Mar 30, 2024 | Agency

For local businesses, knowing how to get started in digital marketing has become necessary. As a result, a career in digital marketing offers a dynamic and in-demand skillset that is filled with potential. Businesses are constantly seeking professionals to navigate the shifting digital marketing landscape. Successful marketing professionals are creative and analytical, working with the most cutting-edge technologies available to reach audiences that will help grow brands. Getting started in digital marketing is a rewarding path with plenty of opportunities for growth and high earning potential. For those who are interested in pursuing a career as a digital marketer, it has never been more possible to build a thriving practice. Whereas a client list and insider connections used to be the prerequisite for success as a marketing professional, today it’s really about having a roadmap that’s easy to follow and iterate upon. Of course, with the addition of a strong bit of data and technology that will enable you to systemize your processes, sprinkled with a few tips and tricks you can actually use. At its core getting started in digital marketing is a series of principles that anyone can learn, and systems that can be replicated. Whether you’re looking to pivot your career or aiming to grow your own business digitally, we’ve got you covered.

Table Of Contents:

How to get Started in Digital Marketing

Understanding the Digital Marketing Landscape

Nurturing Relationships with Customers Digital marketing is a vast, complex world. But don’t let that scare you off. It encompasses various online channels and tactics like SEO, content marketing, social media, email, and paid ads. The key is understanding that they all work together. Think of it like a puzzle. Each piece – SEO, content, social, etc. – is essential to the bigger picture of reaching and engaging your target audience. To really grasp the digital marketing landscape, you need to:

  • Know your target audience inside and out
  • Set clear, measurable goals
  • Develop a comprehensive strategy that ties it all together

But the learning never stops. Digital marketing is always evolving, so staying on top of the latest trends and best practices is crucial.

Building a Strong Foundation in Digital Marketing

Ready to build a rock-solid foundation in digital marketing? It all starts with the fundamentals. First, get intimately familiar with your target audience. What makes them tick? What are their pain points and desires? There are a number of ways to go about getting these insights. Talking with real consumers is the most direct, and often provides the greatest insights. Beyond that there are a wealth of digital resources that can help you to uncover real actionable insights about any target consumer group. As the use of large language models have quickly become commonplace in recent years, simply starting with Google Gemini or GPT4 can provide nearly everything you need to know. The next step in getting started in digital marketing is to set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This will guide your entire digital marketing strategy. Speaking of strategy, that’s the glue that holds everything together. Your digital marketing plan should align with your overall business objectives and include tactics for each channel. Marketing Automation But don’t just set it and forget it. Continuously monitor, analyze, and optimize your efforts based on data and results. New tools, like the SaaSQL platform have enabled thousands of new marketing professionals to systemize and automate their processes and client campaigns in a way that is truly differentiating. For example:

  • Building powerful marketing automations that drive lead generation, nurturing and conversions without lifting a finger.
  • Automating review requests when new transactions are completed.
  • Executing powerful SEO strategies without the need to execute manual technical fixes.

And that’s just the beginning. Ultimately, with the speed of change within the marketing technology space, the key to building a solid foundation is to constantly remain open, and never stop learning. The online universe zips by at lightning speed, so keeping an open mind and being ready to pivot is your best bet.

Mastering Essential Digital Marketing Skills

The Importance of SEO and Content Creation

Want to be a digital marketing rockstar? Two skills you absolutely need in your toolkit are SEO and content creation. SEO is all about optimizing your website and content to rank higher in search engine results. This means more organic traffic and visibility for your brand. But SEO isn’t just about stuffing keywords. It’s about creating high-quality, relevant, and engaging content that resonates with your audience. That’s where content creation comes in. Crafting blog posts, videos, infographics, and other types of content that inform, entertain, and inspire is key to attracting and retaining customers. Some tips for SEO and content creation success:

  • Research and target relevant keywords
  • Create in-depth, valuable content that matches search intent
  • Optimize your headlines, meta descriptions, and images
  • Build high-quality backlinks to your content
  • Promote your content across channels

For individuals who would like to get into digital marketing and learn more about modern SEO techniques, it’s best to go straight to the authoritative source. Resources like Think With Google can provide a wealth of insights regarding modern concepts related to Search Engine Results, Consumer Behavior and the competitive landscape. Social Media Posts

Social media isn’t just another trick up your sleeve when it comes to digital marketing; think of it more like a superpower. But with so many platforms out there, it can be overwhelming. The key is to focus on the channels where your target audience hangs out. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or TikTok, you need to understand the unique features and best practices for each one. Some general tips for social media success:

  • Develop a consistent brand voice and visual identity
  • Create valuable, share-worthy content
  • Engage with your followers regularly
  • Use hashtags and join relevant conversations
  • Run targeted ads to reach new audiences

But don’t just post for the sake of posting. Everything you share should have a purpose and tie back to your overall goals.

Leveraging Data Analytics for Strategic Decisions

In the world of digital marketing, data is king. Tools like Google Analytics give you valuable insights into your website traffic, user behavior, and campaign performance. By analyzing this data, you can make informed decisions about where to allocate your resources and how to optimize your strategies for better results. Some key metrics to track:

  • Website traffic sources
  • Bounce rate and time on page
  • Conversion rates
  • Social media engagement and reach
  • Email open and click-through rates

But data alone isn’t enough. You need to know how to interpret it and turn it into actionable insights. Regularly review your analytics, look for patterns and trends, and use that information to continually refine and improve your digital marketing efforts.

Crafting Your First Digital Marketing Campaign

Planning and Executing a Successful Campaign

Ready to launch your first digital marketing campaign? Everything kicks off with a well-thought-out strategy. First, define your campaign goals. What do you want to achieve? More website traffic? More leads? More sales? Next, identify your target audience. Who are you trying to reach? What are their needs, interests, and behaviors? Then, develop your campaign messaging and creative assets. This includes your ad copy, images, videos, and landing pages. Everything should be tailored to your audience and goals. Some tips for campaign planning and execution:

  • Set a clear budget and timeline
  • Use a mix of channels and tactics
  • Test and optimize your ads and landing pages
  • Monitor your campaign performance closely
  • Be prepared to pivot if something isn’t working

Choosing the Right Advertising Platforms

With so many advertising platforms out there, how do you choose the right ones for your campaign? At the end of the day, who you’re talking to and what you’re aiming for are really what it’s all about. Different platforms have different strengths and targeting capabilities. For example, Google Ads is great for reaching people actively searching for your products or services. Facebook Ads allows you to target based on interests, behaviors, and demographics. Some factors to consider when selecting advertising platforms:

  • Your budget and bidding strategy
  • The ad formats and placements available
  • The targeting options and audience size
  • The platform’s reporting and optimization tools

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different platforms and see what works best for your business. So, keep in mind it’s not just picking the right platform that matters but really knowing how to wield it like a pro.

Obtaining Recognized Certifications in Digital Marketing

Exploring Top Certification Programs

Want to stand out in the competitive world of digital marketing? One way to do that is by earning recognized certifications. Certifications show employers and clients that you have the skills and knowledge to succeed in your role. They can also help you stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and best practices. Hubspot Inbound Marketing Certification Some of the top digital marketing certification programs include:

  • Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ)
  • HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification
  • Facebook Blueprint Certification
  • Google Ads Certification
  • Content Marketing Certification (from HubSpot or Content Marketing Institute)

When choosing a certification program, consider factors like the program’s reputation, the skills covered, and the time and cost investment required.

Gaining Valuable Insights Through Certification

Earning a digital marketing certification isn’t just about getting a fancy badge to put on your LinkedIn profile. It’s about gaining valuable insights that you can apply to your work. Certification programs often dive deep into specific topics and teach you practical skills and strategies for success. So, if you dive into a Google Analytics course, you’ll learn the ropes on setting up tracking systems, digging through data to find what matters, and using those golden nuggets of insight to give your marketing strategies a serious power-up. A content marketing certification will teach you how to develop and execute a content strategy that drives results. But the learning doesn’t stop once you earn your certification. Most programs require you to recertify every 1-2 years to ensure you’re staying current with industry changes. So view certifications not just as a one-time achievement, but as an ongoing investment in your professional development and success in the exciting field of digital marketing.

Key Takeaway:  For those wondering how to get started in digital marketing, it starts with understanding the marketing landscape, mastering SEO and content creation, leveraging social media, and analyzing data. Set clear goals, know your audience well, and always stay adaptable to trends for success.

Building Your Professional Network and Portfolio

Networking Strategies for Aspiring Marketers

If you want to break into digital marketing, you need to start building your professional network. And that doesn’t mean connecting with a bunch of random people on LinkedIn. Success begins with real networking. Attend digital marketing conferences. Join online communities. Reach out to people you admire in the industry. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and make genuine connections. The more people you know, the more opportunities will come your way. Trust me on this one.

Showcasing Your Skills Through a Compelling Portfolio

Your marketing portfolio is your chance to show off what you can do. And if you’re just starting out, you might be thinking, “But I don’t have any real projects yet.” That’s where cheap freelancing comes in. lunch meeting to show portfolio Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr are great places to build professional experience on a budget. Take on some small projects, even if the pay isn’t great. The goal is to create some killer case studies for your portfolio. Showcase your best work, and make sure to highlight the results you achieved for your clients. Building a solid portfolio is like having a magic key—it unlocks doors and sets you up for landing those gigs you’ve been dreaming about.

Stepping Into a Career as a Digital Marketer

So you’ve got the skills, you’ve got the portfolio…now it’s time to scale into a full time freelance marketer position, or even start your own full service digital agency. But where do you even start? First, get crystal clear on what type of career you want. Do you see yourself monetizing your skills and time with a focus on serving a handful of clients? If so, launching into Fractional CMO roles could be perfect. Or does the thought of building out a team and creating a comprehensive agency system appeal to you? Perhaps a business that enables you to think strategically, increasing your earnings beyond your own personal billable hours. Once you know what you’re aiming for, the first step is to clearly map out where you want to end up. There are many resources that can help guide you. SaaSQL, for example, has a division called QL Group which helps marketing professionals launch their own full service agencies…so there’s a wealth of support available. When those perfect moments pop up, don’t hesitate to chase them with all you’ve got.

Key Takeaway:  Break into digital marketing by building a solid network and showcasing your skills through freelancing. Tailor your job search to land that dream gig.

Wrapping Up

For professionals who find themselves wondering how to get started in digital marketing, the potential has never been more pronounced. With a little bit of strategy and a lot of interest in constant learning, it’s possible to establish a unique voice within the marketing landscape. Marketing is an ongoing saga of evolution and growth—where staying static means getting left behind. So keep experimenting with those emails campaigns and sharpening those social media tactics because when it comes down it—to succeed in digital marketing means always being ready for what’s next.

J.W. Martin

About the Author

J.W. Martin is a marketing expert with 25 years experience developing marketing strategy for local businesses. He can be reached at jw.martin@saasql.ai

NOTE: While all articles are written by our team, to provide the most robust and useful reader experience,  SaaSQL uses A.I. / large language models to assist with various aspects of content development. This includes research, sourcing and other content improvements.  

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