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So you want to become a digital marketing expert

Digital marketing has come a long way, and it’s only growing from here. 

In fact, the digital marketing industry is growing at a 9% compound annual growth rate. 

What does this mean? 

More businesses are moving online. An online business needs to generate online traffic…and digital marketing comes into play. 

But what about the job market? How much can a digital marketer earn? 

The average salary of an online marketing specialist in the US is $62.9k per year, AND there’s the potential to increase those numbers to $71.3k. 

Not too bad, is it? 

Why Should I Become a Self-Made Digital Marketing Expert? 

Online marketing is a great place to be because… 

  1. It’s never the same 

Digital marketing is constantly changing. There’s always something new to learn about, and you’ll never get bored. 

  1. It’s rewarding 

You help other businesses grow their online presence, as well as your own.  

  1. It’s here to stay 

We’re becoming more familiar with the digital world every day. Online marketing isn’t going anywhere. 

It’s no wonder why you would want to become a digital marketer. 

But where do you go from here? How can you get started? 

In this post, we’ll go through 7 steps to become a self-made digital marketing expert. You’ll leave this article with the tools and confidence to make this a reality. 

Let’s get started. 

7 Steps to Become a Digital Marketing Expert 

Digital Marketing

1. Know Your Why 

We all know that setting goals are necessary for any career. 

Setting goals pave the path to your success. 

Since you’re reading this post, it can be assumed that your goal is to become a digital marketing expert. 

The real question is, why? 

Why do you want to become an online marketer? What is pulling you towards this career

Maybe you already have a business and are in the process of becoming digital…or maybe you have a genuine interest in marketing. 

Whether it’s for financial, family, or individual reasons, you should have a deep understanding of why you chose this journey. 

Once you know your why, you can use it to help set your goals.  

Becoming a digital marketer isn’t easy. Just like any other career, it takes time and effort. 

Your why will remind you what you’re working towards when times get tough. 

It’ll motivate you to reach the goals you set for yourself. 

2. Learn As Much as You Can 

Digital marketing branches off into many different online marketing strategies. 

A digital marketing expert has a good understanding of the following:  

  • Content marketing 
  • Search engine marketing (organic and paid) 
  • Social media marketing 
  • Email marketing 
  • Website design 

… and the list goes on. 

Learning about all of these topics can get overwhelming. 

Good news: there’s a TON of digital marketing resources online. And best of all, most of them are free. 

On that note, here are 3 resources you can use: 

1. A Digital Marketing Course 

An online digital marketing course will give you a solid understanding of digital marketing and its branches. You’ll learn the ropes by experts who have practiced these strategies. 

You can even go a step further and take a marketing certification. A certification shows future employers your dedication and knowledge about online marketing skills

2. Keep Up With the Trends 

Think about how fast the internet changes within a year. Digital marketing is evolving right along with it. 

How do you keep up? 

First, get on social media. 

Follow marketing experts on Twitter, join a digital marketing Facebook group, get insights on LinkedIn… you get the picture. 

Social media is a useful tool. Take advantage of it. 

Second, read everything you see. 

There are a ton of marketing blogs packed with actionable advice. Take some time every day to read through a few blog posts. Write down what you learn and questions you may have. 

As you learn more about this topic, you’ll connect the dots between each online strategy. 

3. Build a Website 

concept of building a websiteThey say the best way to learn something is to practice it. 

A self-made digital marketer goes through the trial and error of online marketing. You know the process of building a blog or online business because you’ve done it yourself. 

You can learn all you want about digital marketing, but you won’t know what actually works until you test them out. 

What better way to try out these strategies than for your own business? 

Think about it… every digital marketing expert has a website. You might as well go for it.  

Maybe you’re wondering how expensive a website can be. Rest assured, a website won’t break the bank – it’s actually quite affordable. 

Here’s a breakdown of the website essentials: 

  • Website hosting $100-$150 per year 
  • A domain $12-$14 per year 
  • A content management system WordPress is free and is the most popular CMS out there. 
  • A website theme you can either use a free theme or buy a premium theme. Premium themes can range from $50-$150. 

Pretty affordable, right? 

Some of you might be thinking, “Can’t I test out these strategies on other online businesses instead of building my own website?” 

Absolutely. Helping someone else out will give you experience and a portfolio to display. 

Here’s the catch – their business is theirs, not yours. 

You can test out marketing strategies and create a portfolio using another business. 

With your own website, you can try out marketing strategies, start a portfolio, AND build your brand. 

Your brand boosts your credibility as a digital marketer. It’ll benefit you as you move further down this career. 

So if you’re wondering which one you should do, here’s your answer. 

Do both. 

Build your website and take these opportunities as they come. 

4. Test Out the Waters 

Now that you’ve built a website, you can learn how to drive traffic to your site. 

Here are 2 important strategies to start with:  

1. Content Marketing 

Content marketing is all about: 

  • Targeting your audience with a buyer’s persona 
  • Satisfying the needs of your users
  • Using content to build long-lasting customers 

Content builds your brand, credibility, and reputation. It plays a big role in a digital marketing strategy. 

An easy and free way to branch into content marketing is to start a blog.  

You can even try out other forms of content as you create your blog. Some examples are video, infographics, landing pages, etc. 

2. SEO 

Just like content marketing, a digital marketing expert needs a deep understanding of SEO. It helps online businesses rank high on Google at a low cost. 

76% of marketers use organic traffic to determine how successful content is. If your content doesn’t rank high on Google, who’s going to see it?  

Plus, content marketing and SEO go together like bread and butter. Content won’t be seen without SEO, and SEO has nothing to rank without content.

On that note, your future employers or clients will expect you to know the following: 

On-Page SEO This includes keywords, linking, readability, and headlines. 

Off-Page SEO This is tracking your analytics such as your bounce rate and click-through rate. 

How to Audit a Website SEO auditing is analyzing other factors that may affect your ranking. Website speed is a good example. 

As you practice all three of these tactics and create content, you’ll get the hang of using content marketing and SEO hand in hand. 

But what about other digital marketing strategies? Aren’t they important too? 

Of course. To be a digital marketing expert, you’ll need a good grip on these other strategies as well. 

We’ll get to this topic later in this post. 

5. Track Your Success

Infographic Resume FormatOnline marketers prove their success with data. 

Data doesn’t lie. 

As a digital marketer, you’ll need to learn how to track your client’s website and content with analytics. 

Your online traffic, in particular, has to be measured. You need to know if your content is driving users to your business. 

While there are a number of analytics tools available for other parts of your digital marketing strategy, I’m going to list a few tools you can use to measure online traffic. 

Google Analytics  A huge part of digital marketing is being seen on Google. With that in mind, Google Analytics is the #1 tool you’ll need. 

It analyzes your website’s traffic, such as your bounce rate and page visits. 

Plus, it can analyze PPC advertising on Google. 

Search Engine Platforms Search engine platforms track your content and how well it’s ranking. Most platforms track keywords, analyze links, and compare your content to other sites. 

Facebook Ads Reporting Facebook ads track paid-per-click advertisements on Facebook and Instagram. Many online businesses use PPC advertising on these social media handles. 

It’s common to use PPC along with SEO, so it’s a good idea to become familiar with this tool. 

6. Try Other Digital Marketing Strategies 

So you have content marketing and SEO down, AND you’ve analyzed your traffic using analytics. 

You’re probably curious about the other types of online marketing. 

Every digital marketing strategy is different – one of your clients may do well with social media  while another gets more traffic with PPC. 

Here’s a quick list of marketing strategies to look into: 

1. Email Marketing 

How many times do you check your email every day? 

Probably a lot. 

B2B marketers rated email as the most important channel for content marketing. Plus, email is popular with B2C along with B2B. 

As you can see, email marketing is necessary to learn. 

2. Affiliate Marketing 

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could earn money just by linking another site in your post? 

That’s what we call, affiliate marketing. 

When you link to an affiliate partner’s site, it improves their SEO and drives more sales. So if a customer buys a product through your link in your blog post, your affiliate partner will give you a % of the profit. 

3. PPC Advertising 

Paid-per-click advertising continues to be used along with organic search. While it’s known to be used on Google, it’s also gaining popularity on social media handles. 

4. Marketing Technology 

As AI becomes the norm, so does marketing technology. Automation comes with its benefits and challenges, but it’s a strategy to become familiar with as marketers transition to it. 

Remember that these are just a few types of online marketing to look into. 

As you build your online presence and credibility as a digital marketing expert, you’ll become familiar with other strategies. 

7. Show Off Your Skills 

If you’ve gone through each step, then you’ve gained the knowledge and credibility of a digital marketing expert. 

Now it’s time to show the world what you’re made of. 

A portfolio is essential to build your personal brand, but it’s not the only thing you should be doing. 

Here are 3 other ways to get clients: 

1. Build Your Social Media Presence 

Connections are everything in the digital world. Social media voices your expertise with fellow professionals and potential customers. 

Twitter, for example, is a great platform to share quick insights and tips about digital marketing. 

Your targeted audience will decide what social media handles you should focus on. 

2. Guest Post  

Guest posting is when you write articles for other digital marketing sites. 

Your website will be seen by a wider audience if you guest post on reputable sites. The key is to post on websites with high domain authority. 

Most blogging sites have a page marked, “Write for Us” or “Contribute to Our Blog.” 

You can also search, “write for us” (add your niche here) on Google. 

Like SEO, generating leads from guest posts doesn’t happen overnight. You have to be consistent with it. 

3. Use Your Knowledge 

The previous steps set you up to gain knowledge and expertise in digital marketing. 

Use your insights and data to create a buyer’s persona and target your audience. 

Who’s going to your site? How are they finding you? What can you do to lead them to your services? 

These questions will give you a better understanding of what you should put time into. Remember to use analytics to track your results. 

social media applications on a phone


Hopefully, this article leaves you with the inspiration and drive to become a digital marketer.

You also might be overwhelmed with information. If that’s the case, take a look below at a summary of the key takeaways of this post. 

1. Understand Your Motives 

Whether this is a completely new career change or not, you need to know why you want to be a digital marketing expert. 

Your answer might change as you go through the process. Check in with yourself and reevaluate your goals as time goes on. 

Your why will push you through the ups and downs of digital marketing. 

2. Be in the Know 

Digital marketing is changing as you read this article. As technology advances, we change. 

Keep up with the trends with social media and digital marketing blogs. Use these insights to better your digital marketing strategy and to understand your audience’s wants and pain points. 

3. Practice Makes Perfect 

How often do you do something perfectly for the first time? 

Probably not very often. 

Digital marketing is all about trial and error. Some things will work, and others won’t. 

Celebrate the successes, and embrace the challenges. You’ll become an online marketing expert, all you have to do is try. 

Written By
Alex is the Founder and Digital Marketing Manager of Reliablesoft, a digital marketing agency offering SEO and digital marketing services since 2002. He also authored the Digital Marketing Full Course. Connect with him on Twitter.

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