How to Get Into Digital Marketing: Tips From An Expert

Author headshot of CareerFoundry tutor Purity Mwaka.

My journey into digital marketing started somewhat unexpectedly. 

I was initially pursuing a degree in finance, without foresight of where that would land me. I was not passionate about it. 

In my third year, I had a long break, and I decided to look for work. I was accepted as an intern at a digital marketing agency, where I discovered my passion for this dynamic field. 

I began shadowing senior digital marketers, asking endless questions, and embracing every challenge thrown my way. This hands-on experience was invaluable, providing me with a solid foundation in SEO, content marketing, and social media strategies

After my internship, I leveraged these skills and insights to land a junior digital marketing role. I focused on expanding my knowledge and expertise through continuous learning and experimentation, keeping up with the latest industry trends and technological advancements.

Over the years, I’ve climbed the ranks, transitioning from a junior marketer to a digital marketing manager, and now I work in performance marketing. I specialize in helping brands create and implement effective digital marketing strategies that drive engagement, increase brand awareness, and generate leads. 

My career path has been a journey of constant learning, adapting, and evolving with the digital landscape.

Editor’s note: Ready to get your hands dirty? Try our free 5-day short course in digital marketing.

How pathways to digital marketing careers are changing

The pathways to becoming a digital marketer are as varied as the field itself, including formal education, self-teaching, internships, and professional experience. Traditionally, these pathways include earning a degree in marketing or a related field, gaining hands-on experience through internships, engaging in self-directed learning via online courses and certifications, and networking with industry professionals.

With the advent of AI, the digital marketing landscape is evolving, and so are the pathways into the field. 

Skills in data analysis, AI and machine learning, and an understanding of how these technologies can be applied in marketing strategies are becoming increasingly important. 

This doesn’t mean that traditional pathways will become irrelevant. Rather, they will need to be supplemented with skills and knowledge that are specific to AI and its applications in digital marketing. 

In the coming years, pathways that incorporate AI education and practical experience with AI tools will become more relevant, as they prepare aspiring digital marketers for the tech-driven future of the industry.

How to get into digital marketing: an action plan

1. Educate yourself

Begin with free online courses and tutorials in digital marketing basics, including SEO, content marketing, social media, email marketing, and PPC advertising.

Platforms like CareerFoundry, Google Digital Garage, HubSpot Academy, and Coursera offer valuable resources.

2. Get certified

Obtain certifications to validate your skills and knowledge.

Google Analytics, Google Ads, and Facebook Blueprint certifications are great starting points and highly regarded in the industry.

3. Build a portfolio

Create your own blog, manage social media accounts, or volunteer to handle digital marketing for local businesses or non-profits. Use these projects to demonstrate your skills and results.

4. Network

Attend industry meetups, webinars, and conferences to connect with digital marketers. LinkedIn is also a powerful tool for networking, sharing your projects, and engaging with industry content.

5. Apply for internships or entry-level positions 

Look for opportunities that offer hands-on experience, even if they’re unpaid internships. This real-world experience is invaluable and can lead to full-time positions.

6. Stay up to date 

The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing. Follow industry blogs, podcasts, and influencers to keep abreast of the latest trends and tools.

Mistakes to avoid when breaking into marketing

1. Not specializing 

While it’s important to have a broad understanding of digital marketing, specializing in a specific area (e.g., SEO, PPC, content marketing) can make you more attractive to employers.

2. Ignoring analytics

Data drives digital marketing. Failing to learn how to interpret and use analytics to inform strategies is a critical mistake.

3. Overlooking the importance of networking

Building relationships with industry professionals can lead to mentorship, advice, and job opportunities. Don’t underestimate the power of a strong professional network.

4. Failing to keep up with industry changes

Digital marketing evolves rapidly. Neglecting to stay updated on the latest trends, tools, and technologies can leave you behind.

5. Undervaluing soft skills

Communication, creativity, and problem-solving are as crucial as technical skills. Showcasing these soft skills can set you apart in the job market.

6. Not building an online presence 

Your online presence serves as a live portfolio. Not having a professional LinkedIn profile, a personal website, or a portfolio can be a missed opportunity to showcase your skills and passion for digital marketing.

Final thoughts

From a chance internship to now spearheading performance marketing strategies, I’ve seen firsthand how dedication, continuous learning, and adaptability are essential for success.

As the digital marketing industry continues to evolve, those who embrace change, cultivate their skills, and adapt to new technologies will find themselves well-positioned for success.

What You Should Do Now

  1. Get a hands-on introduction to digital marketing with a free, self-paced short course comprised of five short tutorials.

  2. Take part in one of our FREE live online digital marketing events with industry experts, and check out digital marketing student Adelina’s portfolio project.

  3. Become a job-ready digital marketer in just 3-7 months—all backed by the CareerFoundry job guarantee.

  4. This month, we’re offering a partial scholarship worth up to $1,365 off on all of our career-change programs to the first 100 students who apply 🎉 Book your application call and secure your spot now!

What is CareerFoundry?

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