To become a Digital Marketing Specialist is the dream of many and if you have the same dream, well, then I have very good news for you and that is — making your dream come true is not very difficult.
Since the internet has penetrated deep into our lives and people spend more time browsing the internet than on other mediums like TV, radio, newspaper, books, and magazines. People use the internet for a lot of reasons like entertainment, communication, seek information about literally anything they want, and express their feelings in forms of journals, blogs, articles, Q&A forums, social media, etc.
Though, it is not that simple as it looks. Capturing the attention of your audience at the right time, and at the right place is important. That requires a well planned digital marketing strategy.
And to build a digital marketing strategy and launch a successful digital marketing campaign you need a Digital Marketing Specialist. A digital marketing specialist who puts together the entire digital marketing strategy and execute it as per the plan to achieve the desired goals for the business.
How to Become a Digital Marketing Specialist?
Most noticeable is the question “How to Become a Digital Marketing Specialist”.
To become a Digital Marketing Specialist you technically don’t need a degree or diploma. But you need to have a certain set of skills, like, writing engaging and meaningful content, managing PPC advertisements, handling Social Media marketing, using internet tools, knowledge about SEO, etc.
Digital marketing is not as easy as to follow the marketing’s rule book and as straight forward as traditional marketing used to be.
Simple Steps to Become a Digital Marketing Specialist?
Though a lot of information is available online about digital marketing, just finding where to start can be challenging. And even when you get started, how do you ensure you are not wasting your time, efforts, and money. Don’t worry, below is the Step by Step Learning Process to Become a Digital Marketing Specialist. And this will help you proceed in an efficient way.
Step 1: Invest in a Good Personal Computer
Though it is not necessary I recommend the learners to invest in buying a good personal computer. Many people are comfortable on their smartphones but when it comes to writing long content, mobile devices might not be as good as a computer. Similarly, editing images and resizing them in the mobile device is not a better option than Computer.
Step 2: Read Digital Marketing Blogs & Tutorials
The starting point in the journey to becoming a digital marketing specialist is to first learn and understand digital marketing concepts. Digital marketing is multiplex and you need to learn a lot about the different digital marketing concepts.
There are a lot of free & paid Udemy courses on digital marketing which can help you learn the concepts faster and better. That’s the good starting point, to begin with.
Step 3: Start Implementing Your Knowledge & Learning
SEO and Content are the main pillars of digital marketing, everything else comes after that. So, research the topic you want to work in. Make a list of topics or articles you want to write about.
Start writing your articles and try writing well SEO optimized articles and save them for publishing online. Make a list of Keywords which have the highest search volume and write articles about them on your blog. This will quickly help you bring organic traffic on your website.
Step 4: Set up a Blog/Website
Think of a nice name for your blog depending on the article or topic you want to write about. Make sure your blog’s name is different and unique. Register your domain with the name you have decided for your blog and subscribe a hosting plan to host your website/blog.
Install a free or premium WordPress theme which you like into your website, but make sure the theme you install on your website is responsive. Because a lot of visitors (63%) would be visiting your website from their mobile phones. Hence, your website needs to be mobile friendly and responsive to serve those mobile visitors.
Step 5: Generate XML Sitemap of Your Website
Generating the XML sitemap of your website or blog will be convenient when you submit your website to Google for crawling. Google bots read your website and its content from the sitemap you submit to Google Search Console(GSC). Best is to use a plugin which automatically updates and generates the sitemap whenever new content is added on the website and adds it to the sitemap.
Step 6: Verify Your Website with Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster
Now sign up with Google Search Console and submit your website for Google Crawling. Signing up with Webmaster tools will help you submit your sitemap on google. Google bots crawl your website through the sitemap and index your pages in google searches accordingly.
Step 7: Set up Google Analytics
Obviously, you want to see what is happening on your website, how many visitors you get on your website, how your articles are performing, etc. For that, you need to set up Google Analytics on your website. For that, you need to signup for Google Analytics and install Google Analytics tracking code on your website to see the amount of traffic you drive on your website.
Learn a little about Google Analytics to perfectly analyze your Google Analytics data. This will help you understand your visitor’s behavior, the performance of your articles, demography of your visitors, etc.
Step 8: Set up Social Media
You also need to set up your social media channels like the Facebook page, LinkedIn page, Twitter, YouTube if you also want to create some video content, Instagram, etc. Start with the setup of a Facebook page dedicated to your article or blog where you can share the links of your articles. Invite your friends to follow your page and read your articles. Also, ask them to share the posts on their walls and Facebook groups they are associated with.
Step 9: Enable Social Media Sharing & Integrate Facebook Page Plugin
Enable social sharing on your blog. If you are using WordPress then you can use the free WordPress plugin to share your articles on different social media platforms. This will also help you create back-links for your articles and drive traffic on your website.
And the readers on your website or blog would also want to share the content which they like on social media, so this plugin would help them as well to share your content. Add Facebook Page Plugin in your blog or article and ask your readers on the blog to like and follow your Facebook page.
If you want you can also integrate the widgets for Twitter and Instagram to show the latest posts on your Instagram and Twitter and motivate your visitors to follow you on those social media platform.
Step 10: Enable Email Subscription
Enable email signup form in your blog and ask your website or blog visitors to subscribe for your newsletter and email your subscribers whenever you publish something new in your blog or article. Sign up for an email marketing service such as MailChimp or SendGrid.
They give you free emailing on a list of up to 2000 contacts. MailChimp also offers a WordPress plugin to directly add the newsletter subscribers from your blog in the email list. So, whenever you publish something new on your blog or article, you might want to inform your audience about it. Emailing is a great way to do that.
Step 11: Publish Your Content
Since you have done the basic setup of your website, now it is time to publish your blog content on the website. Publish your content on the website and don’t forget to follow the SEO guidelines properly while doing it. If you properly write your blog content and optimize it very well for the search engines you will see the organic traffic growing pretty fast on your website. This is what everyone out there in the digital world is killing for — to be seen on the web. And if you can get that position on the search engine organically, nothing is like that.
Step 12: Promote Your Content
First of all, when you have published the content on your website make sure you have shared it on all the social media platform like Instagram, Twitter, you have the presence on. Social plugins you have installed on your blog or website would help you do that in just a few clicks.
Step 13: Start Paid Ads
You can drive more traffic on your website by advertisement. All the social media platforms, Google and Bing offer opportunities for paid ads. Advertisements can quickly bring more targeted traffic to your website.
Signup for Google Ads accounts and do some keyword research to see what people are searching for related to your blog subject. Promote your website via Google Ads. Google Ads gives Rs. 2000/- Free Credit on signing up which you can use with your Rs. 500 Ad Budget to promote your website. Keep lowest CPC bids so that you get more clicks and website visitors for your Ad budget.
With Google Ads, you can do both search ads and display ads. Also, you can show your ad banners on the entire Google network including YouTube.
If your target audience is mostly on the bing and yahoo networks then you should do advertisements on Bing. Just because your audience use bing network for searches, they will see and engage with your Bing Ads rather than the Google Ads.
You can also choose to promote your website with Facebook ads. Target people who might be interested in your blog or article subject.
TwitterAds & LinkedIn Ads
If you want to reach out to more people on Twitter and LinkedIn you can choose to advertise on Twitter & LinkedIn. Though, LinkedIn and Twitter both are expensive as compared to Google Ads and Facebook Ads. But, if your target audience is on LinkedIn and Twitter you should go for it.
Step 14: Create BackLinks
Search engines frequently use the number of backlinks that a website has as one of the most important factors for determining that website’s search engine ranking, importance and popularity so it is very essential to create more backlinks. Try to get high-quality backlinks for your website by writing guest posts, directory submissions, link exchanges, etc.
All of this you can do in about a month’s time and doing this would give you hands-on experience in SEO, Website Optimization, Google Ads, installing WordPress themes, Domain Registration, installing and using WordPress plugins, making use of the Google Analytics data, Facebook Ads, Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and most importantly writing SEO optimized articles or Blogs and researching keywords to write articles.
And all this added together covers more than half of the Digital Marketer’s job. But the discussion would not be complete unless we discuss the important components of digital marketing, certification tests of Google, Twitter, Bing, and HubSpot, etc., which helps you enhance your knowledge. Let’s see that as well.
Important Components of Digital Marketing
Below are the most basic and important components which a Digital Marketing Specialist should know in and out:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Paid Search, also called Pay Per Click (PPC)
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social Media Optimization (SMO)
Web Analytics and Reporting
Google Search Console
You will see that when you dedicate approx 3-4 hours daily for learning about Digital Marketing and about an hour to implement your digital marketing learning on your website/blog then you are almost half-way there.
Mastering all the Digital Marketing understanding, concepts and know-how of using the Digital Tools, and knowing the use of the Digital Marketing resources is one part to be the Digital Marketing Specialist.
The second part is to make the strategy for any business you want to get involved with, for achieving its business objective, viz., branding, brand positioning, increasing revenue, upselling, cross-selling, lead generation, sign-ups, etc.
Digital Marketing Courses or Certifications to Enhance Your Digital Marketing Knowledge?
Digital Marketing is still an evolving industry and with new development, new researches, new digital tools, new technologies, new social media networks, new coding languages, it is certainly not possible to define a specific curriculum for it.
Anyone with a desire can become a Digital Marketing Specialist without any training.
It’s true since it is the science of internet marketing there is a lot of free stuff which you can download, real, experiment with and evaluate your knowledge by implementing the same in your projects.
But, people who want to cover this journey of becoming a Digital Marketing Specialist in less time can undergo professional training. Taking training from specialists helps you to learn things better and faster.
Even you can intensify your Digital Marketing Skills through Google Certifications and HubSpot free certifications in different areas of Digital Marketing. Some of these courses are as follows:
Below are some of Google’s Certifications which you can do on your own to intensify your knowledge in digital marketing and understand Google’s Advertising systems.
Mobile Sites Certification
Digital Sales Certification
Apps Administrator Fundamentals
Analytics Individual Qualification
Google Analytics Premium
Google Online Marketing Fundamentals
Below are some of the HubSpot’s Certifications which you can do on your own to enhance your knowledge in digital marketing and understand different digital marketing components in detail.
Inbound Marketing Certification
Inbound Sales Certification
Social Media Certification
Content Marketing Certification
Search Engine Optimization
Brand Engagement Certification
Graphic Design Certification
Sales Manager Training Certification
Facebook Marketing Certification
Lead Management Certification
Conversational Strategy Certification
Facebook Advertising Certification
Business Writing Certification
Email Marketing Certification
HubSpot Marketing Software Certification
Sales Enablement Certification
Sales Software Certification
Growth-Driven Design Certification
Unlike Google, Bing offers one certification which covers everything about the Bing advertisement and in the case of Yahoo, it also uses the Bing platform for advertisements.
Accredited Professional Bing Ads Certification
Certification from Twitter helps you to understand the twitter marketing systems and how to use a Twitter Business account to advertise on Twitter.
Twitter Marketing Graduate
NOTE: All of the above-mentioned courses and certifications are absolutely FREE. But it takes a lot of time to prepare for these certifications.
Besides the above, there are courses available on Alison, Lynda, Udemy and many other websites which you can refer
Now the important question is: Would I Become a Digital Marketing Specialist by doing these courses and Certifications?
So, the answer to that question is like this: Learning Digital Marketing is like learning to ride a Bike. Besides the instructor’s guidance, you need to practice on your own, and test your driving skills on all the terrains.
Similarly, in Digital Marketing you need to apply and test your Digital Marketing skills in different domains and different Industry Verticals to become a Digital Marketing Specialist.
Practice, innovative thinking, and patience are the keys to Success in becoming a Digital Marketing Specialist.
The best thing about digital marketing is that you can begin learning and implementing your knowledge and understanding practically simultaneously. It’s kind of DIY (Do-It-Yourself). You can start your practice by trying small activities like setting up a website/blog of your own.
All you need is a computer connected with the internet and a credit card/debit card to buy things or pay for courses and ads you want to run if required.
Digital Marketing is all about strategy and execution. And consequently, the execution takes much more time than learning the concepts, tools and using resources.
Your experience increases with the amount of work you end up doing any time you productively spent into the Digital Marketing Industry.
Companies and Brands are nowadays looking for people who are specialists in building up 360° integrated marketing plans and executing them successfully.
And if you acquire all the skills, have worked with different industries, have some certifications from Google, HubSpot, etc., which adds to your work credentials would be an added advantage for you over other candidates in getting such opportunities.
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