What Do You Need to Know to Become a Digital Marketer?

What Do You Need to Know to Become a Digital Marketer
What Do You Need to Know to Become a Digital Marketer

The Complete A to Z Guide on Transitioning into a Six Figure Digital Marketing Career in 2023 (Fast)

Did you know that digital marketing is one of the highest paying and most in-demand career fields today? As companies shift their marketing budgets online, there is an exploding need for digital marketing expertise.

This step-by-step guide will teach you exactly what you need to know to break into the lucrative field of digital marketing and land a high paying job in 2023.

Whether you’re switching careers or just starting out, you can develop the skills to crush it in digital marketing in record time with the right roadmap. Let’s get started!

Why Digital Marketing is So Hot Right Now

Before we dive in, let’s look at why digital marketing has never been hotter:

  • Digital ad spending hit over $500 billion in 2022. It’s projected to grow to $786 billion by 2026.
  • Companies are hungry to hire digital marketing talent. LinkedIn reports it’s one of the top emerging jobs.
  • Digital marketing roles pay extremely well. Average salaries range from $70k to $150k+.
  • You can enter the field from almost any background. Many digital marketers transitioned from other areas.
  • Remote work opportunities abound. Digital marketing lends itself well to remote teams.
  • It’s a future-proof career. Digital will only grow as traditional marketing declines.

Simply put, digital marketing is one of the best career moves you can make today. The demand far exceeds the qualified talent available. By developing the right skills, you can take advantage of this disparity.

Now let’s look at exactly what you need to know.

Digital Marketing 101 – Core Concepts

First you need to understand the foundational concepts of digital marketing. Here’s an overview:

Inbound vs Outbound – Inbound focuses on attracting visitors while outbound pushes messaging out. Good strategy combines both.

Paid vs Organic – Paid means advertising. Organic is unpaid, like SEO and social media. Balance is ideal.

Channels – Digital marketing utilizes channels like social media, email, SEO, PPC, content marketing.

Metrics and Data – Success depends on tracking KPIs like leads, sales, traffic, conversions.

Testing and Optimization – Improving based on data through testing content, offers, designs, targeting.

Personalization – Crafting experiences tailored to individual users and their context.

Attribution – Determining which channels and touchpoints influence conversions.

This foundation is key. Now let’s look at specific disciplines.

Content Marketing – The Cornerstone

Content marketing means creating valuable free content to attract and convert an audience. It’s essential for several reasons:

  • It’s the top tactic for generating leads and traffic.
  • Google rewards high quality, optimized content with higher rankings.
  • It builds brand awareness and establishes thought leadership.
  • It generates traffic from search, social media, links from other sites.

Types of content include:

  • Blog articles
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics
  • eBooks, guides, reports
  • Webinars
  • Social media posts

Skills needed include:

  • Content strategy – Mapping topics to stages of the buyer’s journey.
  • Copywriting – Creating compelling titles, headlines, body copy.
  • Content optimization – Crafting content for SEO and conversions.
  • Promotion – Getting content in front of the right audiences.
  • Analytics – Tracking content performance using metrics like pageviews, time on site, conversions.

Mastering content marketing is arguably the most important digital marketing skillset.

Search Engine Optimization – Ranking High in Search Engines

SEO or search engine optimization is how you improve website and content visibility in search engines like Google. Higher rankings equal more traffic and leads.

Some key SEO skills:

  • Keyword research – Identifying high volume, low competition keywords that attract the right audiences. Tools like Google Keyword Planner help.
  • On-page optimization – Optimizing page elements like titles, headers, content, meta descriptions for target keywords.
  • Technical SEO – Ensuring a site has a solid technical foundation for search: fast load times, mobile responsiveness, security.
  • Link building – Earning high quality backlinks from other domains to improve authority and rankings.
  • Local SEO – Optimizing for local search results by strengthening business info and reviews.
  • Analytics – Tracking keyword ranks, organic traffic, click through rates.

SEO is a complex, ever-evolving field. But mastery is well worth the high ROI.

Paid Search (PPC) – Buying Visits from Search Engines

Paid search means buying ads on search engines like Google and Bing to drive traffic. The most common form is Google Ads (formerly Adwords). Benefits include:

  • Instant traffic and results from day one – ads go live immediately.
  • Complete control over targeting – target by keywords, demographics, interests, and more.
  • Pay only for results – you pay each time your ad is clicked.
  • Highly measurable – track leads, conversions, ROI down to the keyword level.
  • Display network reach – show ads across Google’s vast display network.

Skills needed for PPC include:

  • Keyword research
  • Crafting compelling ad copy
  • Setting up and structuring campaigns
  • Managing bids and budgets
  • Designing landing pages
  • Conversion tracking
  • Optimizing based on data and ROI

PPC takes time to master but provides a fast, measurable channel to reach customers.

Email Marketing – Highly Engaged Followers

Email marketing is extremely effective for nurturing leads and communicating with customers. Key skills include:

  • Building a mailing list by capturing emails through opt-in forms.
  • Writing compelling subject lines that drive open rates.
  • Crafting emails with engaging copy and design.
  • Automating campaigns with sign up funnels and drips.
  • Integrating with CRM and marketing automation systems.
  • Measuring results like open rate, click through rate, conversions.
  • Segmenting your list into groups based on behavior and attributes.
  • Personalizing content with merge tags like first name.
  • Optimizing deliverability to land in the inbox.
  • Testing different calls to action, content, subject lines.

Email has one of the highest ROIs of any channel due to its low cost and highly engaged subscribers. It’s a must in any digital marketer’s toolkit.

Social Media Marketing – Leveraging Networks

Social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest offer huge marketing opportunities through paid and organic strategies:


  • Posting regular content that engages followers
  • Using relevant hashtags and keywords
  • Running contests and sweepstakes
  • Interacting and engaging with other accounts
  • Getting influencers to share your content


  • Promoted posts and profile highlights
  • Custom audiences and lookalike targeting
  • Powerful visual/video ads
  • Retargeting across platforms
  • Partnering with influencers

Key skills include understanding each platform’s audience and features, creating engaging content, optimizing paid campaigns, tracking ROI.

Web Design and Conversion Optimization

Your website is a crucial hub that ties all marketing efforts together. Skills like web design, copywriting, and conversion rate optimization maximize its effectiveness.

Areas to optimize include:

  • Information architecture and user flow
  • Compelling headline and copy
  • Clear calls to action
  • Leveraging visuals and video
  • Crafting a persuasive value proposition
  • Personalization
  • Trust building elements (testimonials, guarantees, reviews)
  • Reducing friction in forms and checkouts
  • Customer experience across devices

The goal is to guide visitors to key conversion actions through an optimized experience. Testing and iteration using tools like Google Analytics and heatmaps help improve over time.

Sales Funnels – Guiding Visitors to Conversion

A sales funnel moves website visitors through a sequence of pages and offers that convert them from cold traffic into leads and customers. This multi-step approach improves conversion dramatically.

Funnels often include:

  • Landing pages with strong offers to capture emails
  • Email auto-responders that nurture subscribers
  • Lead magnets/free content for capturing contacts
  • Product or service pages with demos/free trials
  • Shopping cart and checkout process
  • Upsell/cross-sell offers on thank you pages

Funnels guide people through your sales cycle digitally. Their data and behavior informs messaging and personalization.

Marketing Automation – Streamlined Lead Nurturing

Marketing automation systems like HubSpot and Marketo allow you to:

  • Assign scoring rules to leads based on behavior and profile.
  • Group contacts into segments based on attributes and actions.
  • Set up automated email campaigns like welcome series and nurturing flows.
  • Create landing page and forms to capture contacts.
  • Track website activity of anonymous and known contacts.
  • Integrate with sales teams by syncing lead data to CRM.

This technology streamlines lead qualification and nurturing to boost conversions.

Web Analytics – What Can Be Measured can Be Optimized

Web analytics allows you to interpret the data from your marketing efforts. Platforms like Google Analytics help track:

  • Traffic source – Direct, organic, social, referral, email
  • Page views, unique visitors, and bounce rate
  • Landing and exit pages
  • On-site engagement and behavior
  • Conversions and KPIs
  • Attribution across channels

This data powers optimization across all your campaigns and strategies.

A/B and Multivariate Testing – The Power of Experimentation

A/B testing means creating two versions of an element like a headline or call to action to see which performs better.

Multivariate testing combines multiple elements like images, headlines, and copy into different combinations.

This experimentation uncovers key improvements to increase leads and sales. Tools like Optimizely and VWO make testing easy.

CRMs and MAPs – Managing Relationships and Campaigns

CRM – Customer relationship management systems like Salesforce help you:

  • Organize contacts and companies into databases
  • Segment users based on attributes and behaviors
  • Store interactions and sales data
  • Assign leads to sales reps
  • Automate workflows and campaigns
  • Generate reports

MAP – Marketing automation platforms like HubSpot allow you to:

  • Capture and manage contacts
  • Score leads based on activity
  • Segment users based on behaviors
  • Set up automated campaigns like email nurturing
  • Track website analytics and attribution
  • Sync data with sales teams

Together, CRM and MAP provide the data infrastructure to manage all relationships and campaigns.

Agile Methodologies – Moving Fast to Outpace Competitors

Digital marketing leverages agile methodologies like Scrum that emphasize rapid iterations and constant testing.

This agile approach allows you to:

  • Work in short 2-4 week sprints
  • Prioritize features and campaigns based on ROI
  • Release and test new ideas quickly
  • Pivot strategies based on performance data
  • Integrate feedback rapidly
  • Deliver more value faster

Agile is essential for competing in the fast-paced digital landscape.

Growth Mindset – Testing and Learning Nonstop

The most effective digital marketers embrace constant testing and optimization. They adopt a growth mindset oriented around:

  • Setting key metrics like revenue, leads, and conversions as north stars.
  • Establishing processes tied to objectives and key results.
  • Tracking everything to unpack what’s working.
  • Leveraging the scientific method to form hypotheses and run tests.
  • Pushing campaigns live in a matter of days or weeks.
  • Building a culture focused on measurable results and progress.

This testing velocity allows you to improve marketing ROI and outpace competitors.

The Digital Marketing Tech Stack

A vast array of software and tools can amplify your efforts. Examples include:

Analytics – Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Amplitude, Heap

Automation – HubSpot, Marketo, Act-On, Pardot, SharpSpring

CRM – Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoho, SugarCRM

Email – Mailchimp, Constant Contact, ConvertKit, Campaign Monitor

Landing Pages – LeadPages, Instapage, Unbounce, ClickFunnels

Surveys – Typeform, SurveyMonkey

Social Media – Buffer, Hootsuite

SEO – Ahrefs, SEMRush, Moz, Screaming Frog

PPC – Google Ads, Bing Ads, Wordstream

Don’t get overwhelmed. Identify the key tools for core needs first.

Always Be Learning

Due to constant change in channels, platforms and tech, learning must be lifelong. Stay current by:

  • Reading blogs, podcasts, books
  • Attending conferences and online courses
  • Joining communities of fellow marketers
  • Following thought leaders on social media
  • Experimenting with emerging platforms like TikTok
  • Tracking changes in algorithms and features
  • Monitoring shifts in consumer behavior and preferences

Digital marketing mastery requires continuous education. What’s hot today may be obsolete tomorrow.

Key Takeaways for Starting a Digital Marketing Career

The breadth of digital marketing may seem daunting. But it can be conquered with a strategic approach focused on high-ROI skills first.

Here’s a recap of the key takeaways:

  • Choose a niche like content marketing or PPC to specialize in. Establish a solid foundation before expanding your skills.
  • Master the fundamentals like web analytics, conversion optimization, marketing automation. These apply across all channels.
  • Develop content creation and copywriting skills. Strong writing is fundamental.
  • Focus on data-driven testing and improvement. Track everything and optimize based on what delivers results.
  • Adopt agile methodologies to build, test and refine campaigns quickly based on feedback and performance.
  • Keep tabs on emerging tech, platforms, trends and consumer behavior through ongoing education.

Today’s marketing landscape evolves at breakneck speed. But you can absolutely master it with the right strategic approach. Prioritize the learn the high-ROI skills first. Stay nimble and use data to guide your efforts.

The demand for digital marketing talent has literally never been greater. Seize this opportunity and build an in-demand career that lets you work from anywhere.

I hope this guide has outlined everything you need to crush it in digital marketing. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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