Embarking on a Digital Marketing Career Path: A Guide to Finding Success in the Online World
Have you ever wondered what it takes to build a career in the wild world of digital marketing? In the past, marketing meant TV commercials and print ads, but the digital revolution has changed everything. Now, companies live and die based on their online presence.
As online activity continues to accelerate, digital marketing skills are in high demand. The flexible hours, creative outlet, and potential for high earnings also make it an appealing career path for many. However, with so many options like SEO, social media, and pay-per-click—where do you start?
This guide will walk you through the key facets of digital marketing, typical career trajectories, earning potential, and where to find openings so you can dive in. Whether you’re just exploring options or ready to take the plunge, read on to uncover if a digital marketing career is right for you.
Deciphering the Different Types of Digital Marketing
When embarking on a digital marketing career, the first step is getting familiar with the key areas within the field. Broadly speaking, digital marketing focuses on two overarching goals: acquisition and retention.
Acquisition involves attracting new customers through marketing tactics and campaigns. This encompasses activities like:
- Driving website traffic
- Generating leads
- Building brand awareness
Retention, on the other hand, focuses on keeping existing customers engaged and expanding their lifetime value. This may include efforts like:
- Developing email nurture campaigns
- Creating loyalty programs
- Offering special promotions to repeat customers
Now, within these two buckets of acquisition and retention, there are both organic and paid channels digital marketers may specialize in.
Organic channels rely on non-paid tactics to attract an audience. These are earned channels, leveraging content and social media instead of ad spend. Common organic digital marketing channels include:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – Optimizing content and technical website elements to rank higher in search engines
- Content Marketing – Creating blogs, videos, guides to attract and engage an audience
- Social Media Management – Posting organic content and engaging followers on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Paid channels rely on ad spending to promote content and offers to potential customers. Some top paid acquisition channels are:
- SEM (Search Engine Marketing) – Purchasing ads on search engines like Google and Bing to promote content
- Social Media Advertising – Buying ads on networks like Facebook and LinkedIn to reach targeted users
- Display Advertising – Purchasing banner ads on websites through networks like Google Display Network or directly through specific site owners
As you evaluate specialties within digital marketing, consider both your skills and interests. SEO analysts tend to enjoy analyzing data and trends to optimize content. Social media managers thrive on creativity and connecting with audiences through visual content and engagement.
By familiarizing yourself with both acquisition vs. retention and organic vs. paid channels, you can narrow your focus to find the right niche for your unique abilities as you build your digital marketing career.
Navigating the Digital Marketing Career Ladder
When first embarking on a career in digital marketing, most professionals start as a junior at a digital marketing or advertising agency. Agency roles provide broad exposure to various clients across different industries, allowing you to get your feet wet in several marketing channels.
As a junior, your responsibilities may include:
- Conducting market research
- Supporting campaign execution and analysis
- Contributing ideas and strategies in brainstorming sessions
- Managing snippets of client accounts and campaigns
From an agency junior role, there are a few potential career progression paths:
- Get promoted within the agency to a senior or lead role with more client account ownership
- Go in-house with a specific brand to focus all efforts on their digital marketing
- Start freelancing independently to have more control over your client roster
Many mid-career professionals choose to parlay a few years of agency experience into an in-house role for a singular brand. Benefits of in-house positions include:
- Focusing all efforts on one brand vs. juggling multiple clients
- Seeing tangible results of your work tied directly to the brand’s metrics
- Potential for career advancement within the singular marketing department
Later on in your digital marketing career, after gaining specialized expertise from in-house roles, some professionals start their own consultancy or boutique agency. As an owner, you can:
- Hand-select your clients
- Build an agency focused on your unique areas of expertise
- Scale your career ambitions beyond a single employer ceiling
Ultimately there is no linear path or one-size-fits-all digital marketing career trajectory. By starting agency-side then exploring in-house and potentially founder routes, you can pivot your career based on your evolving skills, interests, and professional goals.
Lucrative Earning Potential in Digital Marketing
Digital marketing offers competitive salaries with ample room for growth as you gain experience and transition into more senior roles. While entry-level salaries hover around $30k-$40k, mid-career and specialized professionals can expect:
In-house digital marketing managers
- Average salaries ranging from $50k-$75k
- Managers in major cities can make significantly more
Senior marketing consultants
- Experienced consultants bill anywhere from $50-$150 per hour
- Top consultants charge over $400 per hour for their expertise
As you gain specialized expertise in high demand areas like SEO, PPC, social media marketing etc, you increase your earning potential both in-house and as an independent consultant.
Other factors impacting potential earnings include:
- Years of experience
- Specialized skills and certifications
- Major cities tending to offer higher salaries
- Transitioning into founder roles – either freelance or agency – provides more control over what you can charge clients
While entry-level salaries may start lower, mid-career digital marketers can expect to earn very competitive wages. Mastering in-demand marketing skills raises your earning ceiling both in traditional employment and independent consulting arrangements. With ample career growth potential, digital marketing offers the opportunity to earn an attractive living while doing meaningful marketing work.
Finding Remote Digital Marketing Jobs
Once you’ve gained an understanding of digital marketing and decided which area you want to specialize in, it’s time to start your job search.
With remote work now commonplace, your job search needn’t be limited by geography. Digital marketing roles can be done from anywhere with an internet connection.
LinkedIn is a great starting point to find open digital marketing positions. However, due to its vast user base, competition is extremely high on job postings. You’ll need to craft standout applications to get noticed.
More niche remote job boards can offer better odds, with companies actively looking to hire remote digital marketing talent:
- Remoters – Focused fully on remote opportunities across marketing, design, programming etc. New roles posted daily.
- Remote.co – Another broad remote work board covering all industries. Useful filters to narrow to marketing openings.
- We Work Remotely – Remote first companies posting available positions. Marketing and content roles commonly listed.
With the work landscape now global, casting a wide net in your job search is advised. Don’t limit yourself to local listings. Be sure to highlight your ability to work independently and remotely in applications.
As digital marketing continues growing in importance, fully remote opportunities will only increase going forward. This flexibility lets you find the right opening no matter where you’re located. The key is perseverance and not getting discouraged as you work to land that first career-launching role.
Seize The Opportunity
Embarking on a career in digital marketing offers much excitement and reward. As online activity continues rising, demand for digital marketing skills has hit unprecedented levels. There’s no better time to get started.
The field keeps expanding into new platforms and channels. With this growth comes ample chances to carve out your niche and make an impact. It’s about more than just earning potential.
Sure the salaries can be lucrative, especially for those gaining specialized expertise. But the chance to shape how brands connect with customers holds greater meaning.
Maybe you craft viral social campaigns that drive business and cultural conversations. Perhaps you develop ingenious SEO strategies that dominate search results. Or you could create retention focused email funnels that turn one-time buyers into raving fans.
The possibilities in this fast evolving space are endless. It simply comes down to what ignites your personal passion. The rest flows from there.
So don’t overthink it. Don’t worry about having some grand master plan. Jump right in. Start learning by doing. Be bold in trying new things. Stay nimble to pivot as needed.
The digital marketing ride promises twists and turns galore. But for those adventurous enough to hop aboard, it leads to destinations beyond imagination. The only question is—are you ready to seize the opportunity?
Greetings! I’m Jack, founder of Scythos – where I’ve helped over 50 brands transform into unforgettable identities and stunning digital presences. As a brand strategist and creative consultant, I have over a decade of experience taking brands from wallflowers to the centre of attention.
Looking to get your branding noticed and your business thriving? Reach out anytime to brainstorm creative strategies for making your brand impossible to ignore. I love collaborating with passionate entrepreneurs to conceptualize innovative ways to connect with their audiences.
Whether you need help with a logo, website, content or entire rebrand – let’s chat! I’m always eager to share my ideas, creative concepts and expertise to help brands reach the next level. Together, we can make sure your business gets seen and heard. Follow along on social or send me a message to get the conversation started!