Making a Career Switch Into Digital Marketing

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Nov 11, 2021

Nov 11, 2021 • by Rebecca Smith

Every business needs customers, and marketing is one of the most straightforward ways for companies to attract new ones. Many businesses rely heavily on their marketing efforts to maintain profitability -- so marketing remains a viable career path in this age.

In fact, as more people are working from home, it has motivated many businesses to prioritize growing their online presence. As a result, demand has rapidly been increasing for talented marketers who possess digital skills.

Perhaps you’re interested in switching careers, and you’re thinking digital marketing looks like a good prospect for an industry to transition into. If so, you’re correct; digital marketing tends to pay well, and it has a favorable future job outlook.

Furthermore,It’s possible to start digital marketing without having much experience -- and any amount of experience working in other industries is usually considered an asset for digital marketers. The following insights can help you to prepare for making a career switch into digital marketing:

Decide Who You Want to Work For

There are a couple of ways companies typically work with digital marketers. Some hire their marketing team in-house. Others outsource their marketing campaigns to a digital marketing agency. It’s helpful to decide whether you have a preference for working in either type of environment so you can tailor your job search efforts accordingly.

If you want to work for a specific company, you’ll need an intimate knowledge of that company’s industry to be considered as a viable candidate for a marketing job with them. Furthermore, corporate marketing jobs frequently require a bachelor’s degree as a minimum academic requirement.

Digital marketing agencies are all different. Some specialize in doing marketing for businesses in one specific industry; in that situation, it will be an advantage to have worked in their industry.

Other agencies work with clients in different industries. Those who work with clients from multiple industries tend to value versatility. When applying for these jobs, it will not usually be held against you if you have worked in multiple industries and have held a variety of job titles; breadth of work experience is likely to even be considered an asset.

If you aren’t sure whether to try for an in-house job or an agency job, Eric Siu suggests choosing the agency because you will probably learn more in that type of role.

Be Prepared to Market Yourself First and Foremost

Any hiring manager will expect aspiring digital marketers to be proactive about marketing themselves. The following are some things you can do to accomplish this:

Update Your Resume

Resumes are still important job search tools. It’s worth spending some time to update yours in case any of your contacts ask for it. You can use an online resume builder to ensure your resume looks polished and professional.

Improve Your Own Website

If someone is considering hiring you to market their website, they’re almost certain to take a look at your website to see an example of the way you approach your own marketing. You’ll have a hard time convincing them to hire you if your website isn’t outstanding. With this in mind, take an honest look at your website and invest some effort in making it the best possible representation of your work.

Build Your Digital Marketing Skills

Hiring managers at digital marketing agencies tend to prioritize skills and accomplishments over academic credentials. If you want to impress them, research how they approach their marketing, and then be prepared to show them measurable results on your own similar projects. The following are a few examples:

If the agency you want to work with handles organic SEO, you could make a favorable impression on them by demonstrating that a page from one of your websites ranks on the first page of Google search results for a coveted keyword like “Wordpress hosting” or “San Francisco mortgage lenders”.

If their agency handles email marketing on behalf of their clients, you could impress them by showing them you’ve built an email list of 100,000+ subscribers. Alternatively, if you haven’t built such a large subscriber list, you could perhaps impress them by showing them some email newsletters you wrote that achieved a higher open rate or click-through rate than the benchmarks for their industry.

If they specialize in social media marketing, you could capture their attention by showing them you’ve built your own following of 100,000+ Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Youtube followers.

Numbers like these demonstrate that you’ve invested time in learning how to do digital marketing and also how to build a community. Many agency professionals would agree that it’s more important to possess these skills than it is to hold a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree in marketing.

If you don’t yet have these impressive numbers, start building them now. Even the top digital marketers all started at zero and built from the ground up. Building a following of any size will help you gain the skills you need to succeed with digital marketing.

Refine Your Copywriting Skills

Digital marketing frequently requires impeccable written communication skills and persuasive writing abilities. If you haven’t already mastered the art of persuasive writing, it would be beneficial to work on improving your copywriting skills.

Choose a Digital Marketing Specialization

The internet is vast and complex, and there is always more to learn about how to market products and services using this channel. Nobody expects any one marketer to have mastered every aspect of digital marketing. It’s better to become a top expert in only one sought-after niche of digital marketing than it is to be mediocre at multiple digital marketing niches. If you’re new to digital marketing, pick one specialization that looks the most interesting to you. Then devote most of your allocated work time to becoming an expert in that niche.

The following are some specializations you could consider:

  • Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Organic SEO is all about helping your company’s or clients’ web pages to show up higher in the search engine results pages of Google or other search engines.
  • Link Building: Links are valuable to website owners because they can attract viewers to the website. Link building is a facet of organic SEO that can be its own specialty; there are digital agencies that are exclusively focused on performing link building services for their clients.
  • Local SEO: Local SEO specialists help location-dependent businesses to rank higher in Google’s local search results.
  • Pay-Per-Click Advertising: Pay-per-click specialists are proficient at helping their companies or clients maintain profitable pay-per-click advertising campaigns. This role requires an affinity for persuasive copywriting and an expert knowledge of how to research keywords.
  • Social Media Marketing: There are numerous social networks, and marketing via each one has its own nuances. Mastering one of them doesn’t equate to mastering them all; for example, it takes a vastly different skillset to dominate Instagram than it does to conquer Youtube. Some social media marketers specialize in working with only one social network; others work with multiple networks.
  • Content Marketing: Content marketing involves creating informative and helpful web content such as blog posts, infographics, articles or videos that will attract potential customers to a client’s website.
  • Influencer Marketing: People with sizable numbers of social media followers are said to be “influencers”. When you collaborate with these people to market your client’s products, services or brand, that’s known as influencer marketing.
  • Affiliate Marketing: Opening an affiliate program is sort of like hiring salespeople to work on commission, with key differences. The most significant difference is that affiliate marketers are not your company’s employees. They work for themselves, and your company has no obligation to pay them unless they refer sales, leads, or other types of activities you agree to. Making it easy to pay with an independent contractor pay stub.

There’s a career niche specifically for affiliate managers who oversee affiliate programs on behalf of their employers or clients. Affiliate management can be done on either an in-house or outsourced basis.

  • Email Marketing: Email marketers help their clients or employers drive traffic and sales to their businesses. This is a multi-faceted job that first requires the marketer to write persuasive email copy. Another important part of the job is optimizing each email to maximize the number of people who will open it, click the links in it, and complete a purchase.
  • Podcasting: Podcasters create multimedia content, frequently in the form of MP3 files, to be disseminated on the internet. Podcast listeners typically download this content and play it back on their MP3 players, mobile devices, or laptops. Companies can either advertise on other podcasts or create their own podcasts as a means of content marketing.

Network With Successful Digital Marketers and Influencers

It’s somewhere between challenging and impossible to succeed as a digital marketer all on your own. Successful marketers generally have sizable networks of other industry contacts they interact with. Depending on your digital marketing specialization, you’ll likely also find it useful to network with writers, videographers, photographers, bloggers, podcasters, and influencers. 

The other people in your network will not only become a trusted source of ideas and information; they’re also likely to help you find your next digital marketing job. LinkedIn reported on the results of a survey revealing that 85 percent of all jobs are filled by networking. Digital marketing is an industry where professionals are heavily dependent on their relationships.

Those are some of the most important suggestions we can give you if you’re hoping to establish yourself as a digital marketing professional. We hope this information is helpful to you if you’re considering a career change into digital marketing after having worked in a different industry.