What Does It Take To Be a Digital Marketer?

Recently, Zak Brown, our Marketing Manager, was asked by someone fresh out of college what it took to become a Digital Marketer. Following is the email he sent. I’d like you to enjoy Zak’s thoughts on what it takes to be an effective Digital Marketer.


Hey Mike,

I’m happy to help, and I’m going to apologize ahead of time for this stream of consciousness response. Digital Marketing is a vast, vaguely defined field. For example, the digital marketing services we offer to our clients include:

  • SEO
  • Analytics, Conversion Tracking, and Data Visualization
  • Adwords Account Management and Ad Creation
  • Social Media Creation, Management, and Content Creation
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Email Marketing and Drip Automation
  • Landing Page Creation
  • Blog Creation and Management
  • CRM Creation and Management

Now granted I didn’t come to the table with all of the above skills, but I did have a few things that helped me start off on the right foot. Before I list those things out, it’s helpful to know that having a specialty will make you more desirable. The way I see it, there are 3 major prongs of digital marketing: data, strategy, and content. Personally, I’m a data junkie who’s pretty good at strategy but I’m garbage at content making. Fortunately I have graphic designers on my team that make great visual assets for my campaigns. So finding what you do best and getting waaay better at that will give you a greater chance of being hired.

Learning the tools of the trade are essential to being a good digital marketer, because you should be a master of making someone’s internet presence appear in front of the right people. I chose to dive deep within the Google realm, and 6 certifications later now I’m a certified Google Partner. There are other marketing suites you can dive into, like Hubspot (mentioned later), but I found Google to be the most effective.

Let me break down next steps for you within Google, Google Adwords, and anything within the Google Ecosystems:

  1. Get a Gmail address and ditch the Yahoo account. (What are you? 70? Yahoo got hacked in 2014 and I bet you haven’t changed your password since then.)
  2. Learn about G Suite (formerly Google apps for business). it’s replaces MS Office and it’s your cloud storage to boot.
  3. Read this blog:  https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com.
  4. Get certified with Google Analytics: https://analyticsacademy.withgoogle.com/
  5. Sign up with Google Partners: https://support.google.com/partners/answer/3154326?hl=en
  6. Get certified with Google Adwords (same link as above).
  7. Learn about remarketing ads, because those provide the best results.

Now SEO is a whole ‘nother monster that is probably one of the least understood specialities of digital marketing. I like to explain it like this: when optimizing your content/website for the search engines, you are marketing to both humans and robots simultaneously. Your language, tagging, keywords, etc. have to speak both languages at the same time. Now to to truly optimize for Google, for example, you have to know the algorithm, and understand how Google wants people to interact with the search engine. The algorithm changes periodically, so you have stay on top it. A blog is one of the biggest tools at your disposal for creating new content. I recommend that you start writing a blog yourself to learn the in’s and outs of creating SEO friendly content. Try starting with a WordPress blog. The Think With Google Blog will help. Moz is the industry leader on SEO tools, so following them is key.

SEO Next Steps:

  1. Read this great article from Moz:  moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo (the whole thing).
  2. Learn about Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo (you don’t need to buy the premium version).
  3. Read this other great Moz article: moz.com/blog/using-yoast-seo-for-wordpress
  4. Watch a couple Whiteboard Fridays by MOZ: moz.com/blog/category/whiteboard-friday
  5. Read SEO Blogs like http://searchengineland.com.
  6. Google the rest cause you’re really good at finding things on the internet now

Richard Parr
by Richard Parr
Posted: November 22, 2016

Time for Social Media!

There are tons of different social media networks out there now and each one has a distinct purpose. Every digital marketer in the realm must wear at least two hats because thinking like a business on social media is vastly different than being you on social media. Engagement is the key word for this segment. Learning how to facilitate engagement on these social platforms will help you craft your messaging while avoiding being an intrusion. Know your clients’ audience better than they know them or you’re going to have a “fellow kids” moment and nobody wants that. That being said, the advertising suites of most social medias allow you to reach audience you never knew you could. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin all have great advertising tools for outreach, and the best thing about advertising is giving engagement a monetary value, because companies like measuring things in cost.

Social Media Next Steps:

  1. Make a Facebook for Business account www.facebook.com/business
  2. Sign up for Advertising with Linkedin business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/ads#!
  3. Sign up for Twitter ads ads.twitter.com
  4. Sign up for Smartbrief of Social Business and Social Media
  5. Start observing what other companies are doing to create an engage community, and then repurpose it.

And don’t forget about Email Marketing, one of the simplest arrows to add to your quiver, but also one of the most powerful. Email is a great way to interact with your client/customer/prospect and get them to complete an action or goal.

There are three main types of emails you will want to know how to create and send: Single Send, Transactional, and Automated. Let’s take an ecommerce business for example since they’ll use all three types. If they need to clear some inventory, then they might try a single send email with a 2-day sale code inside for loyal, registered customers. If they need to set up a system so that if someone forgets their password or needs an order confirmation then it will automatically send an email, then that’s “transactional”. Customer purchased a consumable item and you want them to come back every time they need a replacement, boom, this is “automation” (also known as drip marketing). Landing pages are also important in this too but I’ll address them in the next section.

Email Marketing Next steps:

  1. Sign up for a mailchimp account mailchimp.com and read their blog.
  2. Read about what Hubspot does www.hubspot.com and read their blog.
  3. Look through a lot of your “spam” emails and diagnose what worked and what doesn’t.
  4. Read articles like this Hubspot blog article.

Ok last section –  we’re getting through it! Landing pages, CRM‘s, and Conversion Tracking. Being able to measure your marketing efforts is PARAMOUNT to being a successful digital marketer (see Google Analytics, social media ads). If you’ve done a six-month campaign and you have nothing to show for it, that’s how you get fired or lose a client. But if you have managed to correctly set up conversion tracking, then you can prove the hell out of your value. To do this, every campaign you set up must have SMART goals, which is ideally an user interaction with your website, like a purchase or sign up. If your campaign involves ads or emails, it may be wise to set up a landing page which drives the users’ interactions to complete your goal quicker. If you are doing all of these correctly you should set up a CRM linking all of your customer data between your emails, landing pages, and any other outreach you may be doing. For example, some of our clients use Salesforce CRM, paired with Mailchimp for email marketing, and Google Conversion tracking embedded on key forms on their website, and all of these things are connected.

Conversion Tracking Next Steps:

  1. Read Blog articles like this Hubspot blog (Hubspot’s blog is killing it).
  2. Sign up for a trial account with Instapage or Unbounce and mess around with them.
  3. Read about CRM’s and get a free account with something like insightly or Hubspot CRM
  4. Read up on conversion tracking (this one is Adwords-specific, but the theory applies well).
  5. Make a campaign and try and measure the results.

I know this is lengthy and may seem overwhelming, but I’ve been a professional digital marketer for the last few years and I’ve learned much of this along the way. Of course my degree in Business Management Economics helped quite a bit. Start with one thing and get good enough to put it on your resumé and LinkedIn. You may have just graduated from college, but in a field like digital marketing, you’re always learning to stay ahead of the curve. Good luck and I hope this helps.

Best Regards,