Starting a career in digital marketing was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Digital marketing has quickly become one of the fastest-growing and most in-demand careers available today.
With the ability to work on fun and exciting marketing projects, with amazing businesses and companies, and live the “laptop lifestyle” working as a digital marketer from anywhere in the world, it’s easy to see what makes the digital marketing industry so appealing.
But the path to success can be a bit confusing. Look up how digital marketers got their start and they all seem to have a different strategy. Which one is best for you? The answer is the one that works best for you, based on your experience, how much time you have, and what your goals as a marketer are.
As the strategic mind behind some of the best performing marketing you see online today, I’ll show you how I started as a newbie digital marketer and figured out how to work with some of the top marketers in the world. Or better put—built my marketing muscles up enough to be a huge asset to these people.
I’ll answer 4 questions:
- Do I need a marketing degree?
- How do I learn how to be a digital marketer?
- What’s the easiest way to start digital marketing?
- Should I be a generalist or specialist digital marketer?
Let’s get into it!
#1: Do I Need a Marketing Degree?
The short answer? No.
I feel qualified to say this because I *do* have a marketing degree. The most useful courses I took in college were the general business classes I took my freshman year. Most of my marketing knowledge came from self-study. I read books and articles, listened to podcasts, watched YouTube videos, and found trainings and workshops from top marketers through resources similar to DigitalMarketer’s Lab membership.
My college experience has hardly helped my marketing career because it didn’t give me the knowledge I need to succeed as a digital marketer. One day in class, we wrote down what we would like to learn from that course. I wrote down ‘Digital Marketing.’
The professor read it out loud and said “me too.” That’s when I knew I was in the wrong place.
#2: How Do I Learn How to be a Digital Marketer?
Step one of becoming a digital marketer is figuring out where you’ll get your knowledge from. Since college isn’t a necessary (or useful, in some cases) way to learn marketing—where else can you get learn the foundations of marketing?
Too many people read one book or take one class and call themselves professional digital marketers. I wish this is how it worked too! It would have taken me a substantially less amount of time to become a well-paid marketer. If you really want to be a top-level marketer, you need to study, apply it and get results.
The best thing you can do, period, is to start practicing marketing (your personal brand is a great place to begin).
#3: What’s the Easiest Way to Start Digital Marketing?
We know you’re a marketer because you’re already looking for a quicker way to get things done. Marketers are keen on figuring out faster more efficient ways to do their job, and that begins at the very start of their career. Like we talked about in the last answer, the best way to start digital marketing is by…marketing. And the most accessible thing for you to market is—YOU.
Sign up for an Instagram account, make some content, see what people like and don’t like. Create YouTube videos and learn about recording and editing and optimizing them for SEO. Build a website and learn how design and development skills, and how to rank with SEO and keywords!
Learn anything and everything that is interesting to you in the field of digital marketing so you can figure out your specialty.
#4: Should I be a generalist or specialist digital marketer?
A T-shaped marketer is someone who has a broad understanding of a bunch of different topics, but then a very specific focused knowledge on a few things. Digital marketing is made up of a ton of different sub categories. Things like content, SEO, public relations, email, design, development, advertising, social media, the list goes on and on. I’ve studied these things for years, and I’d still only consider myself an expert on a handful of them.
For example, I’m not very good at coding, but that’s okay! I’m much better at things like marketing strategy and content, and I find them much more profitable. You may be great at content marketing and have a proven track record of doing awesome things with your content and organic strategies. But, you’re also savvy in other marketing facets like email marketing, pay-per-click ads, building communities, and SEO. You’re just not as savvy as your are at the first two facets.
Digital marketers All Start in the Same Place
The best place for you to start learning and honing your skills as a digital marketer is by learning the key foundational marketing basics.
The core marketing principles are just as relevant today as they were 10-20 years ago, and more importantly they’ll be just as useful in 10-20 years as they are today.
If you want to find out more about the key marketing basics, check out my video Introduction to Marketing | Marketing 101, explaining the foundations of marketing to get you started on this career path.