It is certainly possible to develop the skills necessary to succeed in digital marketing without a formal degree.
In today’s world, digital marketing plays a crucial role in the success of any business. Not everyone has a degree in marketing, and for those without a degree, getting into the digital marketing field can seem daunting.
In this article, we’ll explore the basics of digital marketing, discuss ways to gain practical experience and build a strong portfolio, and share tips for success in the field without a degree.
Understanding the Basics of Digital Marketing
Before getting started, it’s important to understand what digital marketing is and its significance in today’s world.
Digital marketing involves promoting products and services through digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and mobile apps.
The goal of digital marketing is to reach potential customers and persuade them to take action, such as making a purchase or subscribing to a newsletter.
Digital marketing has become increasingly important in recent years due to the rise of the internet and social media. With more and more people spending their time online, businesses need to have a strong digital presence in order to reach their target audience.
In fact, studies show that the average person spends over 6 hours a day online, making digital marketing a crucial component of any successful marketing strategy.
The Importance of Digital Marketing in Today’s World
The rise of the internet and social media has drastically changed the way that people consume information and make purchasing decisions.
In the past, people would rely on print ads, TV commercials, and other traditional forms of advertising to learn about products and services. Today, however, people are more likely to turn to the internet and social media to research products, read reviews, and make purchasing decisions.
This shift in consumer behavior has made digital marketing more important than ever.
Without a strong digital marketing strategy, businesses risk falling behind their competitors and losing out on potential customers.
Key Components of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing encompasses a wide range of techniques and strategies. Some of the key components of digital marketing include:
- Search engine optimisation (SEO): SEO involves optimising a website’s content and structure to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). This can help businesses attract more organic traffic to their website and increase their visibility online.
- Social media marketing: Social media marketing involves using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote products and services. This can include creating engaging content, running paid ads, and engaging with followers.
- Email marketing: Email marketing involves sending promotional messages and newsletters to a list of subscribers. This can be an effective way to nurture leads and keep customers engaged with a brand.
- Content marketing: Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable content, such as blog posts, videos, and infographics, to attract and engage a target audience. This can help businesses build brand awareness and establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry.
- Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising: PPC advertising involves placing ads on search engines and social media platforms and paying each time someone clicks on an ad. This can be an effective way to drive traffic to a website and generate leads.
- Affiliate marketing: Affiliate marketing involves partnering with other businesses or individuals to promote products and services. This can help businesses reach new audiences and generate more sales.
How Digital Marketing Differs from Traditional Marketing
While there are some similarities between digital and traditional marketing, there are also some key differences.
Traditional marketing involves using print ads, TV commercials, billboards, and other physical media to promote products and services. Digital marketing, on the other hand, uses digital channels to reach potential customers.
One of the biggest advantages of digital marketing is its ability to track and measure ROI more accurately. With digital marketing, businesses can track how many people are seeing their ads, how many are clicking on them, and how many are converting into customers.
This allows businesses to make data-driven decisions when it comes to their marketing strategy and optimise their campaigns for better results.
In contrast, traditional marketing can be more difficult to track and measure. It can be hard to know exactly how many people are seeing a print ad or a billboard, and it can be even harder to know how many of those people are taking action as a result.
Self-Learning Digital Marketing Skills
While a degree in marketing certainly doesn’t hurt, it is possible to learn the necessary skills to succeed in digital marketing without formal education. Here are some ways to get started:
Online Courses, Certifications and Qualifications
There are countless online courses, certifications and professional qualifications available to learn the basics of digital marketing and develop specific skills, such as SEO or social media marketing.
Many of these courses are much lower-cost than a degree, making them more accessible to those who want to learn.
MMC Learning offers qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. The CIM is one of the leading awarding bodies for marketing and digital marketing qualifications respected by employers around the world. It awards professional Certificates and Diploma’s in digital marketing at various academic levels to help marketers progress at all stages of their career.
MMC also offers qualifications from the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI). These courses can be a great option for marketers looking to focus in on a specific area of digital marketing in order to further their career. Marketers can specialise in SEO, Digital Strategy, social media Marketing and more. These qualifications can be completed in an average of 8-10 weeks and are recognised globally.
In terms of free online training, which can help you refresh or brush up, one of the most popular online learning platforms for digital marketing is Udemy. They offer a wide range of courses on topics such as email marketing, content marketing, and digital analytics. Other popular platforms include Coursera, edX, and LinkedIn Learning.
Completing an online course qualification or certification not only provides you with valuable knowledge and skills, but it also shows potential employers that you are committed to learning and growing in your career.
Blogs, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels
A great way to learn about digital marketing is by hearing from industry experts through blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channels. These resources often provide valuable insights and actionable advice on the latest trends in digital marketing.
MMC Learning’s Online Membership platform contains a wealth of resources including resources and templates, microlearning courses, digital success case studies, and inspirational Keynotes from experts in the field.
One popular digital marketing blog is Neil Patel’s blog, which covers topics such as SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing. The Marketing School podcast, hosted by Neil Patel and Eric Siu, is also a great resource for learning about digital marketing.
Additionally, the YouTube channel, DigitalMarketer, provides a wealth of information on topics such as email marketing, paid advertising, and conversion rate optimisation.
Networking and Joining Digital Marketing Communities
Networking and joining digital marketing communities can also be a great way to learn and grow in the field. By connecting with other marketers, you can exchange ideas and learn about new strategies and techniques firsthand.
One way to network with other digital marketers is by attending industry conferences and events. These events provide opportunities to meet other professionals in the field and learn from keynote speakers and panel discussions.
You can also join digital marketing communities on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook. These groups provide a space for marketers to ask questions, share resources, and connect with others in the industry.
By utilising these resources and continuously learning and growing your skills, you can become a successful digital marketer without a formal education.
Gaining Practical Experience
While knowledge is important, practical experience is crucial for success in digital marketing. Here are some ways to gain practical experience:
Freelancing and Remote Work Opportunities
Freelancing and remote work opportunities can provide valuable experience in digital marketing, as well as help build a portfolio and professional network.
When starting out as a freelancer, it’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself and your clients. Be clear about your services and pricing, and make sure to deliver on your promises.
Building a strong reputation as a reliable and skilled freelancer can lead to more opportunities and higher-paying clients.
Remote work can also provide flexibility and work-life balance, allowing you to work from anywhere in the world. However, it’s important to stay organized and motivated when working remotely, as it can be easy to get distracted or feel isolated.
Internships and Entry-Level Positions
Internships and entry-level positions are great ways to gain hands-on experience in digital marketing.
Many companies offer internships or entry-level positions for those without a degree but with a passion for digital marketing.
When applying for internships or entry-level positions, make sure to highlight any relevant coursework or projects you’ve worked on. It’s also important to demonstrate a willingness to learn and a strong work ethic. Internships and entry-level positions can lead to full-time job opportunities, so it’s important to make a good impression.
Volunteering and Non-Profit Work
Volunteering and non-profit work can also provide opportunities to develop digital marketing skills while doing good for a cause. Non-profit organizations often need help with digital marketing tasks, such as creating social media posts or email campaigns.
Volunteering can be a great way to build your portfolio and gain experience in a specific area of digital marketing, such as social media or email marketing. It’s also a way to give back to your community and make a difference.
When volunteering, make sure to communicate your skills and availability clearly. Non-profit organizations often have limited resources, so it’s important to be flexible and willing to work within their constraints.
To summerise, gaining practical experience in digital marketing can be challenging, but there are many opportunities available. Whether you choose to freelance, work remotely, intern, or volunteer, the key is to stay motivated, keep learning, and be open to new experiences.
Building a Strong Portfolio
A strong portfolio is essential for showcasing your digital marketing skills to potential clients or employers. It is a visual representation of your work and achievements, and can be the deciding factor in whether or not you land a job or client. Here are some key elements to include in your portfolio:
Showcasing Your Digital Marketing Projects
Highlight your experience with digital marketing projects you have led or contributed to.
When showcasing your projects, make sure to provide a brief overview of the project, your role in it, and the results achieved.
This will give potential clients or employers a better understanding of your capabilities and the impact you can make.
For example, if you worked on a social media campaign for a client, include information on the goals of the campaign, the strategies used to achieve those goals, and the results achieved. Did the campaign increase brand awareness or drive sales? Be specific with the numbers and statistics to show your impact.
Highlighting Your Skills and Achievements
Make sure to highlight your core competencies in digital marketing, such as SEO, PPC, content marketing, and social media marketing. Provide examples of how you have used these skills to achieve success in your previous projects.
Additionally, include any relevant achievements or awards you have received in your career. For example, if you were recognized for your outstanding performance in a particular project or campaign, make sure to highlight it in your portfolio. This will demonstrate your dedication and expertise in the field.
Including Testimonials and Recommendations
Include testimonials or recommendations from clients or former employers to demonstrate your credibility and expertise in digital marketing.
This will give potential clients or employers a better understanding of your work ethic and the quality of your work.
When including testimonials, make sure to choose ones that highlight your strengths and achievements. For example, if a client praised your ability to increase their website traffic through SEO, include that testimonial in your portfolio.
By including these key elements in your portfolio, you can showcase your skills and expertise in digital marketing and increase your chances of landing your dream job or client.
Staying Up-to-Date with Industry Trends
In digital marketing, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques to remain relevant in the fi