Digital marketers use a variety of digital marketing methods to communicate with customers and promote sales and activities
Digital marketing involves the promotion of products and services through a variety of digital channels, using the internet and mobile technology. Push and pull marketing techniques are applied, targeting consumers both directly and indirectly.
In the role of digital marketer, you'll be involved in developing an organisation's multi-channel communication strategies and may work across several areas, or specialise in a few, depending on the size and requirements of your employer.
Types of digital marketing
Commonly used digital marketing techniques include:
- social media marketing - developing a distinct online presence by attracting high numbers of internet followers through social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
- search engine optimisation (SEO) - developing strategies to increase the number of visitors to a website by achieving high-ranking placements in search results.
- pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns - sponsored online advertising paid for by the business to appear alongside non-paid search results.
- mobile marketing - includes app-based, in-game, location-based and SMS marketing.
- affiliate marketing - where a business allows other businesses (affiliates) to sell products on their website. The affiliate is paid commission for each customer brought to the website by their own marketing strategies.
As a digital marketer, you'll need to:
- create and upload copy and images for the organisation's website
- write and dispatch email marketing campaigns
- provide accurate reports and analysis to clients and company management to demonstrate effective return on investment (ROI)
- research new online media opportunities that may benefit the business including mobile, social media, development of blogs and forums
- design website banners and assist with web visuals
- communicate with clients, affiliate networks and affiliate partners
- conduct keyword research and web statistics reporting
- contribute to social media engagement and brand awareness campaigns
- use web analytics software to monitor the performance of client websites and make recommendations for improvement
- contribute to company and industry blogs and manage e-communications
- assist with paid media, including liaising with digital advertising agencies
- develop and integrate content marketing strategies
- keep up to date with current digital trends
- manage the contact database and assist with lead generation activities
- negotiate with media suppliers to achieve the best price for clients.
- Typical entry-level salaries for positions such as digital marketing assistant range from £22,000 to £25,000.
- As a digital marketing officer or executive, with a few years' experience, you can expect to earn in the region of £22,000 to £28,000.
- In a more senior management role, such as digital marketing manager, you could earn up to £48,000.
Some digital marketing agencies and private sector companies offer bonuses, private healthcare and additional benefits packages.
Income figures are intended as a guide only.
Working hours are typically 37 to 40 hours per week, although hours will increase during large-scale marketing campaigns and project work.
Part-time work is available. Short-term contracts are also available, generally through recruitment agencies.
What to expect
- The role is largely office based with a lot of communication by phone, email and conference calls. You may also communicate with colleagues through a digital workflow planner.
- Travel may be required, especially in agency roles where visits to clients are an essential part of the job.
- Flexible working patterns and some working from home may be possible.
- Self-employment or freelance work is possible for experienced digital marketers who choose to become independent consultants.
- Due to the changeable and fast-paced nature of the digital marketing sector the role is challenging but rewarding.
This area of work is open to all graduates, but the following subjects may be particularly helpful:
- advertising, media and communications
- business and technology
- creative design
Most marketing graduate training schemes require a 2:1 degree. You'll need to be flexible in terms of geographical location as competition is usually intense. Due to the competitive nature of the industry, entry into graduate marketing roles with a HND or foundation degree is less likely, unless you have substantial, relevant experience.
If you don't have a related first degree, you may be required to demonstrate a genuine interest in digital marketing with evidence of a strong personal online profile, such as a blog, website or connections and interactions on various social media platforms.
Postgraduate qualifications in digital marketing are offered by an increasing number of UK universities, and although not essential they may be helpful for expanding your skills and knowledge, particularly if you have a non-related first degree. Search for postgraduate courses in digital marketing.
A range of postgraduate qualifications in digital marketing are offered by the:
You'll need to have:
- strong verbal communication skills for articulating ideas to colleagues and clients
- excellent written communication skills for producing high quality content
- attention to detail and accuracy
- the ability to work independently and flexibly
- the capacity to prioritise and work across multiple projects
- the ability to work as part of a team
- organisational skills with the ability to deliver a high volume of quality work
- creative skills for contributing new and innovative ideas
- the ability to work well under pressure and meet deadlines
- networking and analytical skills
- knowledge of existing and emerging social media platforms
- excellent IT skills.
You can apply for undergraduate marketing placements and internships with large graduate recruiters. However, these are highly competitive, so research the companies thoroughly and take care with your application. Applying for a digital marketing apprenticeship is another option, to gain the training you need for entry to this role.
Try contacting the marketing departments of companies, digital marketing agencies and charities, to ask about their work experience opportunities.
Developing an online presence and portfolio, as well as a good CV highlighting any experience you have, is also helpful as it demonstrates your understanding and interest in digital.
Find out more about the different kinds of work experience and internships that are available.
Digital marketers can find employment in all sectors. Many large and medium-sized companies have an in-house marketing and communications department, which offers digital marketing services in addition to traditional marketing support.
Alternatively, you could apply to work at a marketing agency, handling projects and marketing contracts outsourced by companies.
Details of marketing work placements and graduate jobs are also available at the CIM's work placement resource, Get into Marketing.
Look for job vacancies at:
You'll receive on-the-job training in the digital marketing tools used by the company. These vary but, for example, could include:
- Google Analytics and Facebook Insights, for web analytics reporting
- Adobe Creative Suite, for online banner design
- Google AdWords, for pay-per-click campaigns
- Mailchimp, for email marketing.
Companies with marketing training schemes usually offer a structured continuing professional development (CPD) programme, in addition to in-house training to help develop specific skills. Many also provide financial support to undertake professional qualifications, such as those offered by the CIM.
- CIM Level 4 - Certificate in Professional Digital Marketing
- CIM Level 6 - Diploma in Professional Digital Marketing.
The IDM also offers professional qualifications, including:
- IDM Professional Marketing Diploma
- IDM Postgraduate Marketing Diploma.
See IDM - Professional Qualifications and Professional Marketing Qualifications from CIM for more information.
As a graduate, your immediate prospects depend on the size and type of organisation you work for. Due to the fast-changing and developing nature of the digital marketing sector, the more experience you gain early on, the more likely you'll be able to progress into senior roles.
It's usual to start in a junior role, such as digital marketing assistant, and from this, you can then progress to more experienced roles like digital marketing manager, executive or coordinator, within two to five years. There is an increasing requirement to gain further qualifications to enter senior marketing roles.
If you reach digital account director level, you'll have overall responsibility for managing accounts, strategy and digital marketing campaigns. You'll take on additional responsibilities, such as budgets and training and mentoring junior members of the team.
Ultimately, you can achieve chartered status with the CIM.