If you're interested in marketing communications and like to keep abreast of new trends and developments, consider a career as a digital marketer

Digital marketers are involved in developing an organisation's multi-channel communication strategies. They may work across several areas or specialise in a few, depending on the size and requirements of their employer.

Key areas 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.

Responsibilities

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.

Salary

  • The typical salary range for graduate marketing schemes and entry-level positions, such as digital marketing assistant, is £18,000 to £22,000.
  • More experienced digital officers and digital coordinators can expect to earn up to £30,000, with the possibility of this rising to £40,000 in a more senior management role.
  • Managing directors or digital directors can earn in excess of £70,000.

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

Working hours are typically 37 to 40 hours a 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.
  • Travel may be required especially in agency roles where visits to clients are an essential part of the job.
  • Flexible working patterns and some home-working 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.

Qualifications

This area of work is open to all graduates; however the following subjects may be particularly useful:

  • advertising, media and communications;
  • business and technology;
  • creative design;
  • e-business;
  • journalism;
  • marketing.

The majority of marketing graduate training schemes require a 2:1 degree. You will 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 do not 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, e.g. 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:

Skills

You will 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.

Work experience

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.

If you would like to get some work experience locally, try contacting the marketing departments of companies, digital marketing agencies and charities where you live, to ask about their work experience opportunities.

Advice on how to get into digital marketing, including various digital marketing career paths, interview advice and specific CV and covering letter advice is available at Digital Marketing Career Zone.

Employers

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 getin2marketing - Work Placement Resource.

Look for job vacancies at:

Professional development

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.

These include:

  • CAM Level 4 Diploma in Digital Marketing;
  • Level 4 Certificate in Professional Marketing (Digital);
  • Level 6 Diploma in Professional Marketing (Digital).

The IDM also offers professional qualifications, including:

  • Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing;
  • Professional Diploma in Direct and Digital Marketing.

For more information see IDM professional qualifications.

To research alternative courses see Creative Skillset Courses Directory.

Career prospects

As a graduate, your immediate prospects depend on the size and type of the organisation for which you work. Due to the fast changing and developing nature of the digital marketing sector, the more experience you gain early on, the more likely you will be to progress into more senior roles.

Having generally started in a junior role such as digital marketing assistant, you can then progress to more experienced roles like digital marketing executive, coordinator or manager, 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 will have overall responsibility for managing accounts, strategy and digital marketing campaigns. You will 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.