How to get into digital marketing

Darcy Nathan, Editorial assistant
November, 2023

If you're passionate about creating engaging content, connecting with audiences, or designing user-friendly interfaces, a digital marketing career could be for you

Digital marketing covers lots of areas and involves any content in an online environment that is designed to engage a specific audience. Roles are available in:

  • blogging
  • campaign metrics and research
  • communications and public relations (PR)
  • content marketing
  • copywriting
  • database management and analysis
  • email marketing
  • mobile marketing
  • pay-per-click (PPC)
  • search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • social media
  • video
  • web design and development.

With so many roles on offer, graduates will likely experiment with several areas before developing expertise in one discipline. To find out what roles are available, see jobs in marketing.

Develop your skills

This fast-paced and ever-evolving field demands graduates who are constantly learning and keeping up with the latest trends and sought-after skills. Technical skills are essential, especially a grasp of online technologies, particularly social media. However, desired attributes vary by role.

With the digital skills gap costing the economy an estimated £63million annually, employers seek graduates with knowledge and understanding of digital skills and techniques. Individuals with these skills will have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

A creative mindset is essential for digital strategy, content, social, and email marketing. It is also important to balance this with technical skills such as SEO, Google Analytics, video production, Photoshop, and web design.

Do a digital marketing degree

A degree in digital marketing can help students develop a deep understanding of the theoretical foundations of the field, as well as how to apply digital marketing tactics to achieve an organisation's strategic goals.

This includes understanding the challenges faced by organisations in a competitive global environment, as well as ethical issues, sustainable development, and how digital marketing can support an organisation's commitment to social justice. Several undergraduate marketing degrees include a digital component, such as:

The specifics of the course will vary but important things to check are whether it’s accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and if it includes any work experience or placement as part of the course.

While a postgraduate qualification in digital marketing is not required for most roles, it can help you stand out in a competitive job market, hone your skills, and widen your network.

Even if you have an unrelated degree, don't worry. There are many marketing courses available to help you learn the latest digital marketing techniques, such as online marketing diplomas.

Search all digital marketing courses.

Get marketing work experience

Formal work experience schemes, such as internships, are a great way to gain this experience, but there are also other ways to build your skills.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Volunteer your services to a local business or charity. This is a great way to gain experience in a variety of digital marketing channels, such as social media, content marketing, and email marketing.
  • Start your own digital marketing project. This could be anything from creating a blog to launching a social media campaign. By working on your own project, you can learn from your mistakes and successes, and build a portfolio of work to showcase to potential employers.
  • Take online courses or tutorials. There are many free and paid resources available to help you learn about different aspects of digital marketing.
  • Network with other digital marketers. Attend industry events, join online communities, and reach out to people you admire for advice and mentorship.

To showcase your communication skills and knowledge, you could also start a blog in a niche you're passionate about and knowledgeable in. For tips on how to go about starting your own blog or making a website, see 5 tips for getting media work experience.

Find a job

Larger employers often offer formal marketing graduate schemes. These schemes provide a structured training program and the opportunity to gain experience in a variety of marketing disciplines. To apply for a marketing graduate scheme, visit the employer's website and follow the instructions on how to submit your application. You can also find marketing apprenticeships on GOV.UK.

Many marketing jobs are published on social media, online job portals, and the websites of trade organisations like the CIM. Read our advice on social media and job hunting.

In a creative field like marketing, it is important to stand out from the crowd. One way to do this is to let your personality shine through in your speculative application. When writing a speculative application, be sure to highlight your unique skills and experiences, and explain why you are interested in working for the specific company. You can also include a link to your portfolio or website in your application.

You could also go the extra mile and visit businesses in person to introduce yourself and ask for a chance to showcase your skills. This shows that you are proactive and genuinely interested in the company.

Find out more

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