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Step-by-Step Process on how to Become a Digital Marketer [UPDATED]

Author: Andrea Jelinkova
Andrea came to Bangkok from Slovakia to extend her marketing knowledge in a field of digital marketing and social media. She joined our WCB family in June 2017 as a part of our internship program.
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Do you want to start a career in digital marketing but you have no idea where to start? What you should learn and which skills should be listed on your resume?

I had the same issue! So I did some research, got on a plane and now I’m living in Thailand doing a Digital Marketing internship. I have already met some top DM’ers and they have taught me a lot. I’d like to share that with you here.

In this article, I will provide you all the step by step processes I went through to start my digital marketing career.

So what do digital marketers do every day?

If you imagine a cool hipster with a tattoo, sipping his favourite Cappuccino the whole day while scrolling his Instagram, you’ll be probably the way too far. Although most of digital marketers are cool (tattoos are not required), most of them love (& need) coffee and most of them are active on social media platforms.

If we are looking to their lives from “outside of a coffee shop” it may seem to be the carefree thing to do. Playing with pictures, writing articles, be online all the time. If you spend one day with them, watching them working you’ll be staring with your mouth open.

Our (let me present myself as a digital marketer already although I am still learning but as I said, they are cool and I want to be cool too) everyday life starts with numbers. We open Google Analytics and Hootsuite and analyze what happened a day before. Who did read our new articles? Did these people click to other our pages? Did our posts on social media work? We also make sure that everything is scheduled for today.

After the morning warm-up, the roller coaster switch on its engine (does it have engine BTW?) and we are having fun (and some adrenaline too). I will describe you our main activities within the whole digital marketing process that are making us busy every day:

How to start a new Digital Marketing Project

If we have a new project, the first question is always: “WHAT IS THE TARGET?”

The answer really depends on the field of the industry but all in all, it should end with sign-ups, awareness, shares, likes, comments, and of course profit for the company. The purpose of the question is not just to reply with one number but the understanding the strategy, brand positioning, concept of the product, short-term and long-term plan, and vision.

For example, we are currently working on an increase in SEO for our client Steps with Theera. They are an accredited vocational training center in a health-focused coffee shop in Bangkok. Before we even started to discuss the topic, we had to clarify what is their priority – is it a vocational center or a coffee shop?

After we have all information, we can start with PERSONAS creation. In order words, who is my target audience? I highly recommend creating 2-5 personas and calling them real names. I know it may sound strange but believe me, it will help you a lot in understanding your customers. How old are they? What gender do they have? What do they like? What does annoy them? Where do they live? What is their income? What kind of education may they have?

One of my first personas were for the yoga studio aimed at releasing stress and anxiety. You can easily create your template for personas in Canva.com which is a user-friendly environment for graphics. Me personally, I like to use Trifold Brochure template as it is dividing sections very nicely. I also prefer to add a picture to the background as it brings the look&feel of the product. Canva has many free pictures, icons and shapes to create your designs. And it’s fun!

canva example

persona template canva

Used skills: #brandmanagement, #strategicthinking, #strategyplanning, #projectmanagement, #microsoftoffice, #presentationskills

Learn how to Check for a Client’s Online Presence and do the Site Audit

If you have a client that doesn’t have the website yet, you can easily check potential names in Namecheckr which allows you to screen possibilities for domains as well as social media platforms.

If your client has some website already and is active on social media, just check the presence across all of them. I have seen some companies that present themselves differently, for example as a coffee shop in one platform and as a seller of homemade soaps in other.

After online presence, it’s time to revise their own website. Let’s take an example of Sevenly and revise their website (as I really like it):

example website sevenly

  • It is very easy to spot WHO THEY ARE thanks to their logo in left upper corner
  • You can clearly see WHAT THEY DO. They are “Custom outfitters for world changers.” and ask you to “Join with us to make the world better, one person and one purchase at a time.”
  • CALL TO ACTION button “Shop your cause” is clearly displayed on their landing page
  • The website includes Sevenly’s rewards and logos of companies that wrote about them called as TRUST SIGNALS.
  • You can connect with them on their SOCIAL MEDIA, as they have icons of their platforms at the bottom of the page.
  • The OVERALL LOOK and feel are great. My first impression was that I would like to learn more.
  • It is mobile and tablet RESPONSIVE.
  • It’s amazingly fast.
  • It is easy to orient there (their UX is great) including the very clear font.

Used skills: #SEO, basic #UX, you may use basic #Wordpress and #graphicdesign

Keyword Research can Make a Real Difference

As we would like to create websites that are easy to find on search engines, we have to be careful with keywords we would like to use. Keyword research is important to an organic increase of SEO (in other words, how many other companies is in front of you on the searching engine). But of course, you need to be extremely aware of them when creating “Pay per Click” (known as PPC) campaign so you are successful with high return on investment.

We always try to make sure that words are clear, on topic and people are looking specifically for them.

In Google Keyword Planner you can look for keywords that others use and you can also assess existing websites. For example, I did a check for my friend who sells properties in Austrian Alp as he just started this business and his ranking is very low. After putting his website into a Google Keyword Planner we have realised that a page is shown to those people who are looking for “investments”, “stock market” and other similar words rather than “buying property”.

keywords search

Good inspiration can be also Quora. You can explore what are people asking about the topic. So, for example, I will want to know more about the previously mentioned “yoga for releasing stress and anxiety”. I will look for the words “yoga anxiety” and see what are people asking with the usage of these words. And I will repeat it for all our other keywords. I will also screen the answers and see if people use some other relevant words more often. In this case, people often use words like: depression, decrease, reduce, techniques, and therapy. And on top of that, I can be inspired by some future articles or content that I may use. Isn’t it great?

quora questions example

Another source is to go through reviews as people usually use their own words for describing the service or product. I used this research for Steps by Theera (our client as I mentioned previously) so I can see how people describe them. For instance, they used words like “for young adults with disabilities”, “with special needs”, “educational training center”:

tripadvisor stepswiththeera

tripadvisor stepswiththeera

Another important thing is the usage of keywords on the website. We make sure that these 6 places are not missed: title, 1st paragraph, h1, h2, alt text of picture, text

Used skills: #keywordsresearch, #SEO, #googleadwords, #PPC

Master your Reading of Google Analytics

We are checking the progress on Google Analytics on a daily basis as it is a great tool for spotting an issue or leveraging the content that works.

At first, it looks like a world of numbers without any story behind it. But I have learned how to ask the right questions and what can we do with the answer. Let me give you an example:

google analytics questions to ask

Used skills: #googleanalytics, #analyticalthinking

Dig into the Content Creation

The main purpose of content is to sell the product or service. Ideas of the content depend on our client but most importantly on our target audience.

At the beginning of each content creation, we should decide if we would like to educate, entertain or edify our leads and what kind of content will we produce (blog, articles, video, newsletters etc).

Content has to be posted regularly, it has to be engaging and relevant to your target audience. If you can customize the content for a specific group of people, even better (e.g.: send a newsletter only to those people who already bought your product).

Here you can find an example of Web Courses Bangkok’s articles. Some of them are for education, some for edification. We are posting regularly and also we have content that is relevant for our students divided into particular topics: Web Design, Web Development, Graphic Design, Online Marketing, and Photography.

wcb articles example

Apart from the great copywriting we work towards the goal of generating traffic on a website and we make sure that the content that we prepare is including all these “must haves”:

  • Title with keywords
  • Clear message and story with a conclusion
  • Examples and stories
  • Internal and external links
  • Easy-to-read fonts
  • Author
  • Date of publishing or editing
  • Social media sharing buttons as well as embedded items (e.g.: Follow Twitter)
  • Call to action buttons (e.g.: read also this article, know more here etc.)
  • Real images and videos to visualise what you are saying. Avoid stock images.
  • Length of app. 2000 words

Used skills: #SEO, #copywriting, #blogging, #emailmarketing, basic #graphicdesign, basic #videocreation, basic #photography

Explore Social Media Platforms and Advertisement

We are working with social media on daily basis. When we have a new client, we are screening their social media presence as a first thing:

  • Which are social media they are present in?
  • How many followers do they have?
  • Do they post daily?
  • How do they interact with their followers?
  • What is their competition doing?
  • Are they present in other than social media but relevant websites, e.g.: Trip Advisor
  • Is their communication in social media platforms on brand?
  • Do they use Ads for promoting their company, product, or events? How do they choose a target audience?

Having specifics of the client, their product, and target audience in our minds, we are proposing the plan in a content calendar. The content calendar should be planned based on short-term and long-term plans. We are using Trello for planning all our content across social media platforms, and sending newsletters and articles posting.

For short-term planning, we are using Trello for all our content across social media platforms, sending newsletters, and posting of articles.

content calendar Trello example

Amaing thing is that everything can be scheduled in tools like Hootsuite which is saving time dramatically. Apart of client’s Timeline, we can add streams like mentions, new followers, competition pages, likes, hashtags. We also have client’s analytics available based on requirements too.

hootsuite example

Used skills: #socialmediamarketing, #facebookads, #copywriting, basic #graphicdesign, basic #videocreation, basic #photography

So, my question at the end of the day: Do you still envisage a digital marketer as a hipster in a coffee shop? Don’t get me wrong, it can be hipster as per book but very very very busy one which makes me to conclude:

A digital marketer is a new superhero.

How to learn all of these?

As you could see, digital marketing is a broad subject that gives you a unique opportunity to find a topic in that you can specialize in. You can choose to learn to Copywrite and still have a successful career in Digital Marketing. Let’s say you love statistics, then you can specialise in Google Analytics.

First, let’s identify your skills and strengths

Who is a digital marketer? What kind of qualities should a person have and build?

A digital marketer is passionate when talking about brands, it is a person that is eager to learn, that wants to be up-to-date. A digital marketer is brave to face problems and try to solve them, is responsible and dedicated. It is a creative being that understands others no matter of culture, social class, and age but is also able to think analytically and learn from their previous activities.

Where do you find yourself? Are you more analytical or creative? Do you prefer to think about strategies or find out why your website is scoring low on Google? Build on your strength and develop those areas you feel less confident about.

Practice and all is coming

Now, when you have the knowledge of what a digital marketer does, there is nothing more important than learning from your own experience. If you have your own business already, take it as the opportunity to move your skills as well as your company further. Or try one of these:

  • Self-presentation as a professional. Write a blog, be active on social media, create your own simple website on WordPress.
  • Do you have some friends who have a small business? Help them. Or explore for example Etsy and ask someone else. For instance, I contacted 7 Etsy stores to practice my skills. I have chosen those that had 5 start reviews and they already had some sells. I checked their online presence, if they have a logo, how many followers they have on their social media platforms and when was the last time they were active. 2 stores replied to me that are interested in my offer. I have just chosen the final one. Guess what is it? A coffee shop (+they sell homemade products).
  • Is your heart beating to create something meaningful? Volunteer in some NGO like we are working for Steps with Theera.
  • Do you have some passion? For example, my friend is promoting his favorite music band. That’s awesome.

Follow key opinion leaders

A good thing is that you can find everything, all information online. A bad thing is, you can feel overloaded and confused what is relevant for you.

The best approach is to follow digital marketing influencers based on your field of interest. Find them on social media, read their blogs, attend their webinars, ask them questions. Learn from the best.

I also highly recommend attending events. For example, the last I attended was about Trends in digital marketing with experts from Bangkok. You can post your questions directly to the panel or ask them afterwards 1-2-1. You can extend your circle and find new connections. I took notes so I can share my key takeaways for you:

  • Thailand is growing market with consumers that want more marketing activities
  • Key opinion influencers are an important way of communication. Start with a relevancy to your product and communication. High reach influencers with a huge number of followers can increase your awareness, while mid or low reach are building your trust and engagement.
  • B2B communication – start with a clean web site, strong call to action and be active on social media. Don’t forget on LinkedIn.
  • Viral video is cost effective way of sharing info about your product but there is nothing like a check box for creating such as thing. Great content is a key (either funny or emotional).
  • Paid vs. organic growth – if you want to see your results immediately, PPC is a great tool and it will increase your organic growth as well. However, you have a higher conversion from organic reach. In terms of Facebook, ads are important for increasing your reach. Social signals may play more important role in increasing your organic growth for the future.

digital marketing panel discussion
Equally important, ask as many questions as possible to everyone that is already in the field and have experience. I had an amazing opportunity to be a part of the organisation team of the focus group regarding “Which skills should digital marketing professionals have”. I met with 20 marketers and interviewed some of them. Here you can find one of my interviews –  Jeremy Guessoum, a Marketing Director of the agency Grey Alchemy:

Sign up for the course to accelerate the whole process

Imagine yourself in starting blocks. That feeling when you adjust into the right position. A looong inhale while raising your sight towards to the goal. Your focus is there, your head is up and you know exactly what you have to do and where to go when you will hear the signal for the start. Bang..and you run!

Attending the course is the same thing – you have your focus, you know exactly what you have to do and where to go. The course is the accelerator of your learning path and your future career. You don’t have to spend your time on research as somebody else did it for you already. Everything is served as “all-inclusive”. Your task is to study, prepare yourself for classes and practice. That’s it. 

How to choose the perfect course for digital marketing?

  • CONTENT: make sure your course is including all previously mentioned subjects such as brand management, content marketing, social media, analytics, search engines, web landing pages, conversion optimization, email marketing, SEO and that you have enough information so you know exactly what you’ll cover during your studies.
  • REAL CASE STUDIES: as Benjamin Franklin said: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Your school should provide you with industry examples and let you to practice. Avoid the education with theory only. If you practice during your studies on real cases, you already build your portfolio which is a great advantage.
  • CERTIFICATIONS: inform yourself about the type of certifications the school will provide you after the course. Make sure that you have a certification of Google Adwords and Analytics – that’s a must.
  • MENTORING: do you have some extra classes with mentors from the school or is it just a group class and that’s it?
  • SIZE OF THE GROUP: the smaller the better (10 people max), the individual approach is crucial for your success.
  • VISIT A SCHOOL: observe how do you feel there, interview tutors, ask questions.
  • Think about “technical” criteria: price, timing, the address of the school.
  • Create a spreadsheet with all criteria that are relevant for you and rate schools that you find. Choose the one with the highest score. This may sound a bit crazy however it will help you to decide relatively quickly as you can see all pros and cons on one page.

Kick off your digital marketing career

With the list of skills that you covered and with all the effort that you put into your studies, you are ready to become a digital marketing professional. Good luck! Inspire others, create beautiful campaigns and never stop moving forward as an expert. This world changes so quickly. We also recommend you have a look at our latest list of Tech tools to speed up your work.

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