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How To Get Into Digital Marketing With No Experience

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Are you unsure where to start when it comes to finding a digital marketing job? Is a lack of experience holding you back? In short, are you unsure how to get into digital marketing with no experience? If so you’re not alone. Many school and college leavers find it difficult to get their foot on the ladder in this industry.

Most agencies want at least two years of active digital marketing experience before taking you on. So how do you overcome this seemingly impossible conundrum without taking on a debt heavy internship? This guide is here to help you bridge the gap. By the end of it you’ll be able to:

  1. Apply your knowledge of the key fundamentals marketing agencies are looking for in candidates,
  2. Train for free and get certified to bring your skills up to scratch and,
  3. Know how to apply all this new found knowledge in real and practical ways.

Knowing and doing all of this is going to give you a great chance to get your foot well and truly in the door

So let’s get started.

How To Get Into Digital Marketing With No Experience

Top Tips To Help You Land Your First Digital Marketing Job!

Tip 1. Get Google Certified!

Google offers a large range of free training and exams for you to take. These are a great resource for you to get up to speed with how a lot of Google tools work. Most Digital Marketing Agencies use these tools extensively so knowing your way around them in advance is a huge advantage.

Go to Academy for Ads and get started on all their free training courses. Then, once you’re sufficiently up to speed with each Google tool, take one of their free exams and get certified. Put each certification towards the top of your C.V., mention it in your cover letter and you will immediately stand out from other applicants with no experience.

So let’s take a closer look at all of these tools and what they are used for.

a. Google Adwords

Google Adwords is how Google makes the majority of its money. In fact, at time of writing, it accounts for 37% of the digital advertising market. It’s the tool most Digital Marketing Agencies use to pay to make their clients appear at the top of Google listings. Basically it’s the short cut to appearing at the top whilst the long term work behind Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is taking place.

And, when done right, it should make a good profit for clients or, as per correct industry jargon, Return On Investment (ROI)…NB: Learn that term, it’s important! Your target is to regularly make a positive ROI for your clients on the marketing campaigns you are working on. If you don’t then your agency could lose the client, revenue and so ultimately you may lose your job. So understanding and measuring ROI is key for your clients and your career.

If you can afford to, it’s worth experimenting with a small budget of your own. See if friends or family will let you push a small amount of budget to their business. But don’t go overboard. For less than £100 you can play around and test enough to give you the grounding you need.

So go and get to know your way around the Adwords tool with the free training in the Academy for Ads link above.

b. Google Analytics Academy

Work through the Google Analytics for Beginners course to get a general understanding of how analytics works and what its used for. In short, Google Analytics tracks everything everyone does on your website. So it is a vital tool in enabling marketers to make informed decisions about how effective their marketing campaigns are running and how to improve them.

Key benefits:

  • It helps you to work out where your traffic is coming from. Which type of traffic converts the best (and worst) and why.
  • It helps you to see the journey people make through your clients websites. If you can identify pages they frequently exit on without purchasing or hitting one of your goals, then you can look to see how you can improve that page.
  • It helps you identify who your users are. Age, location, type of device they’re using (mobile or desktop), etc. This information is key. If you know who your best customers are, you can go and find more of them.
  • It helps identify how long they stay on each page so you can work on improving your bounce rate (or in layman’s terms, getting more of them to go to other pages of your site and stick around longer rather than leaving straight away).
  • It helps you save money on marketing campaigns that aren’t working. So focusing your resources on marketing campaigns that are.
  • It helps you drive up revenue by working out which pages on your website convert people into paying customers at the highest conversion rate.
  • Using that learning to apply to pages with a low conversion rate.
  • And last but certainly not least, it’s a fundamental key to measuring ROI

ROI again, seriously? “With you it’s all ROI this, ROI that.” Yep, get used to it.

c. Google Analytics Advanced Course

Don’t let the name put you off. Once you’ve done the beginners course, you’ll understand the terminology for the advanced and breeze through it. It’s the advanced course that will really set you apart so do try to do it.

d. Google My Business Basics

You know when you search for something on Google with a local town name, for example, Bromley plumbers, you often get a map within the results? That’s Google My Business at work. Learning how to get local businesses into the top 3 results on the map is a key way to drive business to them. I’d definitely recommend this course to get a grounding in the processes involved.

Google Courses Summary

OK so that’s enough to get you started with some of the core Google products. There are others on YouTube, DoubleClick and Web Design Basics, but the core ones mentioned above should be your starting points.

Going through those courses and taking the exams will take you about a week. It’s a good time investment to get you grounded in terminology, see some of the functionality and get a good overview of what’s involved.

But don’t stop there, for there’s a whole lot more you need to look at. In fact the next training is my favourite for getting new recruits up to speed in one of the most important fields of Digital Marketing, SEO!

How To Get Into Digital Marketing With No Experience

Tip 2. Yoast Academy Training Courses

I can’t recommend the Yoast Academy Training Courses enough. When we hire new junior marketers, this is the first place I send them. The training gives you a great grounding in all elements of SEO. OK so this one costs a bit of money (pushing £400 at the moment for all of their courses combined) but it is well worth it. If I was to advise any school or college leaver to invest in one thing, it would be the complete course.

If you can’t stretch to the full course cost then at least start with one at a time at £199…although value for money means paying the full £400 for all of them is well worth it. BTW – what they’ve done there is a little marketing trick of packaging up a bundle of goods and giving you what appears to be a great discount when compared to the individual component costs. Damn sneaky marketers aye? But don’t hold that against them as they’re super cool and super helpful for your knowledge growth curve.

So what will you learn?

Oh I don’t know, just pretty much how Google indexes the web and how you can then use this knowledge to get your clients to the top of Google’s Search Result Pages (SERPS – industry jargon). You’ll learn everything from :

  • Holistic SEO – how all the components of Technical SEO, Content Optimisation and Off Site Factors work together so you can figure out how to get your clients to number 1 on Google.
  • Technical SEO – the stuff you do on your site to make it super fast (site speed is the jargon), super efficient for Google to crawl (crawlability is the term – I’m not kidding, write it down!), the stuff you put in the code to make Google’s life easy (these are called meta tags, again super important). And a whole bunch of other stuff that would take me all day to write out here. In short, that course is a great grounding.
  • Site Structure – how to layout your site to give the most important pages the best chances of ranking for your most important search terms.
  • Copywriting – how to write stuff so it like, err, doesn’t suck…and stuff. OK I’m being facetious, sorry. But copywriting is another important skill to learn.
  • Structured Data – how to enhance your search results on Google with things like star rating reviews,  pricing, availability, etc. Again great to know so you can impress during an application.
  • Geo-Location targeting – this course is more advanced but if you learn it by heart, you’ll probably know more than 90% of web developers out there who make super common mistakes in this field. In short, you’ll know how to make your clients websites rank high in foreign search engines for foreign languages you don’t even speak!
  • And more well good stuff…

NB: I am a total impartial observer on this. I am not paid to promote Yoast in any way or get a commission from you signing up. I simply believe it’s a great way for you (and my team starters) to learn the basics of SEO. Simple as.

How To Get Into Digital Marketing With No Experience

Tip 3. Get Facebook certified!

Facebook advertising accounts for almost 20% of the digital advertising market share (second only to Google). So this is another vital tool to become familiar with.

Since Facebook changed their news feed algorithm at the end of 2017/start of 2018, most businesses on Facebook have to pay to get any of their content in front of their page followers. So without used paid social amplification (another jargon term, write it down!), most Facebook business pages are pretty much dead in the water. If you post something that no one see’s, how is that social marketing?

So its key to get to know how to use the Facebooks ad platform as loads of businesses simply don’t take the time.

You’ll learn how to use:

  • Facebook Business Manager for best results,
  • Each of the different ad targeting options to match to your clients target outcomes, geo and psyhcographic targeting (jargon) and build interest buckets (jargon) around your target customer avatars (jargon – I hope you’re writing all these down you know, this stuff is gold!),
  • Different ad copy, images and videos for best results,
  • Custom and Lookalike Audiences (do I need to say it? Hopefully you’re already writing) so you can target your best customers regularly and then find people that have similar interests, behaviours and incomes to target…that’s where Facebook gets a bit creepy. But hell, it’s amazing for us marketers!
  • And more…

So take the Blueprint Facebook For Business course and you’ll be well on your way to more great and usable knowledge. There are exams you can pay to take with Facebook so you can get certification. That bits not essential but again it might help you stand apart from other candidates.

How To Get Into Digital Marketing With No Experience

Tip 4. Go through the Twitter Flight School training

I won’t go too much into this one. Twitter is great for relationship marketing (jargon). This in turn is a great way to meet publishers, influencers, build a big social following and backlink profile (which benefits your SEO when done right). So go to Twitter Flight School to learn more.

How To Get Into Digital Marketing With No Experience

Tip 5. Continue to Learn

Learn, absorb, apply learning, learn some more, absorb some more and apply some more. Rinse and repeat ad infinitum. That is digital marketing in a nutshell.

Because the industry changes so fast, you will always be on a learning curve. OK so some fundamentals remain the same but you will always need to keep abreast of new developments, techniques, tools and software to maintain a competitive edge. So if you don’t like learning and developing new skills then this industry is not for you. Sorry.

Here are a few great blogs to follow:
Yoast’s blog (them again)
ahrefs blog
Moz blog
Neil Patel’s guide to Content Marketing
Smoking Chili Media Blog – obviously!

How To Get Into Digital Marketing With No Experience

Tip 6. Volunteer, Intern or accept low pay in return for getting some experience

OK so of course you want to be paid but sometimes you do need to look at the big picture. If you can get some experience by working for free, or for low pay, in return for on the job training, then take it. It’s a trade off of your time Vs the agencies time in training you. If you can demonstrate an eagerness to learn, and really apply your new found knowledge, then it can take you places fast.

Sometimes us Digital Marketing Directors and Managers are so busy planning, co-ordinating, liaising with clients, pitching for new clients and, yes that word again, learning, that we don’t always have time for the nitty gritty. And that’s where you can add a lot of value. If you can come up with new, fresh ideas based on what you have learnt then you make our life easier. Easier life for us means big chance you are offered a full time job! Do it with a can do attitude, enthusiasm and never say die attitude and you’re in.

And if things don’t work out, at least you will have got some practical experience working on a campaign. Seeing an idea germinate, grow and take flight…or crash and burn, are keys to practical learning. They can be added to your C.V. as well which is no bad thing.

How To Get Into Digital Marketing With No Experience

Tip 7. Start your own blog

This is a no brainer in many ways. You can start a free Wordpress or Blogspot blog or pay a little for your own template design and hosting. Research some keywords given your new found knowledge from the Adwords and Yoast courses and write some content. Put Google Analytics on your blog so you can see the results.

Use Twitter to start conversations and build relationships with influencers. Leverage those relationships for content sharing and collaboration opportunities and you’ll be on your way.

It’s a great way to get to know common interfaces like Wordpress, problem solve, find useful plugins and so on. More than that, you’ll be developing your SEO, social media, web design and content skills in practical terms.

 

How To Get Into Digital Marketing With No Experience

Tip 8. Apply for the right kind of jobs

Don’t waste time applying for jobs you have no chance of getting. It will demoralise you, waste your time and your paper supply! So look for the following kind of entry level job postings before applying.

Possible entry level job titles to look out for:
Marketing Analyst
Marketing Specialist
Account Executive – the role I started in some 18 years ago…ouch has it really been that long?
Account Manager
Sales Associate
Marketing Associate
Marketing Assistant
Online Marketing Specialist

Job titles that may be too senior:
Any of the above with the word Manager, Director or Coordinator in them (although weirdly Account Manager sometimes will be a junior position). So for example, probably best to avoid Digital Marketing Manager, Marketing Coordinator, Social Media Manager, Content Marketing Manager, User Experience Manager kind of job ads for now.

And do your homework on the agency you’re applying to. Take a look at their site, their portfolio of work and case studies. Then take a look at their clients’ sites to get an idea of how they like to do things.

Use your right mouse button, select “View page source” and look at the HTML code. Apply your Yoast Jedi training. Do you see good use of meta tags? Is the site secure? Is it mobile friendly? Does the robots.txt file look good to you? Is the site https secure? Is there evidence of well researched keyword led content creation? How’s their Google My Business profile looking? Are they ticking all the right boxes? How about their social profiles? Are they talking to no one or do they have an active community?

Researching these elements will give you a good understanding of how the agency operates. If you want to take a risk you could even mention it in a cover letter or interview. It’s the kind of bravado which could help you stand out. At the same time it might see your C.V. going straight in the bin. It all depends on how well you word and highlight what you have found. So pay attention in the copywriting course!

Summary of How To Get Into Digital Marketing With No Experience

It says here that I’ve rabbited on for some 3,123 words and I’ve not even got started! Learning everything there is to know about an industry takes a lifetime. So best to start with bite size chunks to give yourself the best chance of getting your foot in the door somewhere.

Do

  • Take the time to go through the above courses,
  • Read up on important blogs,
  • Learn the industry jargon I’ve highlighted so you can drop the odd bomb in your cover letter, C.V. and in your interview,
  • Try and get some experience by starting a blog or working on a friends or families,
  • Expect to have a fun and fulfilling career – It’s work Jim but not as we know it.

Don’t

  • Procrastinate and get nothing done. Better to get started on something than be overwhelmed by everything and do nothing,
  • Get into this industry if you are not prepared to learn and keep learning and adapting,
  • Have a negative attitude. I can’t stress this one enough. If you’re going to work with people all day, bring a smile and can do attitude to the office. I’d much rather hire someone who is proactive and positive than just about anyone else.

Any comments, questions or anything that I can help with, please leave in the comments section below and I’ll be happy to help. You can do this! Follow the above course plan and get started. Best of luck.

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