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How to become a digital marketer

Explore the path to becoming a digital marketer as we uncover digital marketing skills, digital marketing roles, a step-by-step guide and more.

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The role of a digital marketer is becoming increasingly crucial as businesses strive to capture the attention of online audiences. With the Internet playing such a central role in our lives, digital marketing has evolved into a dynamic and ever-expanding field, encompassing many of the activities aimed at promoting and selling products or services. 

From creating engaging content strategies to optimising websites for search engines and running paid advertising campaigns, digital marketers are the masterminds behind online success. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to kickstart your career in digital marketing.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is the process of promoting products or services through online channels. This branch of marketing leverages the Internet and other digital technologies to reach and connect with target audiences, generate brand awareness, and drive conversions. 

Within this field, a wide range of career options are available, each with its own unique approach to navigating digital channels. 

What roles are there in digital marketing? 

With so many different digital channels, the tasks and responsibilities will vary depending on your specific role. Let’s take a look at some of the different career options available and what they entail. 

Social media manager 

Social media platforms are powerful tools for connecting with customers. As a social media manager, you’ll oversee a brand’s online presence, curating content, engaging with followers, and monitoring performance.

Content marketer

Content plays a huge role in the world of digital marketing, offering a creative marketing approach. Content marketers create compelling and relevant material, including blog posts, videos, and social media content to attract and engage audiences.

SEO specialist

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the key to ranking well on search engines. SEO specialists optimise website content to enhance visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) and boost organic traffic.

Email marketing specialist

Email, or customer relationship management (CRM), is a crucial element of digital marketing, offering a more targeted approach to customer outreach. Email marketing specialists develop and execute email campaigns, manage subscriber lists, and analyse open and click-through rates to drive conversions.

Pay-per-click (PPC) specialist

Paid advertising campaigns are a fundamental part of many marketing strategies. PPC specialists manage ad campaigns on platforms such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads to attract targeted traffic.

What does a digital marketer do?

Daily responsibilities within digital marketing will vary depending on your role and organisation. Let’s take a look at some common tasks that digital marketers typically undertake.

Market research

Successful digital marketing begins with a strong understanding of your audience and competition. Market research involves researching the preferences and behaviours of your target audience. Consider things like customer pain points, customer needs and competitor activity.

Content creation

Content is the backbone of digital marketing. It can take various forms, including blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, or social media updates. This channel combines creativity, a deep understanding of your audience, and the ability to convey messages effectively.

Data analysis

Data plays a key role in the digital marketing world, ensuring that informed decisions can be made and success can be measured. This data is analysed to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Data analysis provides insights into what’s working, what’s not, and where improvements can be made. 

As well as pulling and interpreting this data, digital marketers will also have to feed these insights into the wider team and contribute to various reports. 

Planning and strategy

Digital marketing involves a lot of planning and strategising to ensure success across all channels. As part of planning and strategising, digital marketers will make informed decisions about how best to promote their products and services. A strong understanding of your organisation and respective channels is key here. 

How to get into digital marketing

If a career in digital marketing sounds like it could be a good fit for you, here are a few steps you can take to get started. 

6 steps to becoming a digital marketer

  1. Research channels

Start by  getting to know all the digital marketing channels that are currently available. Dive into social media, email marketing, content marketing, SEO, and paid advertising. Identify which channels align with your interests and career goals.

  1. Online courses

Taking an online course that covers the fundamental aspects of digital marketing is a great way to start building the skills and knowledge you need to get into the industry. At FutureLearn, we offer digital marketing courses from top universities and industry experts to help get you started.

  1. Digital marketing degrees

Once you’ve explored digital marketing and decided it’s the right fit, you may want to consider pursuing a degree in digital marketing. If you’re looking to pursue a degree around other commitments, you may want to consider an online degree. 

  1. Apprenticeships and internships

Practical experience is an incredibly valuable asset in digital marketing. Internships or apprenticeships at digital marketing agencies or in-house marketing teams allow you to learn from experienced professionals and gain qualifications alongside work commitments.

  1. Build a portfolio

Showcase your digital marketing skills and achievements by creating a portfolio. Include examples of content you’ve created, campaigns you’ve managed, and the positive results you’ve achieved. A well-structured portfolio goes a long way when it comes to proving your knowledge during an interview process.

  1. Stay up-to-date with industry trends

The digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving. Because of this, it’s important to stay informed about the latest trends and technologies. You can do so by following industry blogs, attending webinars, and networking with marketing professionals.

What qualifications do you need for a digital marketing career?

While many job roles may require a degree, this isn’t always necessary to get into digital marketing. Skills and experience are particularly important in this industry, so it’s perfectly possible to secure a role using portfolios by gaining targeted qualifications. Certifications earned from taking an online course are a great way to showcase your skills and dedication. 

Whilst not always mandatory, having a degree related to digital marketing can enhance your credibility and knowledge. There are many marketing degrees and other relevant options such as business degrees available to set you up for success in this industry. 

What skills do you need for a digital marketing career?

So, now that we know what digital marketing entails and how to get into the industry, let’s dive into which skills you’ll need to be a successful digital marketer. 

Analytical skills

As we’ve discussed, analytical thinking is often at the core of digital marketing. As a digital marketer, you’ll need to utilise data analytics to make actionable insights. Whether you’re tracking website traffic, email campaign performance, or social media engagement, analytical skills are invaluable.


Creativity is the driving force behind engaging content. In a world full of distractions, the ability to create relevant content that captures attention and fosters engagement is a key skill. 

Tech skills

Digital marketing heavily relies on various tools and platforms. Being tech-savvy is absolutely essential, as it enables you to navigate content management systems, analytics platforms, social media dashboards, and marketing automation tools that you’ll be using as part of your day-to-day tasks.

Communication skills

Communication is an important element of any digital marketing role. Whether you’re crafting a compelling blog post, creating a video script, or engaging with your social media audience, your ability to convey ideas through written and visual content is crucial. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll also need to relay insights and plans to various stakeholders frequently within your organisation.


We know now that the digital marketing landscape is ever-evolving. New technologies, algorithms, and trends emerge regularly, making adaptability an invaluable skill in this field. Digital marketers need to stay agile, adapt to changes, and continuously learn to remain effective in their roles.

Why should you work in digital marketing?

Still unsure if digital marketing is the right career path for you? Digital marketing roles offer a range of benefits and exciting opportunities. Let’s explore some of the reasons why you should consider working in digital marketing. 

  • Demand: Digital marketing skills are currently highly sought-after, opening up a number of career opportunities in a competitive job market.
  • Diverse opportunities: The digital marketing field is versatile, offering a wide range of career opportunities. Whether you’re passionate about content creation, data analysis, or social media management, there’s a role suitable for you in the digital marketing space.
  • Creativity: Digital marketing encourages creative thinking. You’ll have the opportunity to develop innovative marketing strategies and create engaging content among other fun creative challenges.
  • Learning environment: As we discussed, the digital marketing industry is continually evolving, providing ongoing opportunities for both personal and professional growth. Every day brings new challenges and opportunities to learn.
  • Global reach: Digital marketing enables you to reach a global audience. It’s a field that may also allow you to work remotely, offering flexibility and the potential for a global client base.

Master digital marketing with FutureLearn

A career in digital marketing is rewarding and fulfilling, providing a diverse array of opportunities, the chance to work on exciting and impactful campaigns, and the ability to contribute significantly to a company’s success. 

If you’re ready to start your digital marketing journey, check out our range of online digital marketing courses and start building career-ready skills. Your future as a digital marketer begins here.

Online digital marketing courses at FutureLearn

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