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How to become a Self made Digital Marketing Expert?

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How to become a digital marketing Expert ? Where from to start learning ? What are the certifications ? Which are the top institutes to learn digital marketing ? What are the career prospects, job opportunities and salary figures ? Is there a great future as a digital marketer ?

This are the most frequently asked questions I face every time I meet my students and friends circle.

Well, this post comes with my 4 years of experience in this domain. I have seen many of my students start with great enthusiasm, few diversify to related careers while some retains to become one of the best digital marketers in the industry. So I decided to jot down my experiences so that you can make a wise decision as you step in to digital marketing.

This article will address the following:

  1. Is it for me? Career opportunities? Salary Expectations?
  2. Where from to start learning ? List of FREE resources. You don’t need a single investment to learn digital marketing.
  3. How do I become an expert/specialist? All you need is a laptop, internet and zeal to learn.
  4. How do I leverage my skills to grab a Job? A list of digital marketing jobs and portals to apply. A little bit of personal branding too. 😛
  5. What are the best paying jobs in Digital Marketing ? (Google, KPMG, Mckinsey to Amazon and Flipkart … Digital is the industry locus now)

Where from to start learning?

You will find several articles on "Top 10 institutes for digital marketing", "Top HIGH paying jobs in digital marketing", "Career opportunities", "Become a digital marketing ninja/expert in 10 days" "Which are best online courses?"

Well, trust me you don’t need a single penny to learn digital marketing. Don’t spend on any digital marketing course. Here I have listed the best of resources that you can refer for your learning. Save your coaching money to build your first website and try out the different premium services.

So let’s get started.

Digital Marketing is an umbrella term broadly comprising the following:

  • Content marketing: This is the King. The growth driver.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The backbone of your digital Strategy.
  • Keyword Research & Adwords (Paid Search): Your ticket to quick show in SERP.
  • Email marketing: Gold mine among all your marketing outreach channels.
  • Social Media Marketing: Black sheep of online marketing. Can make you or can break you.
  • Web Analytics and Monitoring: Your performance assessment and strategy layout guide.
  • Mobile Marketing: The new focus of the market.
  • Online Reputation Management: Keep it a happy ending. Online Brand building is an ongoing process.

Exploring the Learning Path – Resources

Digital marketing activities are primarily driven by Google and Social Networking Sites. Most of your activities revolves around Search Engine Optimization, Adwords & Adsense, Social Media Branding.

Google is generous enough to inundate us with high quality tutorials and support. Afterall, earlier you learn a technology, quicker you adopt, faster you boost the spread and usage. So basically, Digital Marketing is an Open Source Learning. Sorry for those who has already spent fat money on coaching institutes. Here is a comprehensive list of learning resources.

The sequence of the courses are arranged as per their content coverage and level of explanation. Go by the sequence, you will have a smooth transition to the learning process.

  1. Google Digital Garage

    This is my personal favourite. Start from this free course by Google. You learn the nity grities of internet, its potential and the opportunity for businesses. The training modules also gives a basic overview of all the pillars of digital marketing outreach. From online ads to analytics and social media, You get a comprehensive overview.

The best part, you earn a Google certification universally recognised in completing the course.

  1. Inbound Methodology

    This courses from Hubspot Academy is one of the best video tutorials on online sales, marketing and growth driven design I have ever come across. It will give you a broad understanding of the indound marketing process. Its very essential to understand the digital marketing framework before delving into practice.

Best part, these video classes comes with a FREE certification too.

  1. Google Online Marketing Challenge

    This is a little advanced. But after Google Digital Garage and Hubspot Inbound Methodology course, it’s an easy go to start with. So you start practicing from this course onwards. Follow the sequence of modules it offers and practice side by side.
  2. Google Analytics Academy

Excellent source. Step by step video guide to using the Web Analytics dashboard, infering the various data metrics and dimensions and making decisions out of the Web traffic data.

These 4 courses are the blockbusters of digital marketing tutorials. Trust me, if you have done these courses sincerely, You are already a wise Digital Marketer with globally recognized certifications.

This are free courses and better than any other paid course on web, I can vouch. However I have also listed the several other good quality digital marketing learning resources for you to compare. Scroll.

Time to Practice.

But, as always, Theory and practice often possess a threat of mismatch. Same goes for Digital Marketing. Your execution strategy of different digital marketing principles will differ from industry to industry. Digital strategy for an ecommerce and for an automobile company will drastically differ in nature and outlook.

Well, here is your feed. To stay updated with the industry follow the listed resources.

List of excellent blogs and resources to follow:

Marketing Land | Search Engine Land Search Engine Roundtable | Moz | Moz Academy | Distilled |  Econsultancy | Neil Patel | Portent | Copyblogger | SEO By the Sea | Backlinko | NicheHacks

And a few specific resources I strongly advise adding to your reading list:

The Beginner’s Guide to Online Marketing
Digital Marketing Made Simple
The Beginner’s Guide to SEO
The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media
Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing
The Advanced Guide to Content Marketing
The Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking
The PPC Guide for Beginners     PPC University: Learn Search Marketing for Free with WordStream   
SEO Guide to Creating Viral Linkbait and Infographics
Understanding the Marketing Funnel
No Words Wasted: A Guide to Creating Focused Content
There’s Only a Few Ways to Scale User Growth, and Here’s the List
The T-Shaped Web Marketer  SEO: The Free Beginner's Guide from Moz  
The Advanced Guide To SEO by Neil Patel
Search Engine Land's Guide To SEO     
SEO in Practice - Free SEO Book For Internet Entrepreneurs 
Social Media: The Free Beginner's Guide from Moz
A Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Advertising 
The Beginner's Guide to Facebook Advertising                   2015 Beginner’s Guide to LinkedIn    
The Sophisticated Guide to Marketing on LinkedIn    
Twitter Guide Book – How To, Tips and Instructions by Mashable   
The Field Guide to Twitter Advertising: How to Create & Launch Campaigns  Graphic Design Tutorials By Canva 

#Book Mark this page. You will need to refer back.  

#You can use  Feedly to manage all your blogs in one dashboard.

Certifications

Interestingly, all this globally recognized certifications form Google and Hubspot Academy are FREE. Go grab your certificates.

Is it for me ? Job Opportunities ?

If you apply for a job with all the possible certifications in the market, I would still be doubtful in hiring you as a Digital Marketer. 

Why?

Digital Marketing, unlike other theoretical subjects can not be simply learnt by reading few books and clearing few certification exams. It's best learnt when practiced. 

So while you are learning, from Day 1, jumpstart a blog (website) and start experimenting the various online marketing activities. It is more of an inbound methodology,  pull strategy instead of a traditional push strategy that has been used by sales team for years now. The focus has now shifted from sales orientation to customer orientation. Today's consumers are more connected, conscious and aware of brands and their value propositions. So be wise while branding your website. Who knows, by this experiments, one day your website might grow into a renowned brand. 

Digital marketing is a blend of design (creativity), technology (Web & App Interface) and Marketing (consumer behavior, marketing strategies, sales techniques etc). As a marketer, you might not be highly proficient in Graphic Ad Design, Dynamic Ads and Animations or Website Backend coding but you at-least need to have a basic understanding so as to gauge the loopholes and generate new ideas in your online marketing campaigns. 

Second, this domain is emerging, fast evolving and about to grow (which means more players, more market competition). You need to keep on learning as new technologies will keep on disrupting the market. Digital Marketing is one of the fastest evolving field of practice. You need to be creative, curious and flexible to keep on experimenting with the new ideas and tactics of online success. 

This volatility of the field is an opportunity as well as threat in itself. Threat, because, any new technology can disrupt your current strategies and you may need to restructure your set-ups (for example, with every Google Algorithm Update, your SEO strategies gets a wave) while if you are smart enough to sail with the trend, you can make it as an opportunity for yourself. Not all will be able to keep themselves updated with the current wave. The primary reason, it is very difficult to source great talent in the digital marketing industry.

Well, now get your hands dirty. Go ahead. Complete the free courses on Google Digital Garage, Hubspot and GOMC. Then plan out a niche idea you want to work upon, build a pilot website, apply and experiment with your learning. 

Execution is key. Nobody plans to FAIL, but fails to PLAN. If your strategy is not backed by action, it's of no value. If you need a demo website, ping me here and I will be happy to assist you with you setups where you can practice digital marketing. 

Here is a crisp summary of what you can do to apply whatever you are learning in the Digital Marketing courses. If you are not applying, you are not learning.

How to learn Digital Marketing by Practice? for free

  1. Go through the Video lessons on Google Garage, Hubspot Academy.
  2. Use Google keyword Planner, SEMrush Google Trends, NichHacks website to find a suitable niche. Pick a topic you are passionate about, on which you want to build your first blog.
  3. Now plan a business model around your chosen idea. Define your offerings/services. Why shall I visit your website. How will you attract me to your website ? Plan and lay a blueprint.
  4. Time to build a website. Message me with your plan. I will personally guide you on how to start your first blog. If you are new to web design, I will set it up for you and show you how to handle blog posting. Without a bit of technical know-how, you won't be able to implement SEO. No worry, I will show you how to for free.
  5. So now you have your blog/website up and running. Time to delve fulltime into applying your digital marketing ideas. Layout a 360 degree integrated marketing plan. It means a plan comprising all the marketing channels. List out in Excel how you are going to use Email, SMS, Whatsapp, Social media, SEO, PPC for your marketing outreach. 
  6. Try out every marketing channel. Most importantly, monitor the web analytics data and assess the ROI or performance indicators.
  7. A great Digital Marketer is one who understands every marketing channel by nooks & corner and knows when to use which channel. Its all about identifying, aiding and leveraging the right channel.
  8. Once you have got some hands on experience, got an idea of all the marketing channels, start investing in paid ads. As you invest small amounts in PPC(Adwords) and social media sponsored postings, you will have an idea of the marketing ROI. 
  9. Woosh. You are a big bod now. Time to apply for a real internship. Show your work with the first blog, explain how you experimented with the different channels. Hope you get shartlisted sooner. 
  10. Apply to Digital Marketing Agencies. They will have multiple projects from varied industries. So as a newbie, you have a great deal of learning. You get exposure to multiple industry. Marketing activities are industry specific and not something standardized all across.
  11. Share your growth story with me. Let me know how you ventured into a digital marketing career. 🙂

Best wishes to your online success. Happy learning. Impactful Practicing.

About the Author:

I have spent the last 4 years in multiple functions ranging from Graphic Ad design, Web Design, Content Development, SEO, SEM, Web Analytics, Social media, Email and Mobile Marketing.

Worked with 10+ companies, from MNCs to local start-ups, I have digested the unique challenges they possessed.

Authored a book on SEO Audit. A 4.6/5 rated book on auditing your SEO Strategy and ranking performance. GET A COPY OF THE BOOK

Currently a researcher on online consumer behaviour, consumer trends, digital insights and online branding

And A faculty of Digital marketing at Unacademy. You can enroll  in the Full Digital Marketing Course in Unacademy for FREE.

+Read more   +Careers    +Contact

For any doubts, acclaims, feedback feel free to comment below. I would be happy to revert back.

Cheers. Happy Learning. 

15 Responsesso far.

  1. Dibakar Bala says:

    Really loved to see finally someone providing a sequence of valuable and free resources to learn digital marketing

    • Avik says:

      Hello Dibakar,
      Glad that you liked the article. I tried my best to accumulate the best sources to study Digital Marketing for FREE. As you are going through, feel free to add any additional resource you find useful. Let’s make the knowledge accessible, affordable and amiable.

      If you face any difficulties with your online endeavors, feel free to get in touch. Together we can transcend the world. Knowledge multiplies when shared.

  2. Surbhi Goel says:

    Lovely post. Thanks for making the learning process easier. You just answered what I was looking for. Free course, Google Certification, Great resources, Industry Updates.

    Thanks a lot.

  3. Samriddhi Mathur says:

    Hey, Thanks for this post. The links are very helpful. it’s like a first-hand guide to my digital marketing journey.
    I check out your book on SEO Audit. Loved the sample. Can I get a physical copy? I am not getting it on Amazon. Only ebook.

  4. Aman Singhal says:

    This is one of the best post on How to learn digital marketing i came acros so far. Sir, i am a commerce student from Delhi University. I want to learn Digital MArketing. Will you please teach me. What are the salary i can expect after the Google certifications You mentioned here ?

    • Avik says:

      Hello Aman,

      I suppose your questions have underlying answers in the post above. In case you missed it, let me brief you more. Digital Marketing is not restricted to any particular stream of students. Being a commerce student does not put you at any disadvantage in learning and practicing digital Marketing.

      Salaries … Well it depends on your proficiency levels and experience. I have mentioned the flowchart or sequential processes to start your career in digital marketing. Learn and practice. How about having an evaluated interview with me after you are dome with your preparation, I will suggest you which companies to apply for and what level of salary to negotiate for. So cheers. Learn and as you feel like being an expert, ready for the job market, ping me back.

      Good Luck.

  5. Ipshita Sen says:

    Sir, thanks for such an insightful coverage. Can you help me with SEO and Web development ? I am not a technical person. B.Sc graduate.

    • Avik says:

      Hello Ipshita,
      Thanks for dropping by. Surely, I would love to assist you with the requirements. Drop a mail with all your doubts and queries at hello@avikbal.com

      I will revert back with the necessities. Cheers to your online endeavors.

  6. Raman Mehta says:

    Great bunch of knowledge
    Really every time I read the article it gives me an amazing understanding

    • admin says:

      Thanks Raman! Wish you all good luck with your learning and practice. Welcome to the world of Internet Marketing.
      Should you have any further queries, feel free to get in touch.
      Cheers!

  7. Pavan.B.Thotad says:

    Crisp and beautifully written

  8. Sheldon Owen says:

    You are absolutly a professional. I really like your writing style and how well you express your thoughts. Please write more. I am continually browsing online for tips that can help me. Neat blog.

  9. Kaushik says:

    Very Helpful
    Nice article

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