The Complete Guide To Your Digital Marketing Career - Herd Digital

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The Digital Marketing Career Guide

Digital Marketing Career Guide Header

Are you starting out in your career and looking to find out the digital marketing career paths open to you? Or looking for information on salaries, responsibilities and the options open to you? Either way, in the ever changing landscape of digital marketing, it’s always good to stay informed on the paths open to you in your career. 

While your digital marketing career path may look slightly different, most careers follow the same straightforward route of progression.

the typical digital marketing career path progression

If you’re just starting out, these job titles may appear confusing. But we’re here to help you understand about the role and responsibilities, salary expectations, and the routes of progression in the typical digital marketing career path.

And if you are just starting out in your digital marketing career, you may want to head over and read our blog on how to get into digital marketing here.

Different Digital Marketing Career Paths

Digital Marketing is a huge and varied industry. Depending on skills and interests, there are a huge variety of digital marketing career paths for you to explore. 

Despite the differences, there are skills and technologies that are used across multiple digital marketing disciplines, which make it easier to move into other areas should you choose to later in your career. In fact, some of the highest salaries we see here at Herd Digital, are those from digital marketers who are experts in more than one digital marketing career.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the process of optimising a website and writing targeted content with the intention of increasing organic traffic. The end goal of this role is to bring in organic traffic and increase a website’s visibility online: Often with the aim of increasing a business’s online sales.

Key skills for SEOs include:

  • A strong writing ability, with an attention to detail and strong grammatical skills.
  • Keyword research: being able to find opportunities to rank a businesses website on Google or other search engines.
  • An analytical mindset and being able to work with large volumes of data.
  • Strong research and analysis skills, being able to understand and write flexibly for new topics regularly.
  • Experience with SEO tools such as: SEMrush, Ahrefs, Screaming Frog, Google Analytics and Google Search Console…

PPC/ Paid Search Advertising 

Paid Search is an area of online advertising specific to managing advertising campaigns on search engines such as Google, Bing etc. The end goal of this role is to increase sales by driving traffic to a specific landing page, such as an online store: Or to increase a businesses brand awareness.

Key Skills for PPC/ Paid Search Advertising are:

  • An understanding of best advertising practices across multiple different search engines.
  • An analytical mindset, creating reports on advertising campaigns.
  • An attention to detail and strong grammatical skills.
  • Strong organisational skills as you often manage multiple advertising campaigns running simultaneously.
  • A financially focused mindset, as you manage campaign budgets and work towards results based targets.
  • Experience with search engine advertising tools and software such as: Google Shopping, Google Ads, SA360, Performance Max…

Paid Social Advertising

This is similar to paid search, but where you run advertisement campaigns specifically on social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram etc. Again, the end goal of a Paid Media professional is to increase brand awareness, or drive traffic to a specific page like an online store and increase sales.

Key Skills for Paid Social Marketing are:

  • Adaptability, as you stay up to date on current social media trends and platforms.
  • An analytical mindset, creating reports on advertising campaigns,
  • An attention to detail and strong grammatical skills.
  • Strong organisational skills as you often manage multiple advertising campaigns running simultaneously.
  • A financially focused mindset, being able to adjust and manage budgets to increase profits.
  • Experience with social media advertising tools such as: Facebook Campaign Manager, LinkedIn Ads Campaign Manager, SEMrush, Ahrefs…

Ecommerce Marketing

In this job, your role is focused specifically on optimising and driving content to a website’s online store, through organic or paid traffic. Given the gradual increase over the last decade to online shopping, this is an industry that is only becoming more in demand.

Ecommerce marketing can include a wide variety of other digital services such as email marketing, social media, search engines and other digital avenues: But always with the end goal of delivering sales.

Key Skills for Ecommerce Marketing:

  • Copywriting and content creation, as you create adverts specific to different platforms.
  • An understanding of multiple social media platforms such as Instagram, Etsy, Facebook and YouTube.
  • Data analysis, as you track performance of your Ecommerce campaigns.
  • Email marketing experience.
  • Advertising across appropriate social media channels such as Instagram and Etsy, and search engine advertising.
  • Target audience and demographic research skills.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing is the process of using a company or businesses social media platforms to raise brand awareness, and promote a businesses products and/ or services. 

This can include both organic social media campaigns and paid social media advertising, but is predominantly a role focused on organic social media efforts.

Key Skills for Social Media Marketing:

  • An understanding of multiple social media platforms such as: Instagram, facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
  • Raising brand awareness of the business.
  • Data analysis skills, as you track the performance of your social media campaigns.
  • Long-term planning and publishing of organic content
  • Staying up-to-date on social media trends and news.
  • Graphics design using graphic design software such as: Canva, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop.
  • Communication skills, as you work with influencers, affiliates and partners to create collaborative content.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)/ Email Marketing 

Email marketing is the process of creating email campaigns targeted to customers and potential customers, with the aim of selling products and services to a specific target audience.

These are typically centred around sales campaigns run by a business or organic sales campaigns such as newsletters. Think of those monthly newsletter you receive, or those sale offers you receive from online clothing retailers: Those are all sent by Email Marketers.

Key Skills for Email Marketing Include:

  • Copywriting ability and grammatical skills. 
  • Experience with email marketing tools and software: Mailchimp, Hubspot etc.
  • An analytical mindset, as you A/B test email copy to optimise open rates and reduce bounce rates.
  • Organisational skills, as you are responsible for the execution of multiple simultaneous email marketing campaigns.

Digital Marketing

Of course many people choose not to specialise, and remain as a more rounded digital marketer. Well-rounded digital marketers are more in-demand by in-house digital marketing teams. As such, they are less specialist, but are expected to have a wider and more varied skill set.

Key Skills for Digital Marketing are:

  • Experience across multiple Digital Marketing areas: SEO, Paid Search, Paid Social, Email Marketing, Social Media etc.
  • Organisational skills, as you are involved in multiple areas of digital marketing across the business.
  • Experience with a wide variety of digital marketing tools from content creation, data analysis tools to Content Management Systems: SEMrush, Google Analytics, HubSpot, WordPress, Adobe Creative Cloud.
  • Adaptability, as you stay up to date on digital marketing trends and news across the industry.
  • A financial and analytical mindset, identifying areas to best focus digital marketing efforts across the business.
the different digital marketing career paths

The Typical Digital Marketing Career Progression Path

No two careers are the same. Some people take their time to learn skills and progress in their career. Other decide to forego the usual route and focus on becoming an expert, instead of moving into management.

So while these are the general routes of progression, they are by no means the only options available to you.

Digital Marketing Intern/ Graduate Digital Marketing Executive

Salary: £20,000 to £25,000 

Experience required: 0 – 6 Months

The typical digital marketing career starts with an intern or graduate role. Many choose to start in a rounded digital marketing role, before branching off into other areas such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC) or Social Media Marketing etc.

But if you know which area of digital marketing is the right one for you, we have graduate roles available that require little to no experience.

Digital marketing internships and graduate positions are designed to give you the skills to grow into an independent digital marketing executive. Which means that most roles that start as an internship or a graduate role will have a structured progression plan to continue to a full fledged Digital Marketing Executive position. 

If you’re applying to an intern or graduate position, you should discuss in the interview what this transition will look like and how your responsibilities and salary will change. 

Digital Marketing Executive

Salary: £25,000 – £35,000

Experience Required: 0 – 2 Years of Digital Marketing Experience (SEO, PPC, Social Media)

The next step in the digital marketing career path is a Digital Marketing Executive role. 

In most businesses, Executives are typically some of the most senior members of a business. But a Digital Marketing Executive is actually the most junior member of the team. The term comes from the ‘Executive’ being responsible for the actual “execution” of the digital marketing strategy.

Of course if you have the skills and opportunity to, you don’t necessarily need to start in a graduate digital marketing role. Some digital marketers skip graduate roles or internships, and progress straight to a full fledged Digital Marketing Executive role. 

Digital Marketing Manager

Salary: £35,000 – £55,000

Experience Required: 2 – 5 Years of Digital Marketing Experience (SEO, PPC, Social Media)

As you grow in experience and skills, the next step in your digital marketing career is to a Digital Marketing Manager position.

As a Digital Marketing Manager, you will have more control over the direction of your work, as you become more involved in the digital marketing strategy. For this you will need to have much greater experience in a wider variety of digital marketing tools and skills.

This role often comes with some line and team management, as you oversee the work of one or two digital marketing executives. 

Digital Marketing Director

Salary: £60,000 – £100,000

Experience Required: 4+ Years of Digital Marketing Experience (Strategy and Leadership)

As a Digital Marketing Director, you will have greater control of the long-term strategy of the. You will drive the businesses digital efforts, while overseeing the team and strategy as a whole. You will be taking a larger step into team leadership, as you manage the Digital Marketing Managers of your team. 

If working in an agency, you will be working closer with clients, bringing in new business opportunities and expanding existing client accounts. 

As you move up the ladder, you move further away from being hands on with the digital marketing efforts, which is relegated to the Managers and Executives. This means soft-skills become more important, team leadership, project planning and forecasting, client communication. But these skills are still based on a foundation of Digital Marketing expertise.

Head of Digital Marketing

Salary: £80,000 – £120,000

Experience Required: 6+ Years of Digital Marketing Experience (Strategy and Leadership)

Head of Digital Marketing is the final position in your career, before moving into an internal leadership role such as CMO, or Managing Director. As you move further on in your digital marketing career, you generally step away from the execution of digital marketing efforts. Your focus will be on the grander scheme, on the overall digital strategy of the business.

From here you will largely be responsible for the ongoing operation of the entire Digital Marketing department. This includes managing the entire digital marketing team, making hiring decisions and deciding on the future strategy efforts of the business.

You will work closely with senior stakeholders and clients, while establishing best practice for the business.

So, Which Digital Marketing Career Path Is Best For You?

Unfortunately there’s no easy, clear-cut, right or wrong answer. 

Just starting out in your digital marketing career? A great place to start is by looking at what you enjoy best about your degree or previous work experience. Do you love to spend your days researching, becoming an expert on new topics and writing? SEO might be the career for you. Or do you prefer juggling budgets and analysing data? Then PPC or Paid Search would be better suited to your interests.

The best thing you can do is to explore an internship or graduate role that will give you experience in the areas that interest you. Then you will have the information you need to decide what area to specialise in. 

But if you’re looking to gain experience in different areas of digital marketing, it’s always worth sitting down and discussing this with your current employer. If they can’t or won’t support your career aspirations, then is the time to consider looking for a position that will.

Here at Herd, we work with plenty of businesses and agencies that will support you in your chosen digital marketing career path. Have a look at our open vacancies, or get in touch to see what we can do to help you.

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