Digital marketing is certainly a relatively new industry. Dependent almost entirely upon the prevalence of the internet, it has grown massively, and is now a solid career choice for many creatives.
However, it’s also an easy industry to find yourself languishing in, without making any definite progress. While there are plenty of opportunities out there, if you fail to make the effort, you can easily find yourself up against a brick wall.
That’s why we’re going to give you a few effective hints and strategies on how to make the most out of your digital marketing career.
With the right career mapping, you can improve your chances and ensure that you are always progressing and hitting your own personal goals.
1. Choose Your Path for the Right Networking Options
Unsurprisingly, networking plays a massive role in the way you map your career in this industry. But the first thing to consider is exactly what kind of a working role you want in your career.
Only once you have determined this will you be able to start developing your networks in a way that promises to further your own goals.
You should consider whether you are looking for security, or for a degree of flexibility. Both have their own sets of positives and negatives.
The flexibility of life as a freelancer, or working contract to contract, suits many people. A lack of commitment to a company means that you have a far greater ability to pick what work interests you, and choose jobs that promise to further your own career.
However, it’s also easy to find yourself wasting time with companies that initially seemed promising, but are actually something of a waste of your time.
For example, many smaller companies such as startups begin with great hopes and promises, but when it turns out that they lack the skills and understanding to deliver, you may find yourself regretting your decisions.
On the other hand, while larger companies with set contracts are often a better choice for getting reliable work, it’s very easy to find yourself bogged down in a routine that offers little in terms of career progression.
For successful career mapping, you’re going to first have to establish which of these dynamics you prefer. From there, you can start to expand your networks and build up the kinds of contacts that can push you forward.
Freelance work can bring you a wide range of contacts in a diverse selection of industries. However, the relationships can take some time to build up, whereas the full time work involved with a larger company can quickly lead to more solid networks built up among your colleagues.
2. Make Sure You Know What Success Looks Like
It’s impossible to truly judge whether or not your career as a digital marketer is on the right track, without determining exactly what it is that you consider success.
This is essential, as if you are unsure of what it is you actually want from your career, you’re never going to know whether or not you’re heading in the right direction.
It can be worth your while regularly checking what digital agency job titles are available. Even if you’re not signing up for them, you’re still going to have some idea of where different career paths can lead, and will be able to find out if there’s a specific end of marketing you want to specialise in.
It’s also crucial that you look to your current future, and consider exactly what you want from it. If you don’t set yourself some concrete boundaries and goals, you’ll never be able to work towards success, or measure it if you do.
For instance, if you feel undervalued in your current work, decide exactly where you want to be in a year’s time. That way, you’ll know when you get there whether or not you have achieved any of the goals you set yourself.
This can be more difficult if you work contract to contract, or freelance, as it’s harder to know what kind of work the future could potentially bring you. However, if you at least give yourself a few vague ideas of what you want, and what you count as success, you can keep track of your trajectory.
3. Understand the Tools at Your Command
Digital marketing has a potentially massive range of tools and if you want a solid path in your career, you’re going to need a sound understanding of them. These days, it’s not simply enough to be a master of the Microsoft suite.
If you have a good idea of the path you want your career to take, you should start investing time in ensuring that you have the correct skills. Perhaps most important in digital marketing these days is an understanding of big analytics.
Tools such as Google Analytics are essential if you want to keep track of a site, and understand the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
While an increase in business is an obvious sign of success in digital marketing, an increase in site traffic also plays a major role. But without tools such as Google Analytics, you’ll have no idea how effective you’ve been.
It’s also worthwhile considering getting familiar with a site publishing tool such as WordPress or Squarespace. Particularly for freelancers, the ability to put a site together from scratch can be invaluable.
If you’re able to manage a client’s site and digital marketing from end to end, you’ll have a huge amount of flexibility in the choices you make later on in your career.
4. Keep the Short Term in Mind
While long term progress is essential, it’s also worth considering exactly how you’re going to go about making short term progress.
The fact is that if you’re not looking at things on a small as well as large scale, you’ll have no way of eventually getting to where you want to be. In many ways, it can be harder making progress on the smaller scale.
It’s harder to know exactly what you can achieve in a day or a week, though there are a few strategies that can make a big difference to this. For instance, if you put aside a half hour or so every day to brainstorming ideas on how you can move forward in your career, you’re sure to start coming across some great ideas that can make a big difference to things.
It’s also worth considering ways that you can improve yourself, which will make you a potentially more capable employee in the future. For example, you could research any books or courses relevant to your industry that would be worth investing in.
If you spend more time focusing on your career, not just within the workplace but also outside of it, you can gradually build up your skill set. Moreover, you can make yourself a far more attractive choice of employee within your industry.
5. Excel at the Things You Enjoy
On top of learning new skills, you should also ensure that everything you are already capable of is carried out to the very highest degree. Many people find themselves plateauing after a certain point at work, when they realise that they can do an adequate job without putting in too much effort.
However, if you ensure that you are always doing the absolute best job you can, you’ve got a much better chance of being noticed, respected and promoted. It’s especially worth your while ensuring that you do the best you can in areas you’re naturally gifted at.
These are the obvious choice for investing time, as they offer a way of earning money at something you enjoy to some degree. While you’ll always have to spend a certain amount of time carrying out tasks you have limited interest in, if you can really hone your skills in areas that you enjoy, you’ll be able to eventually specialise your career in your own personal preferences.
As a result, down the line, you’ll be in with a far better chance of working a job you actually enjoy, rather than one you work merely out of necessity.
With the right career mapping, anyone can ensure that their personal career is always on track towards something better. Nothing comes easy in this world, especially not when it comes to employment.
However, with the right attitude, and a willingness to put in the extra time, you’ve got a great chance of finding yourself where you want to be in the future.
Digital marketing is a growing industry, and is open to try new ideas and innovations. If you put in enough research and effort, there’s every chance you’ll be able to find a niche for yourself that is both personally rewarding, and comfortably lucrative.