Hi, I’m Polina! Formerly, I worked as a senior digital marketing manager and now I am the marketing mentor at Pathrise. I help job-seekers prepare for their future in digital marketing through workshops and 1-on-1 sessions. Check out my article to answer the question: what does a digital marketer do?
Digital marketing is a rapidly growing field that covers a number of areas, including social media, content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and search engine marketing (SEM). With so many different roles available, you might ask yourself: what does a digital marketer do?
We broke down the skills and tools required to help you find the position that best matches your experiences and interests.
What are the different types of digital marketing roles?
If you are working at a startup or a smaller company, you may be expected to wear a number of different hats and work on a variety of projects, such as managing the social media platforms and writing for the company blog. Larger companies may have more niche positions, like SEO manager, email marketing manager, and SEM manager.
In the digital marketing field, many positions are divided into 2 broad categories. The first is business to business (B2B) and the second is business to consumer (B2C). B2B digital marketers focus on selling products to businesses and companies. Alternatively, B2C specialists market their company’s merchandise and services directly to individual customers.
Before applying for a job, make sure that your marketing portfolio and previous work experiences match the job description. For example, people who have extensive experience working with Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram are well suited for social media manager positions. Those with journalism backgrounds or experience writing for blogs may be a good fit for content marketing positions. Job titles and duties vary from company to company, so always read the job posting carefully.
Examples of common digital marketing roles:
- Digital marketing manager
- SEO specialist
- Content marketing specialist
- SEM specialist
- Performance marketing manager (SEM)
- Social media marketing specialist
- Paid social marketing manager
- Marketing & social media associate
- Social media copywriter
- Digital marketing specialist & coordinator
- Content lead
- Web marketing manager
- Mobile marketing manager
- Growth marketing associate
What education and experience do I need to land a job as a digital marketer?
Digital marketers come from a variety of backgrounds. They generally have degrees in fields such as English, communications, journalism, marketing, psychology, and sociology. In addition, aspiring digital marketers can enroll in certificate programs and bootcamps to learn more about in-demand tools and skills. To land a job as a digital marketer, you should build up your social media & online presence, as well as your portfolio. Many digital marketers also develop their skills through internships, as well as freelance & contract work.
We have outlined the key skills, positions, and tools that fall under the digital marketing umbrella so you can answer the question: what does a digital marketer do?
What does a digital marketer do?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising
Like SEO, Search Engine Marketing focuses on increasing a website’s visibility through search engine results, but through paid advertising. SEM specialists optimize ad placement, set a budget, and participate in bidding. They focus on placing ads that promote their company’s website on platforms that already attract a large number of users. Their goal is to get Google, Facebook, and Instagram users to click the ad and go to a different web page by creating content that is trustworthy, entertaining, and relevant to the user’s interest.
Companies that use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising pay a fee when customers click on their ads. With certain platforms (such as Google Ads, Amazon Advertising, and Microsoft Advertising), digital marketers determine how much they are willing to spend on ads that will show up when people search for keyword phrases that relate to their product, services, and target audience. Google, for example, determines which ads to show by calculating the company’s ad rank. This is determined by the amount of money offered to host the ad, as well as how relevant and useful the ad is to the user’s initial search, which is calculated by Google’s own algorithm.
Tools: SEMRush, Google Ads Editor, Optmyzr, AdEspressoTools, Google Ads, Facebooks Ads, Instagram Ads, WordStream Advisor, Yahoo! Advertising, SE Ranking, Adobe Advertising Cloud, Kantar Advertising, Paid Search Intelligence
Social media marketing (organic and paid)
Social media marketers need to know the ins out and outs of social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Snap, Instagram, and Pinterest. When used well, these platforms help build the company’s brand awareness and increase website traffic. As part of their job, social media marketers determine which audiences and opportunities are available on each platform. Then, they create content that will engage this diverse range of users. They also use tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite to schedule postings so that the company’s social media accounts maintain an active presence online, especially at times when user traffic is high.
Besides the organic approach to social media, which requires people to use free tools to build their social network and community, paid social media advertising allows digital marketers to create a text, image, or video message that targets a specific demographic. Digital marketers base their ads on information from user profiles. This means that they have a good deal of control over who encounters their paid posts. Platforms generally use the PPC payment model. As a result, companies and businesses only pay for their advertisement when users click on the post. Digital marketers can use their paid campaigns to reiterate messages from their organic social media marketing approach.
Tools: Buffer. Social Clout. Feedly. Canva. Socedo. Edgar. Hootsuite. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest. Facebook. TikTok. Sprout Social. Zoho Social. Social Report. Keyhole. Sendible.
Those with an interest in graphic design and animation can work in display advertising. Digital marketers who specialize in display advertising create banners made of text, images, GIFs, animations, videos, audio clips, and more. Banners appear on websites, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, as well as search engines like Google. In general, digital marketers use banners for 3 purposes: targeting former customers, acquiring new ones, and increasing brand awareness. Display advertisers match their ad’s keywords to the host website’s subject or theme. This helps them attract users who are more likely to have an interest in their products or services.
Tools: Google Analytics, HTML5, AdRoll, Google Marketing Platform, ReTargeter, AdReady, Celtra, Adacado, SEMRush
Digital marketers often send emails to a large number of potential and current customers by using programs like Mailchimp, Pardot, and others. While some emails are advertisements for a product or a service, others focus on building brand loyalty and awareness. In addition to writing the copy and creating content, email marketers need to keep track of important statistics. Some of these stats are: the number of emails sent, open rates, email engagement, and conversions. They focus on increasing subscribers and conversions while limiting the number of users who unsubscribe or mark as spam.
Tools: Mailchimp, Pardot, Sender, Sendinblue, Omnisend, Benchmark Email, GetResponse, CovertKit, Drip
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
To increase the quality and quantity of website traffic, digital marketers must pay careful attention to search engine optimization (SEO). Best SEO practices include:
- Creating interesting content
- Adding more backlinks to the company’s website
- Using keywords when developing content on relevant topics
- Optimizing a website for mobile viewers (along with desktop)
- Writing unique titles
- Maximizing the site’s loading speed
SEO specialists use tools such as Google Keyword Planner and SEMRush to determine which keywords they need to include in their content to make it searchable. The ultimate goal for SEO specialists is to generate content that appears on the first page of a potential customer’s search results.
Tools: Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, Google Analytics, Google Search Console
A free service, Google Analytics allows digital marketers to keep up-to-date on cutting edge trends, tools, and user behavior. Digital marketers use the tool to collect data, create reports, and measure internal site searches. They can track which content is viewed and shared, as well as determine which web pages and posts receive the largest number of visitors. Google Analytics helps digital marketers understand their audience’s demographics (age, gender, device used). It also highlights which website pages have the highest bounce rate (percentage of users who leave the website quickly). In addition, digital marketers can use Google Analytics to keep an eye on how the company is performing on social platforms. This information helps determine where the company should invest their time and money in order to maximize customer engagement and convert more users into customers.
Content marketers create websites, videos, social media channels, blogs, and other resources to teach current and future customers about their products. Examples of content marketing include case studies, reviews, how-to guides, and any other resources that provide additional information that is related to the company’s services and products. Companies can use content marketing to demonstrate that they have a thorough understanding of the product or service that they are selling, as well as the industry as a whole.
Tools: WordPress, InstaPage, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Medium
Digital marketers, content strategists, and others use A/B testing to compare 2 or more versions of a website, ad, campaign, or application to decide which one will attract the largest number of users or conversions. The test provides digital marketers with important metrics, including time spent on page, conversion rate (percentage of users who complete the marketer’s desired goal), and bounce rate. For e-commerce businesses, A/B testing can help marketers determine the cart abandonment rate, which is the percentage of customers who add items to their online shopping cart but do not make a purchase. This information can help digital marketers design a new checkout page and update product photos in order to drive sales.
Tools: Google Analytics, Google Optimize, Optimizely, VWO, Adobe Target, Evergage, AB Tasty, Unbounce, Convert Experiment, A/Bingo, OptinMonster
Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and professionals through workshops and 1-on-1 mentorship so they can land their dream job in tech. If you want to work with our mentors 1-on-1 to get help with each step of your job search, become a Pathrise fellow.