How to Become a Digital Marketing Manager

The digital economy offers so much opportunity for digital marketing managers. The transaction loop in which we buy products (such as laptops and phones) and services (like internet subscriptions and data plans) is guided by digital marketing managers — with the most successful ones resulting in our purchase of even more products and services.

Digital marketing managers are trending. They determine how to sell stuff, whom to sell it to, and how to keep the loop turning. If you’re interested in data, brand strategy, storytelling, design, social media, and the marketing funnel, consider learning how to become a digital marketing manager. In this guide, we’ll explain what they do and how to start your career journey toward this in-demand role.

What Does a Digital Marketing Manager Do?

Companies build marketing departments to increase sales and enhance their brands. So what does a digital marketing manager do? The same job, but through the use of digital platforms and tools to reach their target audience.

Digital marketing managers coordinate and implement their organization’s online marketing strategy. They maintain a strong web presence, manage content, run social media campaigns, and create digital advertising.

They may also coordinate marketing calendars and assure that their company’s message is visible and consistent across all channels, and develop strategic plans by analyzing data, tracking competitors, and monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs).

Digital marketing requires cross-functionality; managers might write a blog post or sponsored content, record and edit videos for a YouTube channel, and develop budgets and plans for paid search advertising, such as pay-per-click (PPC) ads.

Digital marketing manager jobs are available in nearly every industry: retail brands look to digital marketing managers to elevate their market share; the healthcare industry relies on marketing managers to raise awareness about new treatments and medicines; nonprofits tell their stories and fundraise through digital marketing.

Your natural next question may be, How do I become a digital marketer? Everyone charts a unique path, but here’s one route you might follow to become a digital marketing manager.

5 Steps to Becoming a Digital Marketing Manager

Before we address how to become a digital marketing manager, let’s illustrate why a digital marketing career is worth considering.

According to the World Bank, the digital economy represents 15.5 percent of global GDP, and will continue to grow as the online universe expands. This rising digital momentum extends to marketing. A Global Industry Analysts study found that the digital marketing and advertising market will reach $786.2 billion by 2026, more than doubling over six years. Correspondingly, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the demand for marketing managers to increase by 10 percent by 2030.

You don’t necessarily need previous experience to get started in digital marketing. These steps can help light the path, particularly for those new to the field.

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1. Pursue a Digital Marketing Education

According to CareerOneStop, 79 percent of marketing specialists have degrees, with 25 percent holding advanced degrees. The most common degrees, according to the BLS, are marketing, business, and communications.

Some colleges and universities offer digital marketing degrees and graduate programs, as well as certificates in specific disciplines such as social media strategy. For college-bound students who aspire to a digital marketing career, a marketing (or related) degree offers a strong first building block.

As another option, digital marketing certificate programs can help you stand out in the job market or when applying for a promotion. Certifications demonstrate expertise and look sharp on a resume. For example, Google offers a digital marketing and e-commerce certificate and several certifications regarding Google Ads.

What if you’re approaching the field from another perspective or already have professional experience? Career-changers and those seeking to enhance their skills might consider a digital marketing boot camp, like University of Denver Digital Marketing Boot Camp, which can help open new career doors.

Boot camps deliver comprehensive curricula in collaborative learning environments. They cover essential concepts such as data strategies and digital funnels, and essential skills such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and WordPress. Learners also work to develop real-world digital marketing projects that look great in a portfolio.

2. Develop Digital Marketing Manager Skills

Digital marketing managers blend knowledge of people, trends, psychology, culture, data, strategy, media, and sales into their skill set. They have to be long-term planners who are agile, analysts with a creative streak, and ad buyers who understand influencers.
Of course, digital marketing managers must also be critical and analytical thinkers. To be successful, they must develop and continually hone these digital marketing manager skills, which are outlined in our digital marketing curriculum.

Great content is worthless if your audience can’t find it. Digital marketers use search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) tools and techniques to drive traffic to their websites. Search engines update their algorithms constantly; digital marketing managers monitor those changes and respond to maintain their content’s high search position.

Ever notice the word “Ad” above listings in Google searches? That’s a form of paid search marketing, in which companies pay to boost their content to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). Digital marketing managers employ pay-per-click (PPC) ads in searches, partner websites, and video.

Statista reports that companies will spend more than $200 billion on social media marketing by 2024. Marketing managers often do their best messaging work on social media, boosting brand awareness and interacting with the public. Savvy marketers further understand how to employ hashtags, promoted content, and video.

Digital marketing managers should be strong writers and editors to produce email campaigns, blog posts, and sponsored content — and communicate the results of their campaigns to stakeholders.

You probably won’t have to write Python code, but you should be familiar with collecting and processing large amounts of data. Get to know the top software tools of the trade, particularly for gathering and visualizing data.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) helps turn website visitors into customers. That could mean making a purchase, filling out a survey or form, or providing an email address.

Customer relationship management involves generating new customers and maintaining strong ties with current customers. It usually requires a software system to manage those relationships across marketing, sales, and e-commerce channels.

Display campaigns reach users across 35 million websites and apps, according to Google. They engage current and potential customers while using machine learning tools to automate the targeting process.

When we visit a company’s website, it reminds us of its products with targeted ads elsewhere. Remarketing is a useful tool to enhance user engagement and generate brand awareness.

Digital marketing managers juggle multiple projects, calendars, and deadlines and must stay on top of everything. You might use project management software (e.g., Trello, Wrike, Microsoft Project) to maintain order within chaos.

Learners interested in acquiring these skills might consider enrolling in a digital marketing boot camp.

3. Explore Digital Marketing Roles

Gaining experience in one or more digital marketing positions can prepare you to become a manager. Entry-level digital marketing roles are available in content production, social media, email marketing, and other fields, and can help you further your understanding of the broader role of digital marketing for an organization. Look for job titles that contain the word “specialist,” as this often indicates entry-level positions.

One such job is digital marketing specialist. This is a broad description for someone who operates social media accounts, writes email newsletters or sponsored content, and manages paid ads. This role serves as a good base for someone breaking into digital marketing.

Similar jobs carry more specific titles, such as email marketing specialist, PPC specialist, or social media specialist. Professionals in these roles often work as part of larger marketing teams. Take advantage of these opportunities by learning to connect with customers and generate new business.

Writers can begin their careers as copywriters or content producers, who might also be responsible for audio and video content. Content strategists not only write copy but also tap the market for new customers.

As noted above, visual content is booming. Graphic designers produce the visuals that populate social media, whereas video specialists can build content for just about any organization. Retailers, healthcare providers, real estate agencies, and travel companies all understand the value of video.

If you lean toward the technical end of digital marketing, look for roles such as SEO optimizer, CRO specialist, or paid ads manager. These will require proficiency with SEO and PPC platforms, along with some basic HTML skills.

An image that highlights the different careers that one can pursue in the digital marketing industry.

4. Apply for Digital Marketing Manager Jobs

With some experience, you’re ready to explore digital marketing manager jobs. Don’t limit yourself to one discipline. Having experience with SEO/SEM, CRO, paid ads, and content marketing will make you more valuable as a digital marketing candidate.

According to Burning Glass, the median digital marketing manager salary is $71,779, though some can earn significantly more. The BLS lists the median salary for marketing managers at $135,030.

Since digital marketing manager job descriptions vary, here are a few to explore:

This is the broadest job description, encompassing a role overseeing SEO, PPC, content, and social media strategies.

The content manager determines what written and multimedia material best advances an organization’s mission. Managers oversee teams that produce this content, of which video continues to gain popularity.

The digital media manager oversees online marketing campaigns to promote a company or brand. This role requires a strong sense of content, the ability to develop new branding channels, and an eye for digital trends.

The SEO manager ensures that an organization’s content ranks highly in paid and unpaid (i.e., organic) internet searches. SEO managers use their expertise with keywords and market research to plan and execute projects.

The email marketing manager supervises an organization’s email campaigns. Responsibilities include managing email databases, generating newsletters, and developing a comprehensive email marketing strategy.

This is an in-demand role, as companies seek to improve engagement and conversion rates. Growth marketing managers oversee all aspects of the marketing funnel, using data analysis to drive growth and adapt strategy. 

Companies that want to ensure their messaging output is on-brand hire brand managers. They analyze market factors, customer response, and the competition to keep the brand relevant.

5. Become a Digital Marketing Manager

Companies value digital marketing managers. Burning Glass projects that demand for digital marketing managers will grow by 11 percent over the next decade. So, how can you tap into this market?

Stary by matching your skills with the right job. Based on job postings, LinkedIn compiled a list of the top digital marketing skills that companies seek. Make sure that your resume highlights the skills, experience, and successes relevant to the position you’re pursuing.

You can also search for digital marketing jobs by industry. Not sure where to start? The same LinkedIn study found high demand for digital marketing skills in arts, retail, and education.

A digital marketing manager’s resume isn’t complete without a portfolio, particularly for content producers. Digital marketing managers also should consider the impact of their personal social media when seeking to run commercial accounts. The interview process can be daunting, so Indeed has compiled some digital marketing manager interview questions and answers to consider.

An image highlighting five possible digital marketing manager interview questions.

Are you looking to network? Professional organizations such as the American Advertising Federation, the American Marketing Association, and the Digital Marketing Association host conferences, hold training seminars, and promote opportunities to connect with other industry professionals.

Above all, be patient. Burning Glass notes that the average digital marketing manager role takes 45 days to fill. You’ll get there.

How to Become a Digital Marketing Manager FAQs

A digital marketer spotlights and sells a company’s products and services online. The job involves creating and placing digital ads, maintaining websites, and developing a content strategy to promote brand awareness. Digital marketers conduct market research, analyze data, and interact with customers to perform this role.

Online marketing is the practice of using internet-based channels to reach customers and promote products. These channels include websites and apps, e-commerce platforms, digital advertising space, and social media. Online marketing employs aspects of traditional marketing such as funnels, customer relationships, and display advertising in the digital space.

Digital marketing solutions encompass the tools and techniques marketing professionals use to achieve their objectives. These can include advertising tools such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and analytics tools like Google Analytics, Hubspot, and Semrush.

Types of online marketing include search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, email marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, and affiliate (or influencer) marketing.

Start by pursuing a digital marketing boot camp or other educational program, whose curriculum will cover the necessary skills. Choose a digital marketing path that aligns with your interests and goals; that may include social media, content marketing, digital advertising, or marketing analysis. Gain experience by volunteering to design a digital marketing campaign for a local business or nonprofit. Then browse job sites to find digital marketing positions that match your skills and experience.

Start Your Digital Marketing Manager Career Today

Companies are selling more products and services online than ever and need growing teams of smart, creative people to enhance their digital brands. They also need digital marketing managers to guide these teams and convert clicks into customers. If you want to become a digital marketing manager, consider enrolling in University of Denver Digital Marketing Boot Camp.

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