Basically, if your business uses computers and other devices that connect online—and most do these days—digital marketing strategies can help you reach customers and grow your brand.
The good news is that there’s no one right way to implement digital marketing practices; rather, there are many ways you can use social media and online platforms for promoting your business or nonprofit organization’s products or services. Here are a few ways you can learn more about each practice.
2) Know Which Topics Interest You Most
This question is a bit circular, but it’s also central. To learn digital marketing, you have to know which topics interest you most.
If there’s no obvious connection between your interests and digital marketing—say, if you love collecting butterflies and are considering pursuing an internship at a local ad agency—then you probably need more information.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there that can help bridge that gap; from books on SEO best practices (like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Dummies) to webinars hosted by marketing pros on how digital marketing has changed in recent years (like The State of Digital Marketing for 2014), it’s easy to stay up-to-date on trends in every industry and profession.
3) Find a Mentor and/or Community to Help You Learn Digital Marketing
Learning digital marketing doesn’t have to be a solitary, personal quest. If you want your learning process to go as smoothly as possible, find an experienced mentor (or several) who can answer your questions and steer you in a direction that best fits your long-term goals. If you would like me to mentor you and start you off on the right track, join the OLSP Academy and we will connect in there.
A mentor with experience in digital marketing can also save you time by guiding you toward courses, courses and certifications that will best fit what you’re looking for. Find mentors through friends and acquaintances who are already working in digital marketing or through communities like Slack channels and LinkedIn groups.
Whatever route works best for you, remember that quality is better than quantity when it comes to finding good mentorship relationships; one great resource can help exponentially more than ten mediocre ones.
4) To Learn Digital Marketing Attend Events That Interest You
The best place to learn digital marketing skills is an event—whether it’s a conference, seminar, or panel. Go learn from people who are experts in digital marketing! You’ll walk away with fresh insights and new ways of thinking about digital marketing.
What if there aren’t any events that apply? No problem! Learn from your peers by reaching out directly on LinkedIn or via email and seeing if they can teach you something. It might seem awkward at first, but most people will be happy you asked; chances are they want to share their knowledge with others too.
But remember: don’t go around asking every one of your connections how they do things; only ask people you actually know and trust.
5) Get Your Hands Dirty in an Agency Internship
An internship with a digital marketing agency is one of the ways to learn digital marketing skills. A paid or volunteer position will expose you to nearly every step of their process and give you a chance to try your hand at tasks outside your comfort zone, like web development or customer service.
Be sure to choose an agency that matches your goals, whether it’s lead generation or brand awareness. Learn from case studies and from participating in projects from start-to-finish.
You won’t pick up digital marketing skills overnight, but working for an agency will make you much more employable down the road—and show hiring managers that you have initiative and that you care about learning!
One way is by following big-name blogs and thought leaders in your industry, who often provide great insight via podcasts or live interviews. Another option is joining LinkedIn groups centered around your topic of interest; these can help provide some education and serve as another avenue for connecting with professionals in your field.
You could also join forums related to your industry or just visit websites that offer free info like tutorials on digital marketing. Or, if nothing else, find a friend (or pay someone) who’s already experienced in digital marketing and ask them questions! There are plenty of ways to learn what you need to know.
7) Utilize YouTube
YouTube is an incredibly powerful digital marketing tool for learning about digital marketing. There are hundreds of hours of free, high-quality educational content available on YouTube from industry leaders like Google, HubSpot, and Moz that can help you learn digital marketing fast.
You’ll find step-by-step tutorials and insightful how-to videos covering topics like SEO, keyword research, Facebook ads management (and so much more).
You can even find comprehensive courses taught by industry experts at top universities. I’m a huge fan of channeling video’s ability to teach at scale—as long as it’s done well.
8) Learn Digital Marketing by Reading Books on the Subject
Learning digital marketing is as easy as (or easier than) learning Spanish, say, or teaching yourself a new computer program. There are hundreds of good books on digital marketing strategy—just look at Amazon.
Simply pick out a book on your subject and start reading! Make sure you set aside time each day to read. To learn digital marketing in a week, you’ll need an hour-long block every day; in six months you should be able to read one per week, easily.
Another great way to learn more about your craft is by taking courses at local colleges or universities—there are usually night classes for adults on just about any topic you can think of. Some employers offer scholarships if you learn digital marketing skills; it never hurts to ask!
9) Follow Bloggers in the Industry
The easiest way to learn digital marketing is by following industry influencers and bloggers who regularly publish content. You’ll quickly see what works and what doesn’t—and then you can take those best practices and apply them in your own campaigns.
This is one of my favorite ways to learn digital marketing; it gives me a birds-eye view of how campaigns are structured, which platforms are most popular, and how business owners use social media for maximum ROI.
Follow industry leaders like Shoutmeloud, Search Engine Journal, Social Media Examiner and LinkedIn Learning for timely advice that will help you become a digital marketing guru.
10) Grow Yourself by Helping Others to Learn Digital Marketing
Being a digital marketing evangelist isn’t something you can fake. You can learn digital marketing on your own, but you won’t learn it as quickly or thoroughly if you aren’t helping others at every opportunity. Start learning with me here.
Focus on learning as much as possible about digital marketing and then spend time each day sharing that knowledge with others—and don’t expect anything in return. At some point, your efforts will pay off.
Being a help to others is something that naturally grows and expands with each additional step in your digital marketing skillset—but those who try and fail in their attempts to genuinely help others don’t get anywhere close to where they want (or need) to be.