Studying the theory of digital marketing might be already super interesting (not joking), but at the same time it’s sometimes hard to understand and to follow if you haven’t had any prior experience in that area. As a digital marketing student in the second semester, I know all these problems. What I found helpful are the following tips which I will share with you.
How to become a real digital marketer? Get your hands dirty.
Most important: Theory
This will help you to understand the abbreviations such as PPC, CPC, CPA, CPM, SEO, etc. and it will give you the background information you will need in order to be successful. However, studying will never stop again (sorry for the shock before we continue) read as much as possible about PPC, SEO, social media, e-mail content and strategic planning, as there are continuously new things to know about.
The part where you start to get your hands dirty
As we already know, theory is nice but practice is awesome. Set up your own website. It depends on your skills but you can either set up a WordPress blog (easy and free!) or you can start creating your own website by using CMS driven tools such as Squarespace (not for free!). On a side note, having your own domain is nice but not necessary in the first place (not free) – Choose it wisely.
First time SEO
The theory about SEO can now be used in practice. So you can start to optimize your website for search engines. When you’re done with it, you will (hopefully) see that your homepage appears on the first page for a specific search term.
Where the fun starts
Let’s get it be more and more and more interesting. Start setting up AdWords and play around with it. Set some low bids that your ads appear on the right-hand side in the ads, just to be sure nobody clicks on it. But you will see data coming in and with that you can understand AdWords better and it will help you for your further success.
Love at first sight
Now the most interesting part for me: Install Google Analytics, see data coming in, do some of the tutorials provided by Google, try to understand it and to optimize your site accordingly. Sorry, I’m just in love with it.
After all of the playing around, try to get certified as early as possible. This will give you a headstart. The Google AdWords and the Analytics exam are free of charge and if you fail you can retake it after 7 days – so nothing to lose!
When the loyalty starts
After you started your blog, accumulated some interesting blog posts and you increased the number of visitors to you website (from zero to more), you can start a newsletter. You can use the free service MailChimp, collect some data from people who are visiting your website (of course it’s their choice to do that, not yours) and practice creating and sending them emails.
Some real hands-on experience will make you a better digital marketing student and will enhance you study experience way more. All the tools I have mentioned before are tested by myself.
+++ UPDATE 03/04/2015 +++
Try to familiarize yourself with as many social media platforms as possible. Try to tweet, Snapchat, use Instagram and Pinterest, be active on LinkedIn. And try to learn a lot about the platforms that you use and how to advertise on it. Get access to a Facebook fan page or create your on to see some data coming in. Enable Twitter Analytics to see how successful your tweets are.