How to Become a Self Taught Digital Marketing Expert in Easy Steps

Want to become a Digital marketer? then this article will guide you through the process.

First of all, let me clear the air, who am I to tell you about Digital Marketing?

My name is Ankur Aggarwal, and I am a Digital Marketer by profession. I have helped hundreds of companies devise their Digital marketing strategies be it SEO, Social Media Marketing, Facebook Campaigns, Email Marketing and much more.

My specialization is SEO and driving organic traffic, but I have also worked in almost all of the umbrella terms under Digital marketing.

To become a digital marketer, you can take two routes:

  1. Join an institute and take a course along with certification
  2. Learn it for free by yourself

Let me explain each of the options one by one.

Digital marketing institutes

The most common and obvious route seems to join a Digital Marketing Institute like DSIM or Digital Vidya. The course length on average is for 3 months (Weekday and weekend classes are available), and the price varies from Rs 20,000 to Rs 60,000/-

I am a baniya, so I don’t like spending money. Sounds cliché right but true for me. Why spend money when you can learn everything for free.

digital marketing

I am a self-taught Digital marketer and I am making much more than an average salary of an IIM graduate. So yes, I also don’t have any certification or any paper that can prove that I know about digital marketing. How I make money you might wonder, well majority of my income comes from freelancing projects, dedicated US-based clients and my network of personal websites)

So obviously I prefer the route of becoming a digital marketer without spending any money.

So lets cover some important topics before I explain how to become a self-taught digital marketer.

Digital marketing is not just posting cute and funny pictures on Instagram?

Digital marketing from far looks cool and glamorous (This is what my interns think, so I believe all must feel like that)

Digital marketing is much complicated then that. It is boring if you are not enjoying it. Its frustrating, sometimes the results will be totally opposite to what you are expecting.

How long will it take to become a Digital Marketer?

Well, i cannot give you an exact timeline. This is not a college degree that will only come after 3 or 4 years. The more work you put in, the more knowledge you gain, the more practical experience you have, the easier and sooner you will become a full-stack Digital marketer (a term that I coined inspired from my coding friends)

But yes the promises these institutes make or the three-month course structure they have only covers the basics, to become a good or pro level Digital marketer you will need to spend at least one year of practical work. This includes working in various domains and gaining the expertise in each sub-segment of Digital Marketing

What is an Average salary of a Digital Marketer?

I have attached some screenshots (taken from naukri.com) to give you an idea about the salary of a digital marketer.

As you can see that the salary bracket varies a lot, some are offering much higher salary compared to others.

The reason being Digital marketing is not like a traditional job. You have goals; your job is performance driven. Your experience matters a lot.

Digital marketing

Let me give you an example.

Let’s say you get hired by a company. They give you $10,000 budget and asks you to scale their business using Facebook Ads. Then you will be responsible for managing that money, creating the funnels and landing pages and structuring the steps that each potential customers will take to get more sales of the product/services your company is selling. In the end, you are responsible for converting that $10,000 into at least $20,000 of profit.

This was just one example, there are many other roles that a digital marketer needs to follow.

Your earning potential Is not just limited to a job. You can create a blog and monetize it , its one of the best ways to make passive income in India. You can also take freelancing gigs and complete their projects in the night after your 9-5 job.

Future of Digital Marketing?

It’s a growing field. The whole world is moving towards the internet. First, there were Google ads, now you have FB ads, Instagram Ads, Snapchat Ads, Linkedin Ads. SEO has changed, New social media marketing channels have opened up, new marketing channels are opening up and so much more. This trend will only grow in the future so yes its an amazing field to be in.

Reasons Why Digital Marketing is the Next Big thing for Businesses

To give you an idea, I have more clients and work that I can handle right now. Everyday startups, app developers are approaching me to help them in their marketing and sadly I have to decline the offer as I also have just 24 hours in my day and I am running a couple of my own startups.

Does certifications like HubSpot Inbound Marketing certification program and Google Adwords certification help?

Trust me they do not. Even Neil Patel (world-renowned marketer) in his podcast laughed at this question.

Yes, they will help you get the basics right, but if you are eying a job like Digital marketing manager, then these won’t help.

But India is different, here the certification is given more credibility than the person, so just to be on the safe side get these certificates under your belt to add some unnecessary credibility in your resume

Whats the best, easiest and fastest way to become a digital marketer?

Here are the exact steps that will save you from making the same mistakes that I did:

  1. Theory is not enough, make sure you practically implement everything you learn
  2. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, learn from the pros and replicate the process
  3. Digital marketing is a dynamic field, everyday new changes are taking place so keep yourself updated by following the popular blogs and resources
  4. Go step by step. Don’t learn everything at once, rather take one topic gain some expertise and then move onto the next topic.

What all do I need to become a Digital marketer?

Digital marketing

  1. A computer/Laptop
  2. High-speed internet connection
  3. Physical books or a Kindle to read Books
  4. Small amount of money for practical experience
  5. Most importantly – Dedication and willingness to learn

What exactly comes under Digital Marketing?

The most common heads that are covered under a course are

  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  2. Email Marketing
  3. Social Media Marketing
  4. Content Marketing
  5. PPC
  6. Mobile Marketing
  7. Analytics

Apart form the above-mentioned heads, there are many other things that come under Digital marketing. If you don’t want to join an institute, one trick to know everything about each topic is to download the Prospectus of any institute from their website, it will cover each topic that comes under Digital marketing. (thank me later: D)

Taking a course or joining an institute will give you a structure, clear your basics and get the fundamentals right but they won’t teach you the advanced stuff. To become a pro digital marketer you need to gain expertise in each of these fields.

What do I need to do as a Digital Marketer?

As a person heading the Digital marketing of a company or a Digital marketing manager (being the designation) you will be heading the complete Digital marketing efforts of your company.

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You will also be creating tasks and subtasks for people under you. To devise such strategy, you need experience, and that will only come through practical exposure and do freelancing work. You will only be able to draft a good start for a company only if you have done it in the past.

What are the best resources to learn Digital Marketing?

I will tell you what I use:

Some websites that you must bookmark:

  1. Backlinko and Viperchill for SEO
  2. com for overall marketing
  3. com/stories for some amazing insights on actionable advice on various marketing heads
  4. Moz
  5. Youtube – Do I need to say more. Try to find some amazing playlist where the instructor takes you step by step through each process. You can learn PPC and Google AdWords this way
  6. com – Another marketing guru
  7. Podcast – I love them as I listen to them each day in my gym. One of my favorites is Marketing school by Neil patel. You can find so many amazing free podcast that will help you become a better digital marketer

Ok, i am convinced, what should be my next steps?

  1. Start a blog and get comfortable with all aspects of WordPress and various plugins which you can use.
  2. Learn about on- page SEO, Titles, Content strategy and keywords
  3. Learn about Google Analytics and Google Webmaster
  4. Learn about content marketing and publish one post and promote the hell out of it – target 30 backlinks and at least 1000 shares
  5. Join Google Adwords (Google keeps coming with free credits so check if such credit facility is available right now) and get comfortable. Watch a YouTube course along with it to guide you.
  6. Learn social media marketing – Go step by step, first Facebook (both page and Group), Twitter, Linkedin, Quora, Pinterest, Reddit, etc. Make sure you promote your Facebook page and learn about Facebook ads. Watch Youtube tutorial along with it for guidance
  7. Learn about Email marketing (i use AWEBER) and create campaigns and option boxes on your blog. Promote your blog using Google Adwords and try to get as many emails as possible using your options box. Also, see how to create automated email sequence.
  8. Learn, Learn , and learn more.
  9. Sign up on Freelancer.com and Upwork.com and take some freelancing work. If you have any friend who has a startup or business, offer your services for free and gain exposure. If possible do an internship for three months in a company where actual work is being done related to digital marketing.

Few Tools that I recommend:

  1. Ahrefs – Free 14 day trial available
  2. Semrush
  3. Buzzstream for Email outreach
  4. Aweber – free 30-day trial available

My best wishes for everyone who wants to become a Digital Marketer. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in comments section below. I will be happy to answer all your doubts.

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About Ankur Aggarwal

Ankur Aggarwal is a Digital Marketer, Entrepreneur, Traveler, Blogger, Foodie. Have been blogging since 2010. In 2016 he scored 99.2 percentile in XAT Exam for MBA, left that to pursue his Online business and passive income dreams. He has multiple websites but incomeboy.com is his new venture. The purpose of Incomeboy is to pass on 100% accurate and genuine information on making and saving more money either online or offline in India. Write to him at [email protected] or Follow him on Twitter

7 Comments

  1. Undoubtedly you produce a wonderful blog post with package of terrific details regarding online company that could grow with less investment.nice post about business ideas…. thank you very much sir

    Reply  
  2. RACHEL

    To become a digital marketer you first need to learn first and you will obviously do learn from your mistakes. At least for the past 3 years I have realized failure is the key to success. Trying out new things and not losing hope is one major thing. Thanks for sharing all at once in a nutshell.

    Reply  
  3. ajay meena

    hi ,very nice artical
    it is good for my knowlege

    Reply  
  4. Rajeev

    nice article i am planning for a course digital marketing , your article help me a lot

    Reply  
  5. krishna

    hi this is very good articles, thanks for shearing, keep up work

    Reply  
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    Hi…got very good information about how to earn money (free/paid) through affiliate marketing in Amazon. Amazon comes with various catalogs for which if do affiliate marketing it will be really be genuine.

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  7. ishita yadav

    hyy ANKUR AGGARWAL
    Amazing blog on money, keep up the good work

    Reply  

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