Digital marketing makes up 30% of the total marketing budget in Indian companies, as per a recent report by Boston Consulting Group and Meta. Also, this share of digital marketing will increase by 12-34% in the coming 5 years. It means that the demand for digital marketing experts is high and will rise in the future.

But, what makes digital marketing a priority for many businesses?

  1. Low Cost
  2. Higher Reach
  3. Access to Analytics

Unlike traditional marketing channels, digital marketing gets the right audience with ease. Many companies, especially eCommerce, opt for digital marketing. It provides countless tools and automation opportunities, making marketing more manageable. So, how do you join the realm and start your career in digital marketing in India?

Here's what we're covering today:

  1. What is digital marketing?
  2. Future scope of digital marketing
  3. Digital marketing career paths
  4. Affiliate Marketing
  5. Content Marketing
  6. Email Marketing
  7. PPC
  8. SEO
  9. SEM
  10. SMM
  11. How to start a career in Digital Marketing?

We have been talking about the importance of digital marketing. Let us get a quick understanding of what digital marketing is.


What is Digital Marketing?

Do not we all love Spotify but hate the Ads interrupting our music!

We see these ads in various apps like YouTube, social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), and many more.

These promotional Ads, emails, social media posts, blogs, and videos are all a part of digital marketing.

So, digital marketing is a way of advertising businesses online using digital channels, such as websites, search engines, social media, SEO, emails, etc.

It includes communicating with your audience on the internet in any possible manner.

Companies prefer digital marketing because they can reach the masses, which are more qualified, at a lower cost. But, Is digital marketing an effective marketing channel and career path in 2022?


Future Scope of Digital Marketing

Businesses are obsessed with digital marketing as they can reach their target audience and access industry trends. It increases the interaction with the audience by 50%, contrary to traditional marketing. So, digital marketing opens the door to many career opportunities.

  1. There are over 176698 digital marketing jobs on Naukri.com with an average salary range of 6-15 lakh.
  2. LinkedIn has 43000+ open roles in digital marketing.
  3. Indeed has over 12000+ international remote-based digital marketing job roles.
  4. Monsterindia.com and Indeed.com have over 10000 digital marketing roles in India.
  5. There is an increase of 1673% in digital advertising investment over a decade (2011-2021).

Today, India has over 845 million active internet users, which is predicted to grow to 1.5 billion by 2040. It implies the growing importance and need for digital marketing.

So, digital marketing is crucial for businesses today to engage, entertain and educate their audience. But, how can you fill in and help businesses with digital marketing? Let us understand!


7 Digital Marketing Career Paths To Explore

Digital marketing is a big pool of services with different positions to fill. These roles can be broadly categorized into:

  1. Affiliate Marketing
  2. Content Marketing
  3. Email Marketing
  4. PPC
  5. SEO
  6. SEM
  7. SMM

We will share the average salary, valuable resources, and tips to give you an idea of each specialization.

You should be aware of the sales funnel and persuasion to be a successful digital marketer. Sales funnel means understanding a customer’s journey when they get to know a brand.

For example, the first stage for a web hosting company is knowing about websites and web hosting. The second stage is comparing different web hosting options. Finally, the third stage is studying the brand’s reviews and work.

The sales funnel is different for each company. Hence, it is crucial to understand it. Also, persuasion is the key to generating sales.  

You can work around a few or focus on one. Either way, it is advisable to be a master of one instead of trying to know all.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing means promoting a product to earn a commission against each sale from the promotion. As an affiliate marketer, you need to plan a campaign, execute specific strategies, maintain links with retailers, keep track of sales, analyze results, and improvise.

Let us say you like a product that has an affiliate program. You have a big community or lots of followers on any platform (blog, YouTube, social media) who would be interested in this product. So, you recommend/promote this product and boost their sales. These affiliate links track the sales, and you earn a commission for each sale. You can either earn through pay-per-click (on the link), pay-per-conversion (each customer that they get), or pay-per-lead (each visitor with buying intent).

For affiliate marketing, you need problem-solving and creativity skills because you identify the audience’s pain points and create relevant content. It also invites technical knowledge as you need to handle the affiliate links and track sales.

Businesses opt for affiliate marketing as it is a cost-effective way to get targeted traffic. It saves marketing budget, builds partnerships, helps in scaling, and saves time. In fact, 15% of digital media’s income comes from affiliate marketing.

PROS

  • Flexibility to work from anywhere
  • Low-cost career
  • Acts as a passive income with excellent growth potential
  • Less time and money investment
  • Performance-based income
  • No need to build a product or offer a service
  • Do not have to deal with customer grievances

CONS

  • High competition
  • Requires a community or considerable follower number (Or it takes a long while to generate traffic)
  • Requires screening of products/ services promoted

Different roles under affiliate marketing are:

  1. Affiliate marketing manager- handles the relationship between retailers and their affiliates. They also manage customer grievances, lead generation, and streamlining processes.
  2. Affiliate marketing associate- handles admin-related tasks of affiliate marketing. It includes monitoring sales, blog promotion, and tracking leads.
  3. Affiliate marketing executive- manages specific affiliate marketing campaigns and implements strategies. They work on the campaigns and focus on the execution part of the referral program.
  4. Affiliate marketing assistant manager- assists affiliate manager. The job responsibilities vary for each opening depending upon the requirement.
  5. Affiliate specialist- focuses solely on the affiliate side of multiple businesses. They maintain relationships between vendors and suppliers. They also negotiate referral terms, review referral activities, and manage the campaigns.

Where to start as an affiliate marketer?

One of the easiest ways to start as an affiliate marketer is via Amazon Associates Program. It is as easy as signing up and referring products to earn a commission (0.2%-9%).

Here is an additional tip if you opt for Amazon Affiliate Program:

If you want to earn lakhs, you need to build an audience. Otherwise, you would be stuck with 10-15 thousand per month. You can start building an audience by:

  1. A website and generating traffic. Pick a niche, let us say tech gadgets. Build a website and add 10-15 pages (optimized for SEO) and add links. Once your site ranks, you will be able to generate consistent income.
  2. Become a social media influencer. Pick a platform- Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIn, depending upon the kind of audience you want to build. Now, get genuine followers and then leverage them for affiliate marketing.
  3. Build an email list. You can build an email list by providing quality exclusive content or offering an info product.

Building an audience could take 6 months to a few years, depending upon the platform and niche. But once you create a loyal and authentic audience, you can sign up for multiple referral programs.

There are many tools that you can use depending upon your mode of affiliate marketing. Apart from these, you can pick a tool for tracking conversions and clicks. Many referral programs provide a dashboard to track links and other crucial metrics.

Average Salary: ₹27,000/ month

Content Marketing

Content marketing is planning, creating, and sharing content that educates, entertains, and engages the audience to persuade them to purchase products. It is a vast marketing channel that includes various formats- video, audio, texts, and photos. Content marketer plans, designs, and distributes the content to increase sales.

For instance, you are working for a crypto trading application. Instead of promoting the product, you create content and knowledge hubs for the target audience. As a result, it helps in boosting brand authority and purchases ultimately. It involves using blogs, podcasts, videos, images, eBooks, etc., to market a product by sharing knowledge/ information.

For content marketing, you need knowledge of sales funnels and data analysis. Data analysis means checking the performance of content created to analyse if the content directs to business goals.

These are important because a big chunk of content marketing involves customer research, planning content (in alignment with the sales funnel), planning distribution strategy (content promotion), and much more. Also, SEO basics help a lot during content creation. And just like any other role, you need technical skills to manage CMS and other distribution channels.

Businesses opt for content marketing because it gives consistent and compounding ROI for their efforts. It helps in building trust and brand authority, and loyalty. Plus, businesses get qualified leads over time without burning a hole back and forth.

PROS

  • Compound effect
  • Cost-effective
  • Easy-to-operate
  • Can add up to affiliate marketing

CONS

  • High competition
  • Long time to see results
  • Promotion and distribution is hard
  • Managing technical aspects demands a lot of time

Different roles under content marketing are:

  1. Chief Content Officer- in-charge of content marketing. They hire people, manage teams, review and edit content, and look into final drafts and publishing.
  2. Production Assistant- acts as a coordinator among different teams. They act as a mediator between writers, designers, audio specialists, SEO, editors, and many others to bring it all together.
  3. Content Marketing Manager- manages content and content marketing team. They handle the team and bring together all the work to ensure efficient management and meet content goals.
  4. Content Editor- edits and proofreads content. They analyze the content to check if they align with the goal and serve the purpose. They look for errors and send back changes.
  5. SEO Specialist- optimizing content for search engine results. They work on aspects of content to ensure that content ranks on Google and other search engines. It involves working on aspects like on-page SEO, optimizing headlines and URLs, and much more.
  6. Content Strategist- plans and curates content calendars following business goals. They study the brand goals and competitors to put forward content ideas and strategies to implement in the long term.
  7. Content Specialist- depending upon specialization required, manages different aspects of content marketing. It could be a niche-oriented writer, VFX specialist, Adobe specialist, or any other person experienced in their field.
  8. Copywriter- creates content with the motive to sell. They write static content for websites and other platforms intending to persuade the audience.
  9. Videographer- records video. They record and edit videos as per the requirement. They might also have to direct and work around other technicalities of video production.
  10. Content Writer- content creation. They write dynamic content for websites such as blogs, eBooks, and white papers. They work to build a content library for businesses.
  11. Graphic Designer- They design pictures for websites, social media, and other platforms. These images can be social media posts, blog images, Pinterest images, infographics, etc.
  12. Outreach Specialist- identifies and pitches for publishing opportunities in other publications. They aim to build relations with other publications and brands to bring guest blogging or guest appearances opportunities.

Also, there are many other roles and job titles as content marketing includes all the visual, audio, and written-based content.

Where to start as a content marketer?

Begin by picking a specific service (writing, audio, images, videos, etc.) and mastering the art. It is quite challenging to play around with all the aspects and manage it for a business. So,

  1. Pick a service and learn the nuances. For instance, if you choose to go ahead with writing, understand the nooks and crannies of writing a blog, white paper, etc. There are many paid and free courses for each domain. Expertise will come with time, but you should equip yourself with basic knowledge. Like, in the white paper, you need to know about cohesion, structure, sectioning, etc. You can easily find courses online.
  2. Build a website or a YouTube channel or start a podcast (depending upon the lane) to get practice. Also, pick a platform like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc., and start creating content. It helps you document the journey, build authority, and get work. Often founders and recruiters notice, and you will start getting offers.
  3. Alternatively, start with an internship or job with an agency or company. Job boards like Internshala, Indeed.com, etc., have many open roles in digital marketing. Also, you could offer services by part-time or full-time freelancing. You can get offers through freelancing platforms such as Fiverr, Upwork, or by working on a personal brand via social media. Also, you could cold email founders directly to sell your service and get an internship, job, or other collaboration opportunities.

You should get your hands-on tools like Trello, Clickfunnels, Buzzsumo, Canva, Uberflip, Ahrefs, Grammarly, Hootsuite, Airtable, Hotjar, and WordPress (Content Management System).

Average Salary: 46,088/ month

Email Marketing

Email marketing is using emails to promote business products and build customer relations. As an email marketer, you plan and manage campaigns, and create, optimize, review and analyze emails.

For instance, when a new user signs up for a product, they receive many emails. Your job is to design specific campaigns and emails and analyze performance. Here is an onboarding email by Hootsuite. So, your job is to craft such emails (parts of emails depending upon job role), including the graphics and content.

For email marketing, you need technical skills, such as email deliverability and ESP (email service provider). You ensure no email spamming, send bulk emails, and work with many automation tools. Also, you need to have analytical skills to run several A/B tests and assess campaign success.

Businesses look for skills like copywriting, graphic designing, marketing strategy, and data science. You don’t need all, but the more you bring to the table, the more you can charge.

Businesses opt for email marketing because it is one of the safest and best ways to reach an audience as, unlike any other platform, no algorithm would be disturbing reach. Also, It allows businesses to connect with their audience and increase sales due to targeted efforts.

PROS

  • Cost-effective
  • Can work on automation
  • Chance to work in various fields like writing, designing, to technical aspects like deliverability.

CONS

  • Needs consistency
  • Hard to build an email list
  • Competitive
  • Requires experimentation to achieve success
  • Understanding technical aspects

Different roles under email marketing

  1. Copywriter- writes persuasive content. They write emails based on the sales funnel stage and business goals. They enhance the open rates of email with persuasive subject lines and write emails that improve click rates.
  2. Email Marketing Strategist- plans an entire email marketing campaign. They arrange the sequence of emails at the onboarding and emails that go from time to time. They decide on emails for special occasions or at the time of special offers.
  3. Email Marketing Project Manager- manages the email marketing team. They handle the team and the entire campaign as a whole. However, different companies have different requirements and job descriptions.
  4. Email Marketing Designer- works around visual aspects of the email. They design the images, minimize their size, and structure the entire email.
  5. Email Marketing Developer- They code email using HTML and CSS. Basically, they create email templates in HTML and CSS for the company to ease the process.
  6. Email Marketing Data Engineer- analyzes performance and ensures accurate segmentation. They work on analytics tools and automation tools to manage email lists and associated data.

Where to start as an email marketer?

  1. Learn to copywrite and work on your technical skills by using tools. These tools deal with the deliverability of emails, ESP, sending bulk emails, and avoiding emails landing in the spam section.
  2. Build an email list in return for value-add. Building an email list requires offering value to the users, which could come through providing valuable content, free info-product, or something else. For businesses, pop-ups/ opt-ins on the website help in building an email list.
  3. Do A/B testing in email subject lines, email templates, delivery time, email frequency, etc. You plan and run campaigns to maximize ROI.
  4. Understand different email analytical aspects such as open rate, click rate, etc.

You should be familiar with tools such as MailerLite, ConvertKit, EmailOctopus, Revue, SUbstack, Active Campaign, MailChimp, Zoho, Moosend, HubSpot, Campaign Monitor. The aim is to practice each function on any tool available to get an idea. You just need to learn one of these, and others will come intuitively.

Average Salary: ₹25,232/ month

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

PPC marketing is part of digital marketing where marketers pay for each click on Ads run on search engines and social media platforms. A PPC marketer manages campaigns, designs and runs ads, and analyzes performance. It is often referred to as SEM (Search Engine Marketing) as well.

It includes all the ads on Google, YouTube, or any other Google application.

Brands spend over one crore yearly on PPC, on average. It helps with brand awareness and locking more demographics on the Google Search results page.

For PPC marketing, you need an understanding of digital marketing basics, designing skills (Because some ads include images and videos), data analytics, and SEO. Also, you need knowledge of how paid ads run and work and get a good ROI for each $1 you spend.

Businesses opt for PPC marketing because it gives a spike in traffic instantly for targeted customers. It offers a great ROI when done right. But more often than not, brands end up burning a hole in their pockets without any results.

PROS

  • Time-effective
  • ROI generation is better as compared to other channels (in the short-term)
  • Can be leveraged and combined with multiple platforms.

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Limited result generation
  • Complex

Different roles under PPC marketing

  1. PPC Analyst- analyzes campaigns. They look into the campaign- budget, number of Ads, strategy implementation, ROI.
  2. Paid Search Manager- leads PPC campaigns. They run campaigns, implement strategies, look into analytics, and optimize Ads.
  3. Paid Search Analyst- manages the execution of strategies and admin tasks such as tracking results to create reports.
  4. PPC Manager- manages budget spending and campaigns as a whole.
  5. PPC Executive- curates and manages PPC campaigns.
  6. SEM Specialist- understands SEO to curate, design, and manage PPC campaigns, analyze data, and identify trends.

Where to start as a PPC marketer?

  1. Learn PPC basics and copywriting. There are many courses on Udemy and other platforms. Also, Semrush and LinkedIn have a dedicated PPC course. For copywriting, I recommend the book Cashvertising.
  2. Do Google Ads certification course, Facebook Blueprint Certification for PPC hands-on experience.
  3. Practice by running campaigns and experimenting with tools.
  4. Stay informed of updates, algorithm changes, and trends.
  5. Get a job or freelance!

Also, you could create a landing page and spend some money to practice PPC and get hands-on experience.

Practice with tools such as Google Analytics, Google Adword, Semrush, Ad Badger, Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, Optmyzr, WordStream AdWords Performance, and AsEspresso. PPC is trickier than other fields and requires experience to create  successful campaigns.

Average Salary: ₹26,713/ month

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is optimizing pages of your website to show up on the top of search results. As an SEO marketer, you need to optimize web pages for relevant keywords, handle technical wellness of the website to ensure search engine rankings and traffic.

For instance, when you search for watches. Myntra and Titan rank at the top. These websites have optimized their web pages for this particular keyword through various strategies.

For SEO marketing, you need to start with an SEO course. HubSpot, SemRush, and Ahrefs SEO courses are a great starting point. In addition, you need analytical and research skills. You need to do keyword research, curate a strategy based on competitors, handle the technical aspect of website maintenance, build backlinks, and monitor performance.

Businesses opt for SEO marketing because it generates immense traffic and inbound leads. It builds brand awareness and authority. Also, Since organic search is one of the credible options to market, brands love SEO.

PROS

  • Consistent results
  • Cost-effective
  • Gives you an edge when combined with other digital marketing options

CONS

  • Time-consuming
  • Technical knowledge
  • Needs constant maintenance

Different roles under SEO marketing

  1. SEO Analyst- maintains the website and measures performance. They do keyword research, monitor performance, implement strategies, optimize website pages, and ensure to stay updated with Google algorithm trends.
  2. SEO Strategist- curates SEO strategy. They understand business needs, study competitors, and prepare a strategy to rank websites and generate traffic.
  3. SEO Specialist- optimizes the website. They work to suggest strategies and tactics to enhance the SEO of a website.
  4. Link Builder- Strengthens backlink profile of websites. They advertise and promote website pages to get backlinks. The main aim is to enhance the backlink profile through various strategies and ethical practices.
  5. SEO Consultant- curates strategies and guides to enhance SEO. They analyze the existing website and recommend changes and tactics to improve SEO.
  6. SEO Account Manager- manages SEO A-Z from strategy and execution to analytics.
  7. SEO Manager- handles SEO campaigns and team working on SEO. They manage the overall SEO for the business, from managing the team, website maintenance, and implementing strategies, to monitoring performance.
  8. SEO Content Writer- creates SEO content by optimizing titles, images, URLs, and content through keywords.

Where to start as an SEO marketer?

  1. Take an SEO course. HubSpot has a 6-hour free comprehensive SEO certification course, which would give you a starting point to know the basics.
  2. Build a niche-oriented website and practice the nuances. Work on different aspects of SEO, such as keyword research, keyword placement, technical SEO, and website optimization.
  3. Rank your website for specific keywords and set the website to receive consistent traffic and a fixed bounce rate.
  4. Understand and stay updated with algorithm updates.

Work on tools like Google Analytics, Rankmath pro, Yoast SEO, tehcnicalseo.com, Google Search Console, Semrush, and Google Keyword Planner after building a website on any platform.

Average Salary: ₹16,000/ month

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Social media marketing is leveraging social media channels to promote and advertise brands.

As a social media marketer, you will create a strategy to grow the business’s social media accounts. This includes posting content on platforms, tracking results, and running ads.

The social media platforms you’ll deal with will depend on where your business’s target audience hangs out. These include LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.

For instance, we see so many brands active on social media like Zomato, ClickUp, and Grammarly.

They have people and teams behind panning their content and interacting with customers.

For social media marketing, you should be thorough with social media algorithms, content creation, and data analytics. The job involves creating a content strategy, designing/writing posts, running campaigns, checking analytics, and meeting business goals (reaching an audience, more sales, etc.)

Businesses opt for social media marketing, especially D2C and B2C, as it is a great way to reach the target audience and increase brand awareness. It generates leads and sales while also building followers who support the business. B2B brands also use social media, but few specific platforms.

PROS

  • Earning from an application where you possibly spend hours scrolling through
  • Get instant feedback
  • Chances of going viral
  • Getting creative space

CONS

  • Changing social media algorithms makes it hard to increase followers, reach
  • Time-consuming
  • Hard-to-build audience

Different roles under social media marketing

  1. Community Manager- Manages relations with customers via online channels and tries to build a community.
  2. Social Media Manager- Curates campaigns and executes strategies. They look into the overall functioning of social media accounts and handle aspects like publishing, content creation/ editing, checking analytics, etc.
  3. Social Media Editor- Reviews and edits social media content. They identify any gaps in the content and suggest changes. They work with copywriters, designers, and writers to ensure quality content.
  4. Social Media Strategist- Creates strategies for businesses for social media. Depending upon the business goal, they create strategies to ensure positive ROI.
  5. Digital Communications Professionals- manages comments and other messages on social media. They need to follow business guidelines and engage with the audience to ensure that the account doesn’t seem like a bot.
  6. Social Media Optimizer- handles and grows business social media pages. They optimize pages on technical grounds to ensure no hindrances.

Apart from this, It also includes “influencer marketing”. It involves endorsements and promotions through influencers with large social followings. It incorporates job roles such as influencer marketing specialist, which contacts industry experts and communicates to execute endorsements.

Where to start as a social media marketer?

  1. Take a course on social media marketing. There are many courses on Udemy, Skillshare, and other platforms. Buffer curated a list of social media marketing courses, which includes 20+ courses to start learning!
  2. Try out as many social media platforms but choose one and go all in. Post multiple times and analyze stats to see what works and what doesn’t.
  3. Maintain a swipe file for inspiration where you collect ideas from other brands’ social media accounts and use them for creating your own posts.
  4. Run a business/ professional account and try to sell some product (Info-product) using social media.
  5. Curate a strategy, prepare content calendars, practice Ads, and practice A/B testing.
  6. Learn the functioning of tools to support social media marketing.
  7. Define services and get clients/ work for an agency.

You can try tools like Buffer, HootSuite, linktr.ee, bio.link, ilo.so, typefully.com, Bitly, SocialMention, and SHIELD App.

Average Salary: ₹46,667/ month

In addition to these expert fields, there are roles under mobile marketing and analytics as well. Digital marketing is evolving and opens job titles for various roles. Companies are almost always expanding their marketing budget and team. Now, let us now know how to start your career in digital marketing as a whole.


How to Start a Career in Digital Marketing in India?

We covered the salary, roles, pros and cons, courses/ resources, tools, and tips for various specialisations in digital marketing. Now, we will give you an overview of- how to start a career in digital marketing. You do not require a degree and have to focus solely on skills.

  1. Clear Your Basics- Read ultimate or beginner guides on digital marketing from credible sources. Further, take courses on digital marketing (online or offline) in a specific field. Consider taking certifications from credible sources such as Google, Facebook, and HubSpot. HubSpot, in particular, has many free courses for many digital marketing fields. Learn and practice side by side to get better at the craft.
  2. Practice- Now, you need to test the waters and implement what you learn. Build your own website on WordPress or any other platform and execute different digital marketing strategies. It allows you to experiment without hurting someone else’s website or social media channels. Just pick a niche and start on a platform around that. Focus on one digital marketing strategy at a time, such as online ads, social media marketing, SEO, or any other preferred one.
  3. Experiment with Digital Marketing Tools- Tools and automation give digital marketing an edge over traditional marketing. Hence, you need to be familiar with digital marketing tools. There are many free and paid tools. Start with free/ freemium tools and gradually move towards the paid ones. They allow you to understand different aspects and elements such as conversions, traffic, clicks, etc. The best tool is Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
  4. Get a Job or Internship or start freelancing- Once you get through the basics and the tools, you could get a job or internship at a business or a marketing agency. That would help you get more experience and network with people ahead of you in the field. But most importantly, this will give you some credibility. Next time you’re looking for a job/internship, you can boast about the results you got at a previous place and double your chances of getting hired. Freelancing is also a great option. Make account on Fiverr and charge for your work.
  5. Stay Updated with Trends- Digital marketing wasn’t even a thing before 1990. 30-years fast-forward, every company, a small or big enterprise, is opting for digital channels. So, follow experts in your industry and people ahead of you in your career. It gives you insights into multiple aspects and keeps you up-to-date.

Finally, once you enter the digital marketing space as a freelancer or work with an agency, you will climb the career ladder. Also, you could combine freelancing and work for an agency to increase your income horizon.

Digital marketing is a skill-oriented career as neither you need any degree nor are there any age restrictions. Whether you are a student or an employee, starting a digital marketing career does not require a lot of time commitment. One could create a website and practice digital marketing as a side-hustle and get going.