Should You Pursue a Career in the Digital Marketing Industry?

Should You Pursue a Career in the Digital Marketing Industry?

Now that the US election is over and we watch our social media feeds explode into Trump memes, reactions and articles, we think it’s a nice change of pace to write a blog post about you, our reader. We want to help you reach for your dreams just like Donald… sorry, President Donald Trump did.
After spending 3 months as part of the iMod family, closely studying them as well as the industry, I believe it is time for me to share my findings through a post about the perks and overall reasons to consider a career in the industry of SEO and digital marketing. Now that I have been able to thoroughly over-analyse my career change by doing research and reading hundreds of articles, I’m very happy with the changes. If you are like me, always overthinking and planning, then let me save you some time by sharing the facts that have set my mind at ease about choosing a path within this booming industry.


Is this career path for you?

New career choices are emerging quickly in the age we live in. The “what do you want to be when you grow up?” has become an increasingly more difficult question to answer and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a 6-year-old answer “I want to be an SEO when I grow up”. Nevertheless, just because some kid only thinking in fantasies didn’t say they want to be an SEO, doesn’t mean it isn’t as fun.
Having read through many blogs about what it is business owners are looking for when recruiting for their digital needs, there is a consistency within the majority of their answers. Hiring managers would much rather employ someone with a basic knowledge of HTML, graphic and web design, marketing, writing and the ability to uphold an intelligent conversation with them and clients over someone with just a degree. It is important to remember that much of SEO is about words and therefore a strong vocabulary would surely benefit you. A career in SEO encompasses three qualities that are great to have and develop; analytical thinking, creativity and language skills.
Often times it has also been observed that individuals who find themselves in an already technical field such as web development or data analysis would see SEO and feel that it may not be technical enough for them, however, they will find soon enough that it does become quite involved and would surely be a commodity and highly valuable skill to add to your repertoire.


Why should you join the SEO and digital marketing industry?

According to The Digital Marketing Institute, 150,000 digital jobs are predicted to rise by 2020. The job market may be booming at the moment, but the demand for digital skills has exceeded the supply, which, I don’t need to tell you, means this industry is a good place to be.
As much as I would love to only write about how fun, educational, and evolving a career in the digital industry is, we do all need to worry about the circumstances beyond our control. We have families to take care of, bills to pay, and need to adapt to the state of our governments, which in turn requires us to have stable and financially rewarding jobs.
Seeing the great rise in companies increasing their budgets, staff and resources for their digital marketing efforts, allows us a sense of job security when we have to face a recession and job scarcity issues or worry about whether we will be valuable in the long term to employers.

With the depressing considerations out of the way, one of the most awesome aspects of pursuing a career in the digital industry is not only the fact that you are an in-demand professional, but you also possess a set of fresh and future-proof skills. With all types of businesses, small to large and everything in between increasing their capacity to employ professionals with digital skills, you will benefit from far better career choices.

Bonus perk: Get bored easily? Don’t worry, the internet, search engines and technology is constantly changing meaning so will your skill set (if you actively keep evolving and adding to your expertise).


Let’s talk numbers

HubShout conducted a survey in December 2015 of small to mid-sized digital marketing agencies to see the biggest online marketing trends for 2016 (source). These are their results.


Top 2016 Online Marketing Trends Stats – HubShout:

74% of agencies expect their clients’ marketing budgets to increase in 2016; 17% expect a significant increase.
55% of small business clients spent between $501 and $2,500 per month for digital marketing in 2015; 26% spent more than $2,500.
56% expect Website Development to be one of the top three in-demand services in 2016.
53% expect SEO to be one of the top three in-demand services in 2016.
51% expect Content Marketing to be one of the top three in-demand services in 2016.
67% of agencies outsourced SEO to a white label SEO provider.
51% outsourced website development services.
46% outsourced PPC services.
37% outsourced content marketing services.
61% of agencies cited SEO as a top source for leads.
45% cited Social Media as a top source for leads.
The biggest challenge for agencies in 2016: Lead Generation.

With such high numbers, it’s easy to see why this is an exciting time for SEOs and digital marketers. The industry is growing, evolving and the business world is seeing the true potential and value there is in pouring more resources into their digital marketing strategies.


Money talks (we were all thinking it)

Think of digital skills as a commodity which is in high demand but low supply. Such a commodity, thus, increases in value, and more money is spent on quality digital resources. In general, the pay scale is tipping in favour of digital professionals.
In the Marketing and Digital Salary & Sentiment Survey 2016, it was recorded that 56% of the survey participants had received a salary increase in the last year and 65% of respondents received a bonus.

There is great earning potential in this industry and even more skills to be explored which will all end up being intermingled and support each other with the added benefit of making you more valuable. For example, if you are a practising SEO, you will become even more valuable if you possess web development and web design skills as you will be able to build an SEO-friendly website right from the start and there will be no need for your client to outsource their web development to a separate company. The possibilities for growth are endless.


Most in-demand digital skills

Don’t know where you should be expending your efforts if you’re at the start of your career or where to branch out as a professional? We’ve got you covered. Below are the most in-demand digital skills.


1. SEO

In a study by Smart Insights, it has been found that SEO was one of the most in-demand skills of 2015. This is no surprise as the business world is starting to witness the true power that there is in driving traffic to their website through white-hat SEO. With Google owning over 60% of all US desktop searches and an even bigger portion of mobile searches at over 80%, SEO goes hand in hand with becoming (or trying to become) a Google expert, which is not as easy as it sounds when you realise just how much Google is always evolving.

Another reason why SEO is such a sought after skill is because when SEO is practised ethically, although it is a time-consuming process, it yields long-term rewards when continually upheld.


2. Analytical Insight

I have placed analytical insight and business intelligence second on the list even though I wholeheartedly believe that this skill goes hand in hand with SEO. Smart Insights found in their survey that the analytics talent gap is at a drastically high 37%. Understanding analytics and the measurable data from your SEO efforts is as important as the practice itself. Without being able to understand and interpret the data from your marketing implementations, it would be impossible to see what has worked, what appears to be ineffective, as well as why you are seeing changes. All of this data is used to plan your strategy moving forward and the importance is of analytics skills is about as serious as the shortage thereof.


3. PPC

If you are considering moving into PPC or Pay Per Click advertising, it would do you well to know that the job market is starting to heat up in search of PPC specialists. The reason for such a spike is that there is great potential in making use of PPC to drive targeted traffic to your website and in increasing conversions.
PPC involves very strategic thinking, analysis as well as math skills. You need to drive the right audience to a website for optimal conversions at the lowest possible cost.


4. Content Manager/Creator

Finding a person with good writing and language skills along with digital marketing and SEO knowledge is no easy task. This is someone who needs to be able to write compelling content that will grab (and retain) the attention of readers, while also ensuring that the written content is SEO-friendly. Phew, right?
The need for creative and technically minded writers is on the rise. Now is the time to put to use that literary degree that everyone told you will be of no use and pair it up with some SEO knowledge. iMod Education can surely help you out with that. Wink.

The beauty of a career within this industry is that it is ever-changing and you will NEVER stop learning. So, if you are looking for that 9 – 5 where you can become complacent and good at doing the same thing every day, this is not the path for you.


Baby Steps

Information overload? Feel like you’re in a maze? It’s never easy when you are at the start of a career or career change and you’re probably wondering where to start. We’ve put together a few starting points to get you on board. Relax, you can do this.

With so many careers having a set educational path which can be followed in preparation for the real world, many professionals are able to simply learn the field they are interested in and follow their education with a degree to show for it. While there are indeed now degrees in digital marketing, these programs are not available worldwide and there is also no degree program for SEO which makes the path to follow in this field slightly more difficult to decipher. Start at the beginning – a very good place to start.


1. The basics:

In order to take the edge off when you start a new job or ask for a promotion, pay some close attention to the basic skills needed to thrive in your chosen direction. For example, if you are looking to do SEO, find resources and courses where you are able to learn the basics of reading or coding HTML, how to navigate and work on Google Analytics, AdWords, and understand the principles of SEO and how they are implemented. Taking a writing class or two also won’t cause any harm.


2. Get in touch with the industry

Start learning what is going on in the industry by following the industry leaders and their blogs for the latest news. This isn’t merely a mundane task where you end up emptying your inbox constantly, but something that will actively affect and change the way you work. Because the digital industry is so dynamic and constantly changing with new developments from search engines, it is imperative that you stay in the know about what’s happening in the world around you. You will gain new insight, tips and vital information about what you should be implementing in your own practices.

Here are a few great blogs to get you started:
1. iMod Digital
2. iMod Education (Obviously)
3. Search Engine Watch
4. Search Engine Land
5. Moz
6. Kissmetrics
7. Social Media Examiner
8. The Keyword – by Google


The Job

In an attempt to find that job that you are looking for, I will always firmly stand by the fact that a personal approach is always the best. Now, we know that when you are in dire need of employment, it can be very time consuming to craft a unique message to each vacancy or company you approach, but remember that this will get you noticed much faster than spamming dozens of companies in the hopes that you will score an interview.
Do research on companies in your area, narrow down the ones you like and have a good track record, then approach them with a thoughtful and individual email. If only things were like the old days where you could walk into an office and present yourself. Even though we aren’t always able to do that, you can write your message in the same manner as you would speaking to the person face to face. Since you don’t approach real people with a templated conversation, don’t do it with your digital communication either.

Put together a killer CV. Flaunt your personality and have the skills to back up your resume.

There are endless possibilities in a digital marketing and SEO career, a bounty of endless skills, paths, approaches and niches lie ahead if you are looking at moving your career into such an exciting world.

If you mean it, you will make it.


If you are looking for even more career tips, visit our blog post “How to Enhance Your Career from a Real-World Perspective”.

Want to kick-start your SEO career? Right this way…



Until next week,
Stay unique. Stay ambitious. Stay you.

Yours in digital,
iMod Education

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