Step-by-Step Plan for Becoming a Digital Marketer


This plan will show you exactly how to become a digital marketing candidate companies can’t ignore.

It’s based on recent job posts and discussions with hiring managers and marketers to give you everything you need to land a job in digital marketing.

Like so many other careers today, a degree is important for getting an interview—but it's also the bare minimum. To be a digital marketer companies want to hire, you need to have in-demand skills and demonstrate you can use them.

Financial Recommendation

Keep student loan debt below $62,525. This will ensure your student loan debt-to-starting salary ratio is below 1.25x.

Assuming a 6.8% interest rate and 10-year loan repayment, your maximum monthly payment would be $720 or 17% of a starting salary of $50,020.

How to use this plan

To help you build your skills, we’ve included best-in-class education sources and projects throughout the plan.

You can use other sources as well, but the most important thing is that you can apply what you've learned.

Complete steps on this plan to start receiving job opportunities. The more skills and experience you have, the more opportunities you'll receive.

👋  NOTE: StepLadder is currently in beta and the job placement feature is limited to Denver, CO.

However, this plan can still help you become an incredible candidate and you'll have an advantage when we launch in your city.

Career Plan

🎓 Education

If you can't afford to get a bachelor's degree, or if you already have a degree in something else, don't despair. Bootcamps provide a structured way to build the hard skills needed for the job.

Bootcamps provide much more relevant training for becoming a digital marketer than a marketing degree.

Unfortunately, degrees still carry more weight in the hiring process—but this is not an obstacle that can't be overcome, especially if you already have a bachelor's degree in something else.

💵  Cost: $837 - $15,000

⏳  Time: 3-12 months

🗃 Hard Skills

SEM is the process of increasing traffic to your website through the paid ads that appear at the top of search engine pages. When someone searches for keywords that relate to your business, you can show them ads for your website.

The best place to start learning SEM is Google Ad Manager. It allows you to create ad campaigns without having to spend money. Since Google is the biggest search engine, it's also the most important platform for any SEM you do.

Creating campaigns—even made-up ones—teaches you to think through targeting, copywriting, objectives, and measurement.

💵  Cost:  Free! 

⏳  Time: 7 hours

🔖  Projects to build your portfolio

Social media advertising is a key part of any digital marketing job. The best place to start learning it is Facebook Blueprint—an online educational resource designed to teach digital marketing basics for Facebook-owned platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp). It's more in-depth on the creative side than the Google certifications. What you learn will also be applicable to other social channels.

💵  Cost:  Free! 

⏳  Time: 6 hours

🔖  Projects to build your portfolio

Inbound marketing is the process of attracting potential customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. Learning the fundamentals of inbound marketing will help you better understand the buyer's journey, from the first touch to an eventual purchase.

💵  Cost: $0 - $150

⏳  Time: 9-13 hours

🔖  Projects to build your portfolio

The practice of search engine optimization (SEO) is how you get websites and content to show up on the first page of Google. Knowing how to do this is a key part of digital marketing.

💵  Cost: $0 - $150

⏳  Time: 4-20 hours

🔖  Projects to build your portfolio

You'll apply these principles in the Inbound Marketing section when you start creating content.

So-called “experts” have been shouting about the death of email for nearly a decade. The truth is that email is still one of the most effective marketing channels for selling anything.

💵  Cost:  Free! 

⏳  Time: 6 hours

🔖  Projects to build your portfolio

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Being able to configure and interpret marketing analytics is one of the most important skills you can have as a digital marketer.

💵  Cost:  Free! 

⏳  Time: 1 hours

🔖  Projects to build your portfolio

For a long time, knowing the ins and outs of Excel could put you way above you peers. New tools like AirTable are making spreadsheets more powerful and accessible, but most still draw on the concepts from Microsoft Excel.

💵  Cost: $0 - $21

⏳  Time: 18 hours

🔖  Projects to build your portfolio

The above courses include projects for you to practice what you're learning.

💼 Experience

Volunteering is a great way to gain experience while doing some good. Here are a few resources you can use to find opportunities.

If you're up for a challenge, gigwork platforms allow you to market yourself and gain experience while getting paid.

When you're just starting out, set your rates low and take any job you can.

Additional Resources

🤝 Networking

These groups are good places to meet other digital marketers—to ask questions, learn, and find job opportunities.

💬 Interviewing

Some career-specific questions you might get asked:

"Describe a campaign you've run?"

You can talk about one of the ones you designed for your portfolio.

"What's a campaign/ad/brand that you found really memorable, and why?"

Have some examples of brands and campaigns you think do great digital marketing, and be prepared to explain why.

Rank: Unkown 🤔

Create an account to how you stack up as a candidate.

Complete steps on this plan to unlock job opportunities!