Back when I was in college, there wasn’t an option to major in digital marketing—digital marketing didn’t exist and there surely weren’t any experts yet. Instead, I started in nursing—always dreamed of becoming a nurse—but after one semester, I quickly decided that business was a better fit for me. More specifically, advertising! I must admit the influence may have come from watching “Who’s The Boss?” reruns on TV where Angela Bower glorified interactions with clients, dreamed up campaigns at the very last minute that were exactly what the client was looking for, and of pitched new business, ending the day with a glass of wine and a “win”. Ahhhh that would have been nice.
Instead, I quickly learned the reality was long hours (happy hours, too), unsuccessful pitches, layoffs and often stress and disappointment. However, one day that all changed and I began to work on a client project that involved banner ads intended to drive people to their website. I worked with the client’s finance and media team to decide where the ads would run and how to best target their audience. It was completely eye-opening to see that our efforts could be tracked, tweaks could be made and we could optimize this information to improve performance. It became clear that this was the wave of the future, and each of the positions I held after had a digital component until I completely made it my career.
Adding Digital to the Day Job: Building Upon Traditional Marketing and Making it Modern
Over the years, I did a lot of dabbling in paid search, affiliate marketing, comparison shopping engines, search engine optimization, email prospecting and countless other efforts to help my company/clients drive quality traffic and revenue. Just when I thought I had the secret sauce figured out, a new channel would emerge (mobile) or the competition would change (Amazon). This is what excites me about my industry and my job as director of digital marketing at Quill. There’s always something new to learn and always something we can test. We spend a lot of time on analysis and optimizations, but it’s so rewarding to find new and efficient ways to talk to potential customers.
How You Can Learn More About Digital Marketing, Too!
In my opinion, there are no universal experts in digital marketing because there are so many winning recipes. Even if you’ve never placed an ad on Google or worked with affiliates to promote your brand, you can do it! You can start today. If you have the will (and a credit card), here’s a good place to start: Google. Use Google and search your business name, your main competitor’s name and what you sell. Then look at the paid ads (top and right side) showing up. Next, search for “Google AdWords” and click the link that takes you to Google’s site where you can learn how it all works and how to get started. There’s free set-up support from Google too. Next, go back to Google and type “digital marketing 101”. There are blogs, classes and even free material you can read to help you decide the best channels for your business. You see, many people doing digital marketing today didn’t start down that path. We learned as we went along and are willing to share that knowledge with others. If you feel stuck, maybe it’s worth posting an ad and paying a freelancer for a couple hours to get you started. (Throw in some of those buzz words you learned and you’ll really get the attention you want!)
Your future customers are out there, and they’re looking for you. Let them know you’re there and why you’re better than the rest. Live up to your promises as a company. You’re gonna do great!
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