How Long Does It Take To Learn Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world right now. A report by Grand View Research states that the global market size of digital marketing software is currently valued at around USD 56.52 billion and is expected to reach USD 182.21 billion by 2028. 

So how can you get a piece of this pie and learn digital marketing?

As a whole, it might take you 3 to 5 months of continuous learning to have a foundational level knowledge of digital marketing. To entirely master the 7 different aspects of digital marketing, however, will require 5 to 6 years of constant practice and even then, the core principles behind them might change. 

Digital marketing is no get-rich-quick scheme so let’s discuss what you’ll need to learn digital marketing and find out how you can get there.

What are the different categories of digital marketing?

There’s no general consensus on the number of different digital marketing categories or job descriptions out there but based on my experience, here are the 7 different categories of digital marketing and a short description of each one.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is when you use social media and social networks to market your company’s products and services. With over 4.4 billion people worldwide on social media, this type of marketing allows companies to engage with existing customers and reach out to potential target markets while allowing them to promote their brand and mission. 

Because many of us have practice with this type of marketing, it’s only a matter of figuring out how to handle paid ads and run a campaign. 

With that said, you should be able to learn and implement the basic practices and concepts of Social Media Marketing in about 2 to 3 weeks. 

Content Marketing

Content marketing involves the strategic creation of content for the purpose of distributing valuable, relevant, and sharable graphics, images, and links, The main purpose of content marketing is to build trust and authority between the brand and the consumer. 

Because content marketing deals heavily with creating viral material, you’ll need to understand marketing psychology, learn photo and video editing, as well as long-term planning skills. 

This means that you’ll need at least 2 months to learn the basics of content marketing. In that time, you should look to read resources, such as “This is Marketing” by Seth Godin and “Influence” by Robert Cialdini, as well as go through a couple of basic courses on editing programs like Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, and Davinci Resolve.

By the end of those 2 months, you should look to build a portfolio or even start your own long-term project, maybe a blog or a social media page. This will give you hands-on experience and put into practice everything that you’ve learned. 

Whether you’re looking to become a freelancer or work for a marketing agency soon after,  building a great portfolio will not only put your foot in the door but might even grant you a seat at the table.  

SEO Marketing

Search Engine Optimization is the process of creating a website whose appearance and presence in search results on search engines like Google rank highly. The focus of this marketing process is to have your content rank number 1 on search results, meaning that your website’s content is the first thing that people see when they google for your search term. 

SEO marketing in and of itself is not extremely complicated. Realistically speaking, it should take you about 2 to 3 weeks of research and practice to learn the basics of SEO. However, mastery of the subject will require 2 years of experience.

SEO, unfortunately, cannot be sped up. Research estimates that it takes 8 months for a piece of content to be ranked accurately. Before then, you’ll find that Google will constantly move your post’s rank higher or lower, in an attempt to figure out where exactly it belongs.

Because of the time it takes to assess the success of your post, it naturally takes even longer to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Thus, 2 years is the minimum level of experience with SEO before you’ll be considered as someone knowledgeable in the subject. 

Email Marketing

Many people say that email is dying, everyone is moving to social media.

I don’t believe this is true.

Despite the droves of individuals turning towards social media, email remains one of the most cost-effective ways to reach consumers today. Research from Campaign Monitor suggests that 72% of people prefer to receive promotional content through email, that email subscribers are 3x more likely to share content via social media, and that email is 40x more effective in acquiring new customers vs. Facebook or Twitter. 

Email marketing is the process of introducing a soft sell to help educate your audience on the value of your brand or keep them engaged between purchases, this includes the utilization of discounts, promotions, and surveys to keep customers engaged.

Because email marketing is content-heavy, learning the entire process should also take 2 to 3 weeks of learning to figure out what statistics to look at, what they mean, and how you can build better email marketing campaigns based on them. 

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing is synonymous with the referral system, where an affiliate earns a commission for the successful marketing or sale of another person’s or company’s products. Sales are tracked via affiliate links with the help of a product’s website, dashboard, or program.

Similar to SEO marketing, it takes a long before you see any results from affiliate marketing. It typically takes 2 months for you to learn the basics of affiliate marketing and another 6 months to start earning good money from your strategy. 

Many affiliate marketers utilize their own website or blog to market products and create a steady cash flow. Because affiliate marketing only brings in about 10% of every new sale, it is quite a common practice for people to market multiple products on the same site. 

Ad Marketing

Ad marketing is perhaps what many people first think of when we say marketing. In this case, however, we’re strictly talking about the ads you see online. Whether it’s on social media or Google Search, you’re paying a service specifically to create awareness for your brand to motivate people to take action. 

Whether it’s to sign up for a newsletter or straight up buy your product, you’re using a targeted message to get an audience to interact with your business.

That said, it should take you about 2-3 months to learn ad marketing. The longer time frame is due to the constant testing process, where you’ll have to put out ads and identify which ads performed the best in terms of click rate and time spent watching. 

Unfortunately, the only way to ensure that your ads work is if you actually put them out into the world. You can achieve this through one of two ways: either you work with an agency that actually runs ads or you pay for them out of your own pocket. 

Mobile Marketing

The final type of marketing that you can learn is mobile marketing which is the process of advertising and promoting products through mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. 

Whether it’s through SMS, notifications, or email, your job is to ensure that the marketing material you put out can easily be viewed by mobile users. 

According to eMarketer, mobile versus desktop usage stats in the United States in 2018 had shown that the mobile-only audience will continue to grow to 55.7 million by 2022. With 8.7 billion phones around the globe, you need to focus on creating a seamless experience for your audience.

So how long will it take you to learn mobile marketing? Simply 2-3 weeks to learn the basics and another 3 months to figure out what works and what doesn’t. This includes learning how to create engaging notifications, social media posts, and ads. 

Where can I learn digital marketing?

You now know how long it will take you to learn digital marketing, the next step is to figure out where you’ll learn it. 

In the list below, we’ll discuss some of the best places where you can learn digital marketing. This list works best if you don’t have friends or family already in the space. So without further ado, here are the best online courses in digital marketing.  

  1. HubSpot Content Marketing Courses
  2. LinkedIn Learning
  3. Udemy
  4. Skillshare
  5. Build Your Own Blog

Of the 5 things I’ve listed above, I believe that the best option would have to be building your own blog. By creating your own business, you give yourself the opportunity to test out everything you’ve learned without any interruption from higher-ups. 

Why should I learn digital marketing?

High demand for Digital Marketers in the long run

Capability to promote your own business. That’s why I suggest that rather than niching down and learning very specific nuances when it comes to doing a certain job, I suggest that you should learn and master the basic principles of selling, advertising, and marketing instead. 

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