Digital marketing is huge!
It covers everything from big data and analytics right through to posting pretty pictures on Instagram. And even if you’re a rock star – and we know you are – the chances of you being a world-class stats geek and social media maven are pretty slim.
This is why it’s important to find your own niche. Not only does this allow you to better leverage your talents, you can really zone in your expertise and become more valuable to prospective clients and employers.
Types of niches
It best to think about choosing your niche in one of two ways:
- Choosing a specific digital marketing discipline and becoming an expert, or
- Finding an industry to focus on while providing a number of digital marketing services.
There is no right or wrong path to follow, and whether you become a jack of all trades or a master of one, you have the opportunity to quickly position yourself as a leading expert in your field.
But to help you on your way, here are the pros and cons of each approach.
Becoming a digital marketing discipline expert
You’d be shocked at how many disciplines make up digital marketing, and how it is now close to impossible to be an expert at everything.
It’s also worth keeping in the back of your mind that digital marketing is a moving landscape. Five years ago, no one had heard of marketing automation, while mobile marketing is also relatively new. So, the niche you choose now may not be the niche you are in forever.
You should choose your digital marketing discipline based on your skills and what you enjoy. Are you a big thinker? Look at the strategy side of digital marketing. Love playing with numbers and stats? Look at analytics. Enjoy telling stories and being creative? Content marketing could be for you.
In general, this approach is best for those who would like to work for a company rather than individuals starting their own agency. There are a lot of SEO agencies, for example, however, if you can service a gap in the market you could become highly sort after.
On the plus side, it is very easy to learn about your discipline, become a thought leader, and work across a large number of different companies and projects. But this means you will really need to stay on top of your discipline and make sure you’re the go-to expert in your field.
Pros Cons – Perfect if you would like to work for companies
– Easy to become a thought leader
– Educational programs are easily available
– Blogs, podcasts, and video content easy to find
– May be difficult to break through as a new agency
– Need to keep up with latest trends
– Some disciplines are more sought-after
– Employers may want experience in other disciplines
Becoming an industry expert
Using your knowledge and experience to service an industry you know well can really differentiate you in the market, and help you cut through to prospective clients and employers.
Not only will you have inside knowledge of the industry, clients will trust you more, and you’ll easily be able to build a strong network within the industry.
There are a number of ways you can find an industry to service:
- – Something you enjoy – like music or sport
- – An industry you are knowledgeable about – like real estate
- – An industry you have worked in or are experienced with – especially if you have demonstrable success as a marketer
- – An industry you see an opportunity in – that is growing or is not currently serviced by other marketers.
But it’s important to remember you don’t have to have worked in the industry, through building your brand you can position yourself as an industry expert.
Unlike choosing a digital marketing discipline, becoming an industry expert lends itself more to those wishing to freelance or start their own agency. This approach is also much easier to show value to prospective clients and employers, as they will understand your previous projects and imagine how you can apply it to their business.
Pros Cons – Perfect if you would like to start an agency or freelance
– Networks of prospective clients already exist
– Easy to demonstrate value to clients and employers
– Easy to develop portfolios of previous work
– May be difficult to find employment opportunities with companies
– Must be across a number of different digital marketing disciplines
– Industry-specific education hard to find
Tips for choosing your niche
Choose something you enjoy – yes, you can turn your passion for taking photos and making videos into a career!
Try before you buy – don’t just choose a discipline without having any experience in it. It’s best to start your digital marketing career as generic as possible with exposure to lots of different aspects, and then choose your niche once you’ve found a favourite.
Don’t be afraid to change – the great thing about digital marketing is there are loads of transferable skills. If you think you’ve made a mistake, never be afraid to branch out or change niches.
Start building your brand – once you’ve chosen a niche, start building your personal brand. There’s no point being an expert if no one knows about it.
Supercharge by combining niche types – this one won’t work for everyone, but if your industry is big enough and there is demand, you can become a discipline expert within an industry. Think of something like an education content marketing expert or banking PPC agency.
Get started with your digital marketing career
Get experience across all digital marketing disciplines and get certified at the same time. The Digital Marketing Certified Associate course gets you certified as an Online Marketing Certified Associate, as well as with Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter!
Don’t learn by watching and reading; learn by starting your own company!
As part of the Digital Marketing Certified Associate course, you can start any online business you can dream of and use your new venture as your course project. Directly implement your learning, all while setting up your business with best-practice teaching.
You may have been thinking about opening an online store, a digital marketing agency, or maybe you just wanted to build a personal portfolio site to showcase your skills.
So if you’re ready to launch, check out what you’ll be doing during your project.
Starting your project
The DMCA Project is broken into four smaller sections, each with their own specific objectives. Each section builds on the last, setting the correct foundations for your site, and helping you build traffic.
Before starting the first section, you will need to define your new venture, choose a target audience, and identify relevant keywords for your site. Your venture can be anything you choose, however, we recommend choosing something you will want to continue with even after the course is complete.
This could include:
- – An e-commerce store selling a product
- – A digital marketing agency
- – A freelancing portfolio website
- – A drop shipping store
- – A new software you have developed
Section 1 – Getting ready to market
You have your idea, now it’s time to get to work!
Section 1 is all about getting your site set up correctly so that you’ll not only be found in search engines but also be able to correctly track and monitor activity on your website through the use of Google Analytics.
Section 1 activities
- Set up a business website – including content and lead capture
- Ensure proper SEO for your website – through keyword research, competitor analysis, and metadata
- Track and monitor your website using Google Analytics – with goals and utm code setup
- Announce the launch of your new venture
Section 2 – Driving relevant traffic
There’s no point having a beautiful new site without anyone visiting!
Using what you’ve learned about Pay Per Click advertising, you’ll start your first search campaigns within Google’s advertising platform, AdWords.
If you have budget, you can turn on these ads to see visitors start to visit your site and begin interacting with your content.
Section 2 activities
- Sign up for a Google AdWords account – including adding retargeting pixel to your site
- Create keyword lists for your ads to target
- Create ads for your keywords highlighting your selling points
- Research and set bids for ads
- Track and monitor the success of your campaigns
Section 3 – Brand visibility and engagement
Time to get social!
Take your new venture to the world by creating a Facebook page with the goal of reaching 2000 users and engaging with 100. But if that sounds like a lot, don’t worry. We’ll teach you how to get there step-by-step.
Section 3 activities
- Create your Facebook business page – including images, logos, and information
- Post relevant content on your page for prospective followers
- Set up your content strategy and post schedule
- Run contests and/or free trials to increase awareness and reach
Section 4 – Content marketing
By now you’ll have organic, paid, and social traffic, and with content marketing, you’ll have yet another stream of prospective customers flowing to your website.
In this section, you’ll create your own YouTube channel and post relevant and engaging videos your audience will love. If you have budget, you can also set up display and in-stream advertising to further boost your traffic and leverage your great content.
Section 4 activities
- Set up your YouTube channel
- Create videos to maximise views and likes
- Generate views through in-display and in-stream advertising
- Target relevant views to drive views and likes to your video
How the project is assessed
The great news is that unlike projects and assignments, you don’t have to do a lot of writing to be assessed for the DMCA project.
Instead, all you need to do is record your analytics each week and at the end of the project, take relevant screenshots, and provide links to your website and social media accounts.
That’s it! You’ll be assessed on actually doing, not how well you can write an essay.
The great thing about the project is that you can spend as much, or as little as you want.
The entire project can be completed for free, or you can pay for extras like hosting, domain names, content creation, tools and apps, graphics, and advertising. However, you won’t lose any marks if you don’t, you’d be surprised how much you can do by yourself for free!
Using your project after your course
Want to know the best thing about completing your project? You now have a business!
This is 100% yours to keep, and can be used as:
- – Your new business or side hustle
- – For your portfolio, including all the metrics and statistic of traffic and conversions
- – As a sandpit you can use to practice or try new concepts on
You also now have the template to go and launch a site all over again, whether it’s for you or a client.
Ready to start your business?
Download the Digital Marketing Certified Associate course guide for a comprehensive look at all course modules and to discover the new skills you’ll learn you can apply to your new venture.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a rookie digital marketer looking to establish your career, a freelancer wanting to prove your abilities to new clients, or a veteran hoping to upskill in a new discipline, it’s important to get officially certified.
Becoming certified means you have met the requirements of a particular platform or industry body, and have proven your ability and knowledge in a specific area. So get ready to update your LinkedIn and CV, here is our guide to the must-have certificates for all digital marketing professionals.
Like all industries, digital marketing has a number of professional bodies who accredit members based on their competence and experience.
Online Marketing Certified Professional
The Online Marketing Certified Professional (OMCP) certifications verify up-to-date knowledge, education, and experience as determined by experts and research into digital marketing roles. OMCP awards two levels of certification; OMCP Certification for expert digital marketers, and the Online Marketing Certified Associate for those new to the industry.
Both certifications involve exams and proof of experience, with ongoing professional development required to maintain your certification.
The Digital Marketing Institute
The Digital Marketing Institute accredits students through a number of courses at the sub-bachelor and post-graduate levels. Their industry approved courses certify graduates within their profession, however, do not require ongoing accreditation.
The Internet Marketing Association
The Internet Marketing Association offers a Certified Internet Marketer (CIM) certification program online for students. Students who complete the required coursework and pass their final exam become certified and a member of the IMA. The body also has free and premium membership options, but these do not include any type of certification.
Ready to show you’re an expert in a particular marketing or advertising platform? Get certified directly with some of the world’s biggest brands.
Google AdWords Certified Professional
Through the Google Partner’s Program, Google offers digital marketers the chance to become certified in all disciplines associated with their AdWords platform. Google AdWords certification shows that an individual has demonstrated proficiency in both basic and advanced aspects of AdWords and that Google recognises them as an expert in online advertising.
To become an AdWords Certified Professional, you must pass two exams; the AdWords Fundamentals exam and one of the following: Search Advertising, Display Advertising, Mobile Advertising, Video Advertising, or Shopping Advertising. You can also become certified in all or more than one AdWord discipline.
There is no registration cost for Google AdWords Certification Exams, and accreditation lasts for 12 months from the date of passing your exams.
Facebook Certified Professional
Facebook’s advertising learning portal, Facebook Blueprint, offers certification in both the buying and planning of Facebook Ads. Blueprint Certifications are designed for individuals with advanced-level competency in the Facebook Ads platform with badges awarded on completion of exams.
Blueprint also offers free eLearning courses to help prepare you for exams, as well as practice exams to try before you try the real thing. Facebook Certified Professional exams are free to take and requires ongoing testing to remain certified.
Google Analytics Individual Qualification
Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ), demonstrates that an individual has an advanced proficiency in the Google Analytics platform. Like the Google AdWords Certifications, the IQ exam is available on the Google Partner portal and consists of multiple-choice questions that must be answered within 90 minutes.
The IQ exam is free to take, with certification valid for 18 months. Google’s Analytics Academy also offers free online courses to help prepare you for the IQ exam.
Twitter Advertising Certification
Developed in partnership with Simplilearn and Twitter, the Twitter Advertising Certification is available through both Murphy College and Simplilearn. The certification course takes students through Twitter Ads best practice and does not require a final exam or ongoing accreditation.
Tips for getting certified
With so many courses and certificates available, it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. To help cut through all the noise and get the certificates you need, simply follow these steps.
Find your niche
Sometimes it’s better to be a master of one specialty than a jack of all trades or badge collector. By focusing and becoming an expert in one discipline or platform you can really differentiate yourself as a specialist and thought leader.
Don’t just try to pass exams
Yes, it’s important to pass exams, but it’s also just as important to learn the theory behind the exams. Use your learning to become an expert, not just rote learn concepts and keywords. And as tempting as it can be, don’t cheat your exams by Googling answers, if you don’t know the answer in the exam, chances are you won’t know it when it comes up in your professional life.
Take a course
Every certification has associated courses through the certifying body or private providers. To really take a deep dive into the topic, take all the courses you can and really become an expert. Not only will it help you breeze through the exams, you’ll also find nuggets of knowledge you’ll be able to apply in your work.
Just because you pass your exam doesn’t mean the learning is over. Many certifications require reaccreditation or demonstration of professional development, so keep an eye out for courses that might interest you, read digital marketing blogs, listen to podcasts, and watch YouTube channels. Once you’re on the cutting edge of the industry, you don’t want to let your knowledge slip.
See how you can get certified