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From the Blog

In the ever changing world of digital marketing, it’s all too easy to slip up from time to time. Whether taking on the wrong role in your career or using an outdated marketing solution for your client, however, it doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. If you have a time machine, we suggest you take a little trip back a decade or so. Does anyone remember Netscape? Do you recall waiting for your telephone line to connect to the internet? Remember when slow speeds meant you had to wait a week for a music track to download onto your computer.   We’re so used to the here and now that we forget it wasn’t always so great. No one is more aware of how the digital landscape has changed in the last few years than marketers. 7 or 8 years ago, copywriters were working hard to produce as many inbound links to their businesses as possible through spam blogging. There were marketing managers who thought keyword stuffing was the Holy Grail for getting to the top of the rankings. Both of these practices are now seen as big no-no’s in the world of SEO. If you think the digital landscape we see today is going to be the same in five years’ time, you’ve learned nothing from the past. Because of that, and because of good old fashioned human fallibility, marketers are almost always making mistakes. Maybe you just produced an email marketing campaign for a customer and it’s fallen flat on its face. Perhaps that PPC campaign wasted more money than you expected. Perhaps your old fashioned approach to SEO requires a wakeup call. You’re probably not the only one to get it wrong. The rules change so fast in the world of marketing, it can mean your tried and tested methods may suddenly lack the penetration you are looking for without any warning.   Here are just a few ways to make sure you stay ahead of the game: Be Critical of Your Own Performance Once you get into the swing of a job it can be pretty easy to settle into the routine. That can mean, however, you also get a little lazy. Stepping back and reviewing your performance, even if you don’t have a digital marketing manager hanging over your shoulder, is a good practice to get into. Did you give your client 100%? Could the results of your digital marketing efforts been improved in some way? Are you lacking a bit of knowledge or skill that might make the difference between an OK ROI and a brilliant one? Have things moved on? Is there something important that you should be adding to your marketing provision? Being critical isn’t about being negative. It’s about having the self-analytical tools with respect to your performance that helps keep you at the top of your game.   Learn From Your Mistakes As we said, if you make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world. Some people look at it as some kind of catastrophe, others see it as a learning opportunity. Try to be in the latter group. If you’re working for a small marketing company, you might want to seek some feedback and talk about what went wrong with your colleagues. A bigger company may offer online and other learning tools that you will be able to access and use to improve your performance. Most managers accept that mistakes get made. It’s what you do afterwards that counts. As Bill Gates once said: “It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”   Keeping Your Digital Skills Up To Date One of the main reasons that mistakes get made in the first place is because people don’t keep their skills and knowledge up to date. In some cases, this comes down to plain laziness. But many of us in the digital marketing industry simply find we’re too busy. No sooner have we completed one bit of marketing copy or rolled out a campaign the next job comes flying along.   But is this a good enough excuse? What you need to do is make time in your day to catch up on things. It’s easy enough to do and most of it’s free and available online. Our advice is to sign up to any social media or digital marketing site or guru who will help keep you informed. There are plenty out there and all you have to do is subscribe to the site to receive updates right to your phone. Set aside a few moments (perhaps while on the way to work or during your lunchbreak) to have a read through some articles and watch videos about your subject area. Here are just a few good sites you can plug yourself into right now: The Moz Blog : If you only have one site you subscribe to, this should be the one. It includes articles by the top influencers in SEO and inbound marketing. Kissmetrics : For anyone who wants to understand analytics and metrics better, the blog for this site produces a whole host of interesting, current articles. Unbounce : Building those marketing campaigns can be a big challenge and helping your clients stand out from the competition is fraught with difficulty. This blog gives you plenty of info on how to nail your next campaign. Convince and Convert : This site includes everything you want to know about social media, influencer marketing and customer experience, all rolled into one. Most of the blogs are short and having a quick read through will give you plenty of ideas but also ensure your knowledge remains current in the fast changing marketing environment.   Accepting You’ll Make Mistakes Finally, we can all be shy when it comes to making mistakes. We all make them but not fessing up (at least to yourself) should not be an option. If you’re heading out for an interview soon, understanding your weaknesses and the mistakes you have made in the past is important. It also allows you to show that you have a critical mindset and are willing to put in the processes and implement solutions that improve your performance. This attitude of being more positive about failure will contribute to driving your career forward. If we don’t admit our mistakes and learn by them, we tend to repeat those errors. So, the next time you get it wrong, make a conscious effort to be self-critical and use that power to improve your performance. Make it a habit and you’ll soon find that it has huge benefits not only to your current job but your future digital marketing career .
There’s no doubt that working in digital marketing can be highly rewarding and lucrative. There is a big demand for skilled employees and the potential to find jobs anywhere in the world. If you’re looking to get some response out of the top marketing agencies, however, you’re going to require a mix of hard and soft skills to get noticed. Being successful is not just about creativity. You need to have sound digital marketing experience and qualifications as well as the ability to handle at least three or four different balls in the air at one time. Here’s our quick rundown of skills and qualifications that are going to make you a standout candidate for the top people at the moment:   1. How to Solve a Problem Every job has it’s problems but none are as fluid and dynamic as in the area of marketing. You need to be able to grab customer attention and get them to respond. All that takes both creativity and flair. Thinking out of the box may have become a bit of a cliché but it’s still important in industries like digital marketing. If you’re good at problem-solving, you have a head start over the rest of the competition. Make sure you can identify areas in your career so far where this has been demonstrated and don’t shy away from blowing your own trumpet. The top agencies love a creative problem solver.   2. It’s About Teamwork Most top agencies aren’t about one or two individuals. They’re about closely knit teams that know how to work well with each other. They celebrate each other’s successes and work hard together to overcome obstacles. To be effective, you need to understand where all the pieces fit in an organisation and that means learning beyond your own particular skill or qualification.   3. Motivated Learning Gaining the skills and knowledge to be an effective digital marketer isn’t just about taking a few online courses. If you’ve been in the industry any length of time, you’ll know how quickly things can change. The top agencies are looking for employees who are motivated at developing their own careers and, if you can demonstrate your commitment, all the better.   4. Campaigning On Social Media It’s been pretty big for a while and there’s no sign of it letting up. Social media engagement is part of the lifeblood of many businesses nowadays. We’re not talking about the odd post here and there but having a complete understanding of how to leverage that social landscape and reach out to new and existing customers. It’s something that many people profess to be good at. Very few are exceptional. If you are good and can demonstrate it, you’re way ahead of the game and a big draw for the top agencies.   5. Be Strong on Metrics One other area where top agencies are crying out for top performers is analytics. It’s the backbone of all marketing campaigns and if you have a strong understanding of metrics you’ll be very popular indeed. That doesn’t mean you have to forego being creative. The big part of successful analytics is not about collating data and producing reports, it’s knowing how to interpret that information and how to leverage it the best. If a business is looking for anything, it’s going to be a marketing professional who is able to assess and implement strategies based on the data. While one person can look a list of numbers or a graph and just see the basics, the experience digital marketer is able to identify hot spots and important areas of interest where changes can be made to improve sales and engagement.   6. Great Marketing Managers Bringing all the diverse aspects of digital marketing together so that they deliver a powerful campaign is difficult. Great managers have a mix of skill, good communication and foresight that is in short supply across the industry. Again, it’s more than just implementing the same tired old strategies. No one business is the same as another and being able to adapt and bring the marketing team together on a coherent strategy is vital. If you can demonstrate that you are able to motivate, engage and deliver with a team of talented individuals, you will be seen as a highly valuable asset when it comes to the top marketing agencies.   7. Be Great at Content Management We’re not just talking about blog posts and the odd web landing page here. Content management covers all aspects of digital media include written, video, whitepapers and infographics. The story you tell in these mediums is vital in creating brand awareness, selling products and helping to grow a business. You need to understand instinctively how one bit of content is going to impact on another. You’ll also be focused on how to repurpose existing content and the power that can have. If you are a digital marketer who is focused on multi-media, then you are an asset to any company because you can see the bigger picture and help bring it all together.   8. It’s Not All About Facebook…But… Most top agencies understand the power of Facebook. With billions of active users, it’s the leading focus when it comes to pay per click campaign marketing. Any digital marketer who has a specialist skill in creating cutting edge campaigns on the platform is an asset. If you want to stand out, consider taking a closer look at Facebook Insights to start with and building your skills and knowledge in this area.   9. Creative Leadership While there are plenty off-the-shelf solutions for businesses nowadays, the top agencies are always looking for designers and coders who know their stuff and have a proven track record. If you want to get into these areas, you need to make yourself proficient in software like Photoshop and have a deeper understanding of HTML and CSS. Above all, you need to have that creative flair which means you see more and can do more than the guy next door.   The Next Step Whether you fit into some or even none of the above categories, the first place you need to start is building your own skills list. Take an objective look at what you are missing and pick the areas that really motivate you to start expanding on your abilities. Make this an ongoing process and you’ll find that you soon possess the skills and abilities that top marketing agencies are really looking for. Not only that, you’ll be way ahead of the other applicants for the big marketing job.  
Anyone who has been involved in digital marketing for the last ten to fifteen years will know there have been some pretty seismic changes. It seems we’ve only got used to one platform when another one comes along. Google changes their algorithms and suddenly our sites are no longer ranking. New tech for measuring performance puts our competitors at a better advantage. Not only has the digital landscape changed but customers are savvy, demanding more bang for their bucks. For the digital marketing professional it’s a constant challenge. One of the biggest problems is how to keep your skill set on track to meet future client and employee demands. There is a digital skills shortage in the UK at the moment and it’s costing the UK economy more than £2 billion a year , a figure that’s set to rise over the next decade. If you want to make yourself more professionally desirable, therefore, building on your existing skills is vital. It can also be quite daunting. Which skills are best? Where can you learn them? How much is it going to cost? What do employers really want?   1. Find Out What’s Missing The first step in deciding what new skills you need is to carry out an audit of what you already have. If you’re in a role at the moment, you may want to make a list of what it is you currently do exactly. Perhaps you’re planning to apply for a job. Taking a look at the spec to see what skills are required can be quite enlightening. Does it match your current abilities and skills? The trick here is to find out what you have and how it works for your business or future employers. More now than ever, job applicants in the digital sector need to demonstrate what they’ve done to keep their skills up to date in a constantly changing environment. It may help to get a third party to take a closer look at your digital skills set and make suggestions about what you are missing. Platforms like LinkedIn are great for reaching out to expertise that may not be available in your local area. You might want to employ a digital marketing coach for a short while to work with you in improving those desirable skills. Whatever you do, it’s important to have a clear idea of where your skill set rates at the moment and equally imperative you understand where the shortfalls are. You should, however, bear one thing in mind – as human beings we tend to overestimate our abilities and its important to be brutally honest with yourself.   2. Stay Current When you’re working hard and trying to meet your targets, it can be hard to keep up to date with the latest changes in digital marketing. Sometimes all you want to do is sit down and relax with a glass of wine and forget about all things social media, landing page and pay per click advertising. It’s easy to get into bad habits which is how so many of us end up with a skills shortage in the first place. Put aside at least some time each week to check what’s hot and what’s not in digital marketing so that you remain as current as possible. You can use RSS feeds and subscribe to digital marketing platforms to send you automatic emails or notifications. You might also like to keep a look out for webinars by industry experts or even new eBook releases on sites like Amazon. However you do it, understanding a market that is often in flux and changing rapidly is vital if you want to ensure your digital skills set remains relevant in today’s market.   3. Practice vs Theory One issue you may have at work is that a new strategy or marketing tool might come along but you don’t have an opportunity to use it. This can be frustrating and it may also be a key factor in you not bothering to engage with it at all. When it comes to new things, you should always be looking at ways to introduce the relevant tools into your daily practice. This doesn’t always have to be at work. If you have a project at home, then practicing these new skills with that might be all you need. The trouble is that we can have lots of theory clogging up our brains. Unless you combine it with hard practice, however, you’re probably not going to learn all you need to. There are a few ways to do it at work, of course. You could ask your boss to let you get involved in a new marketing initiative if it means you are likely to learn new things. A lot will depend on your manager and the makeup of your team but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pester and make a nuisance of yourself. Persistence can pay off.   4. Formal Training The other important step is to take charge of your own continuing professional development or CPD. Going on new courses and getting various certificates provides you with strong evidence to put on your CV that you’re a person who likes to learn new things. Most new employers will be looking for digital marketing professionals who are keen to take charge of their own learning and stay current.   5. Don’t Drift Finally, doing nothing shouldn’t be an option. If you want to be relevant in your career, it’s up to you to address any skills shortage you may have. While you can learn a lot online and from various free sites, undertaking some additional formal training plants smaller markers for your future career success. The vast majority of businesses, from SMEs to the big corporations, know how important the digital environment is for their own personal success. Taking a closer look at your digital skills set is vital if you want to appeal to more companies, give yourself greater opportunities and stay ahead of the competition when it’s time to apply for new jobs. There’s no doubt that digital skills shortage is a big issue in many countries. According to the Open University it’s actually reaching crisis levels. If you work in digital marketing , however, this is also a great opportunity to boost your employability and your reputation within the industry. Addressing any skills shortage, in fact, could ensure you’re ahead of the competition when you apply for that next big job. All you need to do is take control.
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