How Would You Get Into Online Marketing?

I enjoy playing volleyball. Not BBQ, family reunion style but a relatively competitive style of play. A friend of mine who also plays sent me an email, asking how an “outsider” might be able to break into the marketing and/or advertising world.

The subject line of his email read: “You Spike Like a Girl”

It caught my attention; before I read who it was from or in what context the message was about, I wanted to open that message.

The first thing I would recommend for someone wanting to get in to the world of marketing and/or advertising is to catch people’s attention.

I’ve been taught that marketing is about understanding your target market’s interests and needs and providing something that satisfies those things. If you can catch someone’s attention, it’s the first step. From that point, if you can find a way to provide value (particularly at a premium), you’re probably doing a good job at marketing.

Online marketing is really no different, though the tools and tactics used for demonstrating value will be specific to the online space. Some of the ways I try to catch people’s attention include:

  • Writing good headlines, titles and email subject lines
  • Sharing content that I hope people find valuable
  • Actively participating in a variety of social media communities
  • Analyzing the type of content that resonates for particular keywords in search and putting together a plan of action (for my sites or for client sites) to outrank the competition

Obviously I’ll give him a more specific answer than this, but what would you tell this person? Besides the traditional educational requirements, if you were talking to an industry outsider, what recommendations would you make for getting into the world of online marketing and advertising?

Your thoughts and comments are certainly appreciated.


3 Responses to “How Would You Get Into Online Marketing?”

  1. CasieG on July 27th, 2009 4:28 pm

    I was lucky enough to “fall” into a search marketing job out of school but I feel like now there are so many groups and others interested in it that it makes it easier to get involved without it necessarily being your job.

    Check out SEO Meetups and SEMPO and just start going to some of these networking works. One thing I love about the search and online marketing community is everyone is so helpful and willing to exchange thoughts and ideas.

  2. Derek Edmond on July 27th, 2009 11:16 pm

    Totally agree about networking; it’s getting more crucial, especially for those looking to get into the industry. Thanks very much for the comment!

  3. Rebecca on August 26th, 2009 7:45 am

    I started out doing it in-house for a company I worked for. Since I was responsible for marketing generally, I naturally became responsible for marketing the website when the issue arose. By the time I was looking for work in search marketing, I had a record of successful experience to show.
    If your friend can’t get experience that way, he could probably get his feet wet working for an organization he believes in as a volunteer, or for himself with his own website.
    One of the great things about this field (aside from the helpful friendliness Casie so accurately mentions) is that you get numbers for your results, so you can show that you have the skills.