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How to get into Digital Marketing without Higher Education

Digital marketing is a relatively new way of marketing, where companies focus their marketing efforts online instead of the traditional ways such as newspapers, tv, radio etc. But just like with traditional marketing, you don’t need to have been through higher education to get a job as a digital marketer. We’ve created this guide to help show you the options you have if higher education isn’t for you.

The main ways to get into digital marketing without going to university is through apprenticeships, work experience, blogging and/or creating digital marketing strategies for your current place of work.

Doing an apprenticeship means that you’ll be working alongside experienced marketers whilst conducting on the job learning. This may mean attending a college or taking part in that work place’s official training. It’s a great opportunity for young people to gain a foothold in the marketing industry as you usually only need to have passed your GCSE’s to become an apprentice. A workplace offering an apprenticeship will also be prepared to nurture you through your career and have training in place for you. However, this option is not viable for some people as the minimum wage for an apprentice is £4.15 – £8.72 (depending on age). This is not enough to support some people and so they may need to look for other avenues.

Another way we’ve seen people gain a foothold in the industry, it by making their own social media accounts about their hobbies/passions. For example, on Instagram, there are a multitude of ‘Bookstagram’ accounts which are essentially book blogs (we suggest you check these out for reference). By building a platform like a Bookstagram on social media and across multiple platforms, it shows employers that you already have a base understanding of social media marketing, know how to make engaging and professional looking content etc. You can use social media accounts like these as a portfolio whilst building your knowledge on the more technical aspects of marketing. The catch here though, is that it’s very labour intensive, there’s no guaranteed wage unless your platform goes viral and you’ll need to educate yourself.

There are many free online marketing courses which you can take alongside building a portfolio or apprenticeship. The one we’d recommend for beginners would be the ‘Fundamentals of Digital Marketing’ which is offered by Google. This course is 40 hours long and covers all of the basics of digital marketing such as:

  • Building an online presence
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Advertising and Analytics

You also receive a certificate of completion once you’ve finished which you can show potential employers. It has a great user rating and will also help you decide which area of digital marketing you’d like to specialise in.

As a final note, if you currently work in a small shop/business, you can ask the owner if they’ll let you work on their social media accounts/website. This will count towards your on the job marketing experience and will allow you to work alongside a ‘client’ building their marketing campaigns. One of the major benefits to this is that you’ll be doing it during work hours which means you’ll be paid for it as well as working alongside someone who possibly already has experience. 

Overall, there are many avenues into digital marketing and only one of those is having a degree. We hope this helps and has shown you that anyone can become a digital marketer!

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