Digital marketing is an ever-evolving industry that never stays stagnant for too long. Whether you decide to get a college degree and then learn more digital marketing details or jump straight into the industry as a young professional, there is always more to learn and new things to keep up with. However, once you leave school, it can be hard to know how to improve your skills. Thankfully, there are a range of ways to improve your skills regardless if you are working in the digital marketing industry or not. Use these tips and tricks to take your digital marketing skills to the next level and take control of your career path. 

Free Online Learning

Formal classes are seldom free, but there are ways you can learn new elements of digital marketing for free by browsing around online. Learning how to teach yourself is a skill in its own right, but start with known brands with the requisite credibility to teach you about a new industry. It can be all too easy to find sites that want to massively overcharge you for access to “classes.” Before you hand over any money for digital marketing training or classes, use up all the free resources you can. The Google Digital Garage includes 26 courses that are certified by the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe and Open University. These free Google classes are a great place to start, so you can get used to self-learning through online courses that may not have the best instructional design. There is also no ultimate all-knowing class, and some class information could be out of date a few weeks later, so accept that studying digital marketing is an on-going and never-ending process, but free online classes are an excellent way to stay current. 

Learn The Tools

Working in digital marketing doesn’t require you to keep all this knowledge in your head, as even the professionals use tools that make the entire process easier. Some of these industry tools require a paid plan to access, but most have free versions or trial offers so you can get familiar with the tools of the trade. Every company has different software and program preferences, but learning how to read Google Analytics, AHRefs, and other marketing programs will give you a leg up when you start working in marketing. It would help if you also learned general professional organization tools like AirTable, Asana, Canva, Evernote, Google Suite, and Slack. Even though those programs are not directly connected to marketing, many companies use organization software to manage marketing projects. If you are interested in digital marketing’s mobile side, learning about digital media marketing apps is a good idea. Buffer is a multi-media, multi-account scheduling app with included statistics for each post. Even if you don’t have anything to post or anything to track, exploring these standard tools means you have less to learn later. 

Stay In The Loop

Part of trying to enter a fast-moving industry is staying in the loop and up to date on industry-wide news, trends, and changes. Did Google update its algorithm? When do the changes go into effect, and what parts are being changed? Is there a new emerging AI technology that will change digital marketing soon? Look outside your normal sphere to learn more about digital marketing on a larger scale. Major news sources typically won’t cover digital marketing news unless it is worthy of a national headline. To find digital marketing news, you will need to find more specific and focused sources. Following the right people and companies on LinkedIn can fill your feed with news stories and updates, but you can also check reputable sites for industry blogs that can also be useful. 

Practice Your Goals

Like with any skill, practice makes perfect. Even if you don’t have a digital marketing job right now, practice making content as if you did. Invent a brand or pick one to do mock work for, so you can practice your marketing skills with real situations. If you want to be a content writer, practice writing content, and refine your style. If you want to be an analyst, put together decks and slides that break down data sets. These fake jobs might not pay anything, but they are a fantastic way to build your skills and portfolio. 

Digital marketing can feel like it encompasses everything, but it is possible to learn what you need to know and develop your skills without breaking the bank on expensive classes or a new degree. There are plenty of free online resources that can teach you the basics of digital marketing, so you can decide what aspect you are most interested in. Become familiar with the standard tools of the industry, even the more general professional organizational tools. Stay up to date with digital marketing news from reputable sources and put all your learning to work by practicing creating marketing materials.