With the rise of the Internet came a shift in advertising from traditional mediums like print media, billboards, and TV towards online mediums such as banner advertising, pay-per-click ads and search engine optimisation. An entirely new market was created and in the space of a decade it has become one of the fastest growing and most pervasive factors in each of our daily lives.

While traditionally high-school graduates studied an undergraduate degree in business or commerce before moving into advertising or marketing careers, a new breed of online entrepreneurs are learning about online marketing in their own time, outside of university, and building a name for themselves in this relatively new industry. With limited regulation and the potential to make very healthy salaries if you are good at it, the online marketing industry has been luring in university graduates and high-school students alike, any of who can make a name for themselves if they are driven to achieve.

A plethora of online and TAFE courses have sprung up, offering education in web design, running an e-commerce store, SEO and digital media marketing, social media marketing, and pay-per-click advertising amongst others. If you are interested in a career in digital marketing or even thinking about learning about it as a hobby, there is no limit to the possible choices in which to focus upon.

For those of us who aren’t interested in attaining a legitimate certification, there is even a huge amount of options when it comes to free online courses. If you’re just interested in learning, than having a go at some of the free online education modules available may be the best way to go. This is also a great idea if you are unsure of what areas of online marketing you wish to specialise in. Some things to think about to help you decide what area might interest you the most are:

  • Which (if any) facets of marketing will help you and your family/friends currently?
  • Are there area of digital marketing you are already familiar with and enjoy doing?
  • Are their significant employment opportunities in your favoured marketing area?
  • What is your ultimate goal after education?

All of the above questions may help you decide which areas of digital marketing are most suited to you. If you still cannot decide, it might be best to try your hand at a few free online courses until a particular area jumps out at you. You may even find you enjoy learning about all facets of it and decide to become a jack-of-all-trades. Below we will go into a bit more detail about several particular industries to give you a better idea about each of them.

Search Engine Optimsation (SEO)

The rise of SEO was brought about following the rise of Google as the world’s most popular search engine. Webmasters and marketers realized that they were able to manipulate organic rankings by making certain changes to their websites and building links to it from other websites. While this is a really basic view of SEO and one that has been superseded by the plethora of search engine algorithm updates that are being constantly released, it gives an idea of what SEO involves. Essentially websites need to be tailored to communicate effectively with search engines, which gives the engines a realistic idea of which keywords the website should be listed for in their organic section (this is the non-pay-per-click section of any search engine page, where webmasters do not pay a fee for each user who clicks through to their website). While Search Page of GoogleSEO is now extremely broad in its scope compared to when it first came on the scene, it is one of the best known areas of online marketing and one you will almost always be able to find a job in if you are successful in being able to help push websites to the top of the organic rankings.

Some notable, highly-successful SEO companies are BrisDigital (Brisbane, Australia), Firstpage (Hong Kong, China) and Mainstreethost (New York, USA). If you are interested in learning more about SEO, it might pay to follow the blogs of some of these companies to get some really up to date knowledge in the field. Beginners can also find a lot of great information in this Beginner’s guide to SEO.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

With the advent of social media: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus et al., came the rise in the number of potential way to monetizing accounts. This desire to create cash-flow has spawned the next generation of Internet marketers. Whether you need somebody to run your Google Plus and Twitter accounts for you, design and optimise your Facebook advertising campaigns, or write content to post on your blog and share across all of your social media platforms; you can be sure there is somebody out the who does exactly what you’re after. Most of us here at Shape Your World are actually sick of being spammed by SEO and social media marketing companies touting for new work everyday. Alas, long gone are the days when email spam was simply about porn and Viagra.

Because social platforms are only just coming of age, a lot of savvy, young entrepreneurs have focused on developing their marketing skills utilizing these platforms and are building a name for themselves and their “start-ups” while the industry is still in its infancy. Due to it relatively young age, you’ll be hard pressed to find a university degree with any real depth about social media marketing, and if this is an area that interests you, we would recommend doing some up-to-date online courses in SMM, or getting practical first-hand knowledge from professionals already carving out their niche in the industry.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

The last area of online marketing we’re going to review today is pay-per-click advertising, commonly known as PPC. PPC is a growing advertising medium as more and more businesses move into the online arena and fight to be found amongst their competitors. Essentially, search engines decide when an ad is relevant to their search traffic and show the ads to relevant, targeted potential customers. This form of advertising can be extremely effective as campaigns such as Google AdWords can be highly refined and developed using statistical data and feedback to ensure the correct and most profitable demographics are being targeted.

PPC can also cost advertisers large sums of money if ads and their targeting are not set up correctly. This problem created a whole new category of online marketers, those who help set up and manage PPC campaigns for clients. Known as PPC Management or in the case of Google where most PPC takes place (especially in Australia), Google AdWords Management; this area has become huge sector for online marketers and their businesses. There are many highly skilled PPC and Google AdWords Managers in Australia, however one Brisbane company we keep hearing about is Ads on Google. Their AdWords Management team have built a strong reputation for saving their clients thousands of dollars through well managed campaigns.

Unfortunately that’s all we have time for today. If you’d like more information on any of the aforementioned digital marketing topics, do some research online and educate yourself. Alternatively, if you have specific questions you’d like to ask us, shoot the Shape Your World team an email and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.