How to Upskill Yourself in Digital Marketing
We’ve increasingly seen charities embracing online events, trialling innovative methods of working, and exploring new social media opportunities. So what can you do as a candidate to upskill yourself in digital marketing and show that you’re up to speed with the latest digital trends?
Digital transformation in the charity sector
Over the past few years, digital has dominated in most areas of the charity sector. For example, fundraisers used to be more specifically focused on face-to-face interactions and managing physical events. But digital events are continuing to prove successful by increasing accessibility, online exposure and interaction. This means that charities now expect candidates to be familiar with things like remote event platforms, webpage creation and user experience.
Whether you work in fundraising, marketing, sales or operations, there are many ways to make sure you’re keeping up with the sector’s digital transformation and upskill yourself in digital marketing.
1. Content and SEO
Digital content includes anything you publish online. Powerful content is underpinned by an SEO strategy. Without this, a charity’s digital efforts may reach a limited audience. When you produce online content, it should be high quality, search engine-friendly and helpful to the user. Search engines rank content based on many factors, such as clarity, usefulness and complexity. When content fulfils these criteria, it’ll be easier for users to find.
To dive into the intricacies of content planning, content creation, and SEO, it’s worth attending training courses such as HubSpot Academy or the Government’s Skills Toolkit. If you’re looking to build on existing skills, you could attend digital marketing conferences such as Brighton SEO or Learn Inbound.
2. Building webpages
Webpages are the individual pages that make up a website. One type that fundraisers might use are landing pages. These are used to direct users to a selected message, such as a particular event or service offer. They enable you to keep this information focused and self-contained.
Webpages can be created in minimal time using simple tools such as WordPress, Wix and Mailchimp. They can be set up to track referred traffic from the likes of social media or a dedicated marketing campaign.
UX, short for ‘user experience,’ refers to all the interactions that a visitor has with a website. Good UX design makes a user’s journeys smooth, enjoyable and frustration-free. Just as importantly, it also means they’re likely to keep returning. You may already have a UX Designer at your charity, but it’s always useful to know the basics of UX yourself, particularly if you work in marketing or sales. There are several UX tools which offer free courses that you might like to try, including Figma and Coursera.
4. Social media
Social media is an easy way for charities to raise awareness for a minimal cost, or for free. ‘Organic’ social media involves providing free content. ‘Paid’ social media involves investing a small cost to roll out a marketing strategy and sponsored messages.
Most charities will have a presence on at least Twitter/X, Instagram and Facebook, so it’s worth making sure you know how to use these effectively for marketing. It can also help to be comfortable producing content via channels like YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, TikTok and Twitch.
So where to start? It’s worth taking a look at Facebook’s specific advice for charities. Meta Blueprint is a training system developed by Meta (which owns Facebook and Instagram) that offers courses and training programmes for free. This could be a great place to start with training if you’re looking to upskill yourself in digital marketing. You can train in a variety of digital marketing skills such as community management and creating ads. To become ‘certified’ on Meta for different skills, you can take an exam at the end of each course.
The LinkedIn Learning hub hosts thousands of courses of varying lengths, many of which are focused on marketing. They also have a pricing option aimed at non-profits, so you can upskill yourself in digital marketing without blowing your charity’s budget.
And there are many free social media training platforms to aid you throughout your journey, such as Hootsuite Academy and HubSpot Academy. If you have a Charity Digital subscription, you get access to their archive of webinars. These cover different topics, trends and insights in digital marketing and fundraising in the charity sector.
5. Google Analytics and Ads
Google Analytics and Google Ads are among the most important digital marketing tools. Google Analytics tracks website traffic and provides rich, real-time data analysing the online behaviour of your site users and return on investment. This can be linked to multiple domains and your own social media platforms. You get rich, in-depth data on organic traffic, returning users, session length and website referrals, to name a few.
Google Ads is Google’s chief advertising platform for users looking to advertise on Google, mobile apps, and videos. When combined with Google Analytics data, you can take a calculated approach to directly target your audience. The beauty of Google Ads is that it’s globally accessible, self-managed and the pricing structure is transparent.
There are several free Analytics courses which you could consider if you’re looking to upskill yourself in this area of digital marketing. The most renowned is Analytics Academy which offers free, online learning on Google Analytics and other data analysis tools. You can use Analytics Academy to prepare for the Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) exam—an industry recognized qualification. If you’re looking to learn more about Google Ads, Google Digital Garage is a good place to start.
It’s all about developing the right digital skills to suit your role and level of experience. So think about where you’d like your career to take you next, then look at the digital avenues that’ll help you achieve this. Good luck!
Still looking for your next digital marketing charity role? Take a look at what’s currently available on CharityJob. You never know, you could find your next dream job!
This post was originally published in 2021. We’ve updated it to ensure relevance and to reflect the current job seeker experience.