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If I could start over today and learn digital marketing from scratch, there are several key things I would do differently. With over 6 years of experience in the industry, I’ve made plenty of mistakes that have cost me valuable time and money.

In this blog post, I’ll share how I would strategically start learning digital marketing in 2024 as a complete beginner. I’ll cover:

  • Choosing a focus area
  • Learning fundamentals
  • Gaining hands-on experience
  • Networking
  • Avoiding common mistakes

Let’s dive in! 

Guide to Start Learn Digital Marketing from Scratch

Choosing a Focus Area

The first thing I would do differently is choose just one area of digital marketing to focus on, instead of trying to learn everything at once.

Digital marketing is vast, covering areas like:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Pay-per-click (PPC)
  • Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Web Analytics

It’s simply not possible to become highly skilled in all of these areas simultaneously as a beginner. I made this mistake early on and wasted time trying to learn everything at once.

Instead, I would choose one area that aligns with my interests and career goals. For example, if I wanted to learn how to drive traffic from search engines, I would focus solely on SEO at first.

Once I become an expert in one area, I could gradually expand into complementary disciplines. But starting with a single focus provides the best return on time invested as a beginner.

Learning the Fundamentals

After choosing a focus area, I would learn the fundamentals thoroughly before trying to master specialized tactics.

For example, if I chose SEO, I would start by learning:

  • How search engines like Google work
  • The basics of on-page optimization
  • Technical website setup for SEO
  • Keyword research
  • Content creation
  • Link building

I would spend time-consuming educational content like online courses and books to create a solid foundation of SEO knowledge.

In the past, I was too eager to learn advanced tactics before having a solid grasp of the basics. By focusing on fundamentals first, I could avoid many common beginner mistakes.

Gaining Hands-On Experience

Once I have a basic understanding, I will start gaining hands-on experience as soon as possible. The fastest way to cement new knowledge is by practicing it yourself.

Ideally, I would:

  • Build a website or blog in my focus area to practice.
  • Get an internship or entry-level job at a digital marketing agency to work on real client projects.
  • Offer to help manage digital marketing for a friend’s small business for free.

Real-world experience, even unpaid at first, is invaluable compared to passive learning. I would focus on repeatedly practicing fundamentals like keyword research and content optimization on these early projects.

Focusing on fundamentals will pay off exponentially compared to jumping straight into advanced tactics as a beginner.

Networking in the Industry

Another thing I would do is actively network and connect with others in the digital marketing space. I made the mistake early on of learning in isolation.

Joining industry associations, going to local meetups, attending conferences, and connecting online would allow me to:

  • Get mentorship and advice from more experienced marketers.
  • Find partners to collaborate with on projects.
  • Stay on top of the latest industry news and innovations.

Connections are invaluable for learning. Had I networked earlier in my career, I could have advanced much faster with help from experts.

Read Also: Starting A Career In Digital Marketing in Detail 

Avoiding Common Mistakes

As a beginner, I would be vigilant about avoiding common mistakes that can seriously hinder progress:

  • Taking shortcuts: Things like buying fake social media followers or plagiarizing content might show quick gains, but can seriously damage your brand and skills in the long run. I would have avoided shortcuts like paid link networks that ultimately hurt my sites.
  • Ignoring the fundamentals: Jumping into advanced tactics too quickly leads to bad habits and knowledge gaps. I would stick to the basics, however “boring” they seem initially.
  • Constantly learning without implementing: It’s easy to get stuck consuming content without ever practicing it yourself. I would set goals to spend adequate time experimenting with new skills, not just reading about them.
  • Expecting instant results: Digital marketing takes patience and persistence. I would set realistic expectations for how long it takes to see results as a beginner. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
  • Learning in isolation: Marketing is a collaborative field. I would actively network to avoid trying to figure everything out alone through trial and error.

By carefully avoiding these pitfalls, I could develop competency much faster compared to my first unsuccessful attempts at learning digital marketing.

Final Thoughts

Learning digital marketing in 2024 as a complete beginner is an exciting endeavor full of opportunities. I hope these tips based on my past mistakes are useful for structuring your approach in the most effective way possible.

The key is to start with focus, master the fundamentals, gain hands-on experience, connect with others, and avoid common beginner missteps. Digital marketing is constantly evolving, so be flexible and open to learning new things throughout your career.

Stay passionate, work hard, don’t give up when you face obstacles, and you’ll be on your way to success and excellence in the digital space!

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