Lessons Learned from a Digital Marketing Internship: RM101: Week 16

After four months here at Honeypot Marketing, I’m pleased to say that I’ve learned a lot. Notably, I’ve learned more about digital marketing in these 16 weeks than in 2.5 years of my business degree, and I couldn’t be happier with my choice to work here at Honeypot.

While I could review all of the practical things I’ve learned, that would take a while. Instead, I’m going to review some overarching lessons that I’ve learned while working for a digital marketing agency. This post is for students interested in a career in digital marketing.

Yes, technical teachings are important, but they’re Google-able (you can look up how to run Facebook ads very easily). Less talked about are the macro-level takeaways, which I consider just as important. Let’s dive right in.

You Don't Know What You Don't Know

Those of you who haven’t heard this saying before likely think I’ve lost it. Hear me out.

This statement refers to the fact that sometimes you aren’t aware of the things that you don’t know. For example, if you don’t know what SEO is because you’ve never heard of it, then you wouldn't even realize you're missing out on a huge source of website traffic. You would never think to ask about it, and therefore might never learn about it.

Ignorance is bliss because if you don’t realize what you don’t know, then you might think you know everything. This is referred to as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

photo of an employee ignoring other employees and smiling in an office

Ignorance is not bliss. Try and discover what you don't know.

Ignorance is also toxic for those aiming to become successful in a field like marketing because those who are ignorant simply fall behind. You should constantly seek out things things you don’t know in order to broaden your skills.

My advice to interns would be to shadow others because they could expose you to strategies and tools you didn't even realize you were missing in your life.

Test Everything

Throughout my personal ventures and work projects, I’ve learned that regardless of how much you think you know about a niche or target audience, you’d be surprised at what works and what doesn’t. Even some of the most experienced marketers have a hard time predicting what will resonate best with an audience.

Therefore, unless you have already tested something thoroughly, don’t rule anything out. Sometimes the advertisements or graphics that receive the best responses are not the ones that you’d expect.

a/b testing within digital marketing for advertisements to maximize return

Here's the basic A/B test process.

Whenever you are given the opportunity to A/B test something, take advantage of it. Even a test between aggressive copy and laid-back copy can make a difference. Little changes like this can turn a mediocre campaign into a massive success.

You Shouldn't Specialize (any time soon)

As much as you might like creating content or running ads, you cannot be great at one facet of digital marketing without having knowledge of its other parts.

For example, if you’re really interested in blogging, you simply must become familiar with SEO in order to become successful. If you want to specialize in running Facebook ads, you’ve got to have strong copywriting skills.

Everything in digital marketing is so deeply intertwined that it’s critical to have a base knowledge of everything before you specialize in one thing. Furthermore, honing each of your skills on a regular basis will speed up your growth (and career advancement) more than mastering one skill before moving on to another.

studious student studying in the dark with laptop, likely working on digital marketing

Experience is Everything

There are numerous tips and tricks that I’ve learned throughout my work term that never previously occurred to me. Like I alluded to in my first point, some things simply have to be learned through experience.

You can do all of the studying and preparation in the word and still end up running into roadblocks or learning unexpected things when you actually do something. Regardless of their nature, these lessons through experience should be more than welcome.

Although it’s important to ask questions and do your due diligence, you don’t want to get stuck in analysis paralysis. Just go for it. Take action, and you’ll learn plenty along the way.

Experience > School

Gary Vaynerchuk (a genius marketer who we admire here at Honeypot) has said that he believes there are no colleges or universities currently teaching digital marketing perfectly.

Coming from someone who’s estimated worth is $160 million thanks to his marketing talents, this statement should not be taken lightly.

I readily support that statement, considering I learned more about digital marketing in my first month here at Honeypot than I have in years of university. It's also worth noting that I was selected here because of my personal ventures in influencer marketing and eCommerce rather than my education.

young professional employees listening to boss teach digital marketing

Therefore, for those of you who are looking to start a career in digital marketing, the most important thing you should be focusing on is experience. Join a marketing club, start a business, or shadow marketers. Even just start a website for practice. Obtaining experience is the quickest way to learn digital marketing, and it's also the most effective way to differentiate yourself from others competing for the same jobs.

If you’d like to further your knowledge of digital marketing, (who am I kidding? Of course you would) then check out the Intern Hub for tons free learning resources.

Happy marketing!

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