How to Hire a Digital Marketer: 2023 Edition • Toggl Blog
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How to Hire a Digital Marketer in 2024

Post Author - Juste Semetaite Juste Semetaite Last Updated:

As the global market becomes increasingly more connected and competitive, the ability to tell persuasive stories is essential for every business. That’s why marketing skills are one of the most in-demand skills of 2024.

With Upwork noting that skills like search engine optimization, social media marketing, and lead generation are the most important digital marketing skills for businesses this year, if you don’t currently have a great digital marketing manager on your team, it’s time to get one.

However, marketing job demand is set to increase by 10% by 2026, meaning competition will be fierce if you want to snag top talent. So, it pays to know how to hire a digital marketer, including understanding what a digital marketer does, how much they cost, where to find them, and a step-by-step hiring guide.

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What is a digital marketer?

If someone tells you they’re a digital marketer, it can mean one of literally hundreds of things — digital marketing is a pretty massive industry these days.

In a general sense, though, a digital marketer is a person in charge of growing a company’s online presence through paid and free digital marketing channels. Simply put, their job is all about getting your brand in front of your target customers.

They drive engagement, generate leads, and increase brand awareness through tactics like social media marketing, SEO, email marketing, and content marketing. They’ll also set and track digital marketing KPIs to measure marketing performance.

🔥 It’s best not to ask a digital marketer to focus on all of these goals at once. Instead, set quarterly goals and give them time to build, adjust, and improve campaigns to target specific goals.

For many companies, successful marketing is fundamental to growth, success, and profitability. Given digital marketing is about ensuring customers find and engage with your brand, getting the right marketers on board is super important.

While we’ll focus on hiring in-house, digital marketers can also work freelance, as consultants, or as part of an external agency you outsource work to. While the hiring process might look slightly different depending on the type of contract you’ll have with them, you should still assess their skills the same.

Are you ready to hire a digital marketer?

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably wondering whether it’s the right time to hire a digital marketer. While they can help boost brand awareness by 80% and boost credibility and trust, not every team needs digital marketers (shh — don’t tell them we said that 🤫).

Not all brands have the product market fit to start launching marketing campaigns. Some don’t even understand their target audience. And, sure, hiring a digital marketer can help you figure out those details. But especially if it’s your first marketing hire, you need to balance cost vs. the value they deliver.

If you’re on the fence about whether to hire a digital marketer, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you need to build high exposure for the launch of your business/product/service?
  • Have you already got a solid sales process in place that needs more leads?
  • Do you already have established marketing channels that are becoming hard to manage?

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, the chances are you’re ready to hire a dedicated digital marketer.

The next key question to answer is: What type of digital marketer do I need?

Depending on your digital marketing setup, you’ll need to decide on a ‘jack of all trades’ or a specialist — such as SEO or social media manager. Generally, organizations start with a marketer who can do it all and then hire specialists for each discipline as the team grows.

How much does it cost to hire a digital marketer?

Salaries for a digital marketer vary depending on two things: specialty and experience. To provide you with some reference regarding averages, though, here are the estimated average salaries in the US, UK, and Australia for a general digital marketing manager.

Average Digital Marketer Salary 2024 — US (Source: BuiltIn)

  • Junior Salary: $45,000
  • Mid-Weight Salary: $87,000
  • Senior Salary: $175,000

Average Digital Marketer Salary 2024 — UK (Source: TotalJobs)

  • Junior Salary: £27,000
  • Mid-Weight Salary: £37,500
  • Senior Salary: £52,500

Average Digital Marketer Salary 2024 — Australia (Source: Talent)

  • Junior Salary: AUD $72,000
  • Mid-Weight Salary: AUD $90,000
  • Senior Salar: AUD $120,000

If you’re looking for a specialist marketing hire (e.g. Social Media Manager), it’s worth doing dedicated research into average salaries for that specialist role. And, especially for roles such as an ad Manager, consider incorporating performance-related bonuses based on sales targets.

If you only need help with smaller projects or tasks, it’s worth looking into hiring a freelancer. The hourly rate you pay them will likely be slightly higher than the hourly rate you’d pay a full-time employee, but you save costs in other areas and can scale up or down the project scope as needed.

In 2024, the average hourly rate for a freelance digital marketer is $25, according to Upwork, with more experienced marketers charging up to $45. You’ll have to pay much more for specialists, though — a great SEO specialist working as a contractor charges an average of about $70-150 in the US.

How to hire freelancers using skills tests
How to adapt your hiring process to hire freelance digital marketers.

Where to find great digital marketers

Most digital marketers are social animals and do a great job at building their reputation online. While we’ll take you through a step-by-step hiring guide later on, there are many ways to find great marketers.

If you want to build a network of great digital marketers outside of the job boards, try socializing in these places:

  • LinkedIn: This B2B social media platform is where many of the best marketers shine. Chances are you’ll naturally come across personal posts from great marketers who combine great storytelling with actionable value to drive the best engagement. LinkedIn also has a number of great marketing groups where you’ll be able to find great people.
  • Marketing Events: Whether you’re ready to hire a digital marketer now or just interested in the latest trends, we’d recommend checking out a few marketing events or attending virtual workshops. One of our favorites is run by the ‘State of Demand Gen‘ team.
  • Facebook Groups: Much like LinkedIn, Facebook is another great place to seek out some kickass marketers. With a focus on B2C strategies, whether you find a marketer organically or join a group, Facebook is a great place to build a solid marketeer network.
  • Marketing Forums: Marketers tend to hang out in dedicated marketing forums away from the traditional social media channels. If you want to find the best people talking about the latest marketing trends, check out this article for the best marketing forums in 2024.
Top tips to enlarge those brains Top tip:

As you browse these forums and groups, look for people who share actual results from past projects. Anybody can join a group and claim to be an expert or specialist — you want someone who has data to back up their claims and offers actionable, valuable tips so others can implement similar strategies.

What soft skills should a digital marketer have?

As we’ve discussed, marketers are typically “jack-of-all-trades” types.

You may come across the term “T-shaped marketer,” which describes someone who is a generalist but also has some deeper knowledge in one particular area. A “V-shaped marketer” is a bit more well-rounded, with deeper knowledge in a wider variety of marketing areas.

Regardless of the type of marketer you’re looking for or the proficiency level you need them to possess to help your marketing team succeed, you’ll need to look out for some or all of these skills when evaluating candidates.

1. Highly analytical

The biggest part of a digital marketer’s job is telling a story from the numbers. A digital marketer (or a digital marketing agency) should be good at finding the right numbers, interpreting them, and making strategies to improve their KPIs.

It helps to be an Excel or Google Sheets whizz, too, because they will need to work with sheets, regardless of their specialty.

2. Communication skills

A digital marketer is the face of your company (especially if you’re a small business or startup). They interact with your customers through the content they create, so they should be comfortable communicating through different mediums.

Moreover, they need to be comfortable initiating and sustaining partnerships with other marketers, business owners, contractors, and anyone else who can help them and the business perform better.

3. Creative

Anything digital evolves at lightning speed these days, making creativity an indispensable soft skill. A great digital marketer needs to think outside the box, constantly coming up with innovative ideas and strategies to engage audiences and stay ahead of the competition.

With the ever-evolving landscape of AI and consumer behavior, creativity enables marketers to develop unique campaigns, compelling content, and captivating visuals that resonate with their target audience.

4. Ability to multitask

Being able to manage and execute multiple tasks simultaneously allows digital marketers to stay organized, prioritize their workload, and effectively meet deadlines. This skill typically manifests itself in qualities such as organization, attention to detail, task delegation, and prioritization.

If you’re hiring a “jack-of-all-trades” digital marketer, this skill will ensure they’re able to handle various responsibilities, adapt to different projects, and maintain productivity in a dynamic environment.

Top tips to enlarge those brains Top tip:

You can easily assess a potential marketer’s ability to multitask by having them take a quick 15-minute time management skills test. It will test things like their ability to establish conscious processes and plan and organize their time.

Time management skills test

What technical skills should a digital marketer have?

While soft skills are essential, assessing technical or hard skills is equally important. Proficiency in tools and tactics such as SEO, analytics, content management systems, and data analysis enables marketers to effectively optimize campaigns, measure performance, and make data-driven decisions.

The combination of technical expertise and soft skills ensures a well-rounded digital marketer who can excel in this evolving field. Here are a few of the most in-demand technical marketing skills.

1. Writing skills

Even if their primary job doesn’t include writing copy, every digital marketer needs to have a talent for the written word. From writing social media captions to long-form SEO-optimized content for your blog and even internal emails, your digital marketer needs to be a great writer to do their job well.

2. SEO

Again, even if they’re not an SEO specialist, every digital marketer should have some knowledge of SEO basics. Some examples include how to do basic keyword research, keyword optimization, on-page ranking signals, and white-hat vs black-hat SEO. They should also have knowledge of at least one major SEO tool.

3. Lead generation

Lead generation is a vital hard skill for digital marketers as it directly impacts the success of their campaigns. When hiring a digital marketer, ensure they understand how to do things like target audiences, implement lead-capture tactics, and nurture prospects.

Top tips to enlarge those brains Top tip:

All digital marketers should possess a basic set of soft skills relevant to their roles. However, the technical skills they should have depend on their day-to-day work and objectives. In 2024, according to Upwork, some of the most in-demand hard skills for marketers include:

  • General Digital Marketing
  • Lead Generation
  • Sales & Business Development
  • Telemarketing
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Marketing Automation

How to hire a digital marketer: A step-by-step guide

Ready to hire a digital marketer and don’t want to sift through hundreds of applications on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr?

First, we recommend checking out our guide to creative sourcing strategies if you need some advice on finding great candidates. Once you’ve sourced top-tier digital marketers, use this step-by-step hiring guide to hire the best digital marketer for your team.

1. Screen candidates with a skills test

There’s no better way to start shortlisting candidates than by putting their skills to the test — literally. Skills assessment tests are quick and easy and will instantly help you identify top-tier talent within your shortlist (they also help reduce unconscious bias, ensuring you actually hire the best person for the job!).

You can create your own skills tests or use pre-made skills tests from one of the many skills assessment platforms on the market. At Toggl Hire, we’ve created a skills test for hiring a Digital Marketer that tests for four essential skills.

Like the sound of that? Check out the video below to see how it works! 👇

What does that look like for the candidate? Each candidate receives slightly different questions to reduce cheating and retests, but questions might include the following:

  • Create a caption for an image for social media.
  • Calculate the conversion rate of a web page.
  • Correctly answer a technical question about SEO.
  • Suggest keywords for a particular Google Ads campaign.
  • Update this website copy to eliminate errors.

If you’re a hiring manager without a technical marketing background, there’s no need to worry about actually grading these questions! All of our questions are submitted by experts and peer-reviewed, so you know they’re coming from other digital marketing experts with experience in the field.

2. Google them

After filtering out top candidates with skills tests, dive deeper into your shortlisted bunch of marketing candidates by Googling their names and seeing what comes up.

A really great online marketer should have a great online track record. If you Google them, you might see guest posts they’ve written, social media updates, their own website or blog, industry-recognized qualifications, or even podcast episodes where they’ve chatted about their experience and knowledge.

While this kind of research doesn’t always demonstrate someone’s ability to perform well on the job, it can help you get a feel for their past work and experience. You can use this alongside their skills test results to determine whether you’ll invite them to an interview!

3. Have them complete a paid test project

Incorporating a paid test project can be an effective way to evaluate candidates’ skills and suitability for the role. The general skills test shows they have the general skills needed to achieve results, but now you want to see how they apply those skills to your business, its audience, and issues.

So, ask them to complete a task related to the job to assess their practical abilities, creativity, problem-solving skills, and attention to detail.

Be careful with these kinds of tests, though. It’s important to pay candidates for their time and effort as it demonstrates respect for their skills and acknowledges the value they bring to the table. It’ll also help you attract serious candidates and ensure a fair evaluation process.

4. Ask to see results

Testimonials, reviews, and recommendations from past clients are powerful validators when hiring digital marketers. Check out what people have said about working with your candidates on their LinkedIn profile, or ask to see case studies from past projects.

5. Conduct a face-to-face interview

Once they’ve completed a skills test, you now have all the info you need to schedule a meeting and conduct a great interview. You can discuss the results of a candidate’s tests in the interview alongside getting to know them as a person.

Ask about past experiences and what they learned from them, their leadership style, situational judgment, and career ambitions. This is a great way to find out how your candidate thinks and whether they’ll fit into your company culture.

Ready to hire a great digital marketer?

Whether you’re hiring a full-time employee or a freelance digital marketer, assessing their skills is essential. Testing candidates for their digital marketing prowess ensures you’re bringing on board individuals who can deliver what really matters — results.

Ready to put your candidates to the test and hire a digital marketer who can conquer the digital landscape? Have them take our digital marketer skills test.

Skills testing is the future of hiring
Juste Semetaite

Juste loves investigating through writing. A copywriter by trade, she spent the last ten years in startups, telling stories and building marketing teams. She works at Toggl Hire and writes about how businesses can recruit really great people.

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