THE BLOG

3 Steps to Becoming a Digital Marketing Expert

06/21/2014 05:19 pm ET | Updated Aug 21, 2014

Mastering digital marketing for your business isn't rocket science. However, you'll get disheartened and quit if you look for shortcuts to become an expert without the necessary trials and tribulations. Consider this; I recently ate my favorite dish at my favorite restaurant. I asked the chef for his recipe. He told me the same thing he had for years:

"Try making it yourself, put your soul into it and in time yours will taste better than mine. If I can do it. You can do it."

Of course, I've never bothered to try and he happily takes my money every week. He knows most customers won't put their soul into being as good a cook as him and the ones that do probably become his competitors. The same rules apply to mastering digital marketing.

Below are three simple steps to become a digital marketing expert:

1 - Define it - People rarely get in a car or plane and go nowhere. You need to identify what area of digital marketing you specifically want to be good at. Make a list of things...could be to sell your product online, eliminate paperwork, be an online media buyer etc. Take this one step further and focus on an industry vertical (eg; hotels, car dealerships, entertainment etc). Once you define it (your destination) there are millions of ways to get there. I can take a plane, train or automobile to get to New York from Philadelphia, but I need to define the destination first.

2 - Endure - Becoming a digital marketing expert is a lesson in patience and persistence. People wonder how Michael Jordan got so good at basketball. Simple - he practiced a lot and failed more. The same applies to digital marketing. You'll need to practice, apply, regroup and retry. Avenues like inbound marketing, social selling, marketing automation, online advertising and mobile development are all capable of growing your business. Pay the price like MJ did - test everything to see what avenue works best. Missing hundreds of shots per day in order to make a few hundred of them per day is why MJ's a legend. The truth is most craft masters become that way after practice and persistence. They are going to get from New York to Philadelphia or die trying.

3 - Opportunity - Get buy-in from your superiors and customers to try new avenues. Start with a small budget of time, money and an open mind. Obviously, economics and good fortune can get you better opportunities, but not the ability to maximize output from them. Leverage whatever opportunities you've been blessed with -- the countless YouTube videos, certification programs, websites etc. The smartphone in your pocket carries the world's knowledge on it. Consider this, Beethoven was tone deaf and is still a better pianist than you are even though you may have modern technology, instructors and perfect ears. Two things Beethoven had that you don't is i) a hunger to become a great composer despite his physical limitations and ii) a professional composer of a father that could teach him for free. Mentors, public facilities and technology have made becoming an expert at digital marketing something a lot easier for someone willing to endure and put in the hard work.

The key to becoming an expert in digital marketing is to cash in on your opportunities through practice and persistence.

New York to Philadelphia is closer than you think.

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Sajeel Qureshi is the VP of Operations at Computan, a digital marketing and software company. Computan serves as the digital department for numerous businesses throughout the globe ranging from start-ups to multinationals.

He has a degree in Business Administration from St. Bonaventure University and MBA from Eastern Illinois University. Sajeel plays tennis well enough to convince the untrained eye that he knows what he is doing and poor enough that the trained eye submits him to a drug test.