While digital marketing may seem glamorous from a distance, it comes with its own unique challenges.

From SEO to email marketing, it has a lot of moving parts that I’ve spent the last 10 years studying.

But, whether or not it is hard to get started depends on a few factors, including:

  • Your knowledge, skill, and experience
  • The niche or industry you work in
  • Competitiveness within your market
  • Your resources and available tools

In this post, we’ll tell you the factors that make digital marketing hard and how to overcome these challenges.

Let’s jump in.

Is Digital Marketing Hard?

There’s no one-word answer to the question “Is digital marketing hard”; digital marketing is hard if you don’t have the right knowledge, skills, and experience.

When you do get it all together, you can confidently implement the kinds of strategies that generate your desired ROI relatively consistently month over month. It takes a lot of studying, but don’t get discouraged about that.

The good news is learning digital marketing isn’t hard if you take it in small chunks. I recommend spending about an hour each day learning to avoid burn-out. But then after you learn, you have to put things into practice. Going from the textbook to the real-world and making it work for your business can be tricky.

You’ll make costly mistakes early on just like I did. It’s part of the learning process so don’t beat yourself up too much, and keep your budgets small so the lessons won’t cost you as much.

Before we dive into the factors that make digital marketing challenging, let’s understand the basic concept.

Understanding Digital MarketingLightbulb

Digital marketing is the process of promoting a business on the Internet instead of through traditional means.

It involves different mediums, including social media, search engines, email, video hosting platforms, online community sites, and more.

As a result, it further branches out into several specific disciplines of study:

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Search Engine Advertising
  • Email Marketing
  • Pay-Per-Click Ads
  • Programmatic Advertising
  • And Many More

Businesses design digital marketing strategies to achieve specific goals, such as brand building, follower growth, traffic generation, improvement in conversions, etc. It’s a cost-effective way to reach a wider audience and engage with potential customers.

Can Digital Marketing Be Self-Taught?

Yes, you can learn digital marketing on your own! Right here on the Webology blog is one great place to start. And as Madison Kilpatrick at Move Digital points out for us, this is often the very best approach to take”

“The nature of digital marketing is one that is ever-evolving. So even professionals who have a relevant degree in digital marketing, such as myself, are tasked with having to constantly self-teach themselves as new technologies, platforms, algorithms, etc. emerge and shape the field. I’d venture to say that the biggest requirements you need to succeed in digital marketing are curiosity and a commitment to lifelong learning.”

Free and paid online resources are mostly enough to give you a basic understanding of different processes. It’s best to start there before investing a lot into a paid marketing course that may or may not be the best our industry has to offer. If you reach out, I can recommend a few that are really good.

Or, you can also learn a lot by taking this free course on the fundamentals of digital marketing by Google.

fundamentals of digital marketing by Google

Once you have a good grip on the basics, you can focus on a particular aspect of digital marketing such as email marketing or social media marketing.

Then, implement what you learn as you learn it. Most educators agree that hands-on experience is the best way to truly learn and retain information.

Why Focus on One Thing?

At this point you might be questioning my advice and wondering why you can’t be an expert at all aspects of digital. Personally, I gave up on that idea a long time ago because to me, that sounds like you’re saying I want to be a heart surgeon and a particle physicist at the same time. It may be possible to be good at both of those but to be great, most of us have to pick a focus like I have with SEO.

What you’ll find is that specialization can actually increase your value and make you more desirable to employers or clients. It’s a huge differentiating factor for Webology’s sales team when we go up against other agencies…

A Quick Sidebar on Agencies & SEO:blue icon

To be able to say that as CEO, I actually got my hands dirty and put in the work to become proficient at SEO sets Webology apart from the agencies that just outsource it. And that’s a fundamental truth about ad agencies that most people won’t tell you. There are very few of us that actually have a team trained up to do the work internally. So if you want to avoid that additional pass-through cost, work directly with a specialized company like ours.

Getting Started DIY Instead:

If you’re just learning, pick a specific area that interests you and dive deep into it. Learn everything you can about it, stay updated on new developments and trends, and continuously practice and implement what you learn. This will not only make you stand out as an expert in your chosen field, but also give you the confidence and knowledge to excel in your career or grow your business.

5 Factors that Make Digital Marketing Hard

Let’s discuss the factors that might make digital marketing hard for beginners.

1It’s Constantly Changing


The basic principles of digital marketing remain the same. It’s the algorithmic and policy changes that you need to keep up with.

For instance, Google, the biggest search engine, rolls out updates consistently to improve search results.

Plus, social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook update their policies to maintain a user-friendly environment.

The challenge is to stay up to date on the latest updates and tailor your strategies accordingly.

2High Competition


Another challenge marketers and business owners face in digital marketing is the rising competition.

The easier it gets for an average business to promote its products online, the harder it is to stand out.

Depending on your niche, the level of competition may vary greatly. Average costs per click (CPC) for law firms might be $50 where a dog groomer might only pay $5.

Typically, the market rates for online advertising correlate with the average value per lead. So it only makes sense that at attorney who might stand to win millions from a single case would pay more per click than a dog groomer only looking to make $100 or less per sale.

3Technical Skills


You need a diverse range of technical and soft skills to be a successful digital marketer.

Crafting an impactful digital marketing strategy is one of the first challenges you’ll face as a marketer.

Other important skills include:

  • Content strategy
  • Analytical ability
  • Graphic design sense
  • And more

4Content Creation


Content is the lifeblood of every digital marketing campaign.

Whether it’s brand building or generating sales, achieving any goal requires compelling content.

However, it requires creativity, industry knowledge, and a deep understanding of your target audience.

Plus, you need to be a good researcher to be a good content creator.

5Tracking and Optimizationlead tracking


Data analysis and monitoring help you gauge the impact of your digital marketing efforts.

However, analyzing the data and deducing meaningful conclusions can be challenging.

hiring someone who knows how to interpret marketing data and attributes leads to the proper source can be super helpful.

You May Also Like This Post: Can Digital Marketing Be Replaced by AI?

How to Learn Digital Marketing

In addition to taking digital marketing courses from reputable organizations, speed up your learning journey with the following tips.

Learn the Tools

Today, a lot of workflows in digital marketing don’t need your manual input.

There are tons of free and paid digital marketing tools to help you make the most of your strategies.

For instance, you can use keyword research tools like Answer The Public to find a complete list of popular keywords.

Screenshot of the homepage of Answer the Public website

Plus, tools like Google Analytics give you the data you need to make confident and effective marketing decisions.

Whatever strategy you’re focusing on, make sure you’re using the latest, most powerful tools in your industry.

Join Online ForumsJoin online forums

With changes in consumer preferences and the continuous introduction of new marketing tools, the industry is far from stable.

Marketers and business owners who want to stay ahead of the curve must remain in touch with the latest developments.

Joining online forums related to your core industry helps you gather intel on what’s working and what isn’t.

You can then make the necessary adjustments to your approach.

Use Google

Most of the time, a simple Google search is all you need to get a comprehensive answer to a digital marketing question.

Specific questions require specific answers, however. So, you may need to up your research game for exact answers.

Generally, if the question is straightforward, you’ll get a quick answer right there and then.

Google featured snippet for the search query "Digital marketing meaning"

Implement Work

When it comes to learning a new skill, there’s nothing better than practical implementation.

In digital marketing, this means creating content, running ads, collaborating with influencers, optimizing your site, and more.

Start with creating a website because it’s the fulcrum that supports all other marketing channels.

Is Digital Marketing Hard: A Quick RecapRecap

If you’re still wondering, “Is digital marketing hard?”, the answer is still “It depends”.

Probably the biggest factor is your resources. Do you have the time and energy to learn and implement it for your business? (or anyone else’s business).

Digital marketing may seem glamorous from a distance, but it has a lot of moving parts and can become overwhelming, especially if you have other things to worry about.

If you’re a business owner, you have two options:

  1. Learn digital marketing yourself and invest your time
  2. Hire a digital marketing agency to manage all the technicalities while you focus on other aspects of your business

Let my team at Webology do the heavy lifting for you.

Schedule a Free Strategy Call Today