My First Three Months In Search Engine Marketing
A Beginner’s Look At Pay-Per-Click Advertising
A career change can be a daunting prospect. Leaving the comfortable bubble of professional safety to try something entirely different would make most people shudder. Well, that’s what I did about three months ago. I graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, but spent four and a half years in retail management while the marketing world continued to change and evolve beyond what I’d learned in the classroom.
I started at my Iterate Marketing at the beginning of October – I had no real world experience and minimal academic experience, but I was excited to learn and build my career. The position was for search engine marketing, focusing on pay-per-click. At the time, I could tell you what AdWords was or analyze data from it, but I couldn’t have built or managed an account if my life depended on it. Thankfully the company I work for values “will” over “skill.” They were willing to invest in me and train me on all aspects of PPC marketing.
It was a lot like being back in school to start. I had weekly readings, daily assignments, and extra projects to work on. These projects were time-consuming ‘grunt work’ passed down by my experienced co-workers. The biggest change was the environment. Going from a scheduled job where you clock in and out to a place where the bottom line is getting your projects done on time was a big, but very welcome, change.
Being responsible for my time and my assignments encouraged a strong sense of accountability from the start. They were willing to take a chance on me and I couldn’t let them – or myself – down. Like anything new, I did my best to throw myself into it, I read every resource as quickly and thoroughly as I could. My leader provided daily lectures and examples to teach me all the functions of what I would need to know. There was always someone around to help or answer questions if I got stuck, and that .
The strange thing was, I was legitimately enjoying the grunt work. Getting scraps of projects from the more experienced strategists, even if it was something repetitive or time consuming, was fun for me. The only way to get better is practice and I was taking all the practice I could. Plus, when you’re getting to know a new team, it never hurts to take on as much as you can and help whoever you can, while still hitting deadlines.
“The only way to get better is practice and I was taking all the practice I could.”
Even while doing all this work and training, I was still struck by the relaxed attitude of the office. Any time we’d get burned out on a project or assignment, we’d play ping pong or video games to blow off steam. Again, this sort of situation in the past would have been beyond unrealistic.
It seemed like everything went to mach speed after barely a month. It’s like when you realize you’re only 3 weeks into the semester when the midterms suddenly loom ahead. I was picking everything up at a pretty good pace. I had passed my Adwords and Bing Ads certifications and suddenly I had actual clients to work with. Of course, I wasn’t doing anything drastic to begin – but everything became very real. I was handling accounts, funds, and, in essence, livelihoods for clients. There were – and still are – plenty of times when I have to reach out to my teammates or my leader for help with what I could focus on or how I might be able to improve something.
“Like anything important, I’ve started with small changes and grown bolder.”
As we went through the holidays, my responsibilities grew. My role increased and my clients got bigger. I began working on accounts that were more vital to the success of the company and I needed to ensure their ongoing success. Like anything important, I’ve started with small changes and grown bolder. It’s a little more nerve-wracking, but it’s fun!
This week, I onboarded my first client and I’m doing it all from the ground up – creating the strategy, the campaigns, and everything else. After three month of preparation, I’m ecstatic to finally put to use all the skills I’ve learned and show what I’m capable of.
Trying something new is always challenging and can be frightening at times. After three months, though, leaving retail to do search engine marketing has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m ecstatic that I have a job I enjoy in a place that was willing to invest in me.