September 4

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Online Marketing Internships And The Career-Defining Skills You’ll Gain From Them

By Hanson Cheng

September 4, 2021


Many students understand that online marketing is the best career to get into in this day and age. However, there is a majority of them that are not aware of how to find the best marketing internships and create an opportunity for themselves.

There are many problems with finding an internship in digital marketing including not knowing where to look, getting no response from companies when you do reach out, and having to pay for your internship (which is expensive). 

This article shows exactly how you, as a student, can go about finding the right online marketing internship without all of the pain associated with this process. It also explains why students should learn how to leverage automation tools so that they can scale the creation and sending of messages quickly and efficiently, instead of having to manually send out thousands of emails to get a positive response.

What is an online marketing internship?

An online marketing internship is an educational program in which students learn several digital marketing strategies to drive traffic to a website and increase revenue through various means.

These may include paid advertising on social media, search engine optimization, outreach to other companies or any of the various aspects that online marketing brings with it (more on this later).

Students that are interested in becoming an intern can see if they are eligible for such a position and test their skills by following the application process set up by various companies. This can include sending out internship applications followed by reaching out to companies that they want to intern for. 

As a potential intern, one important skill is to be able to market yourself so that potential employers will reach out to you after reviewing your application. This is valuable as it teaches students how a real position in digital marketing works, including how much effort you have to put in if you want something done properly.

Who is an online marketing internship for?

The ideal candidates for online marketing internships are students who want to work with digital marketing in the future. Digital marketing interns are people looking to go into the advertising or business industry, as they will be able to hone their skills through this internship program. As a result, they will be able to start an online business of their own down the line.

The following is a list of people who could benefit from an online marketing internship:

  • Students looking to learn how to create social media buzz for a business - a social media intern is the more specific role for this.
  • Students wanting to work in the sales and/or advertising industry in some form or another.
  • Students who are interested in learning how to market themselves effectively.
  • Students who want to learn different strategies on how to create and grow a business, as well as gain valuable skills with practical application test cases.
  • Students who want to improve their creative skills when working with other team members.
  • Students that are looking for flexible hours to be able to focus on their studies as well.
  • Studies that want to improve their time management and see what working in a fast paced environment is all about.

How To Find The Best Online Marketing Internships

While many people suggest using sites such as indeed.com, there are far better alternatives to achieving your goals. Instead of using a general site, you should narrow your searches down to websites that are associated with the industry or company with which you want to work with. 

For example, if you only want to intern for companies in New York City then you should search for "digital marketing internships NYC" instead of "digital marketing internships". 

You can also take this strategy and broaden it out even more by searching "online marketing internship + location", such as San Francisco, Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver. This is extremely valuable as many students do not realize that they can get an internship at a big company located within their location, without having to move away and spend thousands of dollars to take part in this engaging experience.

How to create an opportunity for yourself

If you are reading this, then there is a possibility that you might have emailed companies before and got little response or none at all. If that is the case, then you should consider learning how to do outreach instead.

Imagine that you have found a couple of good opportunities. However, they are most likely too competitive for your resume so that the company would reach out to you. So, what marketing strategies should you follow to create the right opportunity?

This is very simple and it is best done by using automation tools such as IFTTT.com. The way this works is you will set up different rules with IFTTT regarding what the tool does after something happens (it could be something triggered manually by yourself or through a third party action).

Image credit: https://ifttt.com/

For example, if "online_marketing AND jobs" get tweeted, then IFTTT can send you a job alert containing all of those tweets. This allows you to build massive mailing lists of people who are looking for an opportunity with online marketing as well as companies that you can reach out to. The key is to stay persistent in connecting and reaching out to people, but also respecting their time by trying to make the connection with them very quickly without being pushy.

You will have a much greater chance of getting emails answered if it comes from someone already interested in their company or business, not just some random person sending an email because they hope someone at the company would like their resume enough to contact them (more on this later). Make sure you avoid spamming though or your outreach will be useless.

Sending outreach emails to digital agencies to volunteer your time is not only a great way to gain practical experience as well as soft skills, but it is also an excellent way for you to network with industry professionals. 

If you can gather enough attention from the company through your first contact,  then the agency will most likely want to know who you are and why they should take on an internship/volunteer position from you.

This is also a great skill to learn when it comes to marketing yourself. As you continue to grow your skill-set, you will be able to create more and more connections on your own which will lead to bigger opportunities in the future.

Best online marketing software to do outreach

In addition to above-mentioned IFTTT, one of the best software to do outreach involves Linkedin. In fact, here are some of the best Linkedin automation tools that will allow you to search for connections within different companies and message them directly without having to do much yourself. 

Linkedin is great for outreach because it allows you to easily get in touch with specific employees or executives within different companies. Linkedin also allows you to create a list of people that should be your point of contact at the companies you’re interested in. This allows you to get in touch with them and follow up in the future as well.

Linkedin will also make it easier for you to find different professionals as well as other job types that are related to your search. As we mentioned, networking and getting to know the right people (while providing value in return)  is crucial to getting what you want.

How to send outreach messages that get answered

If you are still not getting responses to your outreach emails, then there might be something wrong with the way that you structure your first contact messages. To get these answered, you just need to make sure that your message is clear and easy for the other person to understand.

Image Credit: http://glassdoor.com

Let's go over some ways on how to write a great outreach email:

  • Always get to the point quickly. People will not keep reading a long email if it has redundant information or no main focus.
  • Try to use different hooks so that you can catch other people's attention. One of my favorite ways is to use questions as hooks because this makes the person feel like he/she needs to respond to answer the question.
  • Make sure that you are giving VALUE to the person by including links, press releases, and information (about yourself - if relevant) that may interest him/her in your message. If you are just asking for something but not providing any valuable content, then I guarantee that your email will be ignored.
  • Always avoid being pushy and asking too much of something from somebody else. Instead, provide the person with a reason why he/she should do what you are asking them to do by giving more information or even incentives to taking action.
  • Use bolding, underlining, or bullet points so that people can easily skim through important parts of the message (while also making it easier on yourself when you edit).
  • Use active phrases instead of passive ones. Example: "I would like to do an internship at your company" vs. "I was told that your company is a great place to do an internship at."
  • Include your contact information at the end of your message so that they know how to get in touch with you.
  • Make sure that you have read about their company before you send an email and try to tailor the information that you are sending to them based on their company's needs.
  • Follow up with the person later if they did not respond (even if it has been a few days/weeks). The best way to do this is by sending an email or even cold-calling the person (while still remembering not to be pushy). If you let your message sit, then there is a chance that they might have already forgotten that it was sent because everyone gets so many emails nowadays.

Examples of what your day-to-day might look like as an online digital marketing intern

The day-to-day activities that interns do will depend on what type of job they are responsible for. Some online marketing internships require you to be more involved with the company such as working directly with a content marketing team or creating social media marketing campaigns for different brands. 

However, there are also other types of jobs where an internship is mostly focused on aiding employees in sending out outreach emails to professionals to find new talent for them.

Interns usually have certain duties that they must complete daily (and sometimes hourly) such as:

  • Emailing people about the company's services/products (this can help with market research as well as make valuable connections within your chosen industry) 
  • Finding companies to do projects for your company
  • Sending out content to a publisher's email list or their followers on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Creating SEO content and marketing material
  • Help write copywriting pieces including sales pages/writing blog posts
  • Finding new clients for your employer and setting up meetings with them
  • Helping with the company’s public relations
  • Helping with PPC or even e-Commerce activities
  • A design intern might also work on design projects as needed within the company
  • Helping with social media campaigns and email marketing
  • Taking care of the various social media accounts that a company might have
  • Use sales funnel software to test out new landing pages and marketing angles

Image Credit: http://klood.com

Online marketing internships - FAQs

What should my resume say and how much experience is required for digital marketing interns?

The only way that you can get an online marketing internship is by having the desire to learn the skills that you need to succeed. However, if this is not your number one priority, then an online marketing internship might not be the right move for you. 

If companies see that you took initiative and went out of your way (by learning how to reach out to people in this case), this shows them that you at least have the willingness or intent to do a good job.

How do I find these internships in the first place?

Doing outreach is by far the most important aspect of an online marketing internship. This is because it allows you to find companies that might be willing to work with you by providing you the training needed to take your skills to the next level.

There are various tools (including those for Linkedin) that will help you with automating your outreach so you can increase your odds of success.

Does doing online marketing internships help me get a job after graduation?

Absolutely. By doing an internship with these companies it shows potential employers that you at least had the desire to improve your marketing skills and that you will be able to keep your cool under pressure during tough situations (which do happen in the day-to-day operations). 

Doing an internship is also very valuable because it allows students to see what working life is like. It also makes them more valuable to a company because it shows that they are not some college students who will quit as soon as the going gets tough.

Can online social media marketing internships be paid as well?

This depends on the company and the type of internship. A paid internship is sometimes offered by some companies, along with different time commitments such as full-time, part-time, or even an internship on a volunteer basis.

As long as you have the desire to learn new skills then you will get something out of any type of internship.

Final thoughts on taking the path of an online marketing intern

In conclusion, the best way to learn about online marketing is to get an internship at a marketing agency or organization that can help you learn all the ins and outs of online marketing. 

You then can apply what you have learned with your own website or blog and use it as an asset that you can show to future employers (in addition to the various skills that you will have gained during your internship).

Learning the skill of online marketing is nowadays one of the quickest ways to get hired, so if you have the opportunity of such an internship, go for it and make the most out of the experience.

Last Updated on September 13, 2021 by Hanson Cheng

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Hanson Cheng

About the author

Living in Bali with my Fiancee and puppy, (Alina and Pickles). Scaling online businesses and sharing lessons learned on this website and in our email newsletter. Always happy to hear from you, so find me on Instagram if you want to say hi!

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