Digital Marketing Internship

Understand the career pathways a Digital Marketer can progress towards.

Digital Marketing Internship

Getting into the field of digital marketing may seem difficult, especially since many positions in this field require some level of experience. To compound this barrier, companies are very selective in their hiring process despite having a hard time finding skilled digital marketers.

However, Shaun Lee, Digital Marketer at ByteDance, advised:

“If you’re trying to go after senior positions in multinational corporations, you need a wealth of experience. But if you’re going for an entry-level position in a startup, the barrier to entry is usually much lower.”

An internship can give you the experience needed to propel your digital marketing career vertically from ground zero.

What is a Digital Marketing Internship?

A digital marketing internship is a short-term job placement in the marketing department of a company or digital agency where interns get to assist in the development and implementation of digital marketing campaigns.

The scope of work ranges from creative work to technical implementation varying, from search engine optimisation to digital advertising, social media marketing and email marketing. The actual job scope varies from company to company and may extend to writing articles, designing creatives, supporting lead generation campaigns, and constructing reports.

Digital marketing internships typically last from 3 months and can go up to 6 months or longer depending on the contract and any private arrangements between the company and the intern.

The average salary of a digital marketing intern is about $1000 a month.

Benefits of a Digital Marketing Internship

Unlike in school or online-based learning (e-learning), in an internship, you get practical experience working on real-world digital marketing campaigns as you learn on the job, which will benefit you much more than theory-based lectures and project-based assignments.

Getting an internship in a digital agency can be a very different experience from interning at a company (client-side). Interns in a digital agency may get to work on multiple client campaigns across various industries, while interns on the client-side usually experience only one industry. 

This gives digital agency interns more exposure to how digital marketing strategies can be applied across various industries and opportunities to get hands-on. However, the workload in a digital agency can be much heavier than the client-side.

In larger marketing teams, interns also get networking opportunities and learn the ins and outs of the industry through conversing with more experienced digital marketers.

Regardless of whether you are interning in a digital agency or client-side, there are plenty of benefits to starting out as a digital marketing intern:

Gain a Broad Overview of Digital Marketing and What to Specialise in

There is a whole ocean of knowledge and skills to discover in digital marketing. Even traditional marketers who graduated from universities a decade ago are still trying to understand how much marketing has evolved over a short span of time. 

The birth of the term “T-shaped marketer” describes someone who has general knowledge across all disciplines in marketing but has in-depth knowledge in one or two specific disciplines. Being a T-shaped digital marketer is essential for productive meetings and effective communication between different marketing departments.

Working as a digital marketing intern gives you the best learning platform to gain a broad overview of various digital marketing disciplines. You will be given the opportunity to experience them and discover your interests, allowing you to choose your specialisations with clear direction on the road ahead.

Hands-on Learning Experience

Starting as a digital marketing intern, you will be at the bottom of the ladder in a company. You will likely be asked to carry out mundane tasks such as uploading content to the website, designing an email newsletter, and writing social media posts. This is the hard truth. However, as long as you keep an open mind, there is much to be gained from any of these tasks.

Ng Zhuo Ling, Marketing Executive at Cycle and Carriage, recalled having to learn how to use SalesForce for lead nurturing campaigns, navigate a content management system to publish product information, and design graphics with Adobe Illustrator during her internship at Bosch.  The experience from her internship helped her optimise her productivity in her current role since she is already familiar with the basics of CRMs and graphic design software.

Bountiful Networking Opportunities

Getting your foot in the industry also enables you to meet like-minded individuals and industry veterans. The contacts you get to connect with can help you with your future job hunts. For example, an ex-colleague may refer you to job opportunities or recommend you to potential recruiters.

Other benefits of networking include establishing future partnerships. For example, you may have joined a new B2B software company and discovered that an ex-team member is working in a company that may become a client. Or that your future role may require you to headhunt competent marketers and that you can tap on your existing contacts to source for potential hires. Either way, fostering a strong social network will make your outreach easier.

Enhance Your Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Working in a team environment in a corporate setting is very different from working on group projects in school or running a one-man show in a new startup. 

If you’re working in a digital agency (client-facing), you may have to deal with clients or team members who may not be the most favourable. You will have to learn how to take constructive criticism well.

On the client side, you may have to work with digital agencies that may not provide the best service or face a tyrant boss to whom you must report daily. You will have to understand bureaucracy and learn to adapt to it. 

In any case, you will be given ample opportunity to enhance your interpersonal and communication skills during your internship.

Learning to Work Independently

While interns will be assigned a supervisor during the course of the internship, your supervisor will not be able to constantly provide their guidance. Trying to work independently and solve problems on your own is essential and will definitely need to occur in order to successfully complete your internship.

Ng Zhou Ling recounted having to “figure out a lot of things” on her own during her internship at Bosch. Her supervisor had guided her through SalesForce, but it was as brief as pointing out what to click. She had to spend a lot more time exploring the platform on her own. 

It was through “playing around with the system” enough on her own that she managed to master it. This helped her a lot in her new role at Cycle and Carriage where she was able to create and manage lead nurturing and customer relationship management campaigns with ease.

Feeling a Sense of Achievement and Fulfilment

Your sense of achievement will come from learning new skills and successful execution of your assigned tasks, and your sense of fulfilment will come from your day-to-day interaction with your colleagues and fostering strong bonds with your team.

Ultimately, whatever you end up doing should help you achieve that in order to sustain doing it in the long term.

Transiting to a Full-time Job

The most important thing is not to forget why you’re doing an internship in the first place – your main objective is securing a well-paying full-time job as a digital marketer.

The work accomplished during your internship will enhance your portfolio, increasing your chances of getting a new full-time job or even converting your current internship into a full-time position.

What Should You Not Do as an Intern

As much as you should do everything possible to get the most out of your internship, these are some don’ts.

As a digital marketing intern, you shouldn’t:

Not Ask Questions

This is the best time to learn and absorb everything you can. Ask your team members for help whenever you need it, but be mindful of how and when you ask. You don’t want to offend anyone unintentionally.

Assume too many things

Spinning off from the previous point, you don’t know what you don’t know. 

While you may think the email newsletter design you created looks great and will engage your audience, remember that there’s always room for improvement and you should seek a second opinion on what can be improved.

Be Afraid to Take on New Tasks

It’s normal to be afraid of making mistakes, especially when it comes to working on new and unfamiliar tasks. However, the saying is true that if you don’t attempt anything, you will never master anything.

Not Socialise

One of the main benefits of an internship is the opportunity to build connections that may help you in your future endeavours. Strike conversations and try building connections whenever you’re at the pantry, an event, or in the company’s group chat. Do your best not to turn down lunch gatherings and company get-togethers.

Overwork Yourself

Even though it may be counterintuitive, working long hours without regular break intervals can hinder your creativity, productivity, and quality output in your work.

Take regular breaks to clear your mind. Work never ends, so leave the extra paperwork for another day.

Not Manage Your Time Well

One of the essential skills a digital marketer needs to possess is good time management and project management competency. The need to multi-task and run multiple projects simultaneously will be a common occurrence. 

Seek advice from your supervisor if you are running late on deadlines, and check with your team members if you are able to offload some work to them. The ability to prioritise and focus on the more important tasks first is an essential skill set.

Not Have Fun While You’re at It

Again, you need to reinforce your passion for digital marketing daily. Digital marketing can be very challenging yet rewarding at the same time, requiring you to activate both creative and analytical brains simultaneously. Have fun while you’re at it.

What Does a Digital Marketing Intern Do?

The job scope of a digital marketing intern ranges broadly depending on the company’s specific needs or campaigns that are launching at that time. These tasks typically fall under the four main areas. Here are the 4 areas and some examples to give you a better idea of what you can look forward to:

Creative Tasks

Creative tasks are a common starting point assigned to interns, especially for those just beginning. This work involves using your creativity to contribute to your marketing collateral. For example:

  • Ad Copywriting: Crafting engaging and compelling ad copies for various platforms to drive conversions. You will hone your copywriting skills to appeal to different audiences.
  • Create Email Newsletters: Designing and composing engaging email newsletters to encourage your readers to take specific action. 
  • Graphic Design: Use design tools to create visually appealing graphics for various marketing collaterals.
  • Content Ideation: Brainstorming digital content ideas for specific marketing campaigns to reach your audience, such as video ideas, blog posts or social media posts.

Writing Tasks

Depending on the size, structure and whether a content team already exists within the organisation, writing tasks may or may not be assigned to digital marketing interns.

In a multinational corporation, for example, the HQ may control all product copies and articles and go through strict quality guidelines.

However, in smaller companies and digital agencies, interns may do blog writing and product copy when editorial guidelines and content governance are not tightly controlled.

Campaign Management

Digital marketing interns will often get the chance to assist in setting up and managing digital marketing campaigns. This can vary depending on the aspects of digital marketing strategy, including:

  • SEO/SEM (Search Engine Optimisation/Search Engine Marketing): Learning to optimise web content for search engines and managing paid advertising campaigns on platforms like Google Ads.
  • Email Marketing: Helping to develop and execute email marketing campaigns, including list segmentation, crafting email content, and analysing campaign performance.
  • Social Media Marketing: Contributing to the planning, scheduling, and monitoring of social media posts, as well as analysing engagement metrics.

Technical Tasks

Interns with a technical background or an interest in the technical aspects of digital marketing will often get the opportunity to work on tasks such as:

  • Landing Page Development: Creating and optimising landing pages to improve conversion rates and align with marketing objectives.
  • Content Management Systems (CMS): Maintaining and updating website content using CMS platforms like WordPress.
  • Marketing Tags: Setting up and managing marketing tags, such as Google Analytics tracking codes, which help in marketing analytics.

Requirements of a Digital Marketing Intern

What does it take to get into a digital marketing intern position in a company or digital agency?

Even with the thousands of digital agencies and companies in the market, job seekers may still find it challenging to get into a digital marketing role. 

The main issue lies with the lack of experience, essential skills and characteristics required of a digital marketer. In this competitive market, standing out from the crowd is very important.

Employers are looking for self-driven, passionate and eloquent individuals with experience running digital marketing campaigns and who have achieved some degree of success.

Shaun Lee, who once got accepted as an intern in a global startup firm advised:

“If an intern reaches out to a potential employer with a well thought out media plan, laying out all the action plans and strategies, all ready to run, he/she will definitely stand out from the rest of the job applicants. One should also proactively research about the company’s competitors, try to understand their business objectives and try to uncover possible struggles before applying for the job.”

He added that having a sales background helps, especially when customer empathy, i.e. understanding consumer needs on the ground, is necessary for persona marketing. 

This is becoming more prevalent as the lines between sales and marketing are blurred, and the two departments begin to merge. 

Taking certified digital marketing courses to build some foundations and working on a side project to enhance your digital marketing resume (CV) and portfolio are additional preparations to stand out.

Once you’ve made the necessary preparations, get a third party to vet through your CV and cover letter. At Equinet Academy, our team of passionate digital marketing trainers are more than happy to review the CVs of their learners and offer pointers on how to improve on them.

Ultimately, you want to join a company that will provide you with the opportunity to experience areas of specialisation that will benefit your career as a digital marketer. That comes with doing preliminary research on the company and asking the right questions, which we will cover in the next part.

How to Choose a Good Company for Your Digital Marketing Internship?

A fruitful internship programme goes both ways. It should be mutually beneficial for both the intern and the hiring company.

With that said, interns need to probe a little further before and during the interview.

Tiffany Lim, a graduate of Equinet Academy’s Certified Digital Marketing Strategist (CDMS) Programme, shared her experience working in a digital media event company that had plans to spin off a digital marketing department and put her in charge of developing and implementing all of the company’s digital marketing strategies. “It was hectic; I was learning everything online for the first 3 months without much guidance.” The lesson she learned was to ask the right questions to find out whether the company had the appropriate infrastructure in place to benefit both parties.

Shaun Lee urges to:

“Do not undervalue yourself! Be clear on what you want and find out what’s in store for you before committing your time and effort.” 

Do your research, refer to the average salary range and make sure it is sufficient to cover your basic needs, e.g. travelling, meals, and savings (after CPF deduction). Avoid joining companies that don’t provide salary packages (undervaluing your time) or, worse, require you to pay a joining fee (e.g. MLM companies).

Do some research on the company to find out what campaigns they are currently running and ask questions such as:

  • What is my job description?
  • What campaigns will I be running?
  • How much creative work will I be doing?
  • Will I be doing any writing?
  • What technical knowledge will I learn?
  • What are the company’s campaign objectives?
  • What are the current struggles and how can I help?
  • Who are the competitors? 
  • Ask respectfully and approach it from a consultative point of view, e.g. “These are my skill sets; I think this is where I can help, and how can I help with that?”

If the company does not know where you can fit in, it’s probably not the right company for you.

Look out for companies with plans to convert interns into full-timers, as this shows they value talent and have longer-term plans to retain them.

If you’re looking to upskill your digital marketing skills, gain some hands-on experience and build your portfolio, explore our Digital Marketing Career Programme. Upon completion of the programmes, our career services will help to place you in a digital marketing role.

Download the Complete Digital Marketing Career Handbook (PDF Version)

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Discover the ins and outs of the field of digital marketing and kickstart your career on the right foot.

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