The 6 Stages of Learning Digital Marketing – Which One Are You In?

Are you finding digital marketing hard to learn? Well, it's because you aren't following each of the stages. Probably wondering what the heck are each of the stages? Today I'm going to break down the six stages of learning digital marketing. And which one are you in?


So I'm going to break down the six stages. And then I want you to tell me in the comments below, what stage are you in?

So stage number one, the Generalist Learner. You're exploring a lot of different principles in digital marketing: social media, paid ads, SEO, content marketing, email marketing, even niches like e-commerce and B2B, although they're not really niches. At this stage, you're mapping out the universe of digital marketing and probably deciding what really matters to you.

Stage two, Successes and Failures. You start testing your tactics in the real world businesses. You'll fail, learn from your mistakes. Keep risk low by working with clients pro bono or for lower cost. And then they'll pay you when you become a real pro, have your own projects. And don't worry too much about focusing on just one discipline of marketing and try to explore as much as you can, and the disciplines that are the most attractive to you.

Stage three, Niching Down. Some businesses are really hard to do digital marketing for. A classic example of this is hard for beginners, is B2B. B2B for me, funny enough is easier than B2C, but I know how to do both really well at this point because I've been doing it for 20 years. You can do some things really easy in digital marketing while others are very hard.

Stage four, The Portfolio. At this stage, you're already comfortable with working on a niche and area of marketing. You'll start documenting all the wins and building your portfolio that you can showcase to other potential clients.

The goal here is to stack up as many possible wins as possible, and create a library of all the tests and successful things that you've done. That you know that'll work for other businesses that you can just rinse and repeat. Consider them your bag of tricks. You're building up this bag of tricks and you want to make it bigger and bigger. So that way, as you go to a new business or take a new job, you can continually just implement them.

Stage five, Scaling Up. Right now, you've done a lot of work in your field and you're really looking for opportunities to scale. This is typically when you start hiring and automating a lot of the repetitive stuff.

There's a lot of tools out there like UiPath that can help you automate marketing processes. I know a lot of marketers don't talk about it, but trust me, it can do wonders for you. And you'll want to have a clear idea of your workflows and have the ability to have other people do it for you. Scaling up is a skill like any other that you need to roll up your sleeves and take lots of action.

And stage six, Authority. By now you've worked with tons of clients in your space. It's time to become an authority figure, by speaking at conferences, writing tons of content, shooting videos that help your audience, build up your brand on social media, spend some considerable time and money building up your website authority, acquiring backlinks, and covering as much ground as possible in different topics related to your niche.

So, now that you know the stages and you're focusing on learning digital marketing, figure out what stage you're in and move from one stage to the next. If you need, repeat this video because you don't need to do stage one and then jump to stage six, you want to do them in order. And if you do them in order, you're going to be better off. And that's how you learn digital marketing better.

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13 Responses to The 6 Stages of Learning Digital Marketing – Which One Are You In?

  1. Tind Ahan January 17, 2022 at 3:12 pm #

    At the end of Stage 1. Thank you sir!

    • Neil Patel January 17, 2022 at 3:53 pm #

      You’re very welcome.

  2. Shahbaz Ansari January 17, 2022 at 3:58 pm #

    Sir how to retain employee . Means after 2 year they find new opportunities or hike salary .

  3. maciek January 17, 2022 at 3:59 pm #

    I’m between stage 3 and 4. I’m now an expert when it comes to video marketing. I’ve mastered the Adobe suite and put in +/- 8,000 hours of experience creating all types of video ads, from animated 2d to stock video and raw editing I can now do ANYTHING “video”. I’m getting away from the freelancing sites and launching next week, gonna offer the services at -70% industry standard rates and incrementally increase price as my clients grow. I’ve consumed your material religiously for the past 5-6 years and super grateful that you don’t waste my time with BS and trying to push some courses.

  4. Rumon Ahmed January 17, 2022 at 4:17 pm #

    Still struggling in stage 1.
    Never thought about stages of Digital Marketing.
    Thank you so much buddy!

  5. Nakul Singla January 17, 2022 at 4:19 pm #

    Hey neil, how to approach businesses for practicing or what should I do if I want to practice suppose google ads then how I can practice it if without any client? Please tell with an example.
    Waiting for your reply

  6. Anushka Pandey January 17, 2022 at 4:45 pm #

    Still at stage 1 Enjoying the process

  7. Connie Kuramoto January 17, 2022 at 5:53 pm #

    Stage one. I just want to know enough to improve my own digital presence.

  8. Interior Designer January 17, 2022 at 6:00 pm #

    Hi Neil, You’re really helpful!

  9. Eddy Aruda January 17, 2022 at 6:23 pm #

    Stage one, phasing into stage two. The biggest problem I faced getting started was assuming I had some knowledge. You need someone to explain it to you like you are a five-year-old when you are beginning. They say you do not need to rebuild an engine to drive a car. When you’re starting, you need to build the engine, the transmission and assemble the vehicle. I applied a little hyperbole but frustration at the outset, not having a detailed plan, and relying on gurus (present company excepted), leads to catastrophic failure for most. It is akin to watching turtles hatch and try to make it to safety. It doesn’t end well for most of them! It isn’t getting past the dip as much as it is making it to the dip! Thank you for all your help. You have been more helpful than anyone else in helping me make it this far!

  10. Ko Po Hui January 17, 2022 at 6:27 pm #

    Still at Stage One and i try to prioritize on these two areas – content marketing and SEO which I am not sure if the right things to do, as the platform I dealing with is my personal blog.

  11. HA Bytes January 17, 2022 at 6:52 pm #

    Hi Neil,
    What your thoughts on Ai Generated content through Jarvis ai? With human check like proofreading, Grammer, plagiarism.
    Do you think it will hurt website in long run if Google release any update related to Ai written content?

    Please Neil Answer this. Its very important for me.


  12. Eric M Goddard January 17, 2022 at 9:05 pm #

    Thanks Neil, I’m in the still figuring out stage for sure. I have taken a couple of small projects for my friends businesses which included building WP websites mainly using Elementor and setting up Mail Chimp Automations etc. I have hit a few brick walls and ended up using outside developers, graphic designers and paid ad consultants to help me. So far I’m in a big negative as I am also utilising the likes of SE Ranking, Jarvis, etc with no real returns yet. I am on a steep learning curve but determined to work this out and get into a groove. Your videos help me but and further advice is always welcome Neil ☺️

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