Digital marketing is a complex profession, largely because technology and the internet are always evolving. Keeping up to date with the latest developments, trends, and techniques is like a full-time job before you have started to market. The fast-paced and unpredictable nature of the industry means the career is not suitable for everyone. In addition to theoretical training and experience, the most successful marketers have a range of both hard and soft skills, as well as personal qualities.
This article lists six essential skills which all digital marketing professionals should try to develop to increase their chances of success. Of course, it is not fair to suggest that all marketers need to excel in every way. Often, the more diverse a team is, the stronger it will be as everyone will bring their own value and a unique perspective.
1. Content creation
Any marketer worth their salt knows how important content is to a successful marketing strategy. Before a customer decides to engage with a brand, they will typically ‘consume’ 3-5 content pieces. This might include blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, social media posts, infographics, data studies, or any other type of content which engages, entertains, or informs. The higher the quality of the content, the more likely the consumer is to engage with a brand, trust the brand, share the content with a wider audience, and ultimately make a purchase or place an inquiry.
Writing, designing, curating content is not something every person can do, and it is true that there are marketing roles that do not require a large amount of writing. However, every marketer sends emails, responds to client queries, posts on social media, and/or is required to present information to colleagues, managers, or clients. Whatever your role in a marketing team, you should be able to communicate your messages in a clear, accurate, and engaging way.
2. Data analysis
It seems that mountains of data appeared overnight thanks to the widespread development of technology and the internet. This data can tell a company vital information about their customers and the impact of their marketing activities, e.g., what they are typing into search engines, which website pages are more popular, or which email campaigns resulted in the most sales.
Now that all this information (and more) is there for the taking, it is essential that marketers understand how to collect and analyze that data, so they can use it to improve their strategy. Data science and analytics has the power to unlock greater efficiency, smarter product development, targeted marketing campaigns, and a greater return on investment. More and more brands are hiring data scientists to give them the edge over their competitors, but tracking metrics and analyzing data is a skill that all marketers should embrace to maximize the efficacy of their efforts. Visit this website for more information on how to improve data science and analytics skills.
3. Search engine optimization
When someone wants to buy a product or service, in the majority of cases, they will turn to their phone or computer and ask a search engine. Even if they do not intend to make a decision at that moment or to complete the purchase online, they will usually use search engines to research their options, read previous customer reviews, or compare prices. What is more, very few customers will look further than the first four or five search results. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the term given to the techniques marketer’s use to push websites into the top results to maximize traffic.
SEO used to be a task assigned to a particular team member, almost as an afterthought, but now all digital marketers are expected to understand SEO best practice. Search engines are updating their ranking algorithm daily, so no one can ever call themselves an expert, but there are some generally accepted techniques which professional marketers always keep in mind.
4. Social media awareness and activity
For better or for worse, social media has transformed the way we communicate socially, the way we consume information, they way we shop, and, crucially, for marketers, the way brands interact with their target customers. Social media can be used to increase brand awareness, generate leads, improve customer satisfaction through improved customer service, and boost growth. To put it simply, ignoring its power is no longer an option.
Most brands will have at least one team member who is responsible for managing their social media activity, and many have an entire team dedicated to the task. There are numerous platforms on which marketers can share content and interact with their audience, and while not all the platforms will be appropriate, it is essential that you understand them.
5. Comfortable with new technology
Digital marketers use technology every day, but even that is not enough to stay on top of the latest advancements. Software such as marketing automation tools, email marketing platforms, social media schedulers, and website analysis tools are released and updated continuously, so there is always more to be learned. Marketing professionals who are not willing to continue to develop their IT skills and try new techniques will quickly be left behind.
6. Soft skills
While all the skills mentioned so far could be classified as ‘hard skills,’ it is also important to highlight the need for softer skills and personal qualities. These skills are more difficult to quantify and, to a certain extent, are harder to develop if you do not have a natural predisposition for them, but they turn a good marketer into an exceptional marketer.
Marketing professionals should be excellent communicators, able to establish a rapport with colleagues and clients, and convey their ideas succinctly. This requires a degree of emotional intelligence, intuition, and a talent for both negotiation and persuasion. Marketers should be flexible in their approach to their work, as the marketing landscape or parameters of a project can change with no warning.
Finally, marketers should be creative, innovative, brimming with curiosity, and ideally, they should enjoy being able to help others. This is important not only in terms of teamwork and collaboration but also because they want to achieve business growth for their employer or client.