Many companies don’t have the resources to hire people with specialties in individual areas of marketing. Therefore today’s digital marketers are expected to wear a lot of hats. The smaller the business is, the more multi-talented a digital marketer is expected to be.
We’ve compiled a list of just 11 of these key digital marketing skills. But we could create a list that includes dozens. That’s how in-depth the field of digital marketing has become over the last decade.
Here are our eleven key skills needed for digital marketing positions in today’s industry:
- Matching Your Business Plan to Your Marketing Strategy and Tactics. Most digital marketers start out as “techy coder geeks” and they are very valuable. They are the ones that custom code applications and design software or mobile applications from scratch. But what is often missing with that skill set is business sense such as sales and marketing. It’s more than developing the code, you’ve got be able to match a business model to the software. You and your team have to be able to do what makes money for your small business. The tools they use should not hinder that production. Rather they should compliment them and give stakeholders the reports and measurables that it takes to track success. Most small business owners know what their core offer is. But many have difficulty converting that into language that conveys a problem with a solution. This will help you to create a customer out of a defined avatar. Marketing strategy trumps tactics! A skilled digital marketer should be able to coach and train your staff and handle your print media, too.
- Analytical skills. This involves more than just being able to open up Google Analytics and check out a few numbers. It’s not only knowing which analytics are important. You also need to understand what they say about your marketing and how you can use them to improve your operations. An in-depth review of analytics helps to pinpoint inefficient areas of your marketing. It can also highlight a chance to improve the overall customer experience. Marketers should be able to manage large databases and use past analytic information to predict future events.
- Content marketing. Certainly, this could perhaps be considered a baseline skill needed for a digital marketer. The best content marketing campaigns work to engage the audience while supporting business goals. Great content marketers are extremely creative and understand how to create written and/or visual content that is unique to their brand. They also have excellent research skills, allowing them to back up any points they make with verifiable facts.
- Copywriting. A content marketer might be great with strategy, but that strategy must be into action through high-quality writing. Today’s digital marketers should have outstanding grammar and spelling. Copywriting requires an ability to craft compelling sentences and content. The best digital marketers have the ability to do all this through the client’s unique voice.
- Social media marketing. Digital marketers must be comfortable with engaging customers across a variety of social media platforms. This helps to drive brand loyalty. One must be able to create integrated social media strategies and understand how to tap into customer loyalty in a way that is consistent with the company’s brand. Good social media marketers should be strong communicators and empathetic to the needs of the customer.
- Web development. Many small businesses are forced to condense their operations in a small team. Digital marketers can make themselves more attractive by having a solid knowledge of development and coding in addition to marketing strategy. This means being proficient with HTML, CSS and other coding languages. Even just knowing the basics so you’re able to tweak elements of a website when needed can be a big help.
- Graphic design. Along the same lines as web development, digital marketers can make themselves more attractive by having some graphic design ability. They should be proficient with Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Working together with the client, you can use graphic design to create banners, infographics and digital images for advertising that match current digital assets, logs and the targeted buyer persona.
- Mobile marketing. A knowledge of mobile devices and how to get traffic from them is an absolute must in today’s technological environment. For the first time, search traffic is coming predominantly from mobile devices, and the percentage of mobile use is expected to continue to increase in the coming years. Businesses who do not have digital marketers with mobile knowledge risk falling behind the curve.
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM). This refers to what we used to call Paid Search, Pay-Per-Click (PPC), AdWords, Cost-PerClick (CPC). Many digital marketers classify SEM as including Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the act of improving a website’s rank in organic listings, purchasing paid listings or a combination of these. Whew! That’s a lot of technical terms, but all are important to understand and appreciate. The bottom line is that the skill is all about search engine advertising, whether that be organic or paid.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is truly a science that any digital marketer should be familiar with. Marketers should stay up to date with changes to search engine algorithms, understand how to research keyword volumes, create detailed keyword strategies, have a thorough understanding of Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics, and understand practices such as link-building and onsite optimization.
- Public relations. Public relations is all about knowing the right people and being able to develop strategic relationships. Today’s digital marketers need to understand how to position the brand, as well as how to reach out to key influencers on networks like LinkedIn and Social Media. Therefore, digital marketers should be polite, persistent, charming and hard-working. They should be outstanding brand ambassadors.
These are just 11 of the most important skills a digital marketer should have in today’s world, but one could easily list many more. Which skill do you feel is most important?
Thomas von Ahn
Chief Elephant Slayer for Viral Solutions LLC
“Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful
men and women keep moving. They make mistakes but they
don’t quit.” — Conrad Hilton