If you have been trying to navigate the current landscape and adjust to the new “norm,” you already understand that it is no longer “business as usual.”
To survive and even thrive (yes, it’s possible!) in these unsettling times, knowing where your customers are and what problems they’re currently struggling with is crucial.
Where are your customers? They are online, now more than ever before. Whether or not you typically work out of a physical location, in the last month you may have been forced to move into the digital sphere—even if you were unprepared.
To help you navigate the online world and transition to working in a more digital landscape, we want to help you with assembling an effective digital marketing team—one that will help you weather the current crisis and thrive for years to come.
What are the key hires you need to make? What are their roles and responsibilities? In this article, we will outline the important roles that make up a powerful digital marketing team primed for growth. Whether you are trying to build a team to endure the current crisis or strengthen your current online marketing strategy, this article will be beneficial to you.
This information will also help you determine where the gaps are in your current digital marketing team (if you have one) and whether it makes sense to hire more people.
Strategy is critical because it is the foundation upon which you execute your tactics. It’s the game plan you use to win in the marketplace.
Executing tactics without considering the overall strategy is weaker than a house of cards on a windy day—it will collapse, and you will end up wasting a lot of time and resources. For example, let’s say you hire an email marketing specialist who isn’t guided by any sort of strategy. Sending emails randomly, without any knowledge of the campaign goals or KPIs (key performance indicators), he won’t know whether or not the campaign is a success. He is essentially flying blind and basing your entire business on assumptions, which may or may not be correct.
This is why we recommend hiring a strategist early in the process of assembling your digital marketing team. Now, this person can also be a manager and oversee projects (see next section), but their sole purpose should be to come up with broader marketing goals and measure campaigns for performance.
The strategist will keep all other marketing team members accountable to hit goals and will remind them of your company’s broader marketing goals. In addition to establishing goals and metrics, this person may map out customer journeys and create customer avatars.
- Direct marketing strategy
- Plan company goals
- Establish metrics
- Ensure campaigns align with company goals
- Manage campaigns, projects, and people
- Manage budgets
As the name suggests, the project manager manages the digital marketing team and ensures that all projects are completed on time and in an efficient manner. The project manager may also file incoming requests from other departments and become the middleman to connect marketing with the rest of the organization.
*Note: If your organization is smaller and you don’t need this role, the strategist can also act as the project manager until you have the budget to hire.
- Launch and manage deliverables
- Organize projects and communication
- Manage marketing team
- Work with the strategist to execute campaigns on time and on budget
- Maximize efficiency
- Prioritize projects
- Act as liaison between marketing and rest of organization
The creative team members you hire will depend on your needs, but we find the following roles important at a minimum:
- Graphic designer
- Content writer
- Social media marketer
The graphic designer creates custom graphics for your brand elements, whether offline or online. These visuals are important for brand awareness and website conversions, products, lead offers, social images, advertising creative, and more.
- Branded graphics
- Blog graphics
- Website graphics
- Social graphics
- Ad graphics
- Product imagery
Copywriters are as integral to an organization as the sales team. This is because copywriting is the content that pushes people to take a desired action. Whether they’re writing landing pages, product descriptions, ad copy, or promotional emails, copywriters know how to captivate your targets, evoke an emotional response, and get them into a buying mindset. Copywriting is an art form, so make sure to hire one with experience.
- Website content
- Landing pages
- Sales pages
- Ad copy
- Banner copy
- Product descriptions
- Promotional emails
Professional content writers know how to execute ideas and make them digestible for your target audience to increase brand awareness and generate leads. Their goal is to educate and inform readers without necessarily pushing them to take a specific action. While content writers have a slightly different role than copywriters, both are important for the customer journey.
*Note: In some cases, you may be able to find a professional writer who is skilled in both areas—growing your business through valuable content and encouraging people to buy.
- Website content (can also be created by a copywriter)
- Email newsletters
- Lead offers such as e-books, whitepapers, reports, and checklists
- Video scripts
Social Media Manager
Have a social media presence? If you are on social media sites, hire a social media manager to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your products and online assets.
Social media managers can also manage social content creators and reply to customer service complaints and messages, keeping your social profiles fresh and engaging for your brand.
- Create content for social profiles (or manage a content creator)
- Comment and engage with social audience
- Monitor customer service complaints and messages on profiles
- Keep profiles active and engaged with fresh, ongoing content
Technical Specialist / Web Developer
Your website crashes, your payment gateways aren’t working, you need a landing page fixed—tech issues can range from minor to detrimental, but they are a constant reminder that technical roles are critical to successful operations.
Regardless of how small your business is, technical specialists are essential.
- Fix coding issues on web pages
- Ensure website security
- Develop and implement website structure
- Monitor website uptime/downtime
- Keep website online
- Build forms and pop-ups
- Fix HTML and CSS issues
Analytics / Data Analyst
We LOVE data here at Viral Solutions because it’s the fuel behind powerful marketing strategies that WIN. With data, you can also quickly figure out what works and what doesn’t so you don’t waste money on failing campaigns.
Data analysts are critical to marketing teams because they supply information that produces the right goals that lead to the right tactics that lead to results. The data analyst will monitor and measure the results of your marketing campaigns to inform future marketing tactics and goals.
- Collect website data
- Collect social engagement data
- Collect data from written and video content
- Inform new goals and marketing tactics
- Inform overall goals and strategy
- Assess viability of current and future tactics based on ongoing data
Growth / Traffic Roles
Although we could put these roles under “strategy,” we feel that they exist on their own. The roles that fall under the “growth” umbrella focus on organic and paid traffic tactics that develop from your marketing strategy. Note that similar to other role crossovers, the traffic roles can also come up with strategy.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the practice of optimizing your website and content to appear higher in search engines to users who are searching via keywords. This is not to be confused with advertising in Google, which involves paying for ads (next section). SEO is free, but it is quite involved and requires a specialist who has at least a few years of experience.
SEO technology moves like lightning, so when hiring for this role, choose someone with enough recent experience. For example, someone who has 10 years of experience but has been out of the game for the last two years may not be as valuable as someone with five years of experience who has been staying abreast of more recent trends and developments.
- Research keywords
- Track rankings and associated data
- Optimize content
- Conduct competitive analysis
- Perform linking and outreach
PPC Advertising Specialist
While SEO can be a free and valuable way to drive traffic to your website, it’s not foolproof. It takes constant attention and monitoring, and you are never guaranteed to hit high search engine rankings.
In conjunction with SEO, businesses run PPC (pay per click) advertising to get immediate traffic and grow their audience.
This is a highly specialized discipline. We don’t recommend trying your hand at advertising unless you have a lot of experience. Otherwise, you may waste a lot of money learning and making mistakes on your dime.
- Create and manage PPC campaigns (Facebook, Google, etc.)
- Take part in creative, copy, and ad content
- Test campaigns, optimize, and adjust as needed
- Analyze data
- Inform future strategy based on data
Email Marketing Specialist
If you have an email list (and you should), an email marketing and automation specialist can supercharge your campaigns and generate more leads and sales.
The email marketing specialist doesn’t create the content (although they can) but is more involved in email management, testing, automation, segmentation, and more.
- Set up and deploy email marketing campaigns
- Manage and optimize campaigns
- Execute new tactics based on email data
- Split test campaigns
- Set up automated triggers and audience segments
- Manage email database and list scrubbing
- Perform lead scoring
Should I Hire for All Roles Right Now? Where to Begin with Budget Concerns
You may be concerned about how much money it will cost to hire all of these people—and we get it. Especially during uncertain times like the present, streamlining your costs as much as possible is a wise decision.
When you are just starting out, strategy will be most important. Once you know your goals and nail down your strategy, you will know which role to hire next and when.
Let’s say, for example, your goal is to increase traffic 25% by the end of the next quarter. Your strategy involves organic traffic with targeted content, social media, and PPC advertising. To execute this fully, you need people who are experts in content writing, copywriting, data analysis, social management, search engine optimization, and advertising. You will also need a tech specialist.
Also, you can combine some roles. Your content writer may also know some social media management. Just be careful not to hire people who say they are masters of more than 1-2 disciplines.
This brings us to our next point…
Jack of All Trades = Master of None
It may be tempting to try to execute robust marketing campaigns with as few people as possible.
Could you execute campaigns successfully with only two people? It depends on your goals, but it’s not likely if you are really looking to supercharge growth.
Here’s the thing… Would you hire a housebuilder who also spends his time managing a restaurant and teaching kindergarten students? You would want the builder to be insured, certified, and experienced—someone who has successfully built hundreds, if not thousands, of homes before. The point is that even though this person may have some home-building skills, 8-12 hours in a day limits this person from mastering so many disciplines. Similarly, if you want the best results, hire specialists who focus on one craft, and as a result, have had the time to master them. This will save you money in the long run.
How to Reduce Costs and Work with a Digital Marketing Team of Specialists
As we said before, we realize that budget may be a concern. Hiring 8-10 people, especially during this current crisis, may not be feasible—we understand and we are right there with you.
This is why it’s helpful to work with a company that already has an expert marketing team assembled and is ready to help you with your marketing. The cost will be much lower than hiring for individual roles. Plus, running campaigns is less stressful because you aren’t managing 7-10 employees or worrying about personnel. This also equates to lower overhead costs and less time spent working one-on-one with so many employees.
How to Create a Powerful Digital Marketing Team: What You Need to Know
A powerful marketing team is the driving force behind marketing wins and business growth. But, assembling the right team is critical to getting it right. Here are the roles we recommend at a minimum to help you get strategic, data-centric, and positioned for maximum growth:
- Project manager
- Creative roles
- Graphic designer
- Content writer
- Social media marketer
- Technical specialist / developer
- Analytics / data analyst
- Growth / traffic roles
- SEO Specialist
- PPC advertising
- Email marketing
Whether you are struggling to get leads and sales and/or you simply need some guidance, we can help. Maybe you are trying to take your offline business online due to this current crisis—we can help you weather this storm and thrive in the midst of it. Our team of experts brings decades of collective experience, and we have been working with small businesses since 2011. Let us be your marketing arm and take the burden off you.
If you are ready to chat, feel free to contact us here for a free consultation. We can discuss your needs and help you get back on track and primed for growth. Let’s make it happen together!