There’s a vast number of people these days claiming to be dedicated digital marketers. The truth, however, is that few have taken the time to sharpen their skill set and gain a fundamental perspective on how the whole process works.
If you need a bit of guidance on how to be a better marketer, we’ve got you covered. These 10 skills make up the foundation of every digital marketer’s toolkit – no matter if you’ve been in the industry for years or only a few months. Let’s take a closer look!
1. Basic Marketing Principles
It’s common to see a new digital marketer jump right in without any sort of background in basic marketing or sales. However, just because you know how to gain hundreds of followers on social media doesn’t mean you shouldn’t study the basic principles of marketing to improve your overall efforts. In fact, understanding why and how people buy is just as important as knowing the easiest way to achieve a first page rank on Google or the process of building an email list.
By learning the basics, you can set yourself apart as a marketer. Understanding concepts like the five elements of the marketing mix and how color affects emotion are all ways you can take the psychology of selling online to a whole new level. The best part about this? Not all digital marketing experts take the time to discover these methodologies, so it becomes easy to knock campaigns out of the ballpark once you’ve learned to incorporate them into your own strategies.
2. Content Marketing
Google has made it very clear that engaging and informative content is the most important aspect you should focus on to improve your search engine rankings. Therefore, Content Marketing continues to be a critical aspect of digital marketing that should never be forgotten.
However, this process goes way beyond tossing up a few blog posts with optimized keywords. You need to know how to create content – both textually and visually – that engages and excites your audience. By crafting messages that tell a story or evoke an emotion in your reader or viewer, you can create a connection that drives them to take the next step of purchasing a product or filling out a lead form. In the end, securing a conversion is your ultimate goal, and building a group of followers with this methodology is imperative for those who want successful digital marketing campaigns. Simply put, what you publish builds trust, so make sure you’re doing it the right way.
If you want to become a successful digital marketer, you have to know how to be persuasive. After all, isn’t that the whole point of the job? You must be able to present a message in front of an audience and get them to take a specific action.
However, digital marketing isn’t just about websites or social media channels. In many cases, you’ll have to be persuasive to help clients understand what you’re providing them and why it’s essential to continue to invest in a marketing budget. A significant portion of digital marketing is centered around creative ideas and complex data. So, having a knack for persuasion can help close more deals and improve your business savviness.
4. Email Marketing
You may have a massive social media following, but it won’t do you any good if the platform decides to shut down suddenly or puts new restrictions in place. Hence, the importance of maintaining an Email Marketing strategy. Building a list of dedicated customers or leads who value your content is the easiest way to get in touch with your audience if you ever lose access to a different channel.
To take this idea a step further, there are several different components that you should pay attention to. Knowing which Email Marketing platform is best for certain campaigns, how to create a solid content schedule, and the art of utilizing a lead magnet all fall into this category. By learning these skills, you’ll have the opportunity to increase your list of customers and help your clients do the same.
5. Social Media
Of course, you have to have a solid understanding of social media to be an excellent digital marketer. But this doesn’t just mean posting daily on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. It also involves learning how various platforms distribute content through specific algorithms. And to really set yourself apart as a digital marketer, you’ll need to have a solid understanding of social media best practices and how to utilize each network for marketing and paid advertising efforts.
Where many new digital marketers go wrong with social media is forgetting the social aspect. Learning the skills associated with running a marketing campaign can only get you so far if you aren’t trying to build a relationship with your following. This is a concept that many digital marketers forget, even though it might be one of the most important to remember.
6. Graphic Design and User Experience (UX)
Another area all digital marketers need to pay attention to is Graphic Design and User Experience (UX). While you might not be able to draw a stick figure on paper by yourself, there is merit in understanding what looks pleasing to the eye and what consumers want to see. The key here is to remember that you don’t have to be a Photoshop whiz to make this work. There are plenty of talented artists and freelance graphic designers out there to help.
Knowing the basics, such as what color pairings and font styles are most appealing to consumers, is a good place to start. A high-level understanding of mobile marketing and page navigation can also help. Again, you don’t have to be an art major to achieve a working knowledge of Graphic Design.
7. Search Engine Optimization and Paid Marketing
It probably goes without saying, but Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid marketing methods like Pay-Per-Click advertising are important to master as a digital marketer. Right off the bat, you should know how the process works and the most critical on-page and off-page practices to help content rank higher on Google. You also need to understand what tools are available to help you accomplish your goals.
Of course, to maintain a competitive edge, you’ll need to keep up with industry changes. For example, Google likes to mix up its algorithm every few months. This means that strategies that worked in the past may not be as effective in the future. Staying on top of trends is essential to your success, but it takes a lot of time to keep up with every change. Aim to make continuing education a priority – even if it means simply reading a few trusted Search Engine Marketing (SEM) blogs on a daily or weekly basis.
8. Video Marketing
Video Marketing is another excellent skill for digital marketers to master. Today, visual content is more popular than ever, with platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and IGTV drawing millions of views each day. Therefore, learning how to use video as part of a marketing campaign is crucial.
However, digital marketers need to understand that video isn’t as simple as shooting a quick movie on your phone and uploading it to a platform with a minor amount of editing. There are still certain SEO standards that must be utilized and knowing when to promote video content through paid advertising really helps it gain traction. Once you’ve mastered these skills, any piece of multimedia content you publish could see great success.
9. How to Review Data and Analytics
Another important skill that all digital marketers need to know is how to review data and analytics. In fact, this might be the most essential skill that someone new to the industry should understand; however, it is often overlooked.
Reviewing data (such as traffic reports, ranking reports, ad spend, and data-centric dashboards) is critical to understanding which campaigns are working and which need to be adjusted. By developing a knack for reading existing stats and predicting trends, you can easily set yourself apart as a successful marketer. Not sure where to begin? Google offers a wide selection of free classes and certifications for Google Ads, Google Analytics, and more.
10. When to Find an Expert to Partner With
Finally, it’s crucial to know when to call in the professionals for help with your campaigns. In some cases, this might mean partnering with an existing digital marketing agency or hiring a freelancer to help with a specific project. Why? The digital marketing industry is huge, and it’s impossible to learn every angle and become an expert in all of it. Working with others who have put in the time and practice is a great way to ensure your campaigns are running as smoothly and efficiently as possible without overstretching your limits.
The Bottom Line
While digital marketing is a great industry to work in, there are numerous components to the overall process. Knowing which elements to pay special attention to and which ones to partner with an expert on is critical. By keeping these critical digital marketing skills in mind, you can easily set yourself apart from others in the industry and enjoy improved success in all of your campaigns.
Alyssa Anderson is the Content Manager at Zero Gravity Marketing (ZGM), a digital marketing agency in Madison, CT. ZGM is known for developing overarching marketing strategies and specializes in Pay-Per-Click, SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media, Development, Design, and eCommerce services.