Digital marketing has already become a cornerstone in the business milieu. Professional activities that can still ignore are quite rare nowadays. Taking a quick look at just a few statistics and facts is more than enough to grasp the supremacy of that sector before we dive into our main topic: digital marketing skills.
- More than 75% of worldwide marketers claim that they have increased their brand credibility thanks to digital marketing.
- Experts predict that by 2023, nearly 85% of the global internet traffic will be all-video.
- Video-based digital marketing has a tremendous boost potential. Emails containing videos can increase click-through rates by up to 300%.
- Digital content has way better chances of visibility. There are more than 100,000 searches per second on Google.
- Manual trials and errors are about to become history. 60% of the global clientele buys after reading digital content (blogs, etc.) related to their chosen products.
- Consequently, more than 60% of marketers invest in blog content creation.
- Infographics have become the norm for over 65% of B2B marketers. Similar tendencies go for every other visual content, considering that this is the most retainable type of information for the “average human”.
But let’s just pause after those hors-d’œuvres and switch to the heart of our topic: digital marketing skills. How are you doing with yours, by the way? You probably know that such skills are paramount for many careers in digital marketing. So we suggest you have a closer look at our recapitulative article.
Yes, we are going to start with the most obvious ones. Marketing is essentially the art of communicating with panache. It’s about saying the right thing about the right good to sell to the right people. That’s it. So you already know what to put on the top of your own marketing skills list.
Communicational goals are (or should be) essentially based on a good understanding of human relationships. As a marketer, you ought to develop your social know-how. You must be curious about others, especially those who are likely to form your target audience. Getting to know their tastes, needs, expectations, and sensitivities will help you immensely while building your marketing strategy. This approach is also valid inside the digital world. Your prospects may be thousands of miles away from you, but you will still keep exchanging with them via the internet.
So use the online platforms as your social connectors. The more you familiarize yourself with your public by being attentive, the more your marketing content will be both accurate and reliable. Indeed, socially gifted marketers are perceived as trustworthy service providers. Quite logical since their efforts are carried out in a bilateral by taking the audience into account. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) also falls under this category since it’s also based on the improvement of communication in order to become closer to one’s audience.
If necessary, don’t hesitate to take specialized courses in communication and even psychology. You have a bunch of choices, either online or in person.
In our humble opinion, your second priority in the list of marketing skills should be data analysis. Why? Could it simply be because you first got to understand and process the components of your marketing goals? The answer is blindingly evident. So what kind of data should you learn to track? The purely technical and the more strategic aspects are intertwined here.
What do we mean by purely technical? Well, it starts with the system per se, such as the hardware and software you are using. Needless to say, you should always aim to work with high-performing material. Check your database regularly to keep it up-to-date and conduct data cleaning in order to maintain a digital environment exempt from errors and duplicates.
When it comes to the more strategic part, digital marketing skills related to analyses encompass several parameters. Those are mostly connected to the behavioral tendencies of your audience. How do your visitors interact with your site? How much time do they spend navigating it? What do they buy the most or ask for? Is there any content type that they tend to prefer? How do they formulate their search queries (with which keywords)? Such are some of the questions you will have to reflect on. Those will give a direction to what you will want to track through analytics. For instance, you will constantly be checking:
- Your income and how your different avenues (organic search, paid search, PPC campaigns, etc.) contribute to it.
- Your ROI (return on investment).
- Your customer segmentation data in order to respond to the demands of each of your “subclienteles” in the most effective and flexible way.
Yes, it’s better to have some, be it at a rudimentary level. Even if you don’t need to compete for the D&AD Impact Award, being able to craft your own visual material is a truly valuable marketing skill. As reminded in our introduction, a very well-known and scientifically proven reality is that people retain images easier when compared to text. Pictures, graphics, animations, and videos will be your best bet in this enterprise. Moreover, this kind of medium is very likely to dominate the sector even more for years to come. This kind of skill is already among the majority of marketing job requirements, to say the least.
Although it can look challenging at first sight for some of you, design skills provide, above all, some personal satisfaction. They give the freedom to materialize your own ideas and imagination on a screen. The good news is that nowadays, there are many handy tools to help you out. You will certainly need some time to familiarize yourself with them, but you can speed up the process by taking dedicated online courses. Here are some of the popular design software (either free or paid):
- Adobe Photoshop. Probably the best when it comes to variety. The layouts to work with include not only photography but also 3D designs, motion, web graphics, and painting, among others.
- Adobe Illustrator. An excellent tool for quasi-limitless customization. It also gives you access to the gigantic Adobe Stock library with dozens of millions of templates, videos, and images to get inspired from.
- CorelDRAW. It supports 48 file types and allows to switch smoothly from one device to another.
- Affinity Designer. An affordable alternative, especially for beginners. It gives the possibility to design in both pixel art and vector art environments.
Content Creation Skills
You didn’t think that we were going to forget these, did you? Content is the pillar of marketing and thus of all digital marketing skills. We perfectly know that in most cases, people first ‘buy’ content before any actual product. If someone starts reminiscing about your product description before having acquired any, you can venture to say that this person is “sold”. Or convinced, if you prefer. Good content is thus more than half of the way. Emphasis on good.
Now just put aside for a while the previous paragraph that overly focuses on selling something. Content is much more than that. As current or future digital marketers, you should also be willing to create a legacy. At the end of the day, it’s not that important whether people buy something from you or not at some point or another. The real deal is to build a sustainable relationship with them and to become a part of their memories. People should remember you far beyond your temporary campaigns. So the goal is to establish a lasting brand image and to also share non-commercial things with your audience as well.
Sorry to say that there’s no magical formula here. Indeed, content is a complex mix of so many factors. It requires proficiency in several fields, such as literature, psychology, sociology, and even politics. It’s also about knowing your brand to the extent of being able to present various facets of it. But here again, we are lucky to live in an era that eases the task. There are many available content courses (both in-person and online through, for example, Udemy).
Social Media Skills
Here comes the big beast, a hybrid one that combines most of what was said previously. One undeniable fact is that digital marketing skills are indissociable from social media. It wouldn’t be an overstatement if we told you that these days, life itself goes on essentially on those platforms. Lucky you if you still know someone who’s not absorbed in their newsfeed in the middle of a supposedly real-life convo or dinner with you. Bitterness aside, social media is the place to be nowadays and especially for marketers. You have probably heard of social media marketing jobs, right? A resolutely modern and lucrative sector to explore, provided that one has the appropriate skills.
Like which ones? First of all, and as we already pointed out, playing your cards right on social networks necessitates a combo. You will have to juggle communication skills, analytical skills, design skills, and of course, content skills, to name only a few. You will also have to be extremely active and consistent while remaining in constant touch with specific audiences. Each of your posts has to be purposeful and likely to generate engagement from the masses. Your strategy will also depend on the platform(s) in which you choose to operate.
Here again, you will have to build a coherent brand image while also being flexible enough to try out the different sharing types at your disposal. Quotes of the day, tweets, videos, stories, carousels… Just name your weapons. At the same time, you will want to be as interactive as possible by reacting to your public on time and, when possible, meeting them via live events.
In sum, a social media marketer’s job is not much different than an orchestra conductor’s. That’s probably a quite illustrative analogy for social media marketing skills.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Last but certainly not least, the skills that will make you decipher the subtleties of search engines, beginning with Google. SEO is (among many other components) the appropriate combination and use of keywords that comply with search engine algorithms. What largely determines the latter is, once again, internet users. In fact, we have a full-fledged field here, which studies thoroughly every single element at play in search queries. All in all, one of the marketing skills that you should gain is keyword mastery. A keyword is a somewhat incomplete term since SEO deals with much more than simple and isolated words. It takes into account entire phrases, formulas, and contexts that are behind each search query type.
As for SEM, which stands for search engine marketing, it’s also a search-engine targeted marketing field but a little different from SEO. While SEO efforts focus more on organic traffic generation, SEM rather explores paid advertisements within SERPs (search engine results pages). Of course, we are oversimplifying here in order not to derail the scope of the article. What you have to retain for now is that you need to learn about both organic and paid dynamics that are ruling the search engines. Once more, you may learn or consolidate the associated skills through dedicated courses.
Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
You may have heard of this classification that breaks a whole set of skills into two groups. Since this distinction often applies to digital marketing skills as well, let’s just remember its main lines.
Hard skills are usually those that have a technical background. In most cases, individuals acquire them through specific training processes. Here are only a few examples to give you a general idea:
- Database management
- SEO techniques
- Programming languages and coding
- Design and development
On the other hand, soft skills are also known as human skills. We have to admit that they have an innate aspect to a certain extent because they are mostly about personality traits and tendencies. Nonetheless, one can learn at least some of them through effort and training. Some examples of soft skills are:
As you can see, the skills presented throughout this article belong either to one or the other group. What matter here is the fact that in order to be a successful marketer, you will need ‘a little’ of both. You can’t just step back and claim that you are only this or that. You know those clichés in which some individuals claim that they are, for example, inclined to be purely scientific minds and decide to neglect the rest. Marketers do not (or should not) have such a “luxury”. Indeed, their success will grandly depend on their eclectism.
The Online Skills of Tomorrow
Digital marketing skills represent a precious investment for your career as a marketer. We have prepared this guide in order to show which ones you should prioritize and master and why. Knowing the high level of competition that characterizes the current market, it’s best to be armed with the right tools. Do your best to improve your skills in communication, analytics, design, content creation, social media manipulation, and, of course, SEO. With that equipment in hand, you will already see the difference it makes.