The demand for marketers with digital skills is on the rise. For example, there has been a 116.4% rise in demand for marketers with paid social media experience, according to data from LinkedIn. Further, demand for social media advertising has increased by 45.9%, proficiency in Instagram is up 28.4%, social media optimization has grown by 26.2%, and knowledge of LinkedIn is up 25.7%. Those findings represent just a few of the many responsibilities of today’s digital marketers.
A digital marketer uses digital channels to reach customers, build brand awareness and promote products and services. However, today there is an ever-growing number of digital media channels on which they must create, deploy, manage and track campaigns. To be a successful digital marketer in today’s intensifying digital world requires wearing many hats, as well as mastering a wide range of hard and soft skills.
Inbound marketing encompasses everything related to publishing interesting and useful content that appeals to the company’s brand personas. Campaign strategies need to be created to attract, engage and convert users, as well as rank high for common search queries and have a hook that people will be compelled to share across multiple channels.
Content marketing involves creating a wide range of high-quality, SEO-friendly content, including social, emails, websites, blogs, e-books, videos and whitepapers. To produce the right content, digital marketers need to create a content strategy based on a company’s overarching business goals and an understanding of how to get their target audiences to engage.
Social media marketing requires digital marketers to create and publish native content that promotes their brand or products across the company’s own social media platforms — as well as the paid posts that appear on others’ channels. They need to be experts on all the social media platforms and have the skills to engage in social listening, live-streaming, direct messaging and hashtagging. This includes knowing what works and what doesn’t, when and what to post and how to adjust the tone of your posts to resonate with the different segments of the audience.
Being an email marketing pro means understanding how to use this medium to nurture relationships and reach new prospects. Nurturing relationships with potential customers includes keeping them informed with updates and working to boost their level of engagement with your brand across your platforms. Reaching prospective clients requires highly targeted campaigns that inspire them to take a specific action.
This direct marketing approach involves paying for ads in ways that build brand awareness. Given the investment of real dollars, PPC advertising demands a carefully thought-out strategy to ensure the ads are placed where they’ll be most effective. Digital marketers need to know what and where to spend their budgets for maximum impact on direct advertising, Google Ads, social media ads and sponsored posts.
To succeed as a digital marketer, you need to be an expert in search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM), including having a solid understanding of best practices and how to optimize all forms of content in campaigns for greater search results. SEO is focused on optimizing a website to generate traffic from organic search results. SEM is focused on generating traffic and visibility from both organic and paid search.
Digital marketing campaigns generate mountains of data, which can be used to understand what’s working and what isn’t so that all efforts can be maximized. Great digital marketers need to understand how to gather and use the data to their advantage. This includes knowing how to use Google Analytics and other analysis tools well. Monitoring and reporting via these tools is straightforward, but the tricky part is knowing how to gather and use the information to learn more about consumer behavior and applying it in ways that boost traffic and conversions.
To wear their seven hats well, digital marketers should have these essential hard skills as well:
While digital marketers don’t have to be designers, having a solid grasp of basic design skills, including user experience (UX), is a huge asset. This often begins with an intuitive understanding of the customer experience and knowing how it can be best translated visually. Understanding UX expands marketers’ potential for greater results on all digital platforms.
Gaining an edge lies in having the ability to innovate and out-think competitors. This involves finding creative solutions to challenges, such as discovering novel pathways to new leads to launching new ways to grab and hold prospects’ attention.
Storytelling skills, including writing, editing and visuals, are an asset for digital marketers. It’s important to be able to communicate ideas in ways that are compelling. This includes everything from writing an Instagram caption to an email series to a 1,000-word thought leadership article.
Mastering the art of selling is an advantage for digital marketers. However, this isn’t about the hard sell, but the art of persuasion. It can help create a strong brand image over time and help boost campaign results.
Digital marketers need to know how to manage several multifaceted digital campaigns through multiple phases of execution, across various channels with diverse deliverables. This takes both leadership skills and a high level of organizational expertise to keep all the balls up in the air at once.
This skill requires intense planning capabilities and a forward-looking attitude, as well as an eye for emerging trends.
To wear their seven hats well, digital marketers should have these essential soft skills as well:
Digital marketers always have many irons in the fire and digital marketing assignments can change rapidly. Knowing how to prioritize them while also responding to urgent matters requires agility. Also, they need to be prepared to respond to long-term changes in the digital landscape, including new and unexpected developments.
Being able to see things from someone else’s point of view is essential to marketing of any type. It’s important to understand why someone thinks a certain way, so you can respond to it in ways that satisfy people’s need to be understood.
There are so many aspects of digital marketing and so many niche areas that must be considered. Craving more knowledge about how it all fits together and how it can get better results makes a person better in any role.
In digital marketing, there are always dozens of projects going on at once. Having the time to read the latest industry tweets, create new campaigns and keep them flowing, conduct analysis and create reports, and more, requires having the ability to multitask well, so you don’t fall behind.
Digital marketing is a continually moving target that requires the professionals executing the campaigns to stay on top of the latest trends. Having these digital marketing skills will set today’s digital marketers up for success and drive them to the head of the pack in a highly competitive playing field.