Marketing has always been an important part of business, but the way marketing is done has changed dramatically over the past several decades. From word-of-mouth to flyers to TV and radio, advertising methods often evolve rapidly as society changes. It is probably no surprise, then, that today’s marketing method of choice often involves the internet. With billions of people around the world connected to the world wide web in one way or another, the internet has become a veritable battleground for digital marketers as they search for the best way to reach potential customers.
Today’s article takes a closer look at digital marketing and some of the everyday skills that can help you thrive.
Before you start on your journey to becoming a digital marketer, you should take stock of your skillset, your experience and your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t worry if you don’t have previous experience in the field. Chances are good you already have some impressive digital marketing skills even if you haven’t officially studied it. Here are some of the everyday skills that every digital marketing professional needs to have.
Familiarity with the internet
First, digital marketers need some familiarity with the internet. When you browse, what advertisements are effective? The best digital marketers are those who understand how people use the internet on a variety of different devices. Mobile marketing, social media marketing and search engine marketing are all types of digital marketing, but they require different approaches to succeed.
Mobile marketing is targeted marketing meant to reach people on their mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Marketing techniques designed for mobile devices must take a few things into account. First, people use their phones for different reasons than they do their home computers, although there is certainly an increasing amount of overlap. Mobile devices also function differently than desktop computers, and what seems like an easy-to-read ad on home computers might be nearly impossible to read on mobile. There are design considerations to take into account here, in other words, and the good news is that you already have a handle on them if you use a smartphone or tablet.
Social media marketing is marketing designed to reach people as they browse various social media websites. There are a few different options here, and chances are good that you’re familiar with both of them. One form of social media marketing focuses on building a social media following, either by positioning the business in question as an expert in their field or by using influencers to promote the product or service in question. Another common form of social media marketing includes taking out ads on social media websites. There are benefits and drawbacks to both of these methods, and as someone who likely uses social media, you have insight into what works and what you skip over.
Search engine marketing is a little different from the previous two examples. Instead of using a person or dedicated platform to promote the business, search engine marketing focuses on ranking websites or webpages to attract attention in search results. When you Google something, you likely receive thousands of results, all organized into neat pages by Google. Most people click on the first result in the list, with dramatically fewer people going past the first page or so. Ranking the business for related search terms can be incredibly effective at driving traffic to their website and potentially converting visitors into customers.
Note that some businesses opt to take out ads in search results. On Google, these ads typically occupy the top two or three spots in the results and are denoted with an “ad” button next to them. This works similarly to ranking organically for a search term but can be incredibly pricy and, with a good digital marketer on the team, unnecessary.
As you can see, you already have significant familiarity with some of the most popular digital marketing methods in the industry. This firsthand experience will help you create more effective ads that reach your audience easier than less effective ads with little strategy or expertise behind them.
Another important skill digital marketers must master is persuasive writing. Whether the words are meant to stay as text in an ad somewhere or are included as part of an oral script, they must be persuasive in order to convince people to buy into the business or service in question. You likely already have experience here as well.
Have you ever tried to convince someone to do something? From washing dishes to going to the movies and everything in between, our lives are typically filled with small moments where persuasion is the goal. Most people have plenty of experience convincing someone to do something, in other words, which makes them great digital marketers.
When you are marketing online to a crowd of potentially millions, being able to reach out and snag someone’s attention is critical. Once you have that attention, you have to keep it. This can be a bit more difficult, as there truly are anywhere from dozens to thousands of competitors in any given field. If you aren’t demanding attention and swaying people to give your business a chance, someone else will. You must be adept at not only selling your business and its products or services but also at turning the interest you drum up into purchases.
This particular skill will be refined more in your education, whether you are pursuing a career change into marketing or are working toward your first degree, but you are already likely entering school with a solid grasp on it, which is sure to save you time and effort in the long run. Just make sure to pick a program from a reputable university such as St. Bonaventure to ensure your skills are where they need to be when you enter the job market.
Organization and time management skills
Two critically important skills for digital marketers are organization and time management. It is nearly impossible to effectively create, manage and implement advanced digital marketing techniques without some kind of schedule to stick to. This is especially true when businesses have more than one campaign running at any time, which becomes more common as businesses grow and find more success. There are a few different ways that organization and time management help professionals in digital marketing thrive.
Marketing is not a one-size-fits-all medium. A campaign designed for desktop browsers might not work on mobile browsers or be effective in email marketing, for example. In order to create a successful multi-platform and medium campaign, digital marketers must be able to keep track of their work. When did they last update their digital marketing strategy, and is it time to start fresh? What about their social media marketing efforts? All of these moving parts need to be carefully implemented for a cohesive marketing strategy. Without excellent organizational skills, something will fall by the wayside, and the campaign will falter a bit as a result.
As you might imagine, digital marketers are responsible for many different mini-projects at any given time. In other words, they don’t have much downtime and may sometimes feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. This is where time management skills come into play. Digital marketers with good time management skills are able to move through their “to-do” lists systematically and address everything on them effectively and efficiently without missing deadlines or stressing themselves over work overload. You must be able to break down your day into concrete sections with designated timelines in order to manage your projects effectively. While flexibility is always important, it is equally important to stick to your schedule as much as possible. Otherwise, you might find yourself running out of time at the end of the day.
You probably already have a decent handle on both organizational and time management skills. There are many areas of life where both are important, ranging from schoolwork to balancing your social life with class and extracurricular activities. Even if you don’t think you are particularly adept at either of them, you will have enough familiarity with the concepts to hit the ground running once you enroll in a digital marketing program and, beyond that, once you secure a job.
An innate understanding of the customer experience
Marketing doesn’t end when someone sees your ad. On the contrary, the entirety of the customer experience must be a smooth one. If it is difficult or frustrating to get through, potential customers will likely go elsewhere to complete their purchase. Sometimes, even past customers will look elsewhere due to a poor customer experience.
The “customer experience” refers to the impression your business leaves on your customers as they proceed through the buyer’s journey. There are two main areas to consider when it comes to the customer journey: products and people. Businesses with quality products are more likely to leave a positive impression on buyers, but businesses with excellent support staff interacting with buyers are even more likely to create loyal customers.
Think about the last time you did business with an organization that seemed to have your best interests in mind. Maybe they reached out after the sale to make sure you were satisfied with the product or service, or maybe they responded quickly and politely to a service request. Perhaps you were able to use coupons to get a great deal on a quality experience. Whatever it was that made that experience great, keep it in mind. Now consider the last time you did business with an organization that didn’t seem to care about you much at all. How did your experience with the first company differ from your experience with the second?
Congratulations, you just outlined the customer experience! The lasting impression each of these businesses made on you illustrates it perfectly. As a consumer yourself, you have great insight into what makes or breaks the customer experience.
Digital marketing is comprised of many different mediums. We’ve discussed this briefly earlier in the article, but it is important to add another medium to the mix. Video marketing is an increasingly popular form of marketing that reaches out to people on a direct and personal level. One approach to video marketing is maintaining a YouTube channel with conversations about your field of expertise, Q&As about the industry and how your products stand above the competition’s, and sometimes fun diversions like office tours. All of these videos combine into a highly effective digital marketing strategy when done correctly. Other forms of video marketing include TikTok and Instagram videos.
Have you spent much time on any of the websites above? Many millennials and younger have a lot of experience with various video platforms, with an emphasis on YouTube and TikTok. Even if you haven’t created any videos yourself, you’ve probably seen quite a few of them. What makes you like someone and want to see more? Are you likely to return to a specific channel once you’re interested in the content? The answers to these questions make you something of an expert in the subject. While your skills will need to be refined and expanded in university, chances are good that you already have a foundation upon which to build advanced skills.
Email marketing experience
Email marketing is a form of digital marketing that can be particularly difficult to get right. You’re probably familiar with this as well. If you’ve ever opened up your inbox to see a host of unwanted advertisements, then you know just how effective (or not effective, in this case) email marketing can be. As a digital marketer, you’ll take that experience and leverage it to create dynamic and interesting ads that people want to see.
Note that while email marketing might seem like a low-value form of digital marketing, it is actually one of the most lucrative when done properly. In fact, a successful email marketing campaign can yield a dramatic increase in clicks and engagement. The trick, of course, is creating the right campaign and doing so effectively. You already know what doesn’t work, but can you think of any emails you were actually glad to see? For example, businesses sometimes offer coupons via email or an industry-specific newsletter that keeps readers informed on breaking news and interesting trends.
In some instances, email marketing doesn’t seem to advertise the business at all. For example, sending a follow-up email about your experience as a customer and your satisfaction with the product is a good way to strengthen customer loyalty and make buyers more likely to return to your business in the future. All of this can be accomplished without even overtly advertising your products or services. Email marketing is a highly effective form of digital marketing, and you are poised to excel in the field thanks to years of personal experience.
Problem-solving and creative-thinking ability
Finally, we come to the final everyday skill that digital marketers use. Problem solving and creative thinking are two of the most important skills you can utilize as a digital marketer. Creativity, in particular, is critical when it comes to designing successful marketing campaigns. Never forget that there are many other digital marketers in the field doing the same thing you are – basic solutions for generating sales and customer interest simply aren’t enough to stand out in the crowd. You must think creatively about buyer needs and how your business meets them.
You might think your work is done once you’ve created an effective advertising campaign, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Once you’ve successfully implemented your strategy, you must carefully monitor it and make sure that it yields the expected results. If not, then it is up to you to analyze why and figure out how to refine the campaign to meet company needs.
Are you interested in learning more about how to become a digital marketer? Keep working on the skills we’ve discussed in this article and you’ll be well on your way.