Essential Skills to Become A Digital Marketer in 2019
Are you planning to pursue digital marketing as a career option?
If that sounds relatable, stick around till the end because in this article I’ll share 30 skills on how to become a successful digital marketer. The article is divided into various sections for you to better understand and skim through it quickly.
Let’s dive right in without wasting any further time.
Essential Skills to Become A Digital Marketer in 2019
1. Soft Skills
Soft skills have nothing to do with digital marketing in general. It is how well your intrapersonal skills are and how well you interact with other people. Following are some of the top soft skills which every marketer should have.
a. Willingness to Listen & Learn
You should always have the mindset to listen and learn from people. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a new player or been there from years now you should always have the hunger to learn new things from anyone and everyone. If you stop listening to people and start speaking, you lose the chance of learning what others have to share with you. Not only that, always be open to improve and learn from your mistakes, doesn’t matter if you’re an employee or the CEO of a company.
Communication is how well you can express your inner thoughts in words or written format.
Most of the employers look for this skill and judge your application based on how well you can communicate. You should be confident while speaking and have clarity. On the flip side, you need to be open to constructive feedback. If you’re planning to apply for a digital marketing or a sales job, improving communication is something you should work upon.
c. Data Analysis
Reading data granularly is truly a gift. We all have access to free tools like Google Analytics and Hubspot CRM still only a few data freaks can read the hidden data points which 99% of the marketers can’t. Once you master the data analysis game, you can understand the needs of your audience and serve them better. Moreover, you can create personalized content for them to provide value. For instance, if you run an ad, for the age group of 18-65+ on Facebook, after a week, you should analyze the data and understand which age group is engaging with your content. Reading data and analyzing is all about how well you can find your audience and target them.
d. Expert in Excel
Maintaining data is significant if you have a product or service business. One good way is to maintain it using excel sheets. Excel is a powerful tool if you know how to use it the right way. You can apply various formulas and make the calculations easy. Here’s a fantastic guide on 100+ Google sheet formulas for marketers. It has everything from analytics, audits, competitor research, content, keyword research, calculator, scraping, on-page SEO, technical SEO, and other things which you need as a digital marketer.
Digital marketing is a very dynamic field. You cannot apply dated SEO tactics that worked back in 2010 and rank websites in 2019. As they say change is the only constant. Always be adaptable to new things and learn constantly. The faster you can learn new skills and explore, the better your chances to earn money.
2. Basic Skills
To be an excellent digital marketer, you need to have a stronghold on each of these skills.
Everything in digital marketing revolves around quality content. You need proper skills for writing an attention-grabbing blog article or an informative social media post on Facebook or Twitter. Just being a writer isn’t enough. You need to produce content that’s easy to read with the right writing style. As a writer, your job is to explain complex topics in a simple manner for readers to comprehend. Furthermore, the information you provide in your writing should be backed by sufficient research and data. Your articles should be grammatically correct with proper sentence structure and plagiarism-free. Finally, for digital marketing, you also need to focus on writing SEO-optimized content that can rank on search engines and bring in free organic search traffic. Writing is a skill which not everyone can master in the digital world, but if you do, you’ll always be in demand.
b. Task and Team Management
Communication is the key thing for any business to succeed, be it online or offline. To keep your team motivated, you need to be transparent with them. To manage your team fruitfully, you can make use of tools like Slack, Podio, Asana, Trello for managing tasks, team communication, and more. Apart from that, you and your team should be aligned towards one goal. As a digital marketer, you would be bombarded with a lot of daily repetitive tasks which you have to delegate with your team and get things done in a timely manner. Managing a team properly and churning out great results is a task in itself.
Don’t confuse writing with copywriting. Copywriting is the best skill you can acquire in digital marketing. Every business needs an excellent copywriter. Copywriting is used for writing long sales pages where the motive is to make people buy your service or product.
Here’s a great example by Hustle. Notice how they grab the reader’s attention on the email opt-in page.
People connect with stories and a good copywriter always capitalizes on compelling stories strategically that get people to take instant action. Copywriting currently is one of the highest paying jobs in digital marketing. Any big digital marketer you will see is already a fantastic copywriter. Once you master this skill, there’s no looking back.
d. Market Research
Doing market research isn’t easy at all. However, being a digital marketer, you have to hone your research skills. At some point in time, you need to perform a website audit or pull out hidden statistics to verify your claims in the content you produce. There are various tools and websites where you can hunt for the right information online. However, it’s your job to choose the right things and get it done effectively.
e. Keyword Research
Keyword Research is a crucial skill to have as a digital marketer if your medium of incoming traffic is search engines. As a marketer, you need to choose the right keywords where you can rank and bank on free traffic with less effort. You can make use of free tools like UberSuggest to start your keyword research. I always recommend targeting long-tail keywords to get highly targeted search traffic.
For being a great digital marketer, you should be great at using keyword research tools effectively and select the keywords that can be highly profitable for your business.
3. Digital Marketing Skills
Below are a few of the core digital marketing skills that show you multiple ways of how you can generate traffic for your website. While starting your journey, choose one method and master it.
a. Email Marketing
If you’re not using email marketing to drive traffic and sales for your business, you’re leaving money on the table. Email marketing is the most effective form of building trust and getting return customers for your digital business. It’s all about personalization. Research by Campaign Monitor shows that email open rate in 2019 is 17.92% and if you write attention-grabbing headlines for the emails you send, it can go even higher. Engagement is key for a successful email marketing campaign and that’s what as a digital marketer you need to master. The more engaged your subscribers are with your content, the more likely they would buy from you. The best part about having an email list is that you no longer have to be dependent on paid or organic traffic source as you can drive traffic and sales directly from your email list. As a T-shaped marketer, email marketing is one skill which you should dominate.
b. Traffic Generation
Guess what, if you’ve no clue as to generating traffic for a website, all other skills are mentioned in the article are useless. You can generate traffic from paid advertisement or by optimizing your website for the search engines. Both the ways are effective and mastering both are necessary as relying just on one traffic source can be dangerous. The core of getting highly targeted traffic boils down to how well you craft content. If your content isn’t unique and helpful to the readers, both the above traffic generation method won’t work.
Paid advertising is a quick way to get traffic, but you need money to invest. On the other hand, search engine optimization takes time to rank but gives you free organic traffic.
c. Search Engine Optimization
As the name suggests, SEO is a process to optimize your website for the search engines to rank your site. It is the most powerful way to get free traffic in 2019. Although there’s high competition these days in SEO, there are hidden keywords available where you can dominate pretty easily. Remember, I told you to master keyword research and find long-tail keywords? Well, once you find those keywords and write articles, you need to optimize them for SEO and get it ranked. In digital marketing, all tasks are connected. Like for SEO, you need to have the right keyword and better content to rank on the first page of Google. Writing SEO optimized content isn’t enough to rank in the SERPs because you also need to build backlinks and an authoritative page that search engines can trust. Backlinks are like votes. Higher the votes, better your chances to rank higher. Similarly, if your page has more backlinks, you can crack the first spot for your keyword. SEO is a very demanding aspect of digital marketing. Every digital marketing firm and company needs an SEO who can rank websites for them.
4. Managerial Skills
Managerial skills have more to do with how you well you understand your customers and tailor their pain points providing them a legitimate solution through your product/service.
Customer Relation Management or CRM is a full-fledged job role available in the market right now. In fact, today LinkedIn shows 133,000 people with their job role as a CRM manager. Data is the most important thing for any CRM or digital marketer. Moreover, collecting that data with proper customer tracking is crucial too. Apart from that, you need to constantly build a rapport with your prospects which sounds like a lot of work, right? With the advancement of technology, we have a bunch of fantastic CRM tools that can make your life easy. From sending the first email to closing the deal, all the tasks can be handled by a dedicated CRM tool. A digital marketer’s job is to get a strong grip in understanding and using the tool at its full potential. You can make use of CRM tools like SalesForce, Pipedrive, Zoho CRM, Hubspot, etcetera.
Everything boils down to how well you can close a deal or client be it an offline or online business. Every digital marketer needs to be a good salesperson. If you have a fantastic product but don’t know how to sell it well, it’s difficult to scale your business. Sales is a valuable skill which not a lot of digital marketer focus upon. It’s an old traditional skill that is completely underrated in the new digital world. However, if you closely understand what your prospects need, tell compelling stories, communicate better, use psychology, and apply a variety of marketing tactics; and you can dramatically improve your sales. The best example of a pure salesman is Steve Jobs. His speech from 2007 while launching the first iPod is still famous worldwide. Steve played a huge role in growing Apple Inc. to the mega brand it is today.
c. Client Acquisition
Just like sales, client acquisition is a must-have skill for every digital marketer. In fact, to close a client, you need good sales skills to sell your product or service without being pushy or salesy. You cannot hardsell your services directly on the client’s face. Client acquisition is all about convincing people the right way to buy your products and services that too for a recurring subscription. There are various inbound and outbound marketing techniques to acquire clients. Content marketing, webinars, and social media posts are considered inbound marketing strategies to acquire clients. On the flip side, cold email outreach and LinkedIn marketing comes under outbound marketing. The best part about digital marketing and mediums like Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn is that you can reach a wider audience base, unlike the offline traditional way where you have to meet people physically.
5. Social Media Skills
a. Facebook Marketing
With monthly active users of over 2.38 billion people, as reported by Zephoria, Facebook is the biggest social site on the web. As a digital marketer, it’s necessary for you to be present on platforms where your target audience resides. The best way to do Facebook marketing is to create a page on the platform and start posting engaging content. Here’s a great example of a Facebook page Sarcasm that has over 39mn page likes and are constantly engaging with their audience.
Check out this post which was posted an hour ago and got 5500 reactions.
Being a digital marketer, you can provide Facebook marketing service to your clients and charge them or do it for your business and generate leads for free.
Facebook is the top traffic source across all social media channels.
b. Instagram Marketing
Right after Facebook, the second biggest social media networking site is Instagram. Instagram marketing is a way for brands to connect with their potential customers. You have IGTV, Instagram post, and stories to reach out to your audience. Every digital marketer can offer Instagram marketing as a standalone service to their clients where they handle the accounts and manage their brand presence. To do so, you need to understand how the business profile of Instagram works. You can make use of the free Instagram analytics tool to understand what’s happening with the account and decide upon strategy. Instagram influencer has been a hot topic in 2019. Here you connect with a well-known influencer to promote your product and service for which you pay them upfront money. All the ways mentioned above are organic and free ways to do Instagram marketing. However, you can also promote your brand, product/service through Instagram marketing which I’ll talk about later in the article.
c. LinkedIn Marketing
The last form of social media marketing is LinkedIn marketing. LinkedIn is a place where professionals hang out. As per their reports, 2 professionals join LinkedIn every second. For digital marketers, especially in 2019, LinkedIn has a massive opportunity because unlike Facebook and Instagram that are dead in organic reach, LinkedIn gives you 100% organic reach on your posts.
This is the best time for brands and marketers to capitalize on LinkedIn marketing. It is by far the best way to generate B2B leads for your business that too for free. There are multiple ways to get leads for your business – like joining niche relevant groups, search for individuals and connect with them, start your group, or use InMail.
6. Technical Skills
Digital marketing also includes a few technical skills like playing around with code and data analysis. Following are some of the key skills to master in the technical aspect of digital marketing.
a. Coding Skills
Coding is a superpower. I mean you can create anything that you imagine with the help of code. You don’t have to be a coding ninja but as a digital marketer having the basics right always helps. Digital marketers need to have solid command over both HTML and CSS languages to make basic website edits without a need to hire the developer. If you know PHP and Python, that’s an added bonus. Coding helps shapes your mind thinking like a problem solver. Although, this skill isn’t a must for being the top digital marketer as you could always hire developers.
b. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free data analysis tool developed by Google. It’s mandatory to install Google Analytics if you run a website. Data is something you should have a keen eye on. Plus, Google Analytics has a lot of hidden features which a majority of the marketers don’t know about.
If you know how and where to find the data in Google Analytics, you can easily beat your competition with proper decisions as you can read data better than your competitors. The tool shows you all the incoming traffic, location, device, bounce rate, landing page, and other powerful stuff. To master Google Analytics, you can take the free course by Google which is available here.
c. Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager is a free tool offered by Google to marketers for creating tags with a few clicks. You just have to install a snippet of code on your website and create tags for conversion, tracking, retargeting, and more. It takes little time to understand and begin use.
The best part about Google Tag Manager is that unlike other tools, it updates in real-time so you don’t have to wait for days for the data to get updated.
d. Ad Optimization
Running a Facebook or Instagram ad is easy. However, the real game of a digital marketer lies in optimizing those ads and making the most ROI out of it. For instance, you have an ecommerce client who sells a product at $24.99. While running the ads, your conversion percentage is 1%, which means that for every 100 visitors that visit the store, 1 person buys the product. Your role as a digital marketer is optimizing ads the right way to increase that 1% conversion rate to 2-3%. So if you’re spending $20 on ads to get 1% conversion, somehow after optimization, if it can increase up to 2% or maybe 3% then you can make a positive ROI. For ad optimization, you have to test with different ad creatives and understand which one is performing better and why people are engaging with the working ad copy. To start with, you’ll have to test with different ad creatives and targeting to find a winner. Once you find the right offer for the right audience, put most of your budget into it.
e. Graphic/Ads Design
As a T-shaped digital marketer, you have to know a bit of everything which also includes basic graphic designing work. You don’t need to be a photoshop ninja; however, you can use Canva or Stencil to create social media post images or thumbnail for video ads without hiring a designer. Both Canva & Stencil are easy to use and master. If you’re creative enough, you can do wonders with these tools. Apart from that, you have a premade template which makes your life easy and get things done faster. Graphic designing is something which as a digital marketer, you should be open to.
f. Web Design
Just like graphic designing, web design is a skill which is a must to be an excellent digital marketer. By basics, I mean you should at least understand HTML perfectly and some CSS code. It’s okay if you’re not good with logical coding like PHP or Python because you can always hire a developer for that. While building a landing page or making visual changes on the site, you’ll have to change the backend HTML and CSS code (which is web designing) so it’s a bonus to have this skill on your portfolio.
7. Advertisement Skills
These are core marketer skills. In this vertical, you focus on generating traffic for your client or your business through paid advertisement.
● LinkedIn Ads
In 2019, LinkedIn ads are one of the most underrated traffic sources. If you or your clients are in B2B business and are looking to get leads, LinkedIn ads are the best way to reach your audience. As a digital marketer, you can make use of this opportunity which a majority of the marketers don’t. Although LinkedIn ads are expensive when compared to Facebook & Instagram ads, however, you have very less competition on the platform which you can leverage to generate high-quality leads for your business. You can directly target people based on their job roles (director, owner, CXO, manager) which is super powerful to get your message in front of your audience.
b. Native Ads
Native Ad is the recent trend that is picking up rapidly. It is nothing but a media format that looks almost similar to the content of a web page or social media feeds. Native ads are a clever way to target your audience. There’s nothing additional to explore here because if you gain your expertise on paid advertising, Native ads are nothing extra. If you’re a newbie digital marketer, you can explore famous native ad networks like Outbrain, AdNow, Taboola, and RevContent.
c. Facebook Ads
As I mentioned above, Facebook is the biggest social networking site on the web which also makes it the biggest advertising platform. Paid advertising is picking up all the heat in 2019 and mastering Facebook ads is a superpower in itself.
On LinkedIn, there are over 10k+ jobs available in India where they need a digital marketer who specializes in running Facebook ads. Once you master Facebook ads, you can offer services to your clients and generate leads and sales for them or run your ecommerce or service business. Scaling is pretty powerful with Facebook ads. As soon as you find a winning campaign, time to scale.
d. Google Ads
With over 100 billion in annual revenue, Google is the biggest traffic source on the entire web. Being a digital marketer don’t get confused between Google and Facebook ads because both of them serve a completely different purpose. Google is more search-oriented, wherein you target people who are searching for a product or service on Google. On the flip side, Facebook is all about an impulse purchase. If you plan to master paid advertisement or PPC as a digital marketer, learning Google ads is mandatory. Google ads also include YouTube ads and other ad types. Mastering all the verticals will take considerable time; however, once you’re a PPC master, you can run Google ads for your company or offer it as a paid monthly service.
e. Mobile Marketing
Up to 70% of the overall web traffic comes from mobile devices. For digital marketers, this is a vast opportunity to explore. You don’t have to learn a whole new skill to master mobile marketing. Nevertheless, you have to be good at analyzing data points. For instance, while running a Facebook or Instagram ad, closely monitor where you get the majority of your traffic from. If it’s from mobile, tailor your marketing strategy to mobile users. The best way to master this vertical is testing various things. Once you find a winner creative or ad copy or video especially for mobile users, begin targeting them at scale and get the best ROI possible.
You don’t need to be proficient in all of the skills mentioned above. However, having a brief overview of all the skills helps in the long run. As I mentioned, digital marketing is a very dynamic field where you cannot stop learning. Some of the core skills that you should master are bringing traffic to your site, closing clients, sales process, and reading data.
If you have any more doubts and need more clarity in understanding any point mentioned above, feel free to drop a comment down below and let me know. Which is your favorite digital marketing skills and why? Tell us in the comments.