Digital marketing skills are crucial for modern professionals and businesses because of their potency, expansive reach, detailed performance analytics, and personalization tools. These benefits have become even more significant as a COVID-19-induced digital transformation sweeps the global workspace.
Having digital marketing skills opens both individuals and businesses to exciting opportunities. However, the relatively low barrier allows for heavy competition. As customers get savvier and technology speeds up, digital marketers need more creativity, empathy, and communication management skills to achieve positive ROI on digital marketing campaigns.
What skills do you need to succeed as a digital marketer? This article shares 10 essential skills needed for marketing, whether you're job-hunting or simply developing your expertise. But before we get to it, there are two things to note:
- Data analytics in marketing is increasingly more important.
Chief among the list of valuable digital marketing skills is the ability to decipher and analyze audience data. After all, steady improvement of a marketing campaign is impossible without baseline metrics and the capability to glean insight from these numbers.
- Specialized technical skills are a competitive advantage.
Technical marketing skills can include coding, graphic design, video production, and copywriting. Having technical skills speeds up collaboration with other departments and resources. Minor revisions don't need to be shuttled between departments because you can make the changes independently.
Now, on to the top 10 digital marketing skills you need to succeed.
1. Social media skills
Skills needed for marketing change almost as often as new social platforms are created. For example, the rapid growth of TikTok (from 500 million users to almost one billion in one year) has made the social platform a significant marketing channel for innovative businesses.
As video content becomes more popular, social shopping takes center stage, and educational posts drive engagement, social media skills are becoming more valuable.
Choose the best social platforms for your brand, understand your market demographic, and create useful, targeted social content to avoid wasting marketing budgets. Some social media skills include:
- Content strategy
- Media creation
- Community engagement
- Social listening
2. Content and Copywriting
Creating valuable digital content and copy is the backbone of some of today's most successful businesses. The average adult consumer spends over five hours with digital media each day, whether that’s on computers, phones, or other connected devices.
For businesses, this presents an opportunity to communicate personably with your market, provide actionable and educational content, and get in front of new prospects.
The way an organization communicates soon becomes synonymous with the organization. Take Buffer, for example. The company invested heavily in content marketing in their early days, which helped acquire their first 100,000 customers.
Even when you're not running a marketing campaign, it's worth being intentional about your content, copy, and other written media assets. This work forms the foundation of your organization's voice. Consider taking an online writing class to develop your content and copywriting skills.
3. Analytics marketing skills
With data as a key growth driver, analytics marketing skills are highly sought-after in marketing today. Unlike the Mad Men era, modern digital marketers and advertisers are expected to do more than brainstorm, run focus groups, and rely on gut feelings.
You must track, analyze, and measure your marketing ROI against your marketing goals and metrics. Studying your marketing performance data for impactful, actionable insights is a high-leverage skill that sets you apart.
You do not need to be an expert in data analytics, but knowledge of simple analytics tools like Google Analytics is beneficial.
4. Data visualization skills
Data visualization skills are increasingly in demand and can majorly influence your digital marketing strategy and content creation. Brands that can share valuable proprietary data insights in easy-to-understand visual formats offer a novel form of value.
Data visualization skills help you reformat data into graphs, charts, and graphics that make numbers and other facts easier to digest for your target audience.
5. Technical marketing skills
Technical marketing skills are more critical than ever. Clients may test an agency's ability to deliver by running performance-based marketing campaigns before signing a longer-term contract. Examples of technical marketing skills include:
- HTML and CSS: You do not need to become a front-end developer, but a basic understanding of HTML, CSS, and other programming languages gives you a more robust digital marketing skill set.
- Marketing automation: Automation is necessary to work efficiently and maintain consistency. Digital marketing automation helps take tasks off your to-do list, streamline your workflow, and make reporting easier.
- Data analytics: The ability to collect data, interpret it, and communicate insights to stakeholders makes you a strong digital marketer.
- Database querying: Most companies use SQL databases. The ability to run and manage database searches without the technical team's help is useful when working with startups.
6. Newsjacking and PR skills
Newsjacking, or taking advantage of breaking news to market your business, is about quick wins. It can generate high social media engagement, massive press coverage, and backlinks to your website if done well. For example, Oreo's Dunk in the Dark tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl capitalized on the real-time power outage to garner over 10,000 retweets in one hour.
Newsjacking and PR skills keep you tuned into culture and trends, so you're ready to leverage real-time media opportunities to share your brand message and achieve digital marketing goals.
7. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
It's more challenging than ever to earn a top spot in search engine results for companies and marketers in competitive, technology-dependent businesses, but it's essential to do so.
39% of online customers come from search — yet a whopping 75% of users never go beyond the first page of search results. SEO is a vital digital marketing skill for companies to invest in to succeed and gain market share.
With the COVID-19 pandemic pushing internet use by 70%, customers are buying even more online. Whether they're looking for the best hair salon or comparing features of project management tools, most of your prospective customers are now adopting search engines as their 'research and referral buddies.'
8. Teamwork skills
Managing and executing digital marketing campaigns often requires working in cross-functional teams. These teams can include writers, designers, marketers, developers, SEO specialists, and community managers whose roles complement digital marketing skills. The finance, operations, and administration departments also support and empower the digital marketing team.
To work well in a team, you’ll have to be adept at:
- Communicating clearly and positively
- Understanding your role within the team
- Being helpful to colleagues
- Providing and receiving feedback in good faith
- Completing your project tasks on time
- Speaking up if you notice things going wrong
Good teamwork skills involve taking responsibility for your role and actions and prioritizing your team and organizational goals.
9. Time and project management
You must be organized to succeed in digital marketing. Digital marketing campaigns often require multiple teams to work together, creating task dependencies, proofing and approval delays, and poor-quality deliverables if not managed correctly and transparently.
10. Email marketing
There is an increasingly high demand for email marketing skills and specialists. Done right, it is one of the most effective ways to maintain contact with your customers, provide personalized services, and maximize each customer's lifetime value.
Email marketing skills are useful in nurturing a productive relationship between your organization and customers. Essential email marketing skills for digital marketers are:
- Data privacy
- Mobile optimization
How to get new marketing skills
The marketing industry is continuously evolving. It's important to stay ahead of trends — or even lead them. To do this, you must consistently improve your digital marketing skills. Luckily, there are online resources to help you get started.
1. Actively learn
The best way to get better marketing skills is to learn actively. Read articles, watch old marketing stunts and ads, study exceptional marketers, and take classes. Practice your new skills on the job or through personal projects, noting what works and what doesn't.
2. Join marketing communities
Join communities where you can learn digital marketing skills and meet other digital marketers. These could be online or offline communities or free or paid groups. These communities enrich your professional life and allow you to share ideas, build accountability, and meet new colleagues and mentors.
3. Experiment and practice
We can improve any skill through practice, and digital marketing is no exception. Experiment with new technology, channels, or formats to communicate your organization's message. When you experiment with creativity, you may discover a new way of doing things — or even start a marketing trend.
Over to you
When presenting yourself as a qualified marketing expert, it's important to show a well-rounded view of your digital marketing skills. Emphasize your strengths and how they can help the organization achieve its goals.
Whether you're job-hunting or improving your skills in the workplace, it doesn't hurt to learn more, build your network, and practice. Employers hire talent who keep up with trends and technologies and continue to learn.
Want to improve your digital marketing skills and position yourself for more success? Check out the infographic below for statistics and tips for digital marketing success. Get started with a two-week free Wrike trial to test those skills and run an effective digital marketing campaign.