Digital Marketing is currently one of the most in-demand skills. In fact, according to LinkedIn, digital marketing related jobs claimed multiple top 20 spots in both 2014 and 2015.
Because of its growth, marketing has become an incredibly broad field, with many different disciplines coming under its umbrella. As a result, it’s often no longer enough to just specialise in one area. Digital marketers need to become well-versed in multiple skills to meet the ever-growing demands of modern businesses.
So which skills would you need to invest in if you wanted to become a digital marketer?
While it does depend on the industry and the individual company, we’ve put together a list of the top 5 skills you’ll need to have as a digital marketer to thrive!
1. A basic understanding of psychology
Marketing is, and always will be about communicating the right message to the right people. Whether they will admit to it or not, irrationality and emotions play a significant role in a customer’s purchasing behavior. It’s up to you, therefore, to persuade people to become customers, whether it’s in 140 characters, a 10,000-word white paper, or through images.
You should understand heuristics, purchasing behaviors and patterns, how to map customer journeys and draw out customer avatars. With this information, you need to be able to motivate potential customers to not only make a purchase, but also to feel good about their purchase after. To do so requires empathy and efficiency with a healthy dose of creativity.
Customer psychology and persuasion are oft-written about topics, so doing some good ol’ fashioned reading are excellent starting points on sharpening up your knowledge! Our favorite books are Influence by Robert Cialdini, and How to Make Friends and Persuade People by Dale Carnegie
2. A solid understanding of web development
From building complex landing pages to implementing deep tracking capabilities into your websites, technologies based on code form the cornerstone of much of what you do as a digital marketer. To not understand how these technologies work would be significantly limiting.
Most importantly, understanding code allows you to work independently and flexibly. It can be incredibly frustrating sitting around twiddling your thumbs, waiting for a development team to make small changes to a website, or to implement a tracking pixel. Having the confidence to get your hands dirty is incredibly valuable (and rewarding!).
3. Data analysis
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for digital marketers is determining ROI, and Data and analytics should underpin any decision and action made by a digital marketer. That’s why all digital marketers need to have a strong understanding in interpreting and gathering insights from a variety of analytics platforms.
However, it’s not enough to just be able to collect the data, as it’s easy to drown in numbers. As the digital marketer, it’s up to you to find the metrics and set the goals that matter, and discard the rest. You’ll need to understand the difference between ‘lagging’ and ‘leading’ metrics to predict outcomes and learn from the past. You’ll need to know how to segment your audience to gain meaningful insights, create custom dashboards so your team can focus on what’s important, and translate all the figures so the right people can understand them.
4. Marketing Automation
As a digital marketer, you’ll have a lot on your plate. That’s why marketing automation should be a big part of a digital marketer’s arsenal. Automation grants marketers superpowers to do what usually wouldn’t be possible
From automatic email sequences that welcome a new customer, to webhooks that send user details to the right email lists, marketing automation allow a marketer to do more with less. It not only alleviates tedious tasks, but will also help you test and refine processes that traditionally a larger team would need to do.
Understanding the right tools and building the right systems can make significant changes how successful a business is.
5. Conversion Optimisation
Conversions are the moment you turn a stranger into a customer, or a prospect into a warm lead. Conversion optimisation is the process of ensuring the highest possible rate of conversion at any given interaction with a customer. In other words, it’s ensuring your business is watertight when it comes to acquiring customers.
A/B testing, multivariate testing and determining the local maxima are all parts of conversion optimisation. The process is one deeply rooted in strategy and data analysis, requiring an almost scientific approach; you’ll need to draw a hypothesis, run experiments and then analyse the results.
Although it’s complex to begin with, every business can benefit greatly from conversion optimisation. If done correctly, it can produce incredible results for the business at little to no cost.
These are 5 must-have skills you need to learn nowadays as a digital marketer. We’ve picked skills that apply to a wide array of industries and businesses, so learning these, in particular, will allow you to provide value wherever you go. We also don’t see these skills diminishing in important anytime soon, regardless of how fast the digital landscape shifts, so you’ll know your time is going to good use!
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Written by: Josh Li
Digital Marketer at Institute of Code