Digital marketing has its own industry niche where the required qualifications go beyond basic marketing strategies and creative skills. If you are considering entering the digital marketing industry, understanding the skills required and what digital marketers do is a good place to begin.
The Digital Marketer Defined
In general terms, a digital marketer is responsible for using digital channels to generate leads and build brand awareness. Digital channels include:
- Company websites
- Social media
- Search engine rankings
- Email marketing
- Online display ads
- Corporate blogs
Beyond this, the digital marketer must also use measurable analytics to identify weaknesses and find ways to improve performance across these channels. In this role, you can be responsible for all aspects of a company’s digital strategy or just focus on one.
Smaller companies tend to have one general specialist or manager while corporations can spread the responsibilities around to an entire team or even across several different departments.
In digital marketing, you can choose to be a jack-of-all-trades or focus on one or two skills to set you apart. For example, being a strong creative individual who also understands coding or a techy person who gets how important content is to social media.
It is a field where experience or a good internship speaks volumes. “Certifications are the new degree,” continues Justin Emig. There are many online certifications you can get to add to your credibility, not to mention building your own online presence and social media pages with plenty of followers. That is often the best way to draw attention to yourself if you want a career in digital marketing.
The overall skills and areas of expertise for a digital marketer include:
- Video: It’s hard to catch people’s attention online. Stats show that video increases engagement while ranking higher on Google. You don’t have to become a video producer but instead, focus on the basics of creating a video. Having an understanding of how to write scripts, use the platforms and apps to create videos, and what works in videos will add to your appeal when applying for digital marketing jobs.
- SEO & SEM: Online searches drive digital ads. You have to understand search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) in order to work in the field. You don’t have to worry about the back-end techy stuff here. It’s more about understanding the importance of SEO and the best practices used in the industry. That is the 101 of any digital marketing campaign or content management initiative. Understanding how SEO and SEM affect your online efforts will allow you to work with the rest of a digital team without looking like you are in the wrong business.
- Content Marketing: Content is what is used to attract and engage customers whether it is a website, video, social media or blogging. It can also entail anything people can access online such as whitepapers, case studies, how-to booklets, and more. Understanding the aspects of content, how it is created, how it is effective, and how best to use it will provide the wealth of information needed for just about any digital marketing role. You will have to understand how best to use content to help a business meet their goals including social media. Depending on what level of work you are seeking within the digital marketing industry you will also have to understand content strategy and analysis.
- Data & Analytics: Google Analyticsis central to many facets of digital marketing. You can track reports, but what is more important is how to use the information you find. Monitoring campaigns and applying findings based on consumer behavior will allow you to come up with better solutions that will increase conversions and drive traffic. Gathering and using data is also essential as the data collected by today’s businesses is like a gold mine that has to be used in innovative ways to collect and retain new customers.
- Design Thinking: The user experience is the key to successful digital marketing. Design thinking is crucial as it teaches companies how best to engage customers, but beyond that, it ensures that their online experiences are simple and effective. That can include using online shopping sites, accessing information, and other things your company might offer to customers including customized apps.
You have to learn to see beyond the ideas presented to you and be able to look ahead at the potential issues it might cause. You must be able to suggest improvements based on these instincts and ensure your ideas are feasible.
- Tech Knowledge: Technology is the driving force in the digital world, so you will have to understand what the latest technology is and how it is being used. You have to adapt quickly to changes in the industry and know what’s coming so that your digital marketing plans are up to date. Using technology has to come easy to you, and you cannot be intimidated by change. No matter where you want to begin (or end up) in your career, some knowledge of web coding and Content Management (CMS) systems are a must.
- Understand Engagement: More than ever before you will need an understanding of how best to engage a customer. You will need great powers of persuasion in order to conceive innovative campaigns that will help grow the business. You have to understand what gets today’s consumer to make the commitment and convert to making a purchase.
It is not enough to just get people to follow your social media pages. You also have to persuade from within. Your team, fellow departments, and leaders will have to be convinced that where you want to put the money is the right thing to do. Understanding all aspects from SEO to content and the latest technology to what people respond to is the best way to keep people on board with your plans.
Credit: Jonilar/Kwame Boade/KwabenaYi