Do you work as a digital marketer or wish to pave your road in the way of digital marketing?
There are certain skills that every digital marketer must have. Whether you want to work for a digital marketing agency or work as a freelance digital marketer, these digital marketing skills will definitely help you become the best at what you do.
This article is a little inclined toward people who want to be hired as digital marketers. Nevertheless, even if you are a freelancer, it will give you some useful insights as to what skills you are missing out on.
In this article, I will share with you 11 in-demand digital marketing skills that’ll help you get hired, make more money, and become a better-rounded marketer.
Being a good digital marketer requires two different sets of skills:
- Hard skills
- Soft skills
Hard skills are basically learned abilities that are sharpened through experience and education, while soft skills are more about character traits and interpersonal skills.
In other words, hard skills show employers how good you’ll be at your job from a technical standpoint, while soft skills show whether you’ll be a good employee, teammate, or manager.
Now, many people focus just on improving hard skills like coding, SEO, or paid advertising.
But, soft skills are equally important.
In fact, a 2018 study from LinkedIn shows that 57% of employers value soft skills more than hard skills
In terms of what employers look for in a digital marketer will vary based on the position and responsibilities.
For example, when someone hires a video editor, hard skills weigh heavier than soft. And, when someone hires a relationship manager, soft skills weigh heavier than hard because interpersonal skills are more important than knowing how software works.
Now, while I won’t be able to cover every single skill that’ll be helpful in your digital marketing career, I’ll share 5 hard skills and 6 soft skills that employers look for when hiring digital marketers.
Digital Marketing Skills You Should Master: Hard Skills
This makes copywriting arguably one of the most transferable digital marketing skills.
It applies to SEO, content marketing, email marketing, outreach, social media, paid advertising, and the list goes on.
And because a big part of your job as a digital marketer will be to educate and influence your target audience with copy, this in my books is a skill worth improving.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the process of optimizing web pages to rank higher in search engines. This is one of the best digital marketing skills to have in your arsenal.
Now, the reason why it’s an important skill to have is that you can use it to get free, passive, and consistent traffic that doesn’t fade over time.
And, that’s essentially what businesses want.
In addition, the principles of SEO will help you understand how the web works, particularly, with Google SEO.
3. Data analysis and interpretation
Data gives you something to analyze and your analysis will help you draw insights. And those insights are what marketers use to create marketing campaigns.
This cycle is pretty important because if the data is bad, then everything else after will be flawed.
Now, if your analysis is incorrect, then the insights you drew from them would be invalidated.
And, if your insights are wrong, then you might be leading your campaign in the wrong direction.
So, it’s critical that you:
- Understand where your data comes from
- Know how to analyze and interpret your data.
Sometimes, you’ll have great insights that come from your analysis, and other times, you” learn that there’s no conclusive evidence to work with.
Both outcomes are equally important because they are going to guide you in the right direction to save your company time, money, and effort.
4. User experience (UX)
While this is a common skill that designers need to have, it’s important for digital marketers to at least have a high-level understanding of UX best practices.
After all, it’s marketers who will interact with customers and prospects so they have more meaningful and relevant experiences with our brand and content.
On top of that, many marketing channels depend on user experience signals.
For example, YouTube’s and pretty much every single social media network’s algorithm is driven by user experience signals. Even in Google SEO, user experience signals can impact search rankings.
Bottomline: The better experience you create for people, the better your marketing campaigns will be.
And assuming your marketing campaigns are aligned with the business’s bottom line, the better the company will perform.
5. Expertise with Google Sheets
Alright, the last hard skill I want to talk about is expertise with Google Sheets. It is crucial if not one of the essential skills for digital marketing.
I wouldn’t typically list software as a must-have hard skill, but knowing how to use Google Sheets, beyond data entry and basic formulas is going to make you a more efficient marketer.
And depending on your proficiency, it can be telling of your knowledge in logic programming.
Google Sheets is arguably the most versatile tool. You can use it to create reports, analyze, interpret, manipulate data, and create automation for monotonous tasks.
The use cases of Google Sheets are truly endless and it’s a big plus that employers love seeing for mid to high-level roles.
Now, as I’m sure you’re caught on, let’s move on to the soft skills.
Digital Marketing Skills You Should Master: Soft Skills
Communication is arguably one of the most important soft skills for digital marketing.
Marketing is essentially a brand’s way to communicate with customers and prospects so you can drive interest and desire for products and services.
So if you’re not able to communicate effectively, your marketing will be ineffective.
The repercussions of poor communication can be severe.
- Impact people’s first impressions of your company
- Damage your brand reputation
- Lead to wasted time for marketers and anyone else involved in a campaign like developers, designers, and outsourced teams.
Beyond that, marketing also involves developing relationships with customers, affiliates, influencers, and brand evangelists.
Fail to communicate effectively and you’ll have a very bumpy road ahead.
2. Problem-solving skills
Marketing campaigns rarely go smoothly and you will run into problems and unexpected bumps along the way.
The thing is, nobody wants to hold your hand through every single problem.
Employers hire employees to solve problems.
So naturally, a big part of your job as a digital marketer will be to solve problems with creative solutions even if company policies or budgets may play against you.
A common example in the SEO world is buying backlinks. A lot of companies have no problems doing this but if your company has policies against these practices, you have to come up with creative ways to compete.
Another common disadvantage I see in competitive industries is ad budgets.
Leaders in an industry will often have what seems to be an infinite budget. And, if you’re working at a bootstrap start-up with 1/100th of your competitors’ budgets, you’ll have to be extremely creative to have a fighting chance at winning, let alone surviving.
The best marketing is when your product and marketing align to solve people’s problems.
But that in and of itself is a problem that marketers ate often tasked with solving.
Creativity is one of the most in-demand skills for digital marketing.
It is something that is incredibly difficult to teach. In fact, according to George Land, a famous researcher, and scientist, “non-creative behaviour is learned.”"Non-Creative Behaviour Is Learned" – George Land Click To Tweet
Meaning, we learn to become less creative as we get older.
In his 1968 study, he gave 1,600 five-year-olds a creativity test. And this is the same test that was used by NASA to select innovative engineers and scientists.
And to his surprise, 98% of five-year-olds scored in the ‘highly creative range’.
But when he retested them at 10 and 15 years old, there was a dramatic drop in the percentage of people who scored in the ‘highly creative range’.
Land also tested 280,000 adults with the same test and only 2% of this group scored in the highly creative range.
Meaning, for those that are actually creative, it’s going to be of your greatest assets.
And when you pair creativity with the hard skill of data analysis, you end up having a very powerful combination of skills that will play in your favor as a digital marketer.
The reason why I think that it is a critical soft skill to have is that marketing is collaborative. And, if you are the stubborn type who refuses to hear feedback from your managers and teammates, you will naturally be an awful team player.
In my opinion, teachability shows humility, adaptability, and one’s desire for growth.
This is why after doing hundreds of interviews if a candidate doesn’t seem teachable, it’s a negative attribute for many employers.
That doesn’t mean you need to be a yes-man and make other people feel better about themselves.
It’s about being open to others’ opinions and collaboratively coming to the best ideas for your marketing campaigns.
This is a skill that I think separates the wheat from the chaff.
Naturally, there are going to be people who show up to work and do the bare minimum. After all, we all gotta make money to pay the bills.
But, there’ll be a few individuals who will put in the extra time, effort, thought, and focus on simply because they want to produce good work.
These are self-motivated people. They are willing to go the extra mile to make their work great.
They don’t define themselves by their salary, mentions, or accolades.
But ironically, self-motivated people with raw talent tend to get paid more and praised more.
They are a rare breed and in my opinion, it’s a skill that is nearly impossible to fake over the long haul.
Because marketing usually happens in a team setting, you need to be able to depend on your teammates to do their part.
It makes marketing operations much smoother and the result is a highly effective team.
Dependability says a lot about character and plays directly into team dynamics.
Digital Marketing Skills You Should Master: Conclusion
As a digital marketer, you not only need hard skills like coding, SEO, keyword research, etc. You also need soft skills such as communication skills, creativity, etc. These soft skills are equally important.
Moreover, all digital marketing skills, both hard and soft tend to complement each other.
For example, creativity is intertwined with copywriting.
Problem-solving helps in SEO and SEO helps you become a better problem solver.
So, whether you want to become a better marketing leader, get a performance-based raise, or get started with your first job in digital marketing, honing these digital marketing skills is going to help you achieve that.
And I only wish you the best.
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Ali is a passionate and experienced blogger with a mission to teach others how to start their own blog, monetize it, and become successful in the process. He shares the lessons he’s learned on his own journey through personal anecdotes and factual examples.