Top Digital Marketing Skills
There are thousands of digital marketing positions in almost every country but it can also easily be done online. You can get a great salary and you can also quickly turn marketing into your business by creating your website or starting freelance.
But what digital marketing skills are in demand to move closer to your goal and get into the field?
There are many skills needed for digital marketing but we will focus on the essential ones. They will be divided into three groups: hard skills needed for every digital marketing manager (universal digital marketing skills), more specific marketing skills that might not be mandatory for a number of digital marketing jobs, and soft skills needed for every professional.
Universal digital marketing skills
These are the key skills needed for any digital marketing professional.
If you work with an online business, content is everywhere and you need it for almost any marketing-related tasks.
As a marketing manager, you need to understand the differences between different types of content, and what content is needed for a specific task or channel.
Content can be categorized based on different criteria, and here are some of the main groups.
- Written content (like website content, social media posts, e-mails, etc)
- Visuals (like images for blog posts or social media, infographics, etc)
- Video (usually needed for a Youtube channel or some types of video ads)
- Social media
- E-mail marketing
- Paid ads
- Informational content
- Content about brand
- Commercial content
As for the content tasks, a digital marketing manager needs to be able to create content for the target audience and the chosen channel and create briefs for copywriters. Additionally, you might also need to create content plans, optimize copy for keywords and specific requirements, upload content to a website, work with freelance copywriters, etc.
For content creation, you will usually use Google Docs which allows synchronizing all the writing and editing flows, plagiarism and grammar checkers to make copy unique and error-free, and keyword research tools to better understand user intent and optimize content for search engines.
Moreover, you’ll probably need WordPress knowledge, the most popular content management system, to upload ready content on the website and make the needed changes.
Data analysis and research skills
Analyzing data is what every marketing manager needs to deal with. No matter what marketing channel you work with, you always need data analysis and research skills for a huge range of tasks.
Tasks where you need data analysis skills:
- Competitor and market research, keyword research
- Marketing campaign analysis (paid ads, e-mail campaign, SEO, or any other campaign)
- Hypothesis testing, A/B testing
Data analysis usually requires the following steps:
- Finding the right source of data that would be valid for your case and that will provide data you can trust (and often some setup of tools like Google Analytics)
- Defining your question (e.g. how effective is my paid ads campaign, what my direct competitors do, how much money do I need for effective promotion, etc)
- Cleaning data (making data in one format, filtering out unneeded metrics, etc)
- Processing data (making all the operations to make data useful for decision making)
- [Additional step] Visualizing data to see patterns more clearly and more easily interpret or present it to others
- Getting insights (transforming data into insights and using it for the next steps).
As a digital marketing manager, you need to understand what metrics are important for your work, what you need to achieve within these metrics, and how you track the results (and define a successful, mediocre, or failed campaign).
If some tools like Power BI or Tableau are more specific and required not so often, Excel or Google Sheets are tools needed for every digital marketer. Google Sheets and Excel are almost interchangeable tools, and the more formulas and features you know, the more tasks you can complete.
Also, digital marketers usually need to know Google Analytics which can help to analyze traffic (organic, paid, referral, or from social media), user behavior, and conversions. To get the needed data, you need to set up the tool and create the needed dashboards there.
Additionally, you might need tools like Google Data Studio for reporting and data visualization, Google Search Console for SEO and website optimization, Power BI for reporting, etc.
This type of digital skills might be needed for direct design tasks or for other related marketing tasks.
Direct design tasks for marketing usually include:
- Creating visuals for paid ads, for a website or social media, thumbnails for Youtube, etc
- Creating mockups or prototypes for landing pages or other marketing needs
- Designing new landing pages themselves
- Creating a brand book and design requirements
Indirect design tasks mean that you understand UX principles to create better content, organize information better, or just communicate with other team members more effectively (including designers).
Tools that might be useful are Photoshop, Figma, illustrator, and others.
Specific digital marketing skills
The skills below are usually needed for specific occupations within the digital marketing field (e.g. for an SEO or PPC manager); however, might also be needed for a digital marketing generalist.
Search engine optimization or SEO is a range of tasks to improve the visibility of your website in Google and other engines. These skills include the creation of a new website or optimization of an existing one, technical setup, and issue fixes, creating content and optimizing content for relevant keywords, getting backlinks by publishing content on other websites, and more.
SEO is strongly connected to content marketing and it’s a long-term strategy where the results might be visible after a month or three. However, it doesn’t require so much investment as paid advertising.
Paid ads are available on different platforms, from Google and Bing search to ads on social media (Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram). Each platform has different rules, so different skills are needed for each. The most popular is probably Google, so Google Ads skills would be good to have for a digital marketer.
E-mail marketing includes the creation of the list of subscribers and segmenting them, creating emails themselves (copy and HTML), setting up automatical sending, and analyzing the open rate of e-mails.
E-mail marketing is usually a good supplement to SEO or paid advertising.
SMM or social media marketing is an important skill for a digital marketer–at least on a basic level. SMM skills mean that you understand what social media platform would be best for your business (e.g. LinkedIn is good for B2B companies, while Facebook or Instagram are good for B2C models), what content format is preferable for each platform, how to analyze the performance, and generally how to gain and keep an audience.
SMM usually has two types: native promotion (free posts and active communication with the audience) and paid promotion (ads).
Soft skills needed for a digital marketing manager
These skills are more about mindset and personal traits that a person already has or can nurture.
Such skills are actually needed for any occupation to become successful in it. But for digital marketing managers, they are crucial.
Marketers usually don’t work on their own–they are somehow dependent on other people on the team. These can be copywriters for content creation, designers, software developers for technical tasks, a sales team to help identify customers’ needs, etc.
Moreover, marketing managers often need to communicate with stakeholders or other managers and present their work and results effectively as well as explain the need behind every campaign to get financing.
Meanwhile, marketers often communicate with customers; this includes conducting customer interviews or answers on social media.
The role of a digital marketer is to bring growth to a business. Usually, it is estimated as the traffic, the subscription, or the sales growth among other metrics. Often the KPIs come from a business owner or other executives but more often than not digital marketing managers need to set their goals themselves for a specific period and move towards them.
Here are some of the examples of such goals: a 15% increase in organic traffic in three months, a 5% of the decrease in churn rate, and so on. Such a professional needs to understand what results are possible to achieve with a given budget, and alight it with the expectation of executives.
Digital marketing is all about being creative enough to make customers interested in your brand while analyzing how creativity is used by your main competitors.
Creativity is needed for everything, from creating the right message to building a more effective paid campaign.
A successful digital marketing manager should be able to regularly come up with new ideas and new solutions for a huge range of tasks.
There would be a lot of times when your paid campaign just stopped, your website traffic rapidly dropped, or some tool doesn’t display the correct data. You need to be prepared for different scenarios and be ready to jump right into googling to find the right solution.
Moreover, testing is what often helps to figure out how to fix the issue that suddenly showed up.
So, these were the main digital marketing manager skills that each newbie needs to keep in mind. This list can be extended, but by knowing what is mentioned here, even on a basic level, you will get all chances to be noticed by a potential employee or client and be successful in what you do.