Digital marketing has become increasingly important in today's fast-paced, digital world. More and more businesses are using digital channels to reach their target audiences. And with the right strategy, digital marketing can be extremely effective. If marketers want to stay ahead of the competition, they need to continuously develop their hard and soft digital marketing skills.
So, how can you, as an L&D professional, support them on their learning journey? We’ll spell out the hard and soft skills that are the most in-demand, and suggest a few ways to help you create courses to get your learners to the next level.
What hard skills should a digital marketer have?
It’s impossible to give a completely airtight answer here, as the hard skills required for digital marketing vary depending on the specific role and industry. However, there are some essential hard skills that all digital marketers should have:
Marketing analytics and data research
Digital marketers must have a strong grasp of marketing analytics and data research to make informed decisions about allocating their resources. Marketing analytics allows marketers to track and measure the performance of their campaigns and make necessary adjustments in real-time.
On the other hand, data research is the process of collecting data that is relevant to a particular marketing objective. This data can then be used to create targeted campaigns that are likely to resonate with consumers. Useful tools to be familiar with include:
- Data Studio
- Google Analytics
Search engine optimization
SEO is the process of optimizing a website for Google search to earn more web traffic, increase sales, and improve the visibility of the site. Numerous SEO strategies and techniques can be used to improve a website's ranking on Google, and a good digital marketer should be well-versed in all of them. Thanks to SEO courses, digital marketers can learn everything, from on-page optimization like keyword research and title tags to off-page optimization like link building and guest blogging online.
If you have in-house subject-matter experts on SEO, you can also use a collaborative learning approach to harness that knowledge, like in the example below:
As the competition for online attention grows, paid advertising has become an essential way to reach the target audience. To be successful, you need to be able to plan and execute effective campaigns and track and analyze the results.
Through Google Ads, one of the most effective marketing platforms available, businesses can target potential customers with laser precision. Google Ads offers a variety of features and options that companies can use to customize their campaigns, making it an extremely flexible tool.
Paid advertising is a complex and ever-changing field, so it's important to keep up with the latest trends and best practices. With the right knowledge and experience, you can create campaigns that generate results and help you achieve your business goals.
Email marketing is a hard skill that every digital marketer should have. It is a form of direct marketing that uses email to promote products or services and is one of the most powerful marketing strategies for any business. At the same time, an email marketing strategy effectively reaches customers and builds relationships with them by sending newsletters, special offers, and other promotional material. As companies like systeme.io highlight, automated email marketing campaigns are cost-effective and can be customized to target specific groups of customers to reach a large audience.
Social media marketing
Most digital marketers would agree that social media marketing is a hard skill. After all, it requires a deep understanding of how social media platforms work, what type of content performs well on each platform, and how to create and execute a social media strategy that achieves business goals.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain the target audience and drive profitable customer action. Content marketing is a powerful tool for digital marketers, as it can be used to attract and engage customers, build trust and credibility, and boost your brand’s online presence.
Basic UX/UI design principles
As a digital marketer, it's important to understand basic UX/UI design principles and user experience tools. By understanding how users interact with digital products, you'll be able to create campaigns that are more user-friendly and likely to convert.
Some basic UX/UI design principles that all digital marketers should be familiar with include:
- Creating a consistent user experience across all digital touchpoints
- Designing for user needs and behaviors
- Creating user-friendly and intuitive interfaces
- Optimizing for conversion
What soft skills should a digital marketer have?
A digital marketer should have a wide range of soft skills to be successful. They should have excellent written and verbal communication skills and be able to dialogue with their team and clients effectively. They should also be highly organized and detail-oriented and able to manage multiple projects simultaneously. Additionally, they should be creative problem-solvers who can think outside the box to develop innovative solutions.
Being able to adapt means quickly learning new skills, embracing new technologies, and changing your approach when necessary. Those who are not adaptable will quickly become obsolete in the digital marketing world. In order to stay ahead of the curve, digital marketers must be willing to learn and evolve continuously.
Related: Your Ultimate Guide to Building a Learning Organization
Ability to multitask
Being able to multitask is a valuable skill for digital marketers and anyone who wants to be successful in today's world. With so much going on at once, it is essential to be able to juggle multiple tasks. Those who multitask effectively can manage their time well, prioritize their tasks, and still produce high-quality work, no matter what the job is.
Related: 5 Ways to Conquer Your Time Management Challenges
Digital marketing is all about communication. Whether you're creating content, doing social media outreach, or running ads, you need to communicate effectively with your target audience. Being a good communicator doesn’t just mean understanding what your audience wants and needs so you can tailor your message to them. It also means building relationships, collaborating with other team members, and clearly articulating your ideas, both in writing and in person.
As a digital marketer, it is essential to be tech-savvy by effectively using various digital marketing tools and platforms. This requires having a good understanding of how technology works and being able to troubleshoot issues that may arise. Additionally, being tech-savvy can help you better understand your target audience and how they use technology, which helps create more effective marketing campaigns.
Creative problem-solving is the ability to think outside the box and develop innovative solutions to problems. As a digital marketer, you will face many challenges and obstacles. Solving these problems creatively will help you stand out from your competitors and serve your clients better. Having creative problem-solving skills will also enable you to take on new challenges and discover new opportunities, making you more adaptable and flexible in your approach.
Strategic planning involves setting goals, identifying and evaluating opportunities, and creating and implementing plans to achieve those goals. A digital marketer who is good at strategic planning can develop and implement effective marketing campaigns that help a business achieve its objectives.
What key technology should a digital marketer know?
The technology for a digital marketer varies depending on the specific industry and marketing goals. However, there are a few key technologies that every digital marketer should have in their toolkit:
With suitable marketing automation software, marketers can automate all marketing activities, from email marketing to social media campaigns. Moreover, there are many automated tools available for SEO that are extremely helpful in optimizing your website for search engines. You can free up your time to focus on other important tasks, like creating compelling content and developing relationships with your customers. Plus, marketing automation can help you scale your marketing efforts to reach more people with your message without having to put in more hours. In other words, it's the perfect solution for busy digital marketers who want to get more done in less time.
With an understanding of how to create and maintain a strong brand, you will be able to succeed in the online marketplace. This can be done in various ways, such as using a unique logo or brand design, color scheme, and overall aesthetic. It is also important to have a solid and consistent message across all of your marketing channels. This means using the same tone and voice across your website, social media, and email marketing. Understanding and utilizing branding enables you to create a strong and successful online presence.
Internet of behaviors
The Internet of Behaviors (IoB) refers to how online and offline behavior are increasingly being linked and tracked. There are several benefits to using the IoB to target consumers:
- It allows for a more personalized marketing approach. By understanding a consumer's behavior, marketers can better tailor their messages and offers.
- The IoB can help marketers better understand how consumers interact with their brands across different channels. This allows for a more holistic view of the customer journey and can help identify areas for improvement.
Reporting allows marketers to track the performance of their campaigns and make necessary adjustments to ensure that they achieve the desired results. Additionally, it provides insights into their marketing campaigns, demonstrating the ROI of marketing activities. Understanding how their marketing efforts are performing can make better-informed decisions about where to allocate their resources. Finally, reporting can help you identify areas of your website or campaigns that may need improvement.
Train & Develop Teams In Digital Marketing
If you want to ensure that your employees have the skills and knowledge necessary to create and implement successful digital marketing campaigns, invest in their training for digital marketing and development. This can help improve employee morale and retention and make your business more attractive to top talent.
- A collaborative learning approach can help L&D teams ship relevant content at a continuous pace to meet demand. In this set-up, internal subject-matter experts work with the L&D team to create hyper relevant courses. For instance, if Jim is an expert in SEO, he can create an entire program around SEO for beginners, to help upskill his colleagues. This approach saves L&D teams time and resources, and ensures courses are contextually relevant and impactful.
- Mentorship can take many forms but typically involves an experienced individual sharing their expertise with a less experienced person or group. In the context of digital marketing, mentors can help teams understand the latest trends and technologies and develop effective strategies for implementing them. It can be a highly effective way of developing team members, as it allows them to learn from someone with first-hand experience. It can also help build team morale and cohesion, as team members feel supported in their development.
- Self-directed learning is important because it allows teams to learn at their own pace, explore digital marketing concepts in-depth, and apply what they have learned in real-world situations. By practicing, teams can learn how to use digital marketing tools and techniques and troubleshoot problems that may arise. Practice also allows teams to experiment with different digital marketing strategies and learn from their mistakes. To be successful, teams need to combine self-study with practice.
To stay at the top of their game, your marketing colleagues will need to become proficient in a host of both hard and soft skills, ranging from data analysis to creative thinking. A peer-driven approach that relies on internal subject-matter experts, mentorship, and self-directed learning is an excellent way to ensure your learners have access to relevant courses that will put them on a positive professional development path.
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