Having worked in the digital marketing industry for a good number of years now, I have been able to identify the traits that are needed for people to succeed if they were to start a career in it.
So whether you're looking to get into digital marketing as a freelancer or as part of a team at an agency, here are 10 must-have skills that you will need to succeed in this great career.
Heads up, this isn't a list of skills to complete the work to a high level, but instead a list of personal and professional traits that are needed to nail it every day!
1. Love Data
The core of any digital marketing campaign is the data that it produces. From top-line figures such as Conversions and Revenue to on-site metrics such as Bounce Rate and Pages/Session, the data should be at the forefront of your mind for any digital marketing campaign that has been running or will be run in the future.
Love the data, live for the data, become the data!
2. Be A Perfectionist
As a digital marketer, you should take your time to make sure that everything you do is to the best of your ability. Set yourself personal goals that are almost unreachable to help you push yourself, and your clients result to the next level. You should be highly critical of yourself, constantly asking what you could have done to make everything better.
Basically... be the best version of you that you can be!
3. Be Organised
Whether you are working for just one client, or you have 20 in the mix, you should be highly organised with everything that you do. From the way that you organise all of your documents, to the way that you prepare for each day, everything should be done in a tidy, consistent and organised way. One way that I stay on top of everything is to use online task management tools such as Trello or Asana, as these help me keep my diary, workload, planning and tasks in one tidy organised space.
Embrace the organisation and enjoy a stress-free way of working.
4. Have A Creative Flair
Creativity is key as a digital marketer. I am not saying this from an artistic point of view, but from a strategic view where you should be looking for and thinking about new creative ways to engage with your client's customers. From developing engaging text within your ad copy, writing attractive blog posts, and coming up with highly shareable infographics, for example, you should crave and embrace a creative approach to all the work that you do.
Creativity is key to stand out from the heard. Be the creative Sheppard, and not the generic sheep.
5. Be A Good listener
When you are developing digital marketing campaigns it is key to listen to what the client needs so you can recommend the right solution for them. Sadly, a universal solution doesn't exist for digital marketing as every client is different, and each will have their own unique KPIs. Simply listen to what the client has to say and your campaign suggestions should be spot on.
You have 2 ears... time to put them to good use!
6. Live To Experiment
Digital marketing is unique in the way that there no one single answer for any question. It is all theory. However, theories need to be put into practice to prove that they offer value and success. This brings me to my next point to say that as a digital marketer you should always look to experiment with new ways to challenge previous results. Always question what has been achieved, and test this against new ideas to determine which way generates a better level of success. After this, continue to challenge and test again and again and again.
Eat, Sleep, Test Repeat.
7. Be Honest & Transparent
With all aspects of life, an honest approach is always the best option, and digital marketing is very much the same. When speaking with your clients, be 100% honest with everything that you say, as a lie may result in your client not trusting you (which will most likely lead to them not wanting to work with you anymore). Even if the data that you show them is not looking too great, don't worry as this just means that you need to let them know that you are looking at new tests, experiments and options to improve the performance of this moving forwards.
Being honest never hurt anyone, being a lier hurts only you.
8. Communicate With Open Arms
Clients love to be kept up to date with what digital marketing tasks you are working on. Whether it is a large project that has been in the works for a number of weeks or a few smaller tasks that are currently being worked on, allow the client to understand what it is that you are up to and how you think it should help the performance of their accounts. Alongside this, let your client know that they can easily contact you when they have any questions and that you will be more than happy to help.
The foundations of a good relationship come from great communication.
9. Evolve & Adapt
Digital marketing today is nothing like it was 10 years ago, saying that, it's probably nothing like it was 10 days ago because everything is always changing. Whether it is the tools at our disposal or the algorithmic updates for the platforms that we use each day, there is always something new to embrace. By being willing to evolve and adapt, you will never be the digital marketer preaching theories and strategies of yesteryear, instead, you will be the fresh and inspirational digital marketer looking for new ways to continue the success for your clients.
Evolution isn't something that you can fully control, but it is very much something that you can embrace.
10. Enjoy The Job
This might not necessarily be a skill, but it was way too important to not include on the list. As a digital marketer, you have to love what you do! This can be said for most careers, but I feel that this is super important for anyone looking to work in this field as the role is fairly unique in the way that you work and contains a vast range of skills needed to succeed. Forget the universal cliche aspects that are associated with the job (cool working environments, swanky new technology, relaxed working conditions) and just focus on the role itself.
If you love it, go for it 🙌
Now that you know the 10 must-have skills to succeed as a digital marketer, which one do you feel is the most important skill? Or even better, do you know of any other skills that you think should have made the list?
Let's chat about it, so feel free to drop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ciao for now,