In this article, you’ll learn why these 11 in-demand digital marketing skills can help you get hired, make you more money and become a better, rounded marketer.
Here we go…..It takes two distinct sets of skills to be a competent and desirable digital marketer.
Hard skills and soft skills.
I’ll discuss both.
First, a brief comparison of the two skills.
These are basically learned skills that are honed through experience and education, while soft skills are more about character traits and interpersonal skills.
Thus, hard skills determine how well you can perform from a technical perspective, while soft skills determine whether you'll be a good employee, teammate, or manager. These days, people tend to focus just on improving hard skills like coding, SEO, keywords, writing articles (content marketing), email marketing, marketing strategies, social media marketing, and paid advertising.
However, soft skills are just as important. According to a LinkedIn study from 2018, 57 percent of employers value soft skills over hard skills.
As for what employers look for in a digital marketer, it will depend on the position and responsibilities.
For example, if you hire, say, a video editor, then hard skills will weigh heavier than soft.
Or if you hired an outreach manager, for instance, then soft skills will definitely weigh heavier than hard.
This is because interpersonal skills are more important than knowing how the software works.
For the sake of brevity, I’m going to mention 5 hard skills and 6 soft skills that I personally believe every employer or business should look for when hiring digital marketers.
I'll also explain why these skills are valuable for almost any digital marketing role.
OK, let’s start with hard skills.
The first skill worth mastering is ta da…..copywriting!
Copy is often the bridge between company and customer.
Where does it live?
On blog posts, landing pages, emails, local marketing, and even videos….as you’ll see from watching YouTube and other video platforms, tons of them are scripted..
Copywriting is, therefore, arguably the most transferrable skill in online marketing. I'm talking about SEO content, marketing, email, marketing, outreach, social media platforms, paid social media ads, and so on.
Educating and influencing your target audience with copy will be a big part of your job as a digital marketer. In my opinion, this is an essential skill to have.
The second hard skill is SEO.
SEO refers to search engine optimization, the process of optimizing a website to rank higher in search results.
In my opinion, this is a skill you need since it can be used to earn free, passive, and consistent traffic that won't diminish over time. Business owners truly want this.
Furthermore, the principles of SEO will help you understand the way the web works, particularly with Google SEO
The next hard skill is in data analysis and interpretation. Data gives you something to analyze and your analysis will give you insight.
It's these insights that marketers use to create marketing campaigns.
Data is an important part of this cycle because if it is flawed, everything else will be flawed as well.
In the event that your analysis turns out to be incorrect, then the conclusions you drew from it would be invalidated. In addition, if your insights are incorrect, your campaign may be headed in the wrong direction.
So it's critical that you-
a ) Understand where your data comes from.
b ) Know how to analyze and interpret it.
Sometimes you'll have great insights that come from your analysis, and other times you'll learn that there's no conclusive evidence to work with.
Both outcomes are equally important because they will guide you in the right direction to save your company time, money, and resources.
OK, the next hard skill is in user experience.
While this is a skill that designers need to have, digital marketers, should at least have a general understanding of UX best practices. After all, as marketers, we want to create interactions with customers and prospects, so they have more meaningful and relevant experiences with our brand and content.
In addition, many marketing channels rely on the user's experience and signals.
You see, YouTube, as well as pretty much every single social media network, is driven by user-experience signals.
Even on Google, SEO user experience signals can affect ranking positions.
In short, the better experience you provide your customers, the more successful your marketing campaigns will be.
If your marketing campaigns are aligned with the business's bottom line, the company will perform better, period!
The last hard skill I want to talk about is the ability and expertise to work with Google Sheets....
Now, I wouldn't typically list software tools as a must-have hard skill, but knowing how to use Google Sheets beyond data entry and basic formulas, is without a doubt, going to make you a more efficient marketer.
And depending on your proficiency, it can be telling of your knowledge of logic programming.
Google Sheets is arguably the most versatile tool out there.
You can use it to create reports, analyze, interpret and manipulate data and create automations for monotonous tasks.
The use cases are truly endless.
Now, to the soft skills.
Let’s kick off with arguably the most important one in my books……..and that's communication skills.
The purpose of marketing is to communicate with customers and prospects, so you can generate interest and desire for your products and services.
Therefore, if you are not able to effectively communicate, your marketing will be ineffective.
Poor communication can have serious repercussions, as you might think.
In addition to damaging people's first impressions of your company, it can damage your brand reputation and lead to wasted time for marketers and anyone else involved in a campaign, like developers, designers, or 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 rocky road ahead.
Next, let’s look at problem-solving skills.
Marketing campaigns rarely go smoothly and no doubt you’ll run into problems and unexpected humps and bumps along the way.
The thing is, nobody wants to hold your hand through every single problem.
Put simply, employers hire employees……to solve problems.
So, naturally, a big part of your job 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. Now, that can be a minefield (and another story). If you end up buying the wrong (ineffective) links, and some of them can be VERY expensive, you’ve wasted a big chunk of your budget.
Also, a lot of companies have no problems allowing you to buy backlinks. However, some might have strict policies against these practices.
If that’s the case……then it's your job 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 bootstrapped start-up with 1/100th of your competitors' budgets, you'll have to get extremely creative to have a fighting chance at winning, let alone surviving.
The best marketing is when your product and marketing help people solve their problems.
Nevertheless, that alone is a problem that marketers are often asked to solve.
Next on my list of soft skills is creativity.
I believe it's incredibly hard to teach creativity.
Interestingly, according to George Land, a famous researcher, and scientist, non-creative behavior is learned.
Meaning, that we learn to become less creative as we age.
In 1968, he conducted a study where he gave 1,600 five-year-olds a creativity test.
Apparently, this is the same test that was used by NASA to select innovative engineers and scientists!
To his amazement, 98 % of five-year-olds scored in the highly creative range.
After retesting them at age 10 and 15, he found a dramatic drop in the percentage of people who scored in the 'highly creative range.
Land also tested 280,000 adults using the same test.
Incredibly, only 2 % of this group scored in the highly creative range.
For those with real creative abilities, it will probably be your greatest asset.
By combining creativity with the hard skill of data analysis (google analytics etc), you’re left with an extremely potent and powerful combination of skills that you can use to your advantage as a digital marketer.
Next up on the soft skills is…..teachability.
Now, the reason this is a critical soft skill to have is simply that marketing is collaborative.
And if you're the stubborn type, who refuses to listen and take on board feedback from your managers and teammates, you’ll naturally be a poor team player.
I think you’ll agree with me, teachability shows humility, adaptability, and one's desire for growth.
So, if you’re a great candidate for a job, but you’re not open to being teachable, you could be in great danger of not being hired, especially if your interviewer really knows what to look for in the complete digital marketer.
Now, 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 and things for your marketing campaigns.
Can you guess the next soft skill?
OK, it's self-motivation.
That’s right, as this is a skill that I really believe separates the wheat from the chaff.
Of course, there are going to be people who show up to work and do the bare minimum. I’ve personally worked with many, and knowing a great deal about human psychology…could see through their veneer coating :-)
Anyway, kudos to them for getting away with it. After all, we’ve all got to bring home the bacon to pay the bills.
But there'll be a few individuals who'll put in the extra time, effort, thought, and focus simply because they want to produce good work.
The conscientious ones.
These are self-motivated people.
They're willing to go the extra mile to make their work great.
Neither their salaries nor accolades define them, but self-motivated people with raw talent tend to get paid more...and praised publicly.
They're a rare breed and, again, I truly believe it's a skill that's nearly impossible to fake over the long haul.
Now we reach the final soft skill…..dependability.
Due to the nature of marketing, it usually takes place in a team setting. Therefore, you have to rely on your teammates to do their part and deliver.
It makes marketing operations much smoother and the result is a highly effective team.
So to wrap up, and if you’ve read this right through to the end (you didn’t skip now, did you?), I'm sure you caught on that hard and soft skills work synergistically and tend to complement each other.
For example, creativity is intertwined with copywriting (content creation).
Problem-solving helps in SEO, and SEO helps you become a better problem solver, right?
So, whether you want to become a better marketing leader in your career, get a performance-based salary increase, or get started with your first job in internet marketing, honing these skills is going to help you achieve that.
And finally, if you'd like more information and to discuss a custom digital marketing plan for your business to increase sales with someone who has all these digital skills and over 20 years of experience in the field, fill out the contact form here.