“Girls only like guys who have great skills.” – Napoleon Dynamite.
“Skills” were the key to success with high school girls, as Napoleon Dynamite viewed his world. And, I’d have to say that skills are the key to success in digital marketing today.
The problem for a small business owner is that as digital marketing has matured, the array and depth of skills required for success has increased greatly. For example, if you think you’re killing two birds with one stone – content marketing and social media marketing – by using a plugin on your site that announces a new blog post to your social media accounts, you’re badly mistaken.
There are six skills I want you to consider and for each one you need to soberly assess your strengths and weaknesses, or the skills and weaknesses of those to whom you have delegated responsibility.
1. Content Marketing
For our purposes here, we’ll define this as the blogs and infographics that are generally published on your website. (I’ve made video a separate category.) The major challenges here are maintaining a consistent publication schedule and keeping your content fresh and engaging. To assess your skills, consider:
- Your technical writing skills (Do you make grammar and usage errors?),
- Your creative writing skills (Can you keep your content interesting and engaging?),
- Your subject area expertise (Do you know enough to keep people coming back?), and
- Your time and energy commitment (Are you running out of gas?).
When creating content seems too burdensome, it’s time to hand it off to someone in-house or available on a contract basis to can keep the ball rolling. The worst mistake is to give up creating content…because your competitors might not be quitters!
2. Social Media Marketing
The song says that “Love is a many splendored thing” and today so is social media. As a consumer of social media, no matter what interests you have, you can find it well represented on one or more social media platforms. Words, memes, videos, jokes, inspiration, fantasy, practical, and any other genre and medium you can think of will be well represented in social media.
Your challenge is to be able to create social media posts that hit the sweet spots of your prospects and customers. They would probably appreciate a mix of informative and entertaining posts using words, pictures, and even video.
Do you have the skills to create that wide range of social media posts?
3. Video Marketing
Video marketing today crosses and connects content marketing and social media marketing. For example, many businesses need to post videos on their company website, but at the same time they would benefit greatly from doing a Facebook Live video.
From a technical standpoint, video today might be created via your smartphone or it might be created using high-quality, high-def cameras. In the same way, it might be a simple unedited five-minute video stream or it might need to be a professionally edited half-hour instructional video.
Few – if any – small business owners will have the kind of skills and equipment to handle all of these video creation assignments.
4. Paid and organic traffic growth strategies
The major goal of any digital marketing campaign is to drive more qualified prospects to a website. Marketers grow traffic organically via search engine optimization (SEO) and by purchasing ads on Internet properties, usually the search engines and social media platforms.
Managing SEO and a paid advertising program requires a great deal of skill and knowledge. One of the best SEO strategies, for example, is to create links on other sites that lead people back to your site. It takes time and a good strategy to accomplish this.
Further, buying ads on the Internet can result in everything from a boon to a bust. A friend of mine who plays in a band recently spent $5 on Facebook to promote an event and it was a tremendous success. I know of others who have spent much more and enjoyed almost no response.
5. Email Marketing
Email marketing remains an important player in the digital marketing world. Strategies range from monthly newsletters that are full of graphics to brief daily notes that are little more than a few paragraphs of text. I’m amazed how these extremely different approaches can be successful for different businesses.
But keep in mind that the foundation of email marketing is your list. The most successful email marketers will employ excellent list growth strategies along with intelligent segmentation.
I think you can see how a wide range of skills, talent, and experience are required to successfully market your business via email.
6. Testing and Optimization
These skills touch on all the other areas I’ve discussed. As I’ve said before, both the beauty and the curse of the Internet – and therefore of online marketing as well – is that you can contact virtually anybody. In the world of marketing, you don’t want to contact everyone…especially with the same messaging.
You need to be able optimize your ad buys, knowing which groups to include and in the case of AdWords, which keywords to both include and exclude. In the same way, you need to understand testing, including A/B testing, heat maps, and other strategies.
I’ve given you a good overview of the range of skills required if you want a comprehensive online marketing program. I think they are far too much for any individual, so you need to delegate within or without your organization. And let me suggest that if you have individuals on your team who aspire to work in some of these areas that you give them the training and the chance to get the experience and prove themselves.