The digital marketing landscape is one in a constant flux of change. With new technologies, trends and new platforms constantly emerging, the skill set for digital marketers continues to evolve.
From writing, analytics, SEO and graphic design, the list of essential skills for marketing professionals grows every year. If you want to stay competitive and stand out in 2017, here are the seven skills you need to master for the new year and beyond:
1. Data Analysis
In the Internet of Things era, digital marketers are spoiled with an abundance of data about their customers at their fingertips.
However, all this data is useless without action. The ability to transform this valuable information into meaningful actions that will have a positive outcome for businesses will continue to be a sought-after marketing skill in 2017.
Businesses want their digital marketing teams to demonstrate their ability to track, access and analyse data to create targeted marketing campaigns, reduce bounce rates, generate hyper-engaged leads and improve customer retention.
With Hubspot predicting that by 2018 there will be a shortage of up to 1.5 million data-savvy managers, it is time to flex those analytical muscles to attain your hot commodity status.
2. Basic HTML / CSS
As digital marketers, we are expected to wear many hats.
One of those hats is basic knowledge and experience with HTML and CSS. While this skill has been in demand since 2011, only 3% of marketers have it, yet 20% of entry and mid-level job postings required it in 2016.
Digital marketers do not need to know how to code a website from scratch, but a basic understanding can help communication with other departments and meet small visual design needs.
From updating and improving landing pages to developing engaging visual email campaigns – this is an essential skill in digital marketing to stay competitive.
In the world of digital marketing – we live and die by Google and her algorithm updates.
A higher ranking means more leads, more traffic and a larger audience reach. It is because of this that businesses want their websites to rank on the first page of Google and digital marketers can only achieve this with a working knowledge of how SEO works.
According to Jennifer Smith (an SEO expert from one of best SEO companies in Chicago), you don’t need to be an SEO expert, but you need to understand what title tags; keyword density; meta descriptions and link anchor text are and how they help to improve a website’s organic search ranking.
As we enter the new year and search engines become smarter, and their algorithms are inevitably updated, digital marketers will need to keep their SEO skills up-to-date and sharp to stay relevant.
4. Content Marketing
Gone are the days where cold calling and placing a billion ads in newspapers and on TV could be called effective marketing. As customers become more and more “banner blind” marketers need to adapt and become more creative with their approach.
Enter content marketing. According to Venngage, 78% of CMO’s think content is the future of marketing and companies will seek out specialised content marketers in 2017 as they expand their budgets to increase content production for the next year.
This is not surprising, as content marketing helps businesses create valuable, relevant and consistent content for their customers. It is the preferred SEO tactic for 72% of marketers as it helps to increase traffic to websites, rank higher on search results and generate more valuable leads.
As long as there is a need for SEO, the demand for digital marketers with an understanding of content marketing is only going to increase in 2017 and beyond.
5. Graphic Design
A digital marketer’s job is to create content that converts. From a blog post to a landing page, all these elements need to produce an ROI.
Graphic design also needs to meet the same needs. But not every business can afford to hire an in-house graphic designer for every social media post or email marketing campaign.
As we move into 2017, we will continue to see these two industries collide in a bid for marketers to meet these visual aid demands. With consumers reading less and being more stimulated by graphics and videos, digital marketers will need to adapt.
Showing an understanding of basic design elements and creating images that convert will become more important in the new year and a necessary skill for all digital marketers.
6. Marketing Automation
Way back in 2011 there were only 150 marketing automation companies or tools. Fast forward to 2016, and there are nearly 4000 marketing solutions available!
As this landscape continues to evolve, marketers need to be well versed in what is available to become an indispensable asset.
In 2017, marketers who are familiar with their niche’s marketing automation tools will be more valuable to businesses. Make it a new year resolution to put time aside to research which tools are most popular in your industry and find out if any offer free certification courses to help you stand out from the crowd.
7. WordPress and SquareSpace
If you don’t know how to use WordPress, your skill set is not relevant enough. In 2017, it is going to make your CV look more impressive if you can list WordPress as a skill than say, Microsoft Word.
With so many sites built on WordPress, it is a vital skill to have to stay relevant in the workforce. From uploading content to scheduling blog posts and even some basic troubleshooting, a digital marketer with the ability to manage a site from the backend is a sought-after asset.
Also, with the rise of WordPress’s competitor Squarespace, there is a whole new CMS to learn and appeal to a very niche customer.
Today’s digital marketers need to pick up as many skills as possible to stay relevant.
With the new year just around the corner, mastering data analysis, basic HTML/CSS, content marketing, SEO, graphic design and marketing automation tools should be at the top of your priority list. Even if you did not study any of these things in school, they are easy to learn online and in a short amount of time.
Do yourself a favour and analyse your skill set, identify any weak points or room for improvement and start positioning yourself as an indispensable digital marketer in 2017 and beyond.
Guest post by Caroline Kastner
Join the Blogging Growth Challenge 2017
Launch, grow, and monetize a brand new blog side by side with me