The Top Digital Marketing Skills for 2021

Marketing online might sound pretty simple on the surface. Create a few ads, make sure you have an amazing website, and interact with users. However, the skills required to be good at marketing are a bit more complex if you want to have a good return on investment (ROI). 

Salesforce surveyed more than 8,200 marketers in 37 different countries. They found 75% of marketers feel the pandemic changed the way they communicate and collaborate at work. The skills helping professionals excel a couple of years ago may no longer do the trick.

What Makes a Successful Digital Marketer?

If you want your digital campaigns to thrive, you should focus on developing the skills needed to move forward in a post-pandemic world. Here are the top skills all successful digital marketers have and how you can embrace them in your efforts. 

1. Understand Your Audience

All the work you do as a marketer isn’t very effective if you don’t fully understand people. Excellent promotional specialists know how to dig into analytics and figure out the demographics of an audience. 

They also understand the way people tick. Top marketing gurus dig deep into the psychological aspects of why people do the things they do. They understand the emotions driving individuals to make a purchase. 

Learn about topics such as color psychology and how simply changing the shade of your call to action button can lead to higher conversion rates. 

2. Learn Good Communication

Good communicators know which words elicit a response and what questions people might have. They’re intuitive about their audience and they listen more than they speak. Think about the last time you had an amazing conversation with someone. Did they listen to what you had to say? More than likely, the answer is yes.

Take time to study the intricacies of the English language. Why does a word like “snatch” have a stronger impact than the word “get?” Utilize language to drive user action. See higher success rates with your ads simply by focusing on your verbs. 

3. Utilize SEO

You might create the most amazing ad anyone has ever seen. Unfortunately, if it isn’t placed correctly, no one will see it. Figuring out how to optimize your website and your social media presence for search engines gets you in front of potential customers. 

Learn about position zero for search engine placement, study which ads on browsers and social media have the highest response rate and seek keyword phrases your audience is most interested in. 

You can learn a lot by looking at Google’s “People Also Ask” section and utilizing those questions to cover topics on your website. Content marketing becomes much more effective when you solve pain points for your audience. 

4. Get Social Media Standards

Each social media platform has a different feel and personality. Excellent marketers have a firm grasp on the ins and outs of each site. They know beautiful photos work best on Instagram, while a short, fun video reaches people on TikTok. 

The only way to develop skills on various social platforms is by engaging people and learning how each one works. Spend some of your free time following your favorite brands and see how they keep their followers involved. 

5. Stay on Top of Trends

Trends in marketing change constantly, so staying on top of what’s current is a vital part of being a successful marketer. In Criteo’s State of Digital Marketing report, 87% of marketers say they’ll use an omnichannel approach this year. 

The ways people interact with brands varies from what it did even five years ago. People expect a consistent experience, so knowing how to reach them on different platforms makes a big difference in how well received your marketing efforts are. 

6. Get the Right Tools

As a digital marketer, you’ll utilize paid advertising via pay-per-click and impressions. You want every penny to bring results. Make sure you understand the tools available on various platforms. 

Pay attention to the effectiveness of each ad. How many clicks result in sales? Are the ads bringing in qualified leads? If you aren’t reaching the audience you wish, you may need to tweak images, messaging, keyword targeting or even where you’re spending your money. 

7. Learn to Tell a Story

People see and hear thousands of ads in a week. They’re practically bombarded with marketing messages. After a bit, most consumers tune out a lot of the noise just to make it through the day.

Your job as a successful digital marketer is to stand out from the crowd. Tell a story that captures their imagination and makes them want to hear more. Storytelling isn’t natural for everyone, so it is a skill you may need to develop.

If you have a hard time coming up with interesting scenarios for your users, consider bringing in a professional writer to help your team brainstorm ideas and get the language just right. 

8. Develop Agility

The best marketers understand if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. You must learn to think on your feet and change things up at the last minute. 

Some examples include a client who suddenly decides they want to promote a different product than the one you’ve prepared all your materials for. How do you handle the situation? Knowing some tactics ahead of time allows you to adapt and keep your client happy without driving yourself crazy.

Always have a Plan A, B, C and maybe even D. The more prepared you are for possible contingencies, the better you’ll adapt to changes. 

Play Well With Others

Marketing professionals must work with a wide variety of individuals. You’ll need to talk to blog owners about featuring your brand’s story or publishing content. You’ll enlist the help of graphic designers, writers and ad placement specialists. You’ll also have to talk to clients and coordinate efforts with the sales department. 

All successful marketers know how to talk to people without offending. Think before speaking, take a deep breath when you’re frustrated and try to be a people person as much as possible. The relationships you develop today will drive the success of your brand tomorrow. 

Eleanor Hecks

Eleanor Hecks

Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and pup, Bear.

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