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10 Skills A Digital Marketing Pro Needs To Succeed

10 Skills A Digital ...

Jeff Bullas is a Master Marketer who also happens to be a world famous blogger, author, and speaker. He’s one of Inc. magazine’s 20 Digital Marketing Experts to Follow on Twitter, was ranked #8 on Forbes’ The World’s Top 40 Social Marketing Talent, and runs a blog currently ranked in the top 100 in global marketing blogs (according to’s Power 150 Ranking).

We’re ecstatic (as we hope you are!) he’s given us permission to share his essential read for anyone looking to crush it as a digital marketing pro.

Being a digital marketer means understanding the nuances of the new web paradigms and how they interact. It’s about knowing about how each of the social and digital channels operate and interact with each other and the synergies that creates.

It raises questions. How different should my Facebook post be to my Twitter or Instagram tactics? What priority should I put on email marketing? How does my content marketing help build my search engine optimisation?

So, what are the skills a digital marketing professional needs to succeed?

1. Data analysis

The term “big data” is tossed around like confetti and vodka glasses at a Russian wedding.

But it’s not about big data, but about what you DO with the data. That is the work of the analyst. The analytical scientist is invading the art of marketing, with access to technology tools and platforms.

It makes many digital marketers’ eyes glaze over. It requires a new breed of team member, a‘numbers person’ (the data analyst). The digital disruption has happened so fast that they are a rare breed and hard to find. But that is what the new marketing paradigm requires.

The days of marketing being left to the “Marketing Madmen” of Wall Street are over. The creative marketer needs a new partner.

2. Paid social media advertising

What social media promised when it started to be used as a marketing tool, was free global earned reach. Then Facebook changed the game. The Facebook ‘likes’ gold rush was over. Now it’s time to pay the Piper who has collected your data and now wants to sell it back to you.

To put some perspective on how that looks, it is predicted that by 2016 there will be $25 billion spent on social advertising in 2016, with Facebook earning the majority of that pie.

But despite early cynicism, Facebook advertising done well can be very effective. So what are some of the topics and skills you will need to start to get a grip on?

  • How to use Facebook’s analytics tool “Facebook Insights”
  • Using “Power Editor” well
  • What can be done with “Lookalike” audiences
  • The granular targeting of “Custom audiences”
  • What is oCPM bidding and how to do it well
  • How to experiment and test creative images
  • And that is just the tip of the iceberg…
3. Email marketing

Email was simple in the past, however now it is about niche targeting and analysing bounce rates, open rates and conversions. Its power as a marketing tool is often underestimated.

Even the big end of town hasn’t been doing it well. A recent report released by the New York Times, revealed that despite it having over 6 million emails in their database they didn’t even have a proper email marketing platform. The email list had to be manually pulled from their other systems.

Social is great for brand awareness but your most loyal and committed prospects, customers, and advocates will want to keep in close touch via email. Many top performing marketing campaigns and sales results happen from nurturing your customers through email.

4. Search engine marketing

There are two parts to the equation here.

  1. Optimising your content, website, and blog for organic earned search.
  2. Paying for clicks using Google’s AdWords.

Building earned authority to rank high on search engines takes time and it is no quick fix. But don’t neglect doing this, as it ends up driving the majority of your traffic over time. It will take years of content creation and constant tactical activity.

5. Develop skills with technology tools and platforms

The marketer’s job in the past was often about managing the advertising agency. But now they need to understand technology. What do some of these technologies look like?

Free tools

There are a vast arrange of free tools. Some of these include:

  • Hootsuite
  • Tweetdeck
  • Canva
  • Buffer
  • Facebook Insights
  • Twitter analytics
  • Google analytics

Many of these offer premium versions that add other features and functions.


These include digital marketing, email marketing, and specialist social media marketing platforms that allow you to scale your marketing efforts.

1. Digital marketing platforms

There are many now available.

One is Teradata’s Marketing Operations product, which includes Planning & Spend Manager,Workflow & Collaboration Manager, and Marketing Asset Manager,

2. Email marketing & marketing automation platforms

There are hundreds of platforms but here are a few.

  • MailChimp
  • Aweber
  • iContact
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud
  • Silverpop
  • Marketo
6. Social media marketing

Social media marketing involves many moving parts. It is complex and you need to understand the various social networks and social media marketing tools that allow you to leverage your efforts.

Questions need to be asked such as which ones are you going to focus on? Then there is the range of tactics to achieve the right goals. Then you need to design the creative and the content for those.

7. Content marketing

Content is the foundation for all marketing. You need images, blog posts, infographics, free eBooks, and the list goes on.

When done well, the benefits of content marketing include increased engagement, improved SEO, and leads and sales.

8. Mobile marketing

The mobile explosion and the rise of smart phones has caught many marketers unprepared. Many brands have a website that is not mobile ready and have no apps to make it easy for customers to engage with you while out and about. This marketing skill needs to be learnt — fast!

9. Viral marketing

Getting content to move fast is something that the likes of Buzzfeed, Upworthy and ViralNova have taken to a new level. It doesn’t mean that you should focus on it but getting the occasional video, blog post, or image to go viral is worth it just from a brand awareness perspective.

You should look at how those publishers do it and weave some of those tactics into your marketing campaigns.

10. Visual marketing

Most marketers know that you can get increased engagement and sharing if you use visuals. This is well understood on Facebook and a range of studies shows that up to 100% more engagement is driven by a visual post over text.

But this is not just a tactic that works on Facebook. With Twitter allowing visual in the stream the use of images is very effective. I did a little test on my Twitter stream and these were the results when I used visuals.

Impressions: The percentage increase in “impressions” of a tweet with an image over a tweet without is a substantial 197%.

Engagement: The increased percentage for “engagement” of a tweet with an image over a tweet without one is a staggering 581%

Engagement rate: Increased percentage for “engagement rate” of a tweet with image over a tweet without one is a significant 111%.

The visual marketing skill is worth mastering.

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