Gary Armstrong, Philip Kotler and the Online Marketing Revolution

Most people have a general idea of what an online marketer does. While there are some definitive differences between marketing on the internet and in the traditional sense, the role itself hasn’t changed nearly as much as one would think. In the grand scheme of things, the line between marketing and advertising has blurred. For a variety of reasons, including lower costs, increased productivity, and the like, businesses large and small have found that hiring an online marketer is the way to go.

Top 5 Most Essential Skills for an Online Marketer

With the plethora of platforms available to marketers, it’s become increasingly important to possess certain skill sets in order to succeed. Based on extensive research and analysis, here are the top 5 most essential skills for an online marketer:

1. Communication

Depending on who you speak with, you’ll hear a slightly different explanation for the value of communication in today’s digital world. To some, it’s a vital skill for a content creator and marketer. To others, it’s a vital skill for an SEO (search engine optimization) specialist. But regardless of what role you play, good communication skills are a must.

If you’re not used to communicating with people in an online space, then it can be quite a challenge. In today’s world, businesses and organizations of all sizes operate primarily online. Accordingly, if you’re looking to break into the industry or are already in-house and looking to grow your effectiveness, then communication is a must.

2. Research

Doing a bit of research isn’t a bad thing. In the offline world, this would be considered common sense. But in the online world, where nearly every business and marketing decision is now being made, it’s imperative to do some research before diving in.

Even experienced marketers can fall back on common sense when making decisions. But as we’ve established, the world of business and marketing has changed, and so has how we think. In the face of uncertain circumstances, we turn to research to make better, more informed decisions. Unfortunately, too many marketers don’t use proper research methods, which can result in sub-par campaigns that don’t stand out.

If you’re looking to enter the field or want to grow your existing skill set, then research is vital. There are a variety of tools available in the form of software and online research communities that can help you find the information you need in order to make informed decisions.

3. Strategy

Having a clear plan and knowing how to execute it are vital, no-question-about-it. But being able to come up with a clear plan in the first place is a skill that can be learned and improved upon. So too is the ability to adapt and adjust as needed.

Many business leaders, such as Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, have publicly credited the strategy game, Risk, with helping them be more successful. So it should come as no surprise that a business, marketing and strategy game would emerge as a top-drawer skill for successful online marketers. Think of all the times you’ve heard a business leader say, “We didn’t have a strategy, so we didn’t have a chance at winning.”

If you’re looking to enter the field or want to grow your existing skill set, then strategy is a must. It’s something that should be learned through experience, but it’s also a topic that can be studied and learned from others who have gone before you.

4. Tools

The tools available to marketers have changed, too. Back in the day, marketers had to rely on expensive software that they’d have to pay for themselves. Today, free tools and plugins are more common than ever, which means that digital marketers have access to a wealth of tools that were previously inaccessible.

The most effective tool in the marketer’s arsenal is still, without a doubt, Google Analytics. The standard Google Analytics account, which we’ll discuss in greater detail in a moment, can be accessed by anyone for free and provides the average marketer with all they need to get started.

Other tools that every digital marketer should possess include:

  • Hootsuite
  • Buffer
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Tumblr
  • Snapchat
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

Each of these tools provides the user with a variety of features and functionalities that can help the user better understand their audience, build credibility, and promote their content.

If you’re looking to enter the field or want to grow your existing skill set, then tools are a must. It’s not enough to just have an idea, you need the software, algorithms and the like in order to execute it.

5. Measurement

Measuring the success of a marketing campaign is essential, whether you’re doing online marketing or not. The good news is that with Google Analytics, you don’t need to track thousands of metrics to pull this off. The average marketer can easily set up several custom reports to keep tabs on the performance of certain marketing strategies and campaigns, as well as determine the success of certain content or topics.

Using the example of a digital marketing agency, let’s say that you’ve got a client who asked for a review of their website. You can use Google Analytics to track all the actions leading up to that point – including the steps your potential client took, how they got to that point, and all the way back to their original intent. From there, you can determine the value that this content had in driving them to take a certain action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form.

If you’re looking to enter the field or want to grow your existing skill set, then measurement is a must. Like strategy, this is an area that can be improved upon with experience, but it’s also a topic that can be studied and learned from others who have gone before you.

Top 5 Most Essential Hacks for Successful Online Marketers

Now that we’ve established the five most essential skills for an online marketer, let’s take a look at the top five most essential hacks for successful online marketers.

1. Customize Your Google Analytics Account

Since we’re on the subject of tools, it’s important to discuss what many consider to be the mother of all tools – Google Analytics. While there are a variety of free and open source tools that can help you measure the performance of your website, Google Analytics, as the name would suggest, is a tool that allows you to track nearly all your website’s metrics and see the data that google has stored about your site.

From an SEO perspective, you may want to track the keywords that people are using to find your content and what landing pages they are visiting. To receive the most value out of Google Analytics, you must first set it up to track your specific website and not just a general website hosting account. Doing this will provide you with much more accurate data and help you make better, more informed decisions about your marketing strategy.

2. Build a Community

An engaged community is the key to a successful marketing campaign. The more you can do to attract, engage and retain a vibrant community, the more you can expect to see happen for your brand.

Whether you have a group on Facebook or you’re hosting an online seminar through Slideshare, having a community is crucial to the success of your campaign.

One of the best things that you can do for yourself as an online marketer is to regularly engage with your audience. Whether you have 250 followers or 5,000, the ability to engage with your audience, particularly on social media, is crucial to establishing your credibility and helping your brand grow.

3. Use Video

While text is still valued, videos have risen to the top as one of the most used and valued forms of content. From short-form videos to lengthy explainer videos, audiences increasingly prefer to consume content in video format. As a result, it’s become crucial for marketers to have a steady stream of video content to keep up with.

If you want to be effective in terms of marketing, videos are a must. Not only do they provide a wealth of information and can be used to explain a product or service in an engaging manner, but they also allow for the addition of multiple perspectives and visuals to make a more attractive and memorable experience for the viewer.