Digital Marketing is a vast field, being even bigger than traditional marketing because it takes most of the traditional marketing concepts into play (segmentation, differentiation and specialization) and includes new concepts such as analytics, inbound marketing and social advertising. Having the necessary digital marketing skills is key to understanding exactly how everything is connected and establishing strategies that work.

Being a Digital Marketer is easy, you only need a Facebook account and knowing how to open a Facebook Page (lol). However, being successful, sought after and brilliant requires you to know your stuff, there is no substitute for knowledge or getting started and figuring it out as you go.

I remember the first Advertising campaign I ran on a Digital Platform, it was a mess. The only thing which was about that campaign was it wasn’t a clients’, I was trying to advertise one of my websites I had launched.

The failure I experienced and the money I lost trying to make the campaign work enlightened me on something, I had to sit down and commit myself to learning and studying other successful online marketers such as Neil Patel, Pat Flynn, including taking professional courses with Google because the last thing I wanted was having a brand entrust me with their money to bring results for them and not being able to live up to that expectation.

Having knowledge is important but gaining the necessary Digital Marketing Skills is key if you want to succeed as an Online Marketer or even just marketing your business by yourself online.

I know, you want to know the 10 skills you need to gain as an online marketer. Here are they:

Facebook Ad Fail


10. Social Media Expertise

Knowing your way around Social Media is now more than a prerequisite for succeeding as an online marketer. There are two billion people on Facebook alone which is the world’s largest Social Network and the numbers keep on increasing.

And when I say Social Media Expertise I don’t mean knowing how to post or like, retweet or comment. It’s more than that. You should understand the psychology of Social Media users and how to read their behaviors and patterns to help create wonderful brand experiences through engagement.

Understand how the platforms operate from the backend, take for example, the newsfeed algorithm for Facebook and Twitter moments for Twitter.

These things take time to learn but they can be learnt. All it takes is your dedication to learning. And what defines great online marketers is a fierce dedication to learning, that’s only how you can drive results for clients in the long term.


9. Data Analytics

The availability of data in its raw form is the biggest advantage of online marketing over traditional marketing. Digital Marketing is the only marketing avenue where you can run a campaign and get insights in real time on how many people saw your advert, engaged with it, what they did after seeing it and how much you paid for each view or action.

You are able to effectively control your money and adjust your budget accordingly to get the best results. With other forms of marketing, take billboard advertising for example, you will be just working with physical traffic estimates and it’s highly probable that someone will forget about your billboard once they pass it.

READ  Facebook Advertising in Zimbabwe, Is It Worth It?

If you want to be a great (not good but great) online marketer, it’s important that you know how to deal with and manipulate data. Data is a constant in online marketing and you can never run away from it.


8. Proactivity

Proactivity is a skill and one that will determine your success in the online marketing space. If you are an avid reader like myself, then I’m sure you’ve come across Stephen Covey’s book named the 7 Habits of Highly Effective people.

He talks about Proactivity in the 2nd Chapter. In the book, Covey compares proactivity to responsibility. Proactive people act rather than wait for things to happen so they can react. How is this a crucial Digital Marketing Skill, you may ask?

Well, the answer to that is simple. In Digital Marketing, there are the actors and the reactors. Things keep on evolving and new trends are formed every day. If you go for two weeks without reading something new, you will become obsolete because what works today might not work tomorrow.

If you are proactive, you will do all it takes to stay on top of the trends, that way trends will not bury you. I see a lot of marketers (even businesses) wait until they are buried by a trend and realize they are suffocating to react and try to get themselves out of the situation they would have gotten themselves in. It almost never works. Proactivity is a skill every digital marketer needs.

I see a lot of marketers (even businesses) wait until they are buried by a trend and realize they are suffocating to react and try to get themselves out of the situation they would have gotten themselves in. Click To Tweet


7. Strategic Thinking

Before I started this blog, I said one thing to myself, I will never use this space to talk about tactics, I always talk about strategy. Strategy is one obsession of mine. That is why over the last year alone I’ve read Sun Tzu’s Art of War thrice. Sun Tzu always looks at the bigger picture which is what I have to also do as a Digital Marketer.

This is why of all the Digital Marketing Metrics available, the most important one for me is CLV, short for Customer Lifetime Value. It is the only Digital Marketing Metric centered on the Bigger Picture, the future beyond this campaign.

Strategic Thinking

Credit: McKinsey and Co

To explain this better, I will take an insurance company for example. If they run a Facebook Marketing Campaign where they invest $150 and gain one customer who pays $15 per month in premiums, it might seem as if they have made a substantial loss but that isn’t be the case.

The only reason they may see it as a loss is because they are thinking tactically. If that customer stays with them for the next 5 years, he would bring in about $7500 into the company. Now calculate the Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) by yourself. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

The ability to  think ‘three campaigns’ ahead is a necessary digital marketing skill that will position you for success in the long run.


6. Content Marketing

Okay, I’m trying so hard to avoid the temptation but I’ll say it anyway, ‘Content is King’. Online Marketing is about Content. You won’t survive that long without putting content into the mix.

READ  Digital Marketing in Zimbabwe: Why it's a Must For Your Company.

If you are a marketing officer or a Digital Marketing Manager, the next time you get into a meeting, tell your bosses they have to think like a media company. They have to adopt a media mentality or even have a fully functional media department if need be.

Take your time and think about the brands you met and knew via the Internet. You have? Good! Now I want you to think about what made those brands familiar to you? If your answer is the same as mine then it’s that you knew them because of the fact that they were all over your face.

You went to Facebook, you saw them post something, same with Twitter and every other Social Network. They stood out because they produced more content. As an Online Marketer, know how to create content. I know, content can be in a lot of forms so you have to find what works for you and double down on it.

Personally, I write, I rarely do videos because I suck at them. Find the content you are good at producing and create on a large scale. Never stop doing that.


5. Project Management

Like I said, the learning curve if you want to be great can suck but trust me, it will all be worth it in the end. You don’t have to be a certified project manager but you have to be competent enough to know how to organize your stuff and have everything in order.

Let’s say you want to run a Google PPC campaign. Running it takes three steps namely, Keyword research, keyword organization and creating the ads themselves. Those are the major steps but there are minor ones in between those which is were effective project management comes in.

Every campaign you run or Social Media Page you manage will be a project which is why you have to be an effective manager. I use a tool called asana to manage my own projects effectively, you can check it out.

Take a look at my asana dashboard for PPC projects.


You can’t be a Digital Marketer or a blogger and run away from Search Engine Optimization. That’s impossible. What is Search Engine Optimization, you may ask? To explain what SEO is, I will break the phrase down into two, Search Engines and then Optimization.

Search Engines are web software designed to search for information on the web. Familiar examples are Google and Bing. Optimization with relation to search engines is making your website the best source of information for the search engine in any case such that it is given preference whenever a user searches the web for information.

SEO determines the success of a website in the long term (remember, we are thinking strategically). This is why SEO expertise is important for any Digital Marketer who wants to drive value and results for clients.


3. PPC Advertising

PPC is short for Pay per Click which is the basic method of Advertising used by popular Search Engines such as Google or Bing. It is one of the most valuable Digital Marketing Skills.

To explain why knowing PPC Advertising is an important skill for online Marketers, I will quote Rocco Baldassarre who said, “Paid search is still top priority for businesses that serve an existing demand. People actively searching for a product or service are much more likely to purchase than people who are exposed to an ad.”

READ  Opportunities for Africans. Top 10 Places to Learn new Skills for Free.

Knowing your way around PPC will be of great value to both your clients and business because you would know and have a way to reach people who are already in the market and actively searching for your product or service which is something of real value.


2. Know the Basics of User Experience

Nothing influences brand-consumer interactions online than User Experience. Attention is the new gold and he who has the most of it will make the most out it.

Getting a person to pay attention online is a massive hustle, which is why I am so grateful whenever someone takes their time to read an article I would have posted because I understand the real price of attention.

You need to have the skill to make the most of the attention you are given and the only way you can do that is by making sure that whoever interact with you or your client’s brand has a great experience so they can return for more.

There are many basics of user experience but the key ones are Interactions ( the way people communicate with the brand), Design (how the brand’s digital properties are designed) and strategy. Yes, you can never run away from strategy.


1. Be ‘T’ shaped

When looking at the general types of skilled professionals, there are the ‘T’ shaped ones, the ‘I’ shaped ones and the ‘I-horizontal’ shaped ones.

‘I-horizontal’ shaped professionals are multi-skilled professionals without depth in a single skill. Although noble, those types are spread too thin, they know a little about a lot which is bad in the long run.

‘I’ shaped ones are those who specialized only in a single skill. Although good, they will cost you money when you’ll need to hire other people to supplement their skills.

‘T’-shaped professionals are those people who have deep understanding in one or two fields but their skills are broad to cover basics on other areas. That’s the person I recommend you become.

t-shaped professional

For example, looking at myself, I am ‘T’ shaped in that I have depth on Web Design and Inbound Marketing and I am spread over other skills like Pay per Click Advertising, Search Engine Marketing, Writing, Programming and Design.

When you are T-Shaped as an online marketer, you will bring more value helping your clients save money by not hiring other people to help you supplement for what you can’t do. How can I be t-shaped, you may ask? The answer is simple. Never stop learning.

Never stop learning Click To Tweet

To conclude this article, I have to say wow. You took your time to read this much, it’s so amazing and I am grateful.

Now it’s your turn, let’s share ideas, what other skills do you believe are top digital marketing skills for any individual or business owner? Share in the comments below and let’s engage and discuss.