The 5 Key Digital Marketing Skills for Any Business
No matter what size your business, there are some key digital marketing skills that you will need to know.
Whether you’re a tech start-up, a long established independent cafe or multinational clothes giant, anyone can benefit from a little extra knowledge about digital marketing.
1. Don’t be Evil…
What better piece of advice to give first than the first three words of Google’s corporate code of conduct? 'Don't be Evil'.
The advice may seem quite general, but the idea is a solid one. So solid, that a similar code of practice has also been drawn up for Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Their advice is to “do the right thing”.
Why is morality so important for digital marketing?
Because the internet means that information is easier to attain than ever. And the more information you can attain, then the more powerful your business can become. Businesses are right to utilise this power, but how this power is flaunted by a business makes a big difference to the public’s perception of them.
It might explain why some people are encouraging others to crowd the internet with misinformation in order to hide from and confuse big businesses. This is not a good relationship. Your company should be respected by people who want your business, not hated by people who are moving all your emails to their junk folder and aggressively blocking your remarketing pop-ups. Hence, “don’t be evil”. Google were afraid of looking like an overbearing, Big Brother-esque company that had the power to do what it wanted with people’s data. Of course, some people argue that Google have become exactly that, but the point is that Google are aware that not all press is good press. Digital marketing skills may give you a lot of power, but don’t abuse that power. Don’t be evil and, instead, do the right thing.
2. ...Be human
The evil digital marketing that Google wishes not to be associated with can be avoided by being human.
Business journalist Danny Chan warns that digital marketing can make people “so driven by data that we often overlook the human aspect of marketing and business”. In other words, it is essential to remember that even though your marketing may be digital, your customers are not. When businesses market online, they can get so wrapped up in keywords, view count, and SEO optimisation that they forget to be charming.
Writing for Forbes, Mike Templeman says “You’re not looking for more ‘traffic’, ‘viewers’ or ‘a wider audience’. Instead, you’re trying to reach out to human beings, with all their individual quirks and eccentricities.” Writing a Tweet that is funny, interesting, and good for business requires a similar skillset to making a sales pitch in front of physical audience.
3. Use automatic competitor intelligence...
With so many businesses using the internet to connect with their human customers, it has never been easier to monitor your competition.
A survey revealed that 66% of businesses are either maintaining or increasing their digital marketing spend, and by doing so they make themselves more visible. By liking their Facebook page, following them on Twitter, or using Google Alerts you can track your rivals’ digital marketing strategy so as to better inform your own strategy.
A way to stay at least one step ahead is to use automatic competitor intelligence software. The internet is a hive of business activity and nobody has the time to search through it all. This is why there are tools out there that can automatically find the relevant information, organise it, and present it to you in a user-friendly way.
4. ...To be the fastest
The time saved by being able to do competitor research quickly needs to be used well because digital marketing is a fast world.
Your business may have a website, a blog, and a video on YouTube, but how old are they? Two years is a long time in the world of digital marketing. The first iPhone was released in 2007, and by 2013 it was considered “obsolete”. In just six years, all the technology, coding, and knowledge that went into making that 2007 phone went out of date.
If your website is more than three years old and you have not made any changes, then the same could be true of it. CNN published an article on how hilariously bad some old websites look, hence making sure that yours is not laughable is very important. Your website, your blog, and your whole social media strategy needs to cater for the rapid development in internet browsing technology. This rapid development is most likely why US mobile advertising spend is predicted to rise to 90 billion dollars in 2020 compared to 2.34 billion in 2010.
5. And don’t forget about mobile!
If businesses wish to be fast in the digital marketing world, then jumping into the world of mobile advertising is the best way to start.
However, businesses have been slow on this front. Despite the previously cited predictions, US companies are currently only spending 13 billion dollars on mobile advertising, which is about one quarter of their total digital marketing spend. Frankly, this spend needs to increase to at least 60% of their total digital marketing spend because that is the percentage of internet activity which currently occurs through mobile. And this is only going to increase with the next generation as 1 in 5 millennials access the internet exclusively through mobile devices.
Brian Solis puts it best when he says that digital marketing is currently made up of “micro moments”. Internet usage is becoming more constant and more universal, but it’s also becoming faster. If your website looks bad on mobile, doesn’t work for mobile, is slow, has a bad app, or doesn’t have an app at all, then you are haemorrhaging customers faster than ever before.
Businesses need to embrace the challenges of future business with charming, fast, consistent, smart, and non-evil digital marketing. It might sound difficult, but it can be done. Businesses have the tools available to them. They just need to learn how to use them in a natural, friendly, and human way.
If you can manage all that, then you won’t just survive; you’ll thrive.
Further Reading from Skills You Need
Based on our popular management and analysis content the Skills You Need Guide to Business Strategy and Analysis is a straightforward and practical guide to business analysis.
This eBook is designed to give you the skills to help you understand your business, your market and your competitors.
It will help you understand why business analysis is important for strategy—and then enable you to use analytical tools effectively to position your business.
About the Author
Richard Jackson is a business writer and the founder of Watch My Competitor. His company provides competitor monitoring software that automatically gives his clients information about their competition.