Marketing fads come and go, but there are essential skills that you need to have to make sure you have the best shot at meeting your sales and marketing goals.
Heading into 2019, the marketing landscape continues to become more competitive, so make sure you’ve got these 10 essential skills down pat.
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Marketing is all about story. People relate to stories; it's how you leverage emotion to pitch/sell when you are marketing. Weaving your value into a story is key – show, don't tell. I can tell you my widget is good, but if you tell a story about how this particular widget helped your cousin Vinny win a big legal case, it makes it much more relatable and sellable.
The way you present the value of your product or service and relate it to your customer's pain points directly impacts your lead generation strategy, bottom-line sales and customer churn. The question you want to ask yourself is, are you telling your brand story in line with how you handle customer interactions and engage with clients? You may have the best product/service in the marketplace, but if your employees don't have a client-centric attitude, your business will struggle.
2. Data analysis
The advent of AI has made data even more important than ever before. Along with tech that helps collect data, not only from your website but third-party sources, and can compile structured as well as unstructured data, you have a wealth of info at your fingertips to pinpoint your target market and demographics. You are no longer using spray-and-pray marketing tactics; you have no excuse not to be highly targeted with the data that's out there.
3. Search engine marketing/optimization (SEM/SEO)
SEO (organic) and SEM (paid) are marketing techniques that help your website get found when people are searching websites like Google and Bing for products and services that you offer. You need to make sure that when someone is searching for your products and services, you appear highly on page one in the search results. Otherwise, you'll likely get few to zero clicks. SEO tactics are usually more complex, while SEM can be a bit more straightforward since it's dollars in, dollars out when you're bidding on keywords. Whether it's by paid ads that show at the top of the Google search or by the stellar content you have put out there, this is a must as far as paid advertising/organic reach is concerned.
4. Social media management
Knowing the best social channels to get your message in front of your target market is key to getting more leads. Make sure you are fishing in the right pond by using analytics to know what social channels your prospects interact with and spend the most time on. Know the best times to post on those channels, and make sure to respond to those who engage with you.
For B2B marketers, storytelling on LinkedIn is an absolute must. The new LinkedIn algorithm has driven marketers to create all types of stories in their newsfeed – some LinkedIn stories can even go viral if they get enough engagement. LinkedIn used to reward Pulse articles, but now since they've given preference to the newsfeed, marketers will need to learn how to tell compelling stories to amplify their personal and company brand.
6. Writing and editing
You must avoid text-speak and Facebook messenger type of writing. You need to be able to write in a conversational, business style, shooting for an eighth-grade level for a wider audience to understand your content, as well as to make sure your messaging and value is easily understood by your target market.
7. Design skills
Can you make it look pretty? Here, we mean being able to take your body of text and matching the graphics and layout to make it easy to read and understand and flow well with your message. Everything needs to be pleasing to the eye and make logical sense – especially for mobile.
In this day and age, these skills are being learned by elementary school kids. Make sure you have it all together to make your content look good, and so you don't beat people down with a wall of text.
9. Spreadsheet proficiency
Spreadsheets are the basis of organization, and if you can't keep track of everything you are doing as far as paid, organic, content distribution and social channel management go, you will be less efficient, wasting time and money.
10. Project management
You've been able to keep everything together and organized. Now can you coordinate all of the moving parts to make it one seamless process so from the outside it looks like a smooth, well-oiled machine? If you can juggle cats with your project management skills, you will be ready for any bump in the road that comes your way (and they will).
While you continue to hone the essentials in order to keep growing your brand and its presence, don't be afraid to try new ideas, because if they work, they may just become one of the essentials. Just make sure that your marketing efforts are continually focused on building a well-known brand – one known for being client friendly, knowledgeable and customer focused – and highlight that in your messaging.