Marketing is not about pitching to customers; it’s about communicating with individuals. It’s understanding what resonates best with them and delivering value on those terms. It’s not asking them to buy, it’s building trust so that when the time comes for them to make a decision, they willingly choose you.  

Digital marketing is no different; it’s just that the dialogue occurs over electronic platforms. While the soft skills required for marketing have not changed—communication, curiosity, empathy, for example—the hard skills for digital marketing are slightly different.

In this article, we’re going to cover digital marketing skills that are crucial for success in today’s landscape—whether you’re looking to grow your career or business or both. Plus, we’ll provide a free course to help you ensure you’re building these skills on a solid foundation.

1. Copywriting

Copy is written material aimed at promoting and prompting action. Given the number of online channels that exist today, copywriting is a must-have digital marketing skill. Emails, landing pages, event invitations, paid ads, social media posts, chat bots, product descriptions—these all require copy.

Copywriting is a different skill from other writing (blog writing or technical writing, for example) because you need to be able to capture attention, communicate value, and inspire action with a limited number of words and space. You also need to be able to shift gears easily, as the expectations and mindset of an audience varies depending on platform.

Free copywriting course

If you’re looking for a free online course to help you develop this digital marketing skill, try out Copyhackers’ Conversion Copywriting 101 This course will teach you how to keep purpose and conversion at the forefront of your writing for various forms of web content: landing pages, home pages, headlines, testimonials, ads, emails, and more.

2. SEO

Search engines, as you know, are a regular part of the customer journey for just about any business. Whether they’re seeking the closest hair salon, looking at catering options for an upcoming event, or comparing features for a car, consumers look to search engines to help them make confident purchasing decisions.

As such, knowing how to get a business to appear for relevant searches is a crucial digital marketing skill. SEO is a complex subject with both technical and creative aspects, so it encompasses a wide range of sub-skills. You need to know how to produce and promote useful content, how to build effective directory listings, as well as how to structure and secure your website.

SEO is an ongoing investment, but the ongoing benefits of showing up on the first page of Google are hard to beat, so whether you’re brushing up on your skills or just getting started, it’s worth your time.

Free SEO course

This free SEO Training course on Udemy covers SEO from basic fundamentals to more advanced strategies. You’ll learn the vocabulary, best practices, and most effective strategies, and get familiar with on-page, off-page, mobile, and local SEO. As Google and search engines are always evolving, SEO is a digital marketing skill that needs constant maintenance. This course will provide that workout you need to stay in SEO shape.

3.  Pay – per – Click (PPC)

While showing up first in organic search results brings benefits that compound over time,  it can take a while to establish this presence. An option for gaining relevant visibility more immediately is through pay-per-click advertising. With PPC, your business is guaranteed to show in top spots, but you pay for each click your ad gets. BUT paying more doesn’t necessarily mean showing up more, because ad relevance and quality are factored in.

This relevance and quality aspect is what makes PPC a skill. You don’t just need to know how to balance or allocate your budget; you need to know which keywords to target, the best channel and ad format(s) to use, as well as how to create a cohesive experience for your audience. The better your ads are, the lower your cost per click and the higher your profits.

And PPC advertising isn’t just on search engines, either. It’s on social media, websites, apps, directories, and more, making this digital marketing skill an absolute must-have.

Free PPC course

WordStream’s Growth Academy is a free and interactive learning platform with the courses you need to get up to speed on PPC basics such as account structure, keywords, conversion rate tracking and optimization, bidding strategies, and metrics. It also covers the inner workings and best practices for Google Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, Display Ads, YouTube Ads, and Google Shopping. With Growth Academy, you can obtain or improve the digital marketing skills required to meet your goals, whether they are to generate more leads, sell more products online, or expand into ecommerce or agency account management.

4. Email

Email has been around for ages, and yet it still prevails as one of the most effective marketing strategies out there. In fact, for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $42. Rock on, email.

Email marketing is a popular digital marketing skill because it is so versatile. It can be used to convert leads, engage dormant customers, build loyalty, and more. You can send useful content, important updates, exclusive deals, event invites—the list goes on.

With finely-tuned email marketing skills, you can build out your lists and perform experiments, gaining valuable insights about your audience to help drive your goals.

Free Email Marketing course

Wishpond’s free Email Marketing Masterclass for Beginners will help you form an email marketing strategy that aligns with your business and career goals. In the 1-hour course, you’ll learn about email campaign types, email marketing funnels and goals, growing your list, A/B testing, and more. Whether you’re new to email marketing or looking to get your skills up to par, this course will set a solid foundation for you.

5. Conversion rate optimization

So you’ve got your copywriting, SEO, PPC, and email marketing skills all in order, and you’re using them to generate lots of traffic to your website. Good work! But you’re not a digital marketing master yet. What good does it do anyone if none of these visitors takes action on your site? This is where the skill of conversion rate optimization, or CRO, comes in to complete the picture.

A conversion refers to the specific action you want a visitor to take on any given page of your website—request a quote, download a free guide, sign up for your mailing list. There are a number of factors that influence whether visitors perform these desired actions, and CRO seeks to identify the conditions that drive the most engagement. Your CRO skills involve A/B testing, conversion funnels, and engagement metrics like bounce rate. You also need to be familiar with page elements that influence conversion: copy, layout, button colors, speed, and even site structure and navigation.

Free CRO course

Unbounce’s free Landing Page Course gets you squared away with landing page fundamentals, including page elements and architecture, call to action design, lead capture forms, and copywriting. There are also two video series: The Landing Page Sessions examines real campaigns, while the Landing Page Design series shows you how to apply design principles for conversion.

6. Data Analysis

While they don’t typically need to be able to work with data analytics at the same level as, say, a Data Scientist, Digital Marketers do need to know how to use Google Analytics and other analysis tools. Their detailed information about where your traffic comes from—the most attractive keywords, the most popular times of day, and invaluable data on your audience’s age, gender, and location breakdown, as well as their interests and the devices they’re using to reach you—is perhaps the Digital Marketer’s most valuable source of audience insight.

Free Data Analysis course

Data Analysis for digital marketers is a practical subject rather than being theoretical. Coursera is offering free Digital Marketing Analytics in Practice | Coursera by introducing participants to the science of web analytics while casting a keen eye towards the artful use of numbers found in digital space.

Conclusion

The channels may not be new, but the skills required to reap the most benefit from them are constantly evolving. Use the free courses in this article to keep your digital marketing skills in top shape! 

Skills are made and polished by practicing, so practice, Practice, PRACTICE.

Bonus Points

Book Recommendations-

In order to be the best, one should learn from the best, hence here are book recommendations that all aspiring Digital Marketers should read

  • Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to tell your story in a noisy social world 
  • Crushing it!: How Great Entrepreneurs build their business and influence and how you can
  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
  • Hit Makers by Derek Thompson
  • Out of the Maze by Spencer Johnson

Online Course

Learning new things is always exciting. To enrich your knowledge, we have an ultimate online course for you. It will help you learn some valuable skills.

SEO Training: The Ultimate SEO guide for beginners 

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