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Does your digital marketing team have the skills to thrive?

Experts, experts everywhere. Crafting and hiring your digital marketing dream team should be a walk in the park right? Actually no. Good talent isn’t cheap and just because somebody has a marketing degree doesn’t necessarily mean they have what you need anymore.

When hiring a new team, or training an existing one, you need to ensure you have a party bag of expertise and talents. Whether it be one person or 20, the following are the areas of expertise that you need to build a real goal-kicking, well-oiled, dream team.

The 7 core areas of digital marketing expertise needed in 2017

1. Content Marketing

You’ve heard it a million times but I’ll say it again, content marketing is king! Quality content creation feeds into many essential elements of the digital marketing mix, including email marketing, social media and SEO strategy. In order to stand out from all the noise your content really needs to be on point and give your business a strong brand identity. Marketing now and into the future is hungry for human content that connects with people on an emotional level, whether by making them laugh, cry  or be inspired, it needs to really reach people personally. We call this ‘Customer First Content’. Who better to create human content than, well….a human. Find someone that can personify your brand and create content that people want to read, watch or listen to that connects the dots along the customer’s journey.

2. Email Marketing

Of course, another no-brainer, email marketing mastery is another vital element of your team. You might have heard ’email marketing is dead’, but you can laugh at these claims. Email marketing is still in the top two marketing channels for ROI (return on investment). It’s a skill every marketing teams needs to be good at or get better at. There’s more to email marketing than knowing how to use Campaign Monitor or MailChimp. You need to understand how to write subject lines, the science behind A/B testing, dynamic content, deliverability, coding, automation/programmatic, session/cart abandonment, workflow management, list growth and when/to whom to send it to, yada, yada, yada. The email marketing expertise list goes on. To be a real hustler in email marketing you need to know how to build your list authentically and deploy strategic, automated email marketing strategies to grow and monetise your list while simultaneously increasing subscriber engagement and customer loyalty.

3. Social and Community

If you haven’t already caught on, social media is a crucial element of a strong digital marketing strategy. But there’s more to social than having a account and knowing how to take an awesome selfie. A master of social media will know how to deploy their resources to integrate the different platforms and make the most of the individual features. We need to have real conversations that drive people to your website with one idea in mind; your products and services.

4. Paid Advertising

It’s important that a business makes paid search work for them, and when I say work, I mean really work. Paid search helps leverage proven channels such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. It also works to complement your SEO efforts and properly grow your customer base. First and foremost it makes you truly unforgettable and keeps you right where you need to be, top of mind! The game of paid advertising changes every day. Here are three trends for next year your paid advertising team need to be getting skilled for:

  • Identity-based paid advertising
  • Advertising automation: The rise of programmatic advertising
  • The alliance of paid and organic teams: The age of content marketing

5. Analytics

Analytics are the element of digital marketing we all love to hate. A good marketer will love them, a questionable one will be afraid of them, because nobody ever said a marketing degree should look like a maths degree these days! Hidden within all the numbers and stats is the key to moving your marketing budget/effort in the right direction. You need to know what the data means and how to interpret them to identify opportunity. Google Analytics provides several out of the box ways to segment your visitors into groups. For example, it is possible to segment by GEO location, Browser, Operating System, Traffic Source, Visitor Type (New vs. Returning), Content Viewed, Goal Completion, and the list goes on. There are many reasons why Google Analytics custom variables are your best friend, in fact I can give you 20! Whether you want to find more users, improve the experience of existing ones or convert more sales, knowing how to read data to make actionable decisions is key to your future success.

6. Automation

Time is money in business so any time saved, in turn, will be money back in your pocket. This is why automation is your best friend. Eliminate repetitive tasks and make your team more efficient one with marketing automation. Attract, nurture and retain customers automatically right content, to the right device at the right time. And trust me when I say automation is actually quite easy to maintain if you have somebody who knows how to set it up.

7. Conversion Rate Optimisation

How about more sales from your existing traffic? Better return on investment? Well, you get all this from conversion rate optimisation! You need somebody who knows how to use analytics, tools and user feedback to improve the performance of your website and maximise your rate of conversion offline and online.

Training a successful team

Like I said in the beginning, you don’t need to have a huge marketing team to be successful, you just need a person/people who can master these seven core areas of expertise. This is where training plays a huge part in your business. If you feel you are lacking in a certain area, you shouldn’t walk into the meeting room tomorrow and fire your whole team, you need to analyse the weaknesses and use this to see the potential.

How to train your team:

1. Avoid generic training: There is plenty of training out there for marketers to upskill themselves, all of them are great and have different strengths, these are good for ambitious marketers to do themselves for sure! But if you’re looking for a way to boost morale, retain staff make them feel more confident to do a great job and gain practical skills into your organisation, look for a way to employ both training and consulting into a neat little package, that way your marketing team are happy with new skills and your bottom line will be happy because those skills will be applied to your business directly. Win-win!

2. Blended learning: Face-to-face training is one of the most practical ways to learn. Why? Because a good trainer will understand a room’s learning modalities and apply learning exercises to ensure all skills are transferred. Not everyone learns from a text book or videos. It’s good to have a combination of the two in any learning program.

3. Focus on projects: Almost everyone is guilty of this! Jumping around into new ideas every few days or weeks. The best thing you can do is choose four major projects a year to focus on to improve your digital marketing. That way, in the beginning of your project you can identify which skills you need to build on to achieve a successful roll out.

Now it’s your turn, do you think you have the skills you need to grow today and the future?

Alita Harvey-Rodriguez is a leading Australian Digital Marketing Futurist and the brains behind Milk it Academy.

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