To be a great digital marketer in 2019, you need to go beyond the basics. Sure, we all know about mastering email and social media campaigns, but what skills will take you to the next level? What will set you apart as a digital marketer? What will truly get results for your company as well as your career?
Overcoming digital marketing challenges in 2019
Digital marketing is continually evolving, and what worked well in the past is not necessarily what will work well in the future.
The more time people spend online, the more companies they’re probably already loyal to, and that means you need to do more to gain their trust. Users are also bombarded with information, making personalization to drive engagement more important than ever.
Some basic online techniques will also probably continue to do well for years to come. For example, despite the rise in messaging apps, email is still one of the most used online tools and one of the most beneficial things you can do for your business. Email marketing campaigns are still vital to today’s digital marketing landscape. What has changed, however, is how you use them.
No more bait-and-switch
One digital marketing trend that is on its way out is too-good-to-be-true promotions or the bait-and-switch tactic. This is the use of something desirable, maybe to sign people up to mailing lists and drive sales funnels, that doesn’t actually live up to what was promised.
Gone are the days when someone could post a picture of themselves next to a fancy car and promise they can teach you how to make a million dollars online. These types of online advertisements used to entice a lot of people. But after getting burned too many times and learning that things aren’t always as they seem, many folks have moved on from the hype.
Now, consumers want authenticity, as well as something that directly applies to their everyday lives. Thankfully, there are many skills and strategies you can use to deliver just that to make it a win-win.
Top 8 digital marketing skills for 2019 and beyond
So, how can you be the best digital marketer in 2019 and into the 2020s? Be the best you can be by learning as much as you can and applying it as often as possible.
The most useful digital marketing skills go beyond basic social media and tech knowledge. To truly excel, you need to be a versatile expert who can pivot to a new approach on a moment’s notice. Here are some areas you might want to focus on as you pursue your career development and growth:
1. Knowledge about Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing not just digital marketing, but also everything else in our lives. For example, Gmail now uses a simple AI tool to help autocomplete sentences as you are typing an email.
For savvy digital marketers, artificial intelligence provides a number of potential opportunities. You use AI to help improve your marketing analytics or offer a chatbox to answer customer questions.
Chatbots can even go beyond AI customer service agents. For example, could you create a chatbot that might represent a character in your brand’s book or movie? The marketing opportunities for engaging, fun chatbots and chatbot games are endless.
For example, Hipmunk, a site for travel deals, has a handy Facebook Messenger Bot that can give searchers the best deals in an instant.
Image Source: Facebook Messenger
2. Forward-thinking use of automation
Automation is related to the AI revolution, but it doesn’t necessarily need to always incorporate AI. Automation is the practice of automating processes that human beings might normally do manually. For the digital marketer, this can free up time to do the more creative or analytical aspects of the job.
Automation is really critical in modern email marketing. Email automation offers the ability to send marketing emails that are truly relevant and useful for the potential or returning customer. It also includes setting up triggers so that people receive pertinent emails based on their behaviors and preferences, rather than being bombarded with mass emails.
For example, you can set up an automated email welcome to new subscribers and target it based on a person’s location or specific interests.
3. Advanced experience using analytics
OK, so we’re going to talk a little tough love here for the moment. Many digital marketers come from more the creative side of things (perhaps you are a writer or graphic designer by training or natural knack). Unfortunately, this leaves fewer people who are advanced in the measuring and analytics side of marketing, which is just as important.
There’s no need to be afraid of marketing data, especially when it pertains to other parts of your work. It can be both exciting and rewarding to pay attention to the real-time success of a campaign and see what worked and what didn’t.
By getting more comfortable with the language surrounding analytics, coding, and other more technical areas of marketing, you will have a better understanding of the overall goal of your efforts, and this can only help you be a more well-rounded, savvy marketer.
If you have one thing you should get really good at, it is analytics. Whether you are using Google Analytics or another system, really get to know the nuts and bolts of it.
You should also consider being well-versed in web design, even if that’s not your primary role. In the least, get to know the platform your company is using and its potential plugins or upgrades, so you can understand how to best leverage it and understand your customers.
4. Ability to talk the talk
Because technology and marketing are two of the fastest-paced industries, it’s important to stay up-to-date on relevant news and current events. For example—Do you know about blockchain and cryptocurrency?
Right now, the actual practical applications of blockchain technology to digital marketing aren’t quite there yet. However, you can get a leg up on your competitors by getting ahead of the curve and understanding the power of the blockchain.
The blockchain (or simply “blockchain”) refers to a technology that utilizes a distributed ledger that holds transactions in a chain format, which results in a permanent record.
The blockchain is changing things already in some industries, such as music. Independent musicians have been looking at blockchain tech as a way to remove the distribution barriers to releasing music. For example, Imogen Heap released her song “Tiny Human” via a Bitcoin delivery platform—and that was way back in 2015.
Blockchain ecosystems are also sprouting where content developers can directly engage with readers and get paid. The social media platform Steemit.com hasn’t fully worked out the kinks yet with its blockchain-based social media platform. Still, it’s a platform to watch.
5. Write to connect
The future of marketing is content marketing. Even if it ends up being renamed or positioned differently, there is no end in sight to the desire of consumers to consume engaging content.
If your brand can create and deliver that content, then you can generate leads and customers.
Content marketing runs the gamut – from packing your website with information-rich and keyword-friendly articles to producing entertaining shorts on YouTube. Learn what to say to keep your customers engaged and good at communicating it in every medium.
6. Talk to your customers by name
Personalization know-how is becoming a must for digital marketers. It is a way to engage your customer by providing something that is personal to them. At its most basic, it is addressing an email to “Suzy” instead of “Dear friend.”
We are specifically focusing on email personalization here because that is one of the best ways you can micro-target your customers easily and effectively. With email newsletter tools like Campaign Monitor, personalization is easy, and the opportunities are endless.
For example, a very simple way to personalize is to use the built-in engagement segments offered by Campaign Monitor. These tell you how which customers are engaged or inactive. Using this insight, you can send out a special email to your inactive segment and offer them a special deal to encourage them to re-engage.
Image Source: Campaign Monitor
7. Familiarity with voice-assistive devices
Multimedia can mean a lot of things, but at its most basic, it is any form of audio and/or video. Today’s multimedia goes beyond the basics and creates a synergistic utilization of text, voice, audio, video, and social media. For example, a top trend in 2019 is the use of smart audio technology, which might enable marketing emails to be read by voice-assistive devices.
8. Authenticity in brand communication
Finally, let’s not forget authenticity. With cheesy, fake marketing on the decline, the more authentic you can be as a digital marketer, the better your brand will connect with others. Authenticity is one of those digital marketing skills that may be hard to identify sometimes, but often “you know it when you see it.” In the least, it means writing copy that doesn’t promise too much or over-hype a product.
In practical terms, think of advertisements that really spoke to you because they seemed genuine, versus the ones that tried to manipulate your emotions. Did the manipulation work? Probably not. Be authentic, create an authentic strategy with intentional communication tactics, and win more customers.
To summarize, here are eight digital marketing skills to focus on improving in 2019:
- Artificial intelligence
- Technology know-how (analytics and web design)
- Staying up-to-date on current trends
- Content marketing
- Email personalization
- Voice-assistive technologies and multimedia integration
- Authenticity in brand communication
With the right attitude and knowledge, you are sure to be on your way to becoming a digital marketing success.
Campaign Monitor offers an easy-to-use email platform, complete with mobile-friendly templates, a drag-and-drop email editor, and award-winning customer service available seven days a week. Contact us for more information.