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15 Top Skills You Need to Compete in Digital Marketing

According to my Merriam-Webster dictionary:

Marketing is the activities that are involved in making people aware of a company’s products, making sure that the products are available to be bought, etc.

So what is digital marketing?

Digital marketing means using the internet to create awareness for a company’s products and making sure the products are available to be bought right there on the internet.

Sounds simple, right?

There is more to digital marketing than the words found in the above definition.

Digital marketing can be very difficult if you don’t have the right skills.

But with the right set of skills, marketing on the internet is as easy as pie.

Today, 40% of the world population is online.

The first billion was reached in 2005. The second billion in 2010. The third billion in 2014.

This massive growth in internet usage has made the digital marketing industry worth several tens of billion dollars.

In fact, the figure hit $62 billion in 2012 for the United States alone.

The growth in digital marketing has increased the need for more talented digital marketers. That’s why there’s a rise in digital marketing agencies around the world.

Local businesses are starting to understand the importance of taking their shops online because that is where the consumers live.

So what are the skills you need to succeed in the internet marketing world and become a sought-after marketing consultant?

There are 15 skills you need:

1. Writing And Copywriting

What do you see everywhere you go on the web?

You see words, isn’t it?

Without words, the web is meaningless.

Let’s talk about writing. It is the most important one. In fact, it’s where digital marketing starts.

To communicate with potential clients, and win big, lucrative deals, you need to have good communication skills. This starts with writing.

Your writing skill doesn’t have to be perfect, but it has to be good.

It is after you’ve mastered writing can you become good in copywriting.

You may not be the one who always writes the sales copy for products, but you should, at least, be able to recognize a good sales copy when you see one.

2. WordPress

WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world.

In case you don’t know what CMS is, it is the software or platform we use to build our websites or blogs.

According to BuiltWith, at the time of writing, 38% of websites currently use WordPress.

That’s interesting when you consider the fact that the second, which is Drupal, only has 8% of the share.

WordPress began as a personal publishing platform back in 2001. By 2008, it has transformed into a full content management system.

WordPress gives you 100% control and creative freedom to do whatever you like. You own everything.

WordPress is used by recognized brands such as CNN, New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Mercedes-Benz, and Vogue.

It also used by government websites both in the United States and Great Britain. Even the U.S. military uses it to power their sites.

WordPress is good for ranking sites on search engines. Google rate it above their own Blogger platform.

WordPress is secure. It is frequently updated by a community of worldwide developers that care a lot about it. There are also various security plugins to help protect you from attackers.

WordPress is easy to use and simple to learn. You can easily learn WordPress within a week if you commit a few hours to it per day.

WP Beginner has a simple tutorial that will help you learn WordPress within a week.

After you learn WordPress, you’ll be able to recognize any technical glitches in a WordPress site and fix it immediately.

3. Photo-Editing

Visuals are taking over the marketing world.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

We love visuals because they help us learn faster.

Web users have short attention spans. You need to capture that attention, or they would leave your website within a few seconds.

Visual is the most effective way to get and keep that attention.

Many studies have shown that our brains process visuals faster and they help us retain and transmit much more information.

Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.

When you consider the fact that visual content is more than 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content, it means you have to know what makes a good visual good.

This is where a good photo-editing skill comes in.

I’m not saying you have to become a fully talented photographer, but at least, you should know what makes a photo perfect for a blog post.

Pairing the right images with the right content is important.

Except you have an eye for the right photos, it will be hard to know when and how to use a particular image.

Learn photo-editing to create and edit pictures that help your digital marketing efforts.

A search on YouTube will present you with some high-quality photo-editing tutorials.


Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is a standardized system for tagging text files to achieve font, color, graphic, and hyperlink effects on World Wide Web pages.

HTML powers the web.

Knowing HTML is making sure you’re fully prepared to become a digital marketer.

You may not end up using it every day, but the times you end up using it, you’ll be so grateful that you know how to use it.

A lack of HTML knowledge is one of the biggest obstacles many digital marketers face.

The knowledge of HTML will save you precious time, money, and frustration.

You don’t need a full HTML skill. Knowing the basics alone can save you tons of time.

For example, you need HTML when formatting your blog posts and email messages.

You use HTML to make your content easy to read like adding heads, bullets, numbers, holds, and italics. You also need it when you have to make your content easy to use like adding internal links.

Okay, imagine I know nothing about HTML, it would have been hard to add the headers you see throughout this article.

Even if using WordPress makes it easy to do all those things without much knowledge of HTML, you still need to know it when pitching guest posts.

Most publishers want to receive your guest posts in HTML to save them the time of doing the formatting themselves.

5. Email Marketing

If there’s a marketing channel every digital marketer must master, it is email.

Email marketing provides the best return on investment (ROI) more than any other marketing channel.

For every $1 dollar spent on email marketing, an average of $40 is realized.

Out of every digital marketing skill, email marketing is one of the hardest to learn and do. But it looks simple.

You can quickly gain a lot of insight into other people’s internet marketing approach by visiting their blogs, websites, and landing pages.

With email marketing, you’ll have to subscribe to a competitor’s (mentor) email list to learn from them. Sometimes, this takes time. It’s not something you can quickly learn within days.

You’ll have to follow every one of your competitors (mentor) move by reading each of their emails and learning their tricks.

You can use OmniKick to collect the email addresses of your visitors. It’s free to get started with OmniKick.

6. Google AdWords Advertising

Google AdWords is one of the effective ways to reach new customers and grow your business.

AdWords is the largest and most widely used online advertising network in the world.

In 2015, Google’s ad revenue amounted to almost $67.39 billion. That year, advertising accounted for the majority percent of the online company’s total revenues. This should tell you how important the AdWords program is to Google.

New internet marketers have to master Google AdWords because it’s the easiest way to reach customers when they want your stuff.

AdWords lets you reach people who are in your location. It also lets you show your physical address so prospects can see that you have a real business.

AdWords is scalable, measurable, flexible, and it’s also easier and faster than SEO.

There are a lot of courses out there that will teach you everything you need to know about AdWords before you start.

Don’t jump straight into AdWords advertising without reading some guides as you can seriously get your fingers burnt which can be very expensive and unforgivable.

7. Facebook Advertising

Facebook is the biggest social site in the world with 1.59 billion monthly active users as of December 31, 2015. This figure is too much to ignore. It means most of your customers are on Facebook.

Advertising on Facebook gives you the opportunity to reach your ideal customers.

Facebook is different from other ways of advertising online because you can get your advert to just the right people. You choose the audiences for your adverts and can reach them at any time, on any device.

Top brands such as Red Bull, Disney, Oreo, and KFC are taking full advantage of the Facebook platform to further reach and connect with their customers.

You have to master Facebook if you are really serious about becoming a sought-after digital marketing expert or you want to raise your business to higher heights.

8. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is about mastering all aspects of various social platforms.

With this skill, you’ll know how to combine Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and others to boost your business.

Why I separated Facebook advertising from this is because Facebook is like a planet on its own. It’s big and you have to learn how to take full advantage of it separately.

Facebook is bigger than every other social network. They are a wide range of different users on it.

Learning social media marketing is simple:

You need to study how your mentors or competitors are doing it. You can also learn from the established and emerging brands too.

Social media helps you learn more about your ideal customers. It helps you respond to their problems and questions in real-time.

Social media will also give you more sales as customers will vouch for your company if you can deeply connect with them.

Social media is no longer a fad. It has become an important part of internet marketing which is why you must master it to prove to cash-rich clients that you have the credentials to lead their big marketing projects.

9. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the process of optimizing a web page to rank high on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!

SEO has become a very important digital marketing skill due to 92% of U.S. adults using search engines to find information online.

Businesses and individuals are continuously at war over who should appear on the first pages of search engines.

To rank high on a search engine like Google, you need to feed it with the right metrics. You also need to help search engines learn about your content. That is what SEOs do.

An internet marketer should understand the basics of SEO like internal linking, anchor texts, headline titles, XML sitemap, meta-description, and link building.

10. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Conversion rate optimization is another important aspect of internet marketing every marketer should know.

Imagine a website receives hundreds of thousands of visits but it finds it hard to convert those visits into real dollars.

Sometimes, increasing the amount of traffic a website receives isn’t the solution. It could be that the website is not better optimized for conversions. This is where a CRO comes in.

According to Wikipediaconversion rate optimization (CRO) is a process of increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that converts into customers, or more generally, takes any desired action on a webpage.

The knowledge of conversion is vital to any digital marketer.

When you fully understand how conversion rate optimization work, you’ll be able to help business owners generate more customers with less time and money.

11. Google Analytics

Every aspect of your digital marketing campaign needs analytics to measure, managed, and analyze its effectiveness to maximize performance.

How do you know where your most profitable customers are coming from?

How do you know if your site is achieving its marketing goals?

How do you know if visitors like your content?

The answer all lies in analytics.

You need to be aware of the right metrics in your marketing analytics dashboard.

Marketing analytics? What does it mean?

Marketing analytics is the measurement and optimization of your marketing activities.

Google Analytics is the best marketing analytics. In fact, it is one of the most popular tools available to digital marketers.

You need complete knowledge of how Google Analytics work.

A lack of it will make it difficult for you to track, analyze, and present your marketing reports.

12. Content Marketing

According to Copyblogger, content marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers and repeat buyers.

Another definition I like comes from the Content Marketing Institute, a site that pioneered the term “content marketing”:

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

Content is the foundation of all marketing. You need content to pull customers into your marketing funnel.

But it’s not all kinds of content formats that work in every industry or niche.

The content format that works for an automobile business may not work for a food business.

This is the work of the content strategist:

To know the right content to create and where to distribute it.

As a digital marketer, you must be able to know what kind of contents work in the niche or industry you are in.

Having this content strategizing skill is very important.

Without it, you may be creating the wrong content that doesn’t resonate with your customers.

13. Viral Marketing

A talented digital marketer also needs to know how and why some products and companies go viral.

First, permit me to define what viral marketing means.

Viral marketing is a method of product promotion that relies on getting customers to market an idea, product, or service on their own by telling their friends about it, usually by e-mail, word of mouth and social media.

A lot of companies have gone viral over the past few years. And a lot more would go viral in the coming years.

Understanding the secret behind each marketing campaign that goes viral is a must for a digital marketer.

For example, Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign is a marketing success.

Each viral marketing campaign teaches you new things you don’t know about marketing before.

The above Dove’s uplifting promotional video generated record-breaking online interest, yielding more than 114 million views the first month.

“Real Beauty Sketches” aims to underline the stark contrast between how women view themselves and what others see.

According to data cited by Dove, 54 percent of women worldwide confess to being their own worst critic of how they look.

The video features Gil Zamora, an FBI-trained forensic artist who draws a series of women from out of sight behind a curtain, completing the sketches based on each woman’s verbal description of her appearance.

Zamora also created drawings based on strangers’ accounts of the same women.

In most cases, the sketches based on the strangers’ perspectives corresponded to more accurate and flattering depictions than those based on the women’s own self-effacing descriptions.

“Real Beauty Sketches” struck a chord with consumers, generating close to 3.8 million shares in its first month online and adding 15,000 new subscribers to Dove’s YouTube channel over the following two months.”—Jason Ankeny, Chicago Based Writer and Entrepreneur contributor

If there’s one thing this Dove campaign will teach you, it is the fact that making people feel uplifted could make a marketing campaign go viral.

You can learn tons of things from many other viral marketing campaigns out there. And you can start applying what you learn from them into your own digital marketing endeavors.

14. Growth Hacking

As a digital marketer, there will be a point where cash-rich startups would start approaching you to help them grow their usage numbers.

This can be a very difficult or impossible task if you haven’t steeped yourself in the growth hacking sea.

Growth hacking is a marketing technique that aims to attract users at a relatively low cost.

Your primary goal as a growth hacker is to grow the number of users for a specific product, and nothing else.

Many people often confuse digital marketing with growth hacking, but growth hacking is a subset of digital marketing.

To become a complete digital marketer, you must fully grasp the concept of growth hacking.

Growth hacking could mean hunting the first user by hand, doing things that don’t scale.

It could mean growing on the back of someone else like Zynga did with Facebook and Airbnb did with Craiglist.

It could also mean growing using the power of your existing user base and connections. This involves doing things like referral marketing, retargeting, and word-of-mouth marketing.

“Hotmail already had about 20,000 users one month after launching in 1996 and it opted to market its service directly to the friends, family, and colleagues of those users by employing a simple strategy:

It added a tagline, “Get Your Free Email at Hotmail,” at the end of each existing user’s outgoing mail.

When a Hotmail user sent out an email on his or her account, the recipient could click on the tagline link, which would direct them to a page where they could set up their own account.

As a result, the company user base not only skyrocketed to 1 million users within 6 months but the email startup also executed one of the web’s earliest growth hacks (though the term wouldn’t be coined for another fourteen years).”—John McLaughlin, start-up founder, and entrepreneur based in Manhattan and a writer for Fueled

Growth hacking is a valuable digital marketing skill that could start sending multimillionaire founders to your doorstep.

15. Mobile Marketing

Smartphone sales are growing at a fast rate.

In fact, 75% of Americans admit to bringing their phone to the bathroom.

This has made mobile marketing an important marketing skill. The knowledge of how mobile marketing works will give you an advantage over your competitors.

Consumers behave differently on mobile.

You have to take advantage of this fact to make yourself more competitive in the digital marketing field.

With 70% of mobile searches leading to online action within an hour, many businesses will be looking to use mobile marketing to reach their customers.

Except you’re pretty good at mobile marketing, it will be difficult to win clients and huge business deals.

Mobile marketing starts with perfectly optimizing your site for a good mobile experience.

Mobile marketing also means claiming your business on location-based platforms like Foursquare, Facebook Places, and Google My Business.


These are the top digital skills you need to compete in the digital world. Develop these skills and you’ll be able to compete in any niche or industry.

And don’t forget to start using OmniKick to collect the email addresses of your visitors.