By Thai Son, Chief Executive Officer, SmartOSC
Because the world of digital marketing changes so rapidly, it’s hard to define exactly what digital marketers do on a day-to-day basis. So instead of taking you through a timeline of what they might do – aside from checking emails, running campaigns, and keeping close tabs on clients and accounts – we’ll be discussing practical concepts and some common best practices within the industry.
“Digital marketing is more than knowing how to run a Facebook ad campaign or conduct SEO research. It’s a set of skills and a way of thinking that, when taken holistically, can add incredible – even business-changing – insight to an organization, no matter how small.”
Proficient digital marketers need to possess a varied skill set and comprehensive understanding of how their target market behaves, which channels are most effective, and how to interpret digital metrics that offer valuable insights into how to tailor marketing efforts.
Remember that the scope of work is largely dependent on the scale of the business they work for, their current career level, whether they work in the B2B or B2C realm, and if they’re specialized in certain areas. For example, an SEO expert would focus on driving organic traffic through strong keyword research and developing content on the relevant topics. A social media marketer would need to have a fluid understanding of how to engage with audiences across different platforms effectively.
Regardless of the focus of their work, any digital marketing professional needs to be able to:
It can be a tall order to decisively master all of these, but that’s not actually necessary. Rather, the digital marketing professional should be capable of adapting and growing. Let’s take a look at some examples of habits and activities that digital marketing pros should always engage in to guarantee positive results for the business.
Data is king in digital marketing. This is how you can assess which path to take with a campaign. The level of data collection has become so sophisticated that the insights offered are lightyears ahead of where they were just a decade ago. Tracking key performance indicators – measures of success in online marketing – is a much easier task with precise data at your disposal.
“[Digital marketing is] different than traditional marketing because its channels and methods enable real-time analysis of marketing campaigns. This translates as the ability to see and understand what is and isn’t working.”
Some primary examples of valuable data include traffic volume, source by region, and conversion rate. To take it a step further, digital marketers can even analyze where visitors are spending most time and what is making the largest impression, even down to the time spent per session. Anyone considering a career in digital marketing should look no further than Google’s free Analytics Academy. These courses are a valuable introduction into how to collect and process digital metrics.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a vital aspect of content marketing. It’s a fantastic way to drive consistent, relevant, and organic traffic to your site, and best of all, it’s typically the lowest-cost form of online marketing.
Before producing content, a savvy digital marketer needs to diligently conduct research on what their target audience is searching for. Here’s the basic process:
Exercising every channel available is key to increasing the breadth of your marketing efforts. This will ensure you reach the maximum number of people, capture the largest amount of leads, and convert as many customers as possible. The primary channels that digital marketers should focus on are:
Most importantly, marketing should be cohesive. This means that a consistent message and strategy should be applied to all channels.
Another great way to reach audiences that might not have been in previous consideration. Collaborating with agencies and companies that are outside of your immediate sphere can be mutually beneficial by allowing penetration into new regions and markets while lending credibility and awareness to your brand. The learning opportunities from working with other professionals can also prove invaluable.
There is no such thing as a super-marketer. No digital marketer is an island.
It’s important to lean on teammates with different skill sets to instill the highest quality in the content that gets produced. Make sure your strategy is clearly conveyed, and work collaboratively. If done well and often, this can lead to unique and powerful results once the team’s goals and skills are aligned and unified.
It’s nearly impossible to get everything right the first time, so it’s an excellent practice to segment your audience, then create multiple campaigns to identify which produces the better results.
“A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a marketing experiment wherein you 'split' your audience to test a number of variations of a campaign and determine which performs better. In other words, you can show version A of a piece of marketing content to one half of your audience, and version B to another.”
- Kolowich, 2018
This might seem obvious, but the biggest weapon a digital marketer can have is staying ahead of the game regarding industry trends and information. Proactively doing research is a great habit and there are some high-quality sites that pump out great, relevant content consistently. Most of these offer a free newsletter through an email subscription. It’s best to sign up for several of them in order to mix it up.
Some great examples are HubSpot, Simplilearn, Search Engine Land, Marketo, DigitalMarketer, and Social Media Examiner.
I hope these general concepts and practical tips have helped show the scope of work of the modern digital marketer. Take advantage of them all and find out how they can drive results for your business.
Think you’ve got a decent grasp of the fundamentals? Check out our new guide, “The Path to Personalization,” to get insight into how to engage customers at an individual level.
Thai Son is the CEO at SmartOSC, a Sitecore Silver Solution Partner. Connect with him on LinkedIn.