Keep Your Digital Marketing Skills Up-to-Date to Stay in the Game

What attracts so many go-getters to a career in marketing? It could be that it’s fast-paced, exciting, and visionary. If you work for a marketing agency, you'll be confronted with new challenges and projects all the time—you certainly won’t have time to get bored. Or, maybe it’s that’s marketing taps into understanding people and their needs. Who wouldn’t want to make a career out of getting behind human behavior and discovering what drives someone to make a decision? And let’s face it, it’s pretty cool to understand the Jedi mind tricks of your favorite companies.

Underneath all the glamour and excitement of a career in marketing also lies an often sleep-deprived marketing team. As a marketer, you’re constantly trying to anticipate your customers’ behavior, understand their habits, and meet your audience at its next step. And, if you happen to work in content marketing, you have a never-ending list of influencers to follow, blogs to read, and social media posts to respond. Keeping up with your audience, trends, and ever-changing technology is a multi-tasking Olympic event.

Good Marketers Make Quick Decisions – and Fast

Traditional marketing tactics used to be product-centric. With modern marketing strategies such as inbound marketing tactics becoming more popular, the customer is at the center of every marketing decision that you make. And let’s face it, people change their minds, their behaviors aren’t always predictable, and their decisions aren’t always based on logic.

Marketing has been refocused around meeting customers’ needs. In this type of environment, you have to be agile and ready for change at any moment.

New marketers learn all about the buyer’s journey, which is comprised of stages in a typical purchase cycle—a helpful blueprint to help you map your customer’s behaviors and mindset.

It is just that—a blueprint. A sketch that is a subject to revision. After all, people change their minds; they’re influenced by external factors that you can’t always anticipate or control. For this reason, a marketer must always track and analyze the actions that its customers take; balance priorities; and strategically steer the ship in a new direction when results aren’t going your way.

Marketers Have to Adapt to the Evolving Marketing Landscape

As a digital marketer, you will rely on technology for nearly everything that you do. At Responsive Inbound Marketing, we use HubSpot to house all of our marketing efforts including blogging, social media, email, etc. New feature rollouts happen constantly; just as soon as I think I’ve mastered the new social publishing tool, another appears in its place.

Change happens fast in this industry, and in fact, its very methods for output seem to encourage fluidity. Live streaming and Snapchat saw a huge growth in 2016. Both encouraged relatively short bursts of information that are intended to capture a moment. Once the moment is over, sad to say that content becomes a relic, buried under the latest news. Did you know that readers spend just 37 seconds skimming through a blog? You have just a small amount of time to catch your readers attention, so you have to be on point. 

Customers Aren’t The Only Ones That You Have To Keep Up With

Your audience is your most important consideration in marketing, but your number two priority is Google. Your website’s authority and “likability” is determined largely by Google. If you don’t play by the rules, the chances of showing up in the coveted top 10 rankings is unlikely. Google’s algorithms and standards for gauging your site are always changing as the search engine becomes smarter.

In order to keep up, you must monitor its changes using tools like:

Also, it's important to surround yourself with a close network of fellow marketers, follow blogs, and join LinkedIn groups to stay on top of the trends.

You can’t just hope that last year’s best practices are still relevant to your marketing efforts. Take SEO, which is constantly evolving. Where long-tail keywords have been the tried and true pathway to top rankings for some time now, Google has recently decided to shift its emphasis on lexical, or topic-driven search. The focus is no longer on individual keywords, rather a grouping of terms and phrases within your blog that are linked to each other, allowing the search engine to better understand the meaning and assess the relevancy of your content.

Create Content, More Content

Part of playing the game is to keep on moving and evolving with the fluid tech landscape. In terms of content, that means frequent and consistent publishing of relevant, valuable articles, infographics, podcasts, and more. I stress the importance of quality over quantity, however—frequency does matter. A recent HubSpot study shows that B2B (business-to-business) companies that publish at least 16 blog posts per month receive 3.5 times the amount of traffic as companies that publish only 0-4 posts per month. Increasing your search presence and publishing more pages equals more potential views.

According to emarketer, 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content each day. That might not sound like a lot, but any marketer will tell you that good content (that is, well-developed, optimized content that brings your reader value), is time consuming.

Don't Count on Working 9-5

Just like the Internet never shuts off, neither does marketing. That has its advantages and disadvantages. The good part is, a career in marketing often affords you the flexibility to make your own hours and to work remotely. On the other hand, that means little rest for you as a marketer. Your customers are searching for you at all hours, and from all locations. Mobile accounts for 60% of all searches, so when your customers are on the go, you’ll need to be too.

Learn By Doing…And By Reading Everything You Can Get Your Hands On

Whether you're a seasoned marketer or just getting into the marketing biz, you probably know that the best way to learn digital marketing is by doing. In a fast-paced environment where new tools are constantly being rolled out and new tricks always being unearthed, this is truly the most effective way to learn. My advice to marketers-in-the-making? Get your feet wet with the terminology and basic concepts that you need, then get your hands on a marketing project. Find a startup company or nonprofit that desperately needs a marketing team but doesn’t have the budget. Dive in and develop a plan, whether that’s improving their organic search or starting an ad campaign.