Technology is advancing so rapidly that automated machines will replace roughly 5 million jobs in the next year. Artificial intelligence will make some of our decisions, and self-driving cars will one day change the way we travel.
Some of this is maybe in the distant future, but other changes are right on our doorstep, so it’s important to stay relevant. This is particularly the case if you are a business owner that wants to advance a brand or a worker that needs to remain employed.
With just a laptop or smartphone and an internet connection, there isn’t much of a limit to what you can accomplish if you have the right knowledge and skills.
Here are 7 essential skill sets that you’ll need to master if you want to find success in today’s digital world.
1) SEO & SEM
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that SEO and SEM are at the top of this list. Despite some statements to the contrary, SEO and SEM are far from dead. It’s just as important today as it ever was.
If you’re not sure, consider these statistics:
Instead of trying to game the system, which worked in the past and will only hurt your efforts now, it’s more important than ever to understand Google’s search algorithm.
While this isn’t disclosed, you can separate yourself from the pack by keeping up with the rapidly changing landscape of SEO/SEM, which continues to evolve.
Here are a few places where you can learn the fundamentals of SEO/SEM
2) Email Marketing
Email marketing is still incredibly important to online success.
Sure, “email blindness” has become a thing, but the specialists that have learned how to get consumers to open emails and take action will be invaluable.
Writing emails that convert isn’t easy, but a company that has the list is missing a golden opportunity if it doesn’t take advantage of it by communicating with those customers. You’ll need to develop the skills to define your campaign, test it, execute it, and measure its effectiveness.
How can you be more effective with email marketing?
You can master one of the popular email marketing tools available to help increase the effectiveness of your email campaign. Or, you can include the social sharing button in your email.
One statistic shows that emails with social sharing buttons increase click-through rates by as much as 158%. So, this skill can not only boost conversions but also help a company grow its social media following.
3) Building an Online Presence
Another valuable skill that you can use to advance your business or career is building an online presence. Earlier, we just outlined some jarring statistics showing that people are overwhelming searching for goods and services online. If a company isn’t listed online, it is throwing away a golden opportunity for additional revenue.
An online presence generally begins with a business website. Getting a website up and running might sound overwhelming, but it has become easier with content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress.
Now used on roughly 34% of all websites online, this is an open source program that you can quickly learn and grow with as your needs expand.
Getting yourself found online will also require that you have a presence on social media (more on that later) and major online directories. Start with Google My Business and then search for directories that are relevant to your industry. For example, TripAdvisor and OpenTable are good for restaurants, and Angie’s List is one for contractors.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Content is King?” This is commonly tossed around by digital marketers, and it means that quality content on a website, blog, or social media platform is going to get you more traction than quantity or something that you’ve just tossed together for the sake of posting.
In short, the content that is posted online now be original and engaging or you’re simply wasting your time. So, the marketable skill that you can develop in today’s digital age is copywriting interesting content that will get viewers hooked and keep them coming back for more.
This is just as difficult as it sounds. No one is born with the innate ability to produce awesome content. First, you’ll need some mad grammar and spelling skills, and then you’ll want to brush up on your SEO and sales copy skills.
Not sure where to go for this type of training? Fortunately, there are several online sources for just about any type of training you might need.
5) Photo & Video Editing
Basic photo and video editing skills are a must in this day and age. If you need digital media edited for your business, you can save a bundle by doing this yourself instead of having to hire out the task.
Maybe your boss asks you to edit a photo or video as part of your job, and it would be a good idea if you didn’t have to spend hours learning it first.
Beyond this, visual marketing has taken the internet by storm in recent years. Consumers are now more likely to stop and read an infographic or watch a video than they are to spend time reading your blog post. The right type of video can help boost your website’s search engine rankings. Further, over 80% of consumers are more likely to buy a product after seeing it detailed in a video.
A mixture of content is the way to go, so it’s vital that you know how to create and edit engaging photos and videos. Check out those tutorial websites mentioned above for courses on any of these topics.
6) Social Media
In addition to knowing about content and websites, you’ll come out on top if you build skills handling the most powerful marketing medium in the world – social media. These platforms have been growing faster than the internet itself over the past several years, and this growth is expected to continue.
Roughly one-third of the planet’s population is on some type of social media platform. While many companies want to use social media for marketing, some aren’t aware of its power, and most have no idea where to start.
Consider this – 78% of small businesses now get at least a quarter of their new customers from social media, and 35% of Americans check brand pages regularly on social media.
The key to reaching people on social media is not only learning how to post the right content but also when to post it and how to “listen” for valuable feedback from customers that can help you improve your business. You can learn this digital marketing skill through training or hands-on experience.
If you’re going to do anything in the digital world, particularly things that you expect people to respond to, you’ll need to learn how to measure your results. A useful skill to have is knowing how to set up and read analytics.
All of the other skills we’ve listed are valuable, but you’ll be working with one hand tied behind your back without analytics. This is a powerful skill that allows you to track your campaigns, see what is working and what isn’t, and make adjustments.
Those online learning resources we listed earlier can be tapped to learn how to use analytics and make the most of them on social media, Google, an email marketing campaign, and a website.
Whether your goal is to market your business or make a living by marketing someone else’s, these are all essential skills in a digital world. The bar hasn’t necessarily been raised; it’s just in a different place than it was a few years ago.
Fortunately, there are plenty of online resources that can help get and keep you up to speed on these different skill sets.