Typically a lot of our posts are search related, and rightly so, but I had a friend contact me recently asking me about things that he should learn or do in order to become a good digital marketer. So I thought, what a great topic! I’ve spent the last 7 years working on all aspects of digital marketing and have put together the below list based on things that I have personally done that have allowed me to develop a strong digital marketing skill set. I’m sure there’s more, but here’s a great place to start!

1. Start Your Own Web-Based Project/s

Learning in your work environment is great, but there is so much more to be learnt by managing your own digital marketing campaigns. Whether it’s just a blog that you’re looking to drive traffic to or a full-blown ecommerce store, having your own project goes a very long way for learning the specifics when it comes to implementation and actually knowing how things are done. There’s a large contingency of digital marketers out there that are good at directing orders, but have minimal knowledge of how things are actually implemented or done. Improving your knowledge in this area will put you a league ahead of others. 

The other aspect of this is to tie some form of monetisation method to your project. Even if it’s just Adsense revenue, having a monetary goal allows you to try and test different methods of receiving a return on investment.

2. Google Analytics Qualifications

Gaining a strong understanding of Google Analytics should be one of the first things you learn. Understanding how to analyse the data produced by your website and its visitors is the key to making good decisions. You must learn how to manipulate the data to understand your top performing traffic sources, conversion rates, landing page performance and many other pieces of information. If you can master the use of website analytics, all your decisions will be data-driven and ultimately enable you to make decisions that will improve your site’s performance. You can access the Google Testing Center here.

3. Google Adwords Qualifications

Google Adwords can be a very effective digital marketing channel, so it is recommended that you also gain a strong knowledge in this area. SEM campaigns for a part of the digital marketing strategy for most businesses, so understanding how the campaigns work and how to analyse performance should be high on your priority list. If you’re working for a large brand, you will often have an outsourced agency managing these campaigns, so it’s important that you are able to do your own reviews of the campaigns in order to keep them performing at their best.

4. Learn How to do Keyword Research

Keyword Research should always form part of your process for identifying opportunities. It may not be the only thing you use to make decisions, but it should form part of any decision-making process for your digital marketing strategies. Keyword research allows you to be able to identify opportunities based on an intent that user’s already have. We often have clients come to us with a thought on what people might be searching for related to their product, and more often than not, there’s opportunities they haven’t thought of, or the industry lingo they are so used to using, doesn’t get searched for at all. So being able to conduct good keyword research can be essential to formulating the perfect strategy. Tools you can use for keyword research include:

5. Gain an Understanding of SEO

SEO, if done right, can also be an extremely cost-effective marketing channel for your brand. The benefits of learning SEO however extend far beyond just optimising for organic traffic. If you learn good SEO, it also merges many of your other marketing channels to help join each strategy together so they operate in sync with each other. Below are a few examples of SEO factors that are applicable to other aspects of your website or marketing strategy:

  • Website Folder and URL Structures
  • Page & Content Structure
  • Content Marketing & What Constitutes High Quality Content
  • Social Media

6. Read This Book

One of the best books I think I’ve read throughout my marketing career is Always Be Testing by Bryan Eisenberg. It was a great first insight into conversion testing, Google Website Optimizer and the influence that on-page elements can have on increasing (or decreasing) your conversion rate. If you haven’t been introduced to the idea of conversion optimisation in its full, then you are in for a surprise! And believe me, utilising conversion testing should be an ongoing process for anyone serious about digital marketing, because it definitely delivers results.

7. Gain an Understanding of Social Media

Social Media is obviously a hot marketing topic at the moment, and it’s going to be here to stay (at least for the near future). Understanding marketing in social media is going far beyond just status updates and user interaction in Facebook. Identifying and understanding different advertising methods across each social media platform, as well as how to cost-effectively grow each channel will become key to any marketers online success.

8. Subscribe to These Sites

Here’s a bunch of great websites that you should subscribe to, like, follow, whatever your favourite why to digest the news:

9. Content Marketing: How to Create and Distribute Engaging Content

Content Marketing goes hand in hand with SEO, Social Media and Digital Marketing in general. We are now living in a world where content is being consumed by the second. It is our job as marketers to provide valuable, high quality content that engages our target audience in a way that a traditional advertisement can not. Content marketing is a tricky one, what’s hot today can be not tomorrow, so you have to accept that you will have many hits and misses. Examples of the types of content you need to understand how to create include:

  • Video Content (YouTube, Vimeo, Vine)
  • Image Content (Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook)
  • Articles (Blog Posts, News Articles, Buzzfeed)

The next step to being a complete content marketer is understanding how to distribute this content. It’s no good to write a fantastic, engaging piece of content if no one gets to see it. Understanding strategies to distribute content, make it go viral, or engage more users is the key to gaining the most benefit from your content creation.

10. Test! Test! Test!

Online marketing is in a continual evolution which is what makes it exciting and why there are so many opportunities to step up and get ahead of the game. The key to becoming extremely good at digital marketing is to test everything. With the amount of transparent data available for web-based marketing, any campaign that you engage in will be able to give you sufficient statistics to understand its effectiveness and also understand the performance difference between multiple tests. Hands on experience far outweighs just overseeing a project or agency. Get in and test these things on your own projects, don’t be afraid to spend a few dollars, and the knowledge you come out with will put you ahead of the game!