We’ve hired over 100 marketers throughout the last 10 years to work for many small businesses, including ours.
And after some trial and error, we have learned exactly what marketing skills in 2021 people need to have to be successful in their careers.
So in this post, we’re going to give you the top 8 digital marketing skills in 2021 that we look for when hiring marketers.
So if you’re trying to break into the marketing field, whether it’s to work with someone and help with their marketing strategy.
Or, you are trying to become a better marketer for your business, we’re going to tell you some things you need to know.
Because having great marketing skills can sometimes be the difference between blowing up a business or having a colossal failure.
And of course, marketing, especially digital marketing can change every day.
So, we’re going to give you evergreen or timeless marketing skills that you can use in 2021 and beyond.
Let’s dive in!
8 Digital Marketing Skills In 2021 To Help You Be More Successful Online
- Understand Data To Help Make Decisions
- Understand The Different Types Of Media & How To Leverage Them
- How and Master Marketing Automation
- How To Sell
- How To Develop a Content Strategy
- How To Tell A Story That Resonates With Your Audience
- How To Build An Effective Funnel
- How To Use TikTok For Your Business
The first one in our list of marketing skills in 2021 is that you need is to be able to understand data in order to help you make informed decisions.
With that said, you don’t have to get crazy when it comes to reading data but you have to have more than just a basic understanding.
A basic understanding is knowing where to look on Google Analytics to see how much traffic your site has been getting.
The type of understanding that you need to have is one that includes knowing:
- How much traffic are you getting?
- Where is it coming from?
- What’s your conversion rate?
- What’s your ROI?
- Is there a dropoff in your funnel?
By being able to read your analytics and answer these questions is the only way you’ll be able to grow.
The two biggest metrics and marketing skills in 2021 that we like to look at when evaluating a candidate are REACH and ENGAGEMENT.
Because if you can reach millions of people and you can engage them, then the traffic, conversions and sales will come much easier.
You might be asking, “Where do I get this level of understanding?“
The best you can do is to follow big brands to see what they are doing, study your own analytics, or subscribe to our blog to learn all our secrets.
This high-level understanding is what will help you maximize the traffic that you’re getting and help ensure continued success for your business.
There are 3 forms of media that will always exist.
There is written media like a blog, article, or even a newspaper.
There are audio media like a podcast or a radio show.
And there are video media like a television show, commercial, or YouTube video.
So overall, you need to understand deeply how people consume and engage with this type of media.
In 2021, the biggest media marketing skill you can develop is an understanding of video.
Video has been an up-and-coming content distribution method that has officially arrived and needs to be taken advantage of in 2021.
By 2022, it is estimated that video will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic which would be 15 times higher than it was in 2017.
Combine that with the fact that 78% of people watch online videos every week.
And 55% view online videos every day and using video suddenly seems like a requirement to compete in today’s digital world.
So how do you leverage video?
There’s much more to it than just pulling out your phone, hitting records, and showing your viewers the products you sell.
Much like everything in marketing, you need to have a video marketing strategy.
What types of video are you going to leverage?
Are you going to create well-thought-out YouTube videos that can be posted to Facebook and LinkedIn?
Or are you going to do Facebook and Instagram live streams?
Or maybe you’ll be dancing for a TikTok?
Whatever it may be, make sure that it includes relevant content for your audience.
That is because video is one of the most engaging advertising methods available today.
Video can help you create a community with your audience which will promote brand loyalty providing your business with loyal customers.
This marketing skill in 2021 is highly, highly, highly recommended.
The world is getting more tech-driven with AI (artificial intelligence) and robots.
But we would say only 1% of people really understand how automation and AI actually work.
But if you understand it, you can literally create marketing campaigns that are predictable and run without you.
This brings INCREDIBLE value for any business that you work with because you not only make more money…
…but you also save them money because they will be able to spend less on resources.
Like hiring a bigger staff or spending more time on manual tasks.
There are so many examples of marketing automation, and one key area is email marketing.
So say for example you are selling dog t-shirts. You may have several audience segments like dog moms and dog dads.
You can then create a dog dad email series where you talk about how dogs are a man’s best friend. And show your dog you love them etc.
The point is you can create an email series that goes out to dog dads automatically every day or every other day.
Without you having to manually create everything.
So forever, as long as the audience segment is dog dads, you have an automated email campaign for life.
Then you do the same thing with dog moms.
And what’s beautiful is that soon, you will be able to see exactly how long someone is subscribed.
As well as exactly what email led to the most conversions or sales.
Thus, creating a predictable and effective email marketing automation campaign.
Now we know what you’re thinking….
…That you didn’t read this post to learn how to sell. You want to learn about marketing.
But listen, it is not marketing vs sales, rather, marketing AND sales go hand and hand.
Marketing is like jelly and sales is like peanut butter.
Marketing is like cake and sales is like ice cream.
Marketing is like eggs and sales is like bacon.
Well, the bottom line is that marketing’s main objective should be to create massive awareness.
But eventually, you have to turn that awareness into leads.
You have to hype people up in a way that makes them want to contact the business and actually want to buy or talk to someone.
And that takes a level of sales or what we like to say is persuasion. But you need to be able to understand sales and what it takes to get someone to buy.
Sometimes that means learning how to better create copies.
Sometimes it means learning what should be said on a video.
Sometimes it means figuring out how to position case studies and reviews.
There is a very specific and predictable way to persuade someone and you’re an even better marketer once you find out how.
Additionally, if you end up creating content, which we’ll get into next, you’ll need to know of course how to provide value.
But after that value cup has been filled, you need to learn how to sell your offer.
For example, if you do an hour-long podcast, somewhere in the middle or the end, you’ll want to briefly pitch the company in a precise and healthy way.
Again, people who know marketing and know sales are perfect candidates.
Here’s a little bonus for people who are looking for a career…
You can build and have all the skills in the world. But at the end of the day, it’s not about your skills, it’s about what makes you happy.
Because then, you have a chance to be great!
It’s not about what pays you the most. Everybody is chasing money, but it’s really not about that.
And it’s ALSO not about the best ideas like if it’s better to be an advertising expert vs focusing on organic.
There’s no “better”… there’s you being more self-aware.
It’s about what the heck are you about? What would you do if you didn’t have to make money or what are you really good at?
The next on our list of marketing skills in 2021 that you need to have is to be able to develop a content strategy.
Writing content is no longer a guarantee to get you traffic.
This is in part due to how much the digital space has grown.
In fact, there are over a billion blogs on the web.
That is A LOT of content.
So how do you succeed with all of this competition and content clutter?
Well, you need a digital content strategy.
Your strategy has to include how you are going to promote the content.
That is because as we just mentioned, simply writing and posting content isn’t enough to get traffic anymore.
A good place to start would be finding your balance between writing content and promoting it.
You need to spend as much time as possible promoting your content when you’re not writing.
Now, you have to dive deeper into how you’re going to promote your content.
The first step to doing that is creating your business’s buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a way for you to create your ideal customer which is who you will keep in mind when coming up with ways to promote your content.
Your buyer persona may include:
- challenges, and
- other demographic features
Now that you know who you are trying to reach, you have to come up with how you’re going to reach them.
This means that it’s time to develop content topics.
There are many different types of content you can create so depending on your buyer personas, you might want to focus on one more than others.
You can create videos, infographics, blogs, and more to engage your audience.
In order to create the best content, you should use the buyer personas you created to identify your audience’s needs and challenges.
However, creating topics your audience will find valuable isn’t enough.
You need to understand how they search for the topics you are producing content on.
To do this, you’ll need to conduct keyword research for SEO.
When you get an understanding of what terms your audience is using to search for your content topics, you’ll be able to create better content.
This is because you’ll be able to include those keywords in your content which will help with your SEO and thus improve your website traffic.
Another great method for developing relevant content is to look at your competitor’s content to see what is trending within your industry.
You can do this using online platforms such as SEMrush which allows you to see your competitor’s top keywords they’re ranking for.
As well as their top-performing pages and other valuable information.
By doing this, you’ll be able to…
- take advantage of an already trending topic,
- join the conversation,
- create even better content on that topic to stay ahead of the competition, and
- reach more of your audience
The sixth skill you need to have is storytelling.
Storytelling is just as effective today as it has been in the past.
And with more companies dropping storytelling from their strategy, it can be a great thing for you and your business to leverage in 2021.
What happens when you read a story?
You begin to relate to certain characters, have sympathy for them, you’ll end up wanting things to happen and work out for certain characters.
None of this changes when you implement storytelling into your marketing strategy.
In fact, when you integrate stories into your marketing, instead of people identifying with characters, they begin to relate more to your brand.
And the end result is an increase in your conversion rate.
As the digital world continues to grow, ad costs continue to rise and we hate to break it to you but this isn’t going to change in 2021.
In order to keep up with this increase in advertising costs, you need to implement storytelling into your marketing strategy.
This is so that you can increase your conversion rate and keep up with increasing advertising costs.
Using storytelling will also make your content more effective at grabbing and holding your audience’s attention.
And, can ultimately lead to them sharing your content just because of how much they relate to your story.
Although advertising costs may be on the rise, it doesn’t cost anything for your audience to share your content and this is a great way to get more shares.
The seventh skill you’ll need is to be able to build an effective funnel.
So what is a marketing funnel?
A marketing funnel demonstrates the process in which you will move members of your audience that have just discovered your business all the way through up to the point of them making a purchase.
There are tools online that can help you build a funnel quick and easy such as ClickFunnels.
But you will also need to learn how to do upsells and downsells in order to maximize your revenue to keep up with increasing ad costs.
What are upselling and downselling?
These are marketing techniques that are used when closing a sale.
An upsell is a technique where you try to convince a customer to purchase a more expensive product.
A downsell is essentially the reversal of an upsell.
If a customer does not go for your upsell attempt, you will use a downsell by suggesting a cheaper alternative to your upsell.
This is a critical piece of your funnel and by using these properly, you will see more revenue from sales!
Throughout the course of 2020, TikTok absolutely exploded in popularity.
This is why our eighth tip is that you need to learn how to leverage TikTok for your business in 2021.
Now, this does have some stipulations since close to half of TikTok’s users are between the ages of 18 and 24 years old.
However, just because your target audience doesn’t fall within that age range…
…doesn’t mean that this social network should be neglected in your social media marketing strategy for 2021.
For starters, TikTok has become the 6th largest social network with 800 million monthly active users.
And it has already surpassed LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest.
TikTok has already started to expand its advertising options.
And studies are starting to indicate that this platform can increase purchase intent making it a must-watch platform for 2021.
We’ve even seen competitors jump on the short video trend with Instagram recently releasing their Reels feature.
This is for good reason since the average consumer’s attention span is only 8 seconds.
And since video is one of the most engaging forms of content, which we talked about earlier.
One of the most notable features of TikTok is its algorithm.
TikTok’s algorithm is among the most powerful out there today which helps determine the videos you’ll find on your “For You” feed.
This is backed up by the fact that TikTok users spend an average of 46 minutes per day on the app.
The algorithm gets even better at its recommendations the more you scroll and like videos.
But one of the most notable features is the app’s ability to make content go viral.
TikTok currently offers 5 different ad types which are top view ads, brand takeover ads, in-feed ads, branded hashtag challenges, and branded effects.
a. Top view ads
Top view ads appear as soon as the user opens the app and provide the advertiser the ability to play up to 60 seconds of video with sound.
b. Brand takeover ads
Brand takeover ads are similar to top view ads since they appear as soon as the user opens the app.
However, these ads only support quick videos up to 5 seconds.
c. In-feed ads
In-feed ads will appear similar to the general TikTok posts that you scroll through.
These ads are placed in the user’s “For You” feed and can be up to 60-second videos.
Users can like, share, comment, and even use the audio from this type of ad.
d. Branded hashtag challenge
Branded hashtags offer one-of-a-kind engagement on TikTok.
Your branded hashtag will have its own challenge page where all user submissions that include your hashtag will live.
These types of ads are known for helping build brand awareness.
While also engaging your audience in a way no other social platform has allowed you to before.
e. Branded effects
These come in the form of stickers and filters that can be used creatively by the users whilst they create content.
They have also started testing out the TikTok Creator Marketplace.
This is a list composed of over 1,000 of TikTok’s biggest stars and is designed to allow brands to search with a variety of filters like:
- creator location,
- number of fans, and
- content topic
They also allow brands to view information on the creator’s audience demographics with details like gender, age, and location.
Currently, this is only in its testing phase and is invite-only to use but we’re sure to see more from TikTok available to digital marketers in 2021.
Digital Marketing Skills In 2021 Wrap-up
With that last skill, that wraps up all we have on the 8 digital marketing skills you need in order to be successful with digital marketing in 2021.
If you feel overwhelmed just from reading these digital marketing skills, don’t fret.
We have a team of marketing experts who are always ready to help you with your digital marketing campaigns. Contact us today!