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The 11 Most Important Hard & Soft Skills Marketers Need to Have

What hard and soft skills do you need to speak the right marketing language and connect with audiences? Learn the most important ones here.

Hard and Soft Skills

Picture this: You’re wearing many hats as far as marketing goes.

You’re ready to rock the digital marketing sphere.

Not so fast!

You could be lacking in the soft skillset department, and you might not be able to speak the marketing language fluently.

This mistake may compromise your exposure, distancing you from the online population.

We’re talking billions, here.

The internet population is, well, vast.

Don’t believe it?

I’ll show you the stats: A whopping 40% of the world’s population is online, every single day.

Here’s a chart from Internet Live Stats to prove it.

internet users worldwide6 billion Google searches have been happening daily during this pandemic.

And a cool 75% of internet users are reading blogs, every day.

How can you afford to not tap into this crowd, especially today?

Isn’t it time you:

  • Took your customer base a notch higher (if you’re a solopreneur) with marketing skills that work?
  • Hired quality talent (if you’re a business) that leaves no stone unturned when it comes to attracting prospects?
  • Add massive value to brands (if you’re a marketer) with unmatched campaigns?

In this article, you’re going to learn just that:

Here are the most in-demand hard and soft marketing skills that brands hire for.

Hard Versus Soft: Understand the Difference

Simply put, hard skills are structured and systematic.

You should learn these if you’ll be in marketing for the long haul, even if it means taking a course.

I’m talking about stuff like SEO, PPC, machine learning, etc.

Meanwhile, soft skills help you accomplish the technical skills. They help you adapt to certain situations.

If, for instance, you aren’t already creative during this pandemic, you’re probably losing sales. Creativity is a vital soft marketing skill.

I can’t stress it enough.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned marketer.

But it’s of little use if you aren’t pairing it up with soft skills.

What makes you stand out from the pack, at least as far as marketing goes?

Skillsets distinguish you from the rest of the crowd.

They can be categorized into both “hard” and “soft” skillset types.

6 Hard Skills Marketers Need

This list is in no particular order. Let’s get into it!

1. Get to Know SEO

Show me a marketer who ignores SEO and I’ll show you their haphazard results.

SEO is a core language of solid digital marketing in 2020 and beyond.

So, speak it fluently, all the time!

Your ultimate goal with SEO?

To be found easily by your target audience.

Publishing a string of content (i.e., blogs) is useless if it isn’t attracting your target audience.

Bottom line: Even if you aren’t looking to become an SEO expert, at least master the basic SEO concepts.

Pair it up with Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and you’re almost there!

2. Embrace & Prioritize Content Marketing Formats

From social media to videos and blogs, your content should be able to convert.

Create social media posts that engage with your audience the most.

Craft killer blogs that are shared the most.

Work on publishing in the top formats that generate maximum results.

Some of your audience will read the blog, others will watch the video, which is similar to engaging with you or the brand you’re portraying real-time.

Need even more ideas? Here are 100 types of content you can create.

Content marketing, when done right, can move you closer to your target audience.

When done wrong, though, content marketing can distance you from potential customers.

3. Understand the Ins and Outs of Email Marketing

Your prospects don’t read every email.

They read great emails – compelling content that makes their hearts skip a beat.

So, if you’re looking for your emails to be read, you’ve got to be a wizard in the game.

I’ve found for myself personally this doesn’t come naturally.

Email marketing isn’t easy.

It took me about four years to get comfortable with it.

The basics to know are how to:

  • Write and schedule or send a great broadcast.
  • Set up an email sequence to nurture your audience.
  • Properly tag and categorize your subscribers. For example, you want to understand how to tag subscribers who have purchased a course or training that you’re writing an email for, so they don’t get sold to twice.

But there’s a lot more to email marketing than these basics.

Brand new to the game of email?

  • Mailchimp has a powerful resource center dedicated to education on this topic. It’s worth checking out.
  • Campaign Monitor’s resource center is equally educational.

4. Know Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

It doesn’t matter if your campaigns are bringing in mammoth traffic.

It’s of little use if the prospects aren’t converting.

So, what are your CRO goals?

What do you want people to act on?

After all, the ultimate goal of marketing is for your leads to take a given desired action.

It’s better to attract one or two leads who eventually convert than lure in a few thousand with zero conversions.

Learning CRO is key particularly if you’re looking for your leads to purchase a product, download free stuff, subscribe to your mailing list, etc.

Understand the major terms associated with CRO: engagement metrics, conversion funnels, and A/B testing, etc.

And don’t neglect your site’s layout, navigation, and speed – page elements are a vital part of CRO.

5. Get Comfy with Some Machine Learning

A bot can’t brainstorm a high-conversion ad.

And it can never write humanly crafted, awesome content.

But it can help tackle ordinary tasks, so you can save time for important duties.

Many machine learning actions are built into the tools we use as marketers.

Get familiar with what those parts are, and understand how they work.

Google even has its own AI platform, housing Google technology, products, open-source platforms, and a library on education around AI.

Google AI

Combining machine learning and natural language processing makes you work smarter.

5 Soft Skills Marketers Need

What are the top soft skills every good growth-focused marketer needs to have?

Here are the top six. (You might be surprised at #6!)

1. Curiosity

Marketing is ever-changing.

Your hunger to learn emerging trends should be unmatched if, in fact, you’re looking to be brilliant in this field.

Be among the first folks to read the latest marketing updates.

Ask questions whenever you don’t understand a concept. You can even take to a Facebook group or post on Twitter and tap into the wise minds of our times for help.

I do it often – I recently posted this tweet to ask thoughts from my peers of a concept I read in one of Robert Bly’s books. The conversation and feedback was amazing!

Staying curious is how you’ll stay competitive in this saturated industry.

Your passion to learn new stuff should never die.

2. Employ Persuasion

How much of a persuader are you?

Okay, okay…

Grade your persuading power on a scale of one to five.

Where would it sit?

Anywhere between four and five?

You deserve an accolade from me!

But, if it’s resting at three or less, you need to work on it.

Marketing is all about persuasion.

So, persuade potential customers whenever you can! Convince your boss to invest in some technology that (you think) will help skyrocket your marketing goals.

Just remember to always base your arguments on logic.

3. Encourage Creative Juices

Online competition is stiff. To be able to stand out from the pack, you need to be different by tapping into your creative juices.

Are your copy and images out of the ordinary?

Are you creating unique campaigns that truly stand out?

The thing is, prospects like to be enthralled and won before they want to take the next step with you or your brand.

Otherwise, they keep scrolling.

Creativity wins! Make sure to allow yourself time away from the desk immersed in something that boosts your creative juices — for me, that’s playing the harp, taking a hike out by the lake, or watching a super-good medieval fantasy show or movie.

4. Multitasking Is a Plus

If you’re able to do more than one thing simultaneously, it’s a good thing. (Really.)

In digital marketing, it’s not uncommon to be handling a ton of things in tandem.

You might be expected to reply to your readers’ comments on your blog while engaging a similar audience on social media.

However, just make sure you’re prioritizing the most important tasks.

Those that will add more value to your business rather than just distract you.

5. Live and Unlearn

Still holding onto what made your campaigns tick five years ago?

You might need to unlearn a few things. Today, your customers’ tastes and preferences are ever on the move.

What attracted them to you in the past might not work today.

Unlearn your hard-held beliefs and be willing to embrace new tactics, always.

Don’t worry about making mistakes, either. Instead, learn from them.

6. Trust Your Sixth Sense

This could also read “trust your gut.”

Sometimes, as a digital marketer, you must learn to trust your sixth sense.

You never know when it’s going to come in handy. Not neglecting your sixth sense, when it beckons, could save you a ton of trouble.

It might attract a prospect when you’re least expecting it.

If you’re well versed in this industry, and understand your target audience, following your intuition on next big steps can yield big fruits.

For example, it was on intuition that I began telling my story of escaping a cult I grew up in as a child, and building a business while still in that cult – (WHAT, right??) – sharing with the entire world that my passion was my lifeline (and incidentally, following that passion has allowed me to build everything I have).

I even told this story in all its polarizing glory right here with the awesome Danny Goodwin on the Search Engine Journal show.

I’ve been told, “Most people wouldn’t tell this story.”

I’ve been told, “You’re crazy for talking about growing up in a cult!”

Yet, witnessing how the book I wrote on my story, “Woman Rising: A True Story“, sold over 700 copies on launch day formed immediate proof for me that following my gut was the best move.

And today, I’ve built connections and rapport through telling this authentic story that never would have seen daylight if I hadn’t followed my intuition.

Trust your intuition. Tell your stories authentically.

Now, Go Rock the Marketing World Like a Pro

To kill it in this industry, get familiar with and begin practicing these practical skills.

Don’t take your marketing skills for granted. It’s how you can outperform the competition.

More Resources:

Image Credits

In-Post Image #1: Internet Live Stats
In-Post Image #2: Google AI

VIP CONTRIBUTOR Julia McCoy Founder, Author, Educator at The Content Hacker™

Julia McCoy is an 8x author and a leading strategist around creating exceptional content and presence that lasts online. As ...

The 11 Most Important Hard & Soft Skills Marketers Need to Have

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