Top 15 Digital Marketing Skills That You Need To Know in 2021

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digital marketing skills

Want to have the edge over other online marketers and professionals? Master these 15 digital marketing skills and you can become unstoppable.

I know, unstoppable is a big word.

But it’s true.

You see, if you master even half of these digital marketing skills, you would be able to generate traffic and revenue almost on demand for your online business or for the company that you work for if you’re a digital marketing manager.

Before we get started though, keep in mind that the digital marketing industry is constantly changing. New trends and technologies come up almost overnight.

If you want to become a great marketer, you need to be on top of all the new changes and tech. Sure, it’s a pain in the ass, and sometimes maybe a waste of time, but it’s what separates true digital marketing professionals from newbies.

Alright, so let’s get started.

Below you will find what I believe to be the top 15 best digital marketing skills that you need to master to become a beast in 2021 and beyond.

1. Content Marketing

Content marketing - one of the most important digital marketing skills

Needless to say, content marketing is still one of the best digital marketing skills that can provide insane ROI if done correctly.

Many people think that content marketing just means SEO and writing articles to rank in Google. That’s completely false. While writing articles is the “go-to” option, there are many more types of content marketing available such as:

  • Writing Blog Posts
  • Designing Infographics
  • Creating Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • How To Guides
  • Email Newsletters

Basically, it’s all about providing great quality content that is of high value to people, with the goal of attracting them as a customer later down the road.

In fact, attraction marketing goes hand in hand with content marketing. Oftentimes it’s practically the same thing.

The reason why so many businesses are relying heavily on content marketing these days is that it’s one of the most cost-effective ways of gaining new customers.

Think about it, it takes almost nothing to publish a blog post or to create a video. Sure it might cost some time, or even money if you hire people to do it for you, but even then, the costs are negligible compared to how much you can make if you do it right.

You know, I still think that the saying “Content is King” is still true even in 2021. I don’t think that there are too many marketers out there who are doubting this.

So, in short: If you don’t know which of these digital marketing skills to start with, go ahead and choose this one.

You can either create the content yourself or come up with keywords and topic ideas and then pay someone else to do it for you.

2. Paid Advertising (PPC & Social Media)

Paid Advertising - digital marketing skills
Example of a PPC advertising in Bing Ads

Here’s the thing, one of the best digital marketing skills that you could learn is how to do paid advertising correctly.

If you’re familiar with my blog, you probably know by now that I’m a huge fan of paid advertising and not relying on SEO traffic alone for any of my sites.

Why?

It’s simple:

You can’t base your entire business on Google’s algorithms and sudden changes and updates. It’s suicidal or naive to do so.

Sure, you might do fine and well for a year or so, but you never know when the next update is going to wipe your entire website out of the search results and your business could literally crumble overnight.

Ok, ok… that sounds a bit too dramatic. But then again, it happened, and it happens even right now as we speak. Google is rolling out its Core Web Vitals update during these months (June to August 2021), and many site owners are seeing some drastic drops.

So the best thing for a marketer to do is to master one of the best digital marketing skills out there: paid advertising.

And not just because of Google updates, but also because with paid advertising you get instant results, and you don’t have to wait for SEO to take place. Sometimes organic traffic might not be enough, especially if you’re trying to push more sales or do a big product launch.

Buying cheap website traffic from good ad networks is almost like a gamble these days. You either buy a shit ton of bot and fake traffic, or you’re going to spend too much money and overpay on clicks.

That’s why I highly recommend you to give this one a try and don’t be afraid of losing a few dollars. We’ve all been there, sure it sucks at first, but as time goes by and you gather experience and learn tricks and how the ad networks operate, you’re going to (hopefully) be in business.

Speaking of which, get $100 in FREE advertising credit when you sign up with Bing Ads via my partner link and deposit $25.

3. Data Analysis

Data Analysis - digital marketing skills

I’ve been talking about testing and optimizing and doing A/B split tests a lot on this blog. You can’t really call yourself a real marketer without knowing that data or “big data” as some like to call it, is one of the most vital parts of this whole industry.

But data can be hard to read and interpret sometimes, that’s why this makes data analysis one of the easiest yet time-consuming digital marketing skills out there.

You need to get accustomed to a bunch of online marketing terms such as CPM, CPC, CTR, etc.

Read more: Difference Between CPC, CPM, CPL, CPA, CPI

4. Email Marketing

email marketing

Where would we be without email marketing? This digital marketing skill is a must for any online business and professional out there. Email is not dead, and it will never be.

In fact, it has the highest ROI out of all of these digital marketing skills. An insane: 4000% ROI. Nothing on this list can beat that.

That means that for every $1 you’re spending on email marketing, you should expect to see a return of about $40. That’s some crazy shit.

Learn how to build an email list, and start collecting leads, because I’m telling you, you don’t want to overlook this one.

I’ve been an idiot and never considered email marketing for many years because I thought it was boring and old technology, boy was I wrong.

Speaking of which, you should probably subscribe to my email list…I hear there’s some good stuff inside…

5. Search Engine Marketing

Search engine optimization

Oh boy, where do I start with this one? It seems that everyone is an SEO expert these days. But even the so-called experts sometimes get slapped hard by the mighty Google, and they see their precious little rankings disappear.

Look, I’m not an SEO expert, and I will never claim to be one. In fact, I kinda hate SEO, to be honest with you. It’s boring and unpredictable.

We all rely on a big company that decides which of our articles or content gets priority in their search engine. Kinda fishy and unstable if you ask me.

But here’s the thing, as much as I dislike search engine optimization, it’s one of those digital marketing skills that it’s good to have, especially if you’re trying to build domain authority fast.

Not only that, but some organic free traffic never hurt anybody.

Even if I pay for traffic for most of my sites, I still implement basic SEO tactics such as doing keyword research whenever I publish new posts. I suggest you do the same.

There are many digital marketing tools that you can use to help you with your search engine optimization.

My favorite all-in-one SEO tool is Semrush. It basically has over 40+ SEO tools inside one neat and easy-to-use platform. Check out Semrush via my affiliate link and get a 7-day free trial.

6. Social Media Marketing

social media marketing

Can you do anything on the internet these days without involving social media? I mean you could read your news in peace, but then again you will probably be asked to share and to like their articles.

Plus, they will retarget you on Facebook via their pixels anyway. Or worse, even if you don’t have a Facebook account, the company still tracks and gathers a bunch of data about you (yes you) and the sites that you visit.

But social media is not all bad, it can in fact bring a ton of profits to businesses that know how to do social media marketing the right way.

A great example is Wendy’s social media strategy that relies on funny comebacks and tweets but also contests and interaction with their customers. I’m sure you’ve seen the memes.

But social media marketing doesn’t end at just Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. There’s also Pinterest, newcomers like TikTok, and also Reddit, one of my favorite places on the internet.

Check out my Reddit Marketing Guide.

Oh, and remember how I’ve talked about the importance of paid advertising just a few minutes ago?

Well, guess what, you’ll going to know how to do that if you want to have any social reach and a huge following, especially on Facebook.

Like I’ve said it’s one of those digital marketing skills that you really need to master.

7. Design Skills

design digital marketing skills

Alright, while this is not a digital marketing skill that you can’t live without, it’s still a nice one to know.

If you’ve just started a blog, you’re probably going to be writing a bunch of articles. And of course, you might need to add images to your content.

Downloading images from stock sites is not a hard thing to do.

But if you really want to go the extra mile, you want to edit them and make them better for your readers. Especially if you want more shares on social networks like Pinterest where image design is key for gaining website visits.

You don’t need to be a Photoshop wizard to quickly whip out some cool images. Using online image editors such as Canva makes your job a whole lot easier these days.

Also, Fiverr exists, if you want to get a cool logo design or infographic created by a professional.

8. Video Content & Marketing

Video Marketing
Source: Statista

Isn’t video marketing the same as content marketing? Well, yes and no. It depends on who you ask. I think video deserves a separate place though because it’s such a unique and interesting way of attracting customers and business.

There are many reasons why creating video content is important for your marketing strategy. For example:

  • Users will spend significantly more time on a site that has a video up to 88%.
  • Videos are shared on average 1200% more than text and image content
  • You can get more conversions if you have a video on your page.

Oh, and by the way, YouTube isn’t the only video-sharing site out there. If you want to maximize your business exposure make sure to also upload your video content to all the popular YouTube alternatives.

9. Conversion Rate Optimization

Increase conversion rate

You don’t want your online business to fail right? I’m sure you don’t, that’s why you’re reading this article.

It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, whether it’s affiliate marketing, or making money with AdSense, doing CPA marketing, or selling your own products and services. Chances are that if you don’t get enough sales or leads, you will struggle at the end of the month.

Sometimes more traffic or raising the price or changing to a different product isn’t the solution.

The first thing you should do is to try and raise the conversion rate as much as you can. Because it’s easier to optimize your website and sales funnel than to get more traffic.

So how do you do that? How do you increase your conversion rate?

Honestly, there are many things that you can do stuff like:

  • having a faster website
  • changing images
  • doing a better copywriting job
  • A/B split tests for different elements (buttons, paragraphs, design items)
  • and a bunch more…

But the point is this, optimizing your conversion rate is always the number one goal and something that you should constantly do, especially if you’re paying for traffic and want to get a higher ROI.

10. Outsourcing

outsource

Ah, outsourcing, one of the most underrated digital marketing skills out there.

Not that many businesses and marketers realize that they need to start delegating and outsourcing certain tasks to others in order for them to focus on the more important stuff like running their business and thinking of new ways of getting customers.

There are many things that you can outsource to make your life easier. You don’t always need to write your own articles or create your own images, or doing your own social media posting.

You don’t even need to learn a new skill such as knowing how to create an animated video for your services.

No.

The smart thing to do here is to hire someone that knows this shit better than you do. I’m sure that most of you don’t have the time to do a lot of these things or learn how to do them from scratch.

There are many great sites out there with freelancers that will do an awesome job for whatever project you have in mind, at a decent price, and in a timely manner.

My favorite place is Fiverr (spoiler alert, it’s an affiliate link, big deal). Here is an article that I wrote for the Best Fiverr Gigs For Your Business.

11. Communication

Communication skills

You don’t think knowing how to communicate is an important digital marketing skill?

Wrong.

Knowing how to properly communicate with your team members, virtual assistants, freelancers, and customers is an important and crucial part of doing business online.

You need to be able to give clear directions and indications to the person that designs your logo for example, and tell them exactly how you want it to be done from the start.

Don’t be indecisive and change your mind too many times (more on that later) because you will make it harder for the worker to finish the job on time and within your budget.

Not only that but having great communication skills makes it easier for you to create engaging content for your audience and interact with them on your site or on social media.

12. Creative Thinking

creative thinking

Sure, being able to think about creative solutions to small problems might not be the most important online marketing skill, but it wouldn’t hurt to have it in your arsenal.

Creative thinking is how you can cut through the clutter and create your own voice when doing digital marketing. It’s a helpful skill to have if you want to:

  • Write better ads and sales pages (copywriting)
  • Create a compelling story (storytelling)
  • Go viral on social media (think about Wendy’s strategy)
  • Find solutions to problems
  • Write blog posts faster
  • Optimize your workflow better

Even if you learn how to quickly navigate your CMS faster with certain shortcuts like with the WordPress Gutenberg Editor, you will be able to save a lot of time, time that you can then use to do other things.

Sometimes it’s not just enough to copy what others have done. Sure, it’s the safe way, but not always the best way.

For example, you’re doing AdSense arbitrage and you’re using a tool such as Anstrex to spy on native ads.

That’s great.

But you should never just straight out copy exactly the same ads that others have used, sometimes if you do some minor tweaks, you will get even better results than the competition.

13. Curiosity

curiosity

Being curious never hurt anybody, or maybe it did, in that case… it sucks. But for marketers, being curious about new things is great.

Here’s the thing…

I’ve been on the fence for many things in all these 14+ years that I’ve been doing online marketing.

For example, as I’ve said earlier, I was an idiot about not doing email marketing sooner. The same happened with all the social media networks like Instagram and Snapchat and TikTok (I still don’t use them lol).

But while I don’t use certain social networks I am damn sure to try out the newest ad network in town or going after some crazy niches, coming up with some unique marketing angles for various products, etc.

Basically, if there’s something out there that I think it would be of value to me to learn more about or test it out at least one time, even if I lose money or time, I will do it.

Why?

Because I’m curious… I’m curious about “What if…” what if this is going to work better than the other things? I’ll be honest, most of the time it doesn’t… and it sucks and I wasted money or time. But when it does happen, it pays off BIG TIME.

I don’t want to wait for others to go there and test and try it out before me. For example, I was always curious about doing affiliate marketing on Google Ads.

Guess what, turns out it works and it’s not against their rules as you might have thought or led to believe by some “online gurus”.

So yea, being curious is one of the best digital marketing skills, for me at least.

14. Taking Decisions

decision skills

Not knowing how to decide between multiple choices is bad. But it’s even worse to not take any decision at all.

I’ll admit I’m not the best decision taker, but I’ve learned the hard way the importance of just biting the bullet and going with my gut or at least with the less sucky option.

Have you heard about this quote before?

A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.

General George S. Patton

Guess what, it’s true as heck. Sometimes taking a decision and living with it is better than not taking any at all and wasting more time thinking and comparing them.

When in doubt, take out a coin and flip it. You should assign each face of the coin to one option.

When you flip it, and the coin is in the air, somehow you will feel something deep down inside you, that will tell you what you wish the result of the coin flip to be.

That’s the decision that you should stick with. Or at least that’s what I do lol, feel free to do whatever you want, but take that damn decision.

15. Taking Action

take action in marketing

Stop reading blogs, forums, eBooks, and YouTube videos. You know enough already. Go apply what you have learned. Don’t waste more time reading new techniques on how to do X or Z.

Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity, or the perfect loophole to “trick Google” or buy a new program that will teach you how to get rich overnight with a push of a button.

It won’t happen.

How do I know this?

Guess…

Of course, I’ve been a moron once again and wasted a ton of time on all the internet marketing forums and Facebook groups when I should have been out there hustling for my damn online empire.

I bought countless useless eBooks and courses that were always pure garbage.

But you know what?

As garbage as most of those products are if you put in the actual work and do the shit that says inside the book or course, chances are that you will see some results.

The key here is to actually start doing it, and giving it enough time for the work to come to fruition.

I always read the stuff and never implemented anything and wasted money.

Don’t just bunny hop from method to method, thinking that you will hit the Holy Grail. Or worse, don’t just quit something that you worked hard on just because you didn’t see the results that you’ve expected. You can always improve it and make it better.

For example, I see many newbies that are starting out blogs, quitting after a few months because they get no traffic and make no money. In one way I understand their frustration but then again they should understand that blogging (and pretty much anything else online) takes time.

Related: How long does it take to make money blogging.

Taking action is one of the easiest digital marketing skills that you can apply to your online business, but one that many beginners are not yet fully aware of.

Best Digital Marketing Skills: Conclusion

So, I just showed you 15 digital marketing skills that you should know. What does that mean for you now?

Should you drop everything and start learning all of them right now? No, not really… unless you have a lot of time on your hands.

I suggest you start out with some of the more important ones, or some of the ones you feel you struggle with or wished you have always learned, and go from there.

For starters, I recommend any digital marketing professional, manager, or business owner to know how to:

  • Do paid advertising
  • Create an email list
  • Implement basic search engine optimization teqhnicues.

That is all for now, I’m sure you’re bored already and forgot everything you’ve read so far. In that case, bookmark this page, and read it again later.

Don’t forget to also subscribe to my awesome email list, and share this with your dogs.

Stay hustlin’
Stephen

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