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5 Key Digital Marketing Skills to Know (or to Outsource)

Explore where you fall in the digital marketing umbrella, important marketing skills, and whether or not you need to outsource certain tasks.

Digital marketing is a key skill in growing and maintaining a strong online presence. Many freelancers and entrepreneurs are tasked with wearing multiple hats. While it’s important to ensure certain areas within the digital marketing umbrella are taken care of, it’s also important to note when you may need to bring in additional help to manage important aspects of your business.

Of course, it’s not always possible to bring in experts in these areas. If you’re unable to hire a digital marketing expert, it may be in your best interests to set aside the time to become familiar with important areas that can help grow your business.


1. Web Analytics

Stock Illustration of Marketing Professionals Viewing Data on Computer Screens
Web analytics can guide you while building your business. Image via Viktoria Kurpas.

Monitoring your website is crucial. At a top-level, it helps to know if your other marketing efforts are driving traffic to your website. However, web analytics can get much more granular and give you valuable data about your business and customer.

Web analytics can tell you a lot about who’s visiting your website. You can see which websites or ads users come from, how long they stay on your website, where they go on the website, and which pages convert the most business. You can drill down even deeper to seeing demographic data, device data, and the number of times a certain user has visited your website. Web analytics have a steep learning curve, but once you become familiar with the terminology and tracking needs, it quickly proves to be an invaluable key to your online growth.

Every business is different. Depending on your goals and traffic, you may need to track different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) than another businesses. For example, if your goal is to grow brand awareness, then the conversion rate (the percentage of users that purchase your product) may not be as useful as the number of users that visit your site. Or, if you need to figure out why your website traffic isn’t converting at a higher rate, you may want to look at which landing pages users visit and the overall load times and bounce rates of your site. There are seemingly endless KPIs that you can track.

Where to Start

If you need some suggestions, here’s a list of some common web KPIs to track:

  • Pageviews: The number of times a page is viewed on your site.
  • Users: The number of unique visitors to your site.
  • Average Session Duration: The average amount of time a user spends on your site.
  • Exit Page: The last page seen before a user leaves your site.
  • Bounce Rate: The percentage of new users that leave the site without completing a task.

What to Look for When Outsourcing

If you’re able to, you may choose to outsource your web analytics tracking to a freelance consultant. This will be someone who can monitor your web performance, install web pixels, and provide recommendations based on data. Web analytics may not be the flashiest tactics, but having an optimized, high-performance website can lead to huge gains in your ROI.


2. Social Media Strategy

Stock Illustration of Social Media Marketing Professionals Planning Post Schedule for the Month
Master social media marketing by driving traffic to your business. Image via Kit8.net.

Social media is an incredible tactic for most freelancers and entrepreneurs because it’s a free marketing channel with massive built-in audiences. By mastering social media marketing, you can drive traffic and revenue to your business while needing to devote little-to-no ad spend.

Similar to web analytics, there can be a lot to learn while running social media channels. Social media for a business differs heavily from social media designed for private use. The skillsets needed to run a social media channel can range from graphic design, copywriting, PR, data analysis, and much more.

Where to Start

There are also more KPIs to learn, including:

  • Impressions: The number of times a post has been viewed.
  • Reach: The number of unique users that have seen a post.
  • Engagement Rate: The percentage of users that have interacted with your post.
  • Frequency: The average number of times a unique user has seen your post.
  • Click-Through-Rate (CTR): The percentage of users that click your post link.

Based on your needs, you may have many other areas that you need to track. Social media has many variables that can impact how a post performs. Without a strong understanding of the platform you’re on and social media metrics to track, it can be nearly impossible to troubleshoot low-performance posts. Also, the amount of content you need to stay active on social media channels can make this a particularly difficult area to succeed in without a well-formulated strategy and strong skillset.

What to Look for When Outsourcing

You may choose to outsource your social media management to a freelance social media strategist. Like the web analytics consultant above, they can recommend a strategy to improve performance, plus ideate campaigns, design graphics, and write copy. Social media managers may also be able to help respond to comments and organize partnerships.


3. PPC Marketing

Stock Illustration of Man and Woman Kneeling Beside Red and White Archery Target with Arrow Protruding from the Bullseye
Become familiar with Pay-Per-Click marketing tactics. Image via KatePilko.

If you have ad dollars to spend, it’s imperative that you become familiar with which Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing tactics are available to you and make the most sense for your business. From social media advertising to display ads to Google ads, there are few places on the internet that are free from advertising. This means you’re almost guaranteed to find a place that’s optimized to target your audience.

Based on your goals, you may find many areas of the internet that can fit your brand needs. You may also choose different tactics based on your ad spend, your time commitment, and your desired outcomes. PPC marketing can quickly become costly, so it’s to your benefit to take the time upfront to learn about the different options and decide which can provide your business with the best ROI.

What to Look for When Outsourcing

PPC marketing can be tricky. Many tactics require contact monitoring to ensure that your ad dollars are being used efficiently. If possible, consider outsourcing this to a PPC Specialist who’s skilled in determining bid strategy, analyzing Cost-Per-Click (CPC), and Cost-Per-Mille (CPM) rates. They can also quickly adjust campaigns to ensure high optimization.


4. SEO Copywriting

Stylized Stock Illustration of Marketing Professional Writing Copy
SEO is essential for user optimization. Image via naum.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be a confusing skill to incorporate into your content. The difference between content with high SEO value compared to low SEO value can determine whether users can organically find your website. Increasing your SEO can build your brand reputation plus drastically increase the amount of organic traffic that visits your website.

Regardless of your industry, goals, and products, high-value SEO content is vital to keeping your website optimized. There are free resources online that can provide you with common keywords based on your industry, and you can work to incorporate those terms into your website. Simply rewriting of web content can improve your SEO quickly. Adding content that features these keywords can also increase the odds of a user finding your website, and add value when they do.

What to Look for When Outsourcing

If you’re unable to create SEO-geared content, you may want to look for a SEO content marketer or content specialist. They can audit your website content for opportunities to improve SEO, and then write targeted SEO articles and copy that will help drive traffic to your webpages and improve your performance in search.


5. Asset Creation

Stock Illustration of Marketing Professional Graphic Designer's Desk Showing Illustration Program
Quality graphics can make or break a post. Image via Bloomicon.

Similar to SEO, asset creation is a skill that’s necessary no matter the tactics you choose. There will always be a need for a logo, an image, a mockup, or another graphic specific to your business. Plus, a quality graphic can make or break a post.

There are many resources to edit photos and create assets—you can access professional-grade photography and videography on Shutterstock—but, it can be difficult to learn the basics of graphic design and the technological aspect of editing images in photo manipulation software. Your website and social media channels may not need heavily-produced images, but they likely need some type of graphic to pair with the copy. By learning how to create and edit your own assets, you can work toward defining a brand style and differentiating your business from others in the market.

What to Look for When Outsourcing

If creating assets isn’t within your wheelhouse, you may look to hire a freelance graphic designer or photographer to create graphics for your business. Depending on your needs, you may need someone who’s more skilled in photography and photo-manipulation, or someone who can illustrate or create mockups of your products. Look for someone with technology-specific skills, such as Adobe products like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Lightroom, or free software like Shutterstock Editor, Canva, or Gimp.


Cover image via Kit8.net.

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