Digital marketing is one of the most lucrative industries in the modern world.
I’m not saying that just because I happen to be in that industry.
I’m saying that because it’s true.
With just a laptop and Internet connection, there is really no limit to what you can accomplish and how much money you can make through digital marketing.
Personally, I’ve worked on nearly every continent. (We’re not counting Antarctica, okay?) I’ve worked at cruising altitudes of 36,000 feet. I’ve worked on holidays. I’ve worked on the beach.
And the results? They speak for themselves.
You can reach millions of people around the world with your message or product in a matter of hours.
To get an idea of how quickly digital marketing is growing, check out the graphic below:
This puts digital marketing skills in high demand for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
It’s not just entrepreneurs who need digital marketing chops. With the right digital marketing skill set, you can become one of the most valuable members of a company within a very short period of time.
Whether you work in an established business, a startup, or as a solopreneur, digital marketing skills are absolutely essential.
Sure, it’s tough to master every aspect of digital marketing—it’s a big pond.
Thankfully, there are dozens of sub-skills in the digital marketing world. You can choose where you want to go deep.
Whether you are more creative or analytical, a team player or a lone wolf, there are jobs within digital marketing for you.
But what are the most important skills you need to be cultivating if you want to make a living (or a fortune) in digital marketing?
Here is a list of the nine most in demand digital marketing skills in 2016.
1. SEO specialist
It should come as little surprise that SEO is the skill at the top of this list.
You’re thinking, “C’mon, Neil. It’s 2016. SEO is kind of defunct, right?”
Some people like to believe that SEO is dead, but nothing could be farther from the truth.
SEO is just as important now as it’s ever been, if not more so.
But there is far more to SEO than just getting your website to show up for certain search queries.
Due to the changes in Google’s search algorithm, SEO practices are changing.
Businesses are beginning to understand the importance of white-hat marketing techniques, such as content marketing and guest blogging, which are becoming a critical part of SEO success.
Because of all of the changes within the world of SEO, hiring a dedicated team of SEO experts has become darn near a necessity.
Companies need a person or a group who can keep up with the rapidly evolving world of SEO.
They need people who understand the importance of providing value to the customer in addition to the technical side of things.
If you want to land a high-paying job within the digital marketing world, learn SEO and watch the offers roll in.
However, I should warn you.
SEO is not easy.
It’s something that evolves on a regular basis and requires a genuine interest to stay on top of the almost constant changes to the search algorithms and best practices.
2. PPC executive/specialist
Another skill that’s currently in high demand is PPC marketing.
There are a number of businesses generating high amounts of revenue who want to expand their reach through paid advertising.
The problem is, they don’t know how to properly allocate that money to ensure that it generates a high ROI.
That’s where PPC marketing comes in.
The ultimate goal of PPC is to help a company’s website reach rank #1 within Google by bringing in high quality, targeted traffic.
In theory, this sounds incredibly simple.
But in practice, this is one of the most difficult marketing jobs in the world.
You have to have a strong grasp of math, marketing strategy, and analytics.
You also need to know Google Analytics and AdWords like the back of your hand.
And then, you need to be able to develop campaigns that are providing measurable results to your clients, analyze those campaigns, and report on them.
PPC is incredibly complicated, important, and high investment/risk.
Which is why it’s also one of the best paying marketing jobs on the modern market.
If you can effectively show companies that you know how to bring in targeted traffic through PPC for the lowest cost possible, you’ll be able to generate massive amounts of revenue for years to come.
3. Social media expert
Social media is one of the single most powerful tools in the modern marketing world.
Over the past decade, social media has been growing faster than the Internet!
And it isn’t slowing down.
Nearly one-third of the population is currently using some type of social media platform.
It shouldn’t surprise you that companies are looking to capitalize on this unique marketing opportunity.
However, most companies, even many tech companies, simply have no understanding of how to leverage the different social platforms to achieve their goals.
This makes social media marketing an invaluable skill set to learn and cultivate.
And the thing is, there is a lot more to social media marketing than just promoting content on Facebook.
If you want to set yourself apart from the crowd, you need to master each platform.
This means understanding the best times of day to post, the types of posts that generate the most user engagement, and the ways to use each platform to achieve specific goals.
And once you understand the basics of social media marketing, you need to understand how to leverage paid social media marketing.
You need to develop an understanding of copywriting, color psychology, analytics, and visual marketing.
This is no easy task.
Because of how difficult it is to master social media marketing, it’s become on of the most sought after and highly paid digital marketing positions in the world.
Prove to clients you can generate measurable results that will grow their businesses through social media, and you will be richly rewarded.
4. Email marketing
There are few things that are more important to online success than email marketing.
If you have a large email list and you know how to leverage it, you can make large amounts of income every month with almost no work.
If you want to be someone who has employers knocking down your door, instead of spending hours and hours every day searching for new clients, learn email marketing.
And I don’t just mean writing emails that convert.
I mean the whole process.
You see, most businesses have no problem hiring someone who can write high quality emails that will generate a few conversions.
But there is more to email marketing than simply writing some fancy emails.
Companies need people who can help them build huge lists from scratch and then use those lists to achieve a variety of goals.
Building an email list of tens of thousands without an existing client base is an extremely challenging task.
And if you know how to do it, you possess an extremely valuable skill.
Beyond that, companies also need people who can use those lists to grow their social media following, promote new products, and drive new sales.
If you can learn how to master the email marketing process from start to finish, you will have clients begging to work with you.
5. Mobile marketing
One of the most sought after, and yet most overlooked, skills is the art of mobile marketing.
While there are plenty of similarities between desktop and mobile marketing, there are also enough differences to make this an essential standalone skill.
To add real value to the company, you need to understand these differences and why they are important to the rest of the business.
You also need to be able to talk intelligently about the more complicated aspects of mobile marketing such as SMS and responsive design.
One of the great things about mobile marketing jobs is that they are significantly less competitive than SEO or social media marketing jobs but are still a huge need for most businesses.
It seems like everyone and their brother is a self-proclaimed “Facebook Guru” or SEO consultant.
But how often do you hear about mobile marketing managers?
Mobile marketing is a challenging field to master.
But if you can do it, you’ll set yourself apart from the herd of other digital marketers.
This will all but guarantee high paying jobs for years to come.
One of the single most important parts of digital marketing is analytics.
You can learn all the previously mentioned skills, but without the power of analytics, you’ll always be fighting with one hand tied behind your back.
In any marketing campaign, it is essential to run tests, track data, and then analyze that data to determine how you can improve and overcome marketing plateaus.
To become the best digital marketer you can be, you need to be able to analyze your other marketing efforts and make improvements based on what you learn.
This is the only way to truly put your marketing skills in the fast lane and achieve real success.
7. Content management/marketing
Content marketing is king.
We live in the age of information.
If you don’t have some sort of content that’s bringing viewers and keeping them hooked, you’ll fall behind.
This makes content management and marketing a highly valuable skill, especially for startups.
If you can learn how to curate and create incredible content for companies and then market that content to the point of it going viral, you’ll become one of the most valuable assets for those companies.
The cool thing about content marketing is that it goes hand in hand with many other skills listed in this article.
If you can learn how to improve your social media skills, you’ll improve your content marketing skills.
If you improve your abilities as an SEO, you’ll improve your ability to create viral content.
Basically, any digital marketing skill you develop will improve your skills with content marketing.
Because of the crossover between skills, mastering content marketing will give you invaluable leverage whether you are looking for clients or growing your own business.
If you can get a couple of viral articles or videos under your belt, the sky’s the limit, and you will be able to take yourself as high as you want.
8. Marketing automation
Companies need marketing automation solutions now more than ever.
Marketing is not an inexpensive endeavor.
Figuring out how to set up technology and software that streamlines the process as much as possible is an invaluable skill set.
However, mastering the art of marketing automation requires a wide knowledge base and an understanding of several different software platforms.
You need to learn the most efficient ways to automate email, social media, and content marketing, all without breaking your client’s budget.
If you can do this, you’ll be able to ask for just about any figure you want.
Most companies have no problem paying a top dollar to individuals who can save them money, make them money, and cut back on their workload at the same time.
9. UX design
One of the determining factors in online marketing success is the experience a user has once they’ve found your company.
Potential customers want to be able to navigate through your content as easily as possible, enjoying an aesthetically pleasing and streamlined experience.
In fact, customers will often base the credibility of an entire business on the design of its website alone:
UX designers are responsible for ensuring that products, websites, and other online platforms are easy to use and provide the customer with a pleasant experience.
Unlike most of the skills listed in this article, design is not directly responsible for bringing in new customers or generating leads.
However, it is responsible for ensuring that all of the effort companies put into other online marketing avenues is maximized.
It doesn’t matter if you are incredible at SEO, a social media marketing ninja, and an email marketing master.
If customers can’t easily access, navigate, and use your website and products, all of that effort will be in vain.
And with the growing expectations of the modern consumer, this skillset is more crucial now than it’s ever been.
Digital marketing is one of the best industries for the modern freelancer or entrepreneur to be involved in.
There are no commission caps, no ceilings, and no limits.
If you can learn to cultivate marketable skills (no pun intended), there is no limit to how much you can earn and grow.
It doesn’t matter whether you are running your own business, freelancing for a variety of clients, or just looking for a stable job with one company.
Digital marketing is one of the most lucrative and important skills you can acquire.
So, go out there and learn as much as you can.
It’s paid off for me. I know it will for you too.
Develop one (or all) of these skills, and your business and life will never be the same.
Which digital marketing skills do you use the most? Which ones do you think are most essential today?
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