Keeping digital skills relevant in an agency
If you think life is a continuous learning experience, then consider working in a digital marketing agency as a microcosm of this experience.
Flux, evolution and transformation are a constant theme in digital marketing. Digital marketers have to keep up to date with the latest technology, upskill on a regular basis and deliver results in an increasingly competitive market. I have experienced these challenges and in this post, I would like to share my experience of over five years working in digital marketing and SEO agencies. My goal is to give some tangible advice that can help you keep ahead of the flux and be more successful as marketers. Of course, flux is not restricted to agencies! So the advice can be applied to both agency and in-house marketers.
Let’s get started.
1. Project Management and Organisation
Project management is one of the less talked about subjects in digital marketing circles. It doesn’t have the same interest as say, digital marketing tools or the latest 'death of SEO/content marketing/email marketing' delete as applicable prediction...
None the less, project management is one of the most vital cornerstones of digital marketing. This is especially true in agencies where you may be working on multiple projects on the same day.
Organising your client tasks and scheduling digital marketing resources will make your marketing more efficient and streamlined.
Everything from social media posts, AdWords campaigns and content schedules needs to be planned in a calendar format. Using a calendar allows you to add milestones or goals associated with key dates in the project. If you have the budget I would recommend using Teamwork or Brightpod for managing your client’s task lists and sharing work with other team members or freelancers. If not, a simple excel file will suffice.
2. Test everything across your digital activities
Digital marketing agencies are results focused. With each client you should have a unique digital marketing strategy and the main goals set out and aligned with dates. But is there more you can do to improve results? Try testing, everything! Work with your client to build and test hypothesis around landing page text, design, images, videos and calls to actions. Testing will help to improve conversion rates and lead to better long-term results for your client. Google Content Experiments offers a free way to test various versions of your landing pages.
Convert.com, VWO and Optimizely provide paid AB testing software that are intuitive and easy to implement and use.
3. Never stop learning - updating your digital skills
In the introduction to this post I mentioned the challenge that marketers have in keeping their skill set up to date. Digital marketers are expected to be experts in SEO, email marketing, social media, content marketing and all forms of paid advertising. Digital marketing changes at such a fast rate that unless you practise ongoing learning your skills may be out of date within 6 months. Online courses provide an excellent way to keep your skills up to date and here are some recommended courses:
In addition to online courses I would recommend following the blog streams of digital marketing thought leaders. This will help you keep up to date with best practises and the latest guidelines in the digital marketing industry.
4. Client Engagement
Working with clients is similar to any other relationship in life. Both parties need to engage and have a certain level of understanding of each other. This will ensure a fruitful relationship based on the same goals. Three key elements that can help the relationship succeed include:
A solid rapport should be built from the initial client meeting. Before you meet your client do your research. Do you have the same interests? Do you know the same people? Have a look at your clients LinkedIn profile and see where you can spot common ground.
Having worked with clients in niche industries I cannot emphasise the importance of understanding your clients industry enough. Taking a forensic approach to researching client’s business, customers, products and services will help you construct a solid framework for digital marketing. It will also allow you to build detailed personas for accurate digital channel targeting.
Communicating with your clients is key. I am a firm believer in taking time out to explain digital marketing processes in clear, digestible language. Your clients may not associate penguins, pandas and hummingbirds with their digital presence. Don’t take it for granted that they do! Explain industry terms in language they understand.
5. Be Passionate as a Digital Marketer
Passion is infectious. If you carry your passion with you, it will permeate through your being and rub off on your clients. Both parties will benefit with added enthusiasm for projects and more likely buy in for campaign tests and developments. Become passionate about digital marketing and so will others around you.
Working in a digital marketing agency is one of the most dynamic roles to be employed in. With a multitude of different projects and an ever-evolving technological landscape it provides endless opportunities for meeting your personal and work goals. Just remember to keep ahead of flux!