Marketing Skills You Must Have in 2023
Are you looking to build a career in digital marketing?
You are on the right track!
According to Grab Jobs, digital marketing specialists are among the top in-demand jobs in the US.
Which skills do you need to become a successful digital marketing specialist?
Digital marketing is a broad feld that includes lots of customer-attraction tactics and platforms, so the list of required skills may be diverse.
Here are top marketing skills that will be in high demand on 2023:
Search Engine Optimization
Organic visibility is the most sought-after marketing channel out there. In fact, if you search Linkedin Jobs for “Digital Marketing”, the results page is dominated by SEO job openings:
And it is understandable: Every brand, big and small, is seeking traffc from organic search for two main reasons:
- It is highly relevant and intent-driven: People typing queries in Google’s search box are there to fnd answers and solutions
- It is not interruptive. Unlike just about any other channel, SEO does not interrupt browsing journeys: Search users are there to fnd you, they are not browsing feeds or checking emails.
On top of that, organic traffc is likely to keep coming even if a company stops active campaigns. It may slow down unless a company maintains it, but it doesn’t require active daily budgets, only a strong team to support what is there.
For all those reasons, having SEO knowledge and experience is likely to be a strong boost to your resume. You can start building that skill now by actively researching, taking SEO courses and volunteering to help charitable organizations achieve their SEO goals.
Content is fundamental to most digital marketing campaigns. You need a good copy for just about anything, including organic or PPC landing pages, social media updates, email marketing, etc.
Good writing is a skill that can be developed. It helps if you have a well-written blog or contribute to well-known publications.
If you are looking to build a career in digital marketing, start by applying for paid blogging gigs. You may also make some income while setting up your writing resume.
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Marketing automation is a fast-growing field that can make any marketing strategy more productive and effective. Marketing automation can boost just about any tactic:
- In SEO you can achieve better results by setting up automated alerts and reports
- In social media marketing automation helps create better-timed updates and responses
- In email marketing it makes personalization possible: You can set up smart user fow to reach your customers at the most suitable moment. Cart abandonment email automation is a great example here.
- In sales, automation can streamline follow-ups and lead nurturing.
Having experience in using marketing automation software is often required for high profle digital marketing positions. You can get some basic automation skills by using email marketing services which all come with some level of automation features.
Most brands are looking for digital marketers who are able to use their content management platform independently. The most common CMS is WordPress but there are a few alternatives to be aware of as well. When it comes to WordPress, it is always a plus when you are familiar with most popular plugins, like Yoast and Akismet.
The good news is, you don’t need much technical knowledge to use any of those content management platforms which are designed for no-coding experience. In most cases, it takes a week or so to fgure out a new CMS.
Besides, all of those platforms have extensive knowledge bases and all of them provide free trials or free plans that come with free domains. So it helps if you start exploring the top CMSs to be able to claim basic knowledge of all of them in your resume.
Graphic design is another essential skill that will turn out to be quite useful for an effective digital marketer because visual marketing is on the rise these days. Again, no need to learn
to use any professional graphic design software though. There are quite a few online tools that will help you create images and videos to use across multiple visual marketing channels. Canva is the best known one.
Most brands realize the value of having a community of loyal customers and brand ambassadors that can drive sales and trust signals.
Community building can come in a few distinct forms:
- Infuencer outreach and relationship building
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Journalistic and blogger outreach
Community building is not a skill you can claim unless you have real experience but you can volunteer for online community building opportunities and gain real experience while making an impact.
Become a Certified Community Specialist
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Communication and Collaboration
Digital marketing is often well integrated into an organization. It is well connected with sales and customer support teams, product development department, IT, etc. You need to be able to clearly communicate your goals to those teams, explain why certain things and changes to a site are important and collect feedback.
On top of that, digital marketing is not easy to report, so you need to have good communication skills to “sell” it to the management.
It is a good idea to note in your resume what kind of cross-team and collaborative working experience you have, even if it’s limited to working with freelancers.
Any digital marketing strategy consists of lots of pieces. Some of those tasks are quick, others can take weeks to complete, and most of them are on-going.
Getting things done is a key skill required for an effective digital marketing process. A good project manager has the ability to articulate even the most complicated messages via email,
phone, or in-person meeting. They know what communication method is the most effective and what will work best for their audience, based on the situation. Successful project managers know when to keep silent and listen.
They are able to understand not only the clients’ needs but also how to meet those needs by taking into account the suggestions of their team. There are quite a few tools and apps helping teams manage projects and get things done. Getting to know some of them is a good frst step to mastering this skill.
If there was one distinct and long-term way COVID impacted business lives is that remote working has become much more widespread and popular.
Prior to worldwide lickdowns, many companies were shying away from letting employees work from homes. The pandemic has changed that: These days lots of organizations have realized that they don’t have to invest huge budgets into relocating employees and covering offce costs. Remote employees can be just as productive.
An ability to work effectively from home is essential to virtual career paths, like digital marketing.
You don’t need to be a professional data analyst to be a good digital marketer. In fact, a data analyst is a separate profession that is in high demand now.
However, you do need to be able to effectively use web analytics platforms in order to measure results and adjust your strategy accordingly. The most common web analytics platform you’ll come across these days is Google Analytics, so start using it for your own site if you haven’t done that yet.
It is also helpful to familiarize yourself with cross-platform digital marketing tools that can consolidate several data sources (Google Analytics, Search Console, Facebook Insights, etc.) These will help you create professional reports, monitor your channels and analyze your marketing data.
While developing your various digital marketing skills is important, don’t wait till you excel in all of them. At the end of the day, your unique personality is your biggest asset. Start working on your personal brand, keep an eye on relevant job opportunities and never stop learning!
The Optimizely Podcast – episode 26: digital evolution in a climate of rapid change
Hello everyone. And welcome to the Optimizely Podcast. I am Laura Dolan, your host, and today we are joined by Dom Graveson, who’s the director of strategy and experience at Netcel and Deane Barker, who is the global director of content management here at Optimizely. How’s it going, gentlemen?
Yeah, very good, thank you. How are you?
Doing well, doing well. How about you Deane? How’s it going?
Good, Laura. I’m a veteran of this podcast by now.
You are. You are, Deane. So we already know all about you. So Dom, please, let’s start off by telling us a little bit about your background and your history of Netcel.
Yeah, sure. So I’ve been with Netcel for coming up for four years. Netcel are a digital product and experience development company, so we build everything from kind of websites through to integration with CRM, marcoms, basically building digital experiences on the Optimizely platform.
We do a lot of work with kind of experience research and data, so we kind of put customers at the center of all the work we do, but also, we understand that there’s quite a profound impact on businesses. So when you are really going to deliver transformational digital experiences and really up your digital game, particularly in the current climate and the world that everything’s changed so much recently, you are going to need to change your organization and the way that you govern, the way that you manage people, so we do a lot of work with our clients, kind of helping them through that process as well, the kind of change process.
Previous to that, I was with some of the big sort of consultancies working on digital product innovation. I worked around all over the world. So yeah, I kind of bring a few years of experience and broad experience to this.
Very good. Can you speak on some of the digital experience that you’ve worked on with Optimizely?
Yeah, so we’ve built products, digital experiences for some of the major not-for-profit organizations in the U.K. So we mainly work in the U.K., U.K. Based, based just North of London. We’re working currently with a large agricultural organization that represents Britain’s farmers around building kind of digital experiences and business-to-business commerce systems with them. So, yeah, then we also work with quite a lot of well-known financial services businesses in the U.K. As well. So our kind of focus has been membership organizations, business-to-business, and financial services with bits of NFP, not-for-profit, as well.
Very cool. Thank you so much for spending a little bit of time on that. I always like to know our relationship with partners, so it’s nice to have that visibility. So today we are talking about the digital evolution in a climate of very rapid change. So what do we mean by digital evolution as opposed to the more traditional concept of digital transformation?
Well, I mean, it’s been something I think that’s been emerging for a while, but for the last kind of 15 years or so, or 20 years since digital really kind of took hold as it were and became a kind of serious channel that organizations were taken seriously, it always seemed that the focus was on getting from A to B or getting from where we are now to a level of competence and capability, which we can define at the beginning of the project.
And I think over the last few years, or over that time really, we’ve seen that become less and less of an appropriate or working approach. And what we are trying to encourage now, and what we are building within the businesses that we work with is this approach to digital, which is more of an evolution rather than the transformation. Because if you’re working across a three-year program, what you define as being the destination now, certainly in the last few years, probably isn’t going to be relevant or fit for purpose within three years of you delivering it, and a lot of IT and digital projects fail to meet their objectives because of this exact approach.
So it’s about kind of structuring your programs in a way that keeps an open mind, a beginner’s mind, and has the instruments within it, and governance within it, and structure that will enable you to discover as you go and focus on outcomes or customer outcomes, business outcomes, rather than thinking too much about kind of architecting the house before you start building, when you don’t know where you’re building it yet, if that makes sense.
Absolutely. Deane, is there anything you can contribute to this as well?
So Dom and I did an event together in London at the very top of The Gherkin and we had a long conversation up there. We had a panel discussion up there. We had a long conversation about the fact that digital transformation is maybe a term that we need to retire, replace it with digital evolution, or digital progress, or digital incrementalism. And it’s just the general idea that you make your way over time. You make little bets, and you improve your digital estate piece by piece. I think that too many people are doing too much at one time and digital projects are failing for that reason, whereas they’re not being more deliberate about their goals and they’re not giving themselves room to evolve organically, make one step and see where that leads them, and then make another step and see where that leads them. And I think the goal of instant complete transformational overhaul is maybe unrealistic for a lot of digital teams. So that was the conversation that Dom and I had, which kind of led us the idea of digital evolution. So that’s kind of the perspective we’re coming on.
Yeah. I think also what’s interesting with that is the idea that as Deane was saying that if you’re doing more than one thing at once and something works, how do you know which thing made it work, gave you the success? And one of the things that people aren’t investing in, they’re investing heavily in kind of a sense, trying to make progress, but not investing very heavily in measuring that progress or actually understanding and interpreting that data to be able to understand what was the thing that they did that delivered that benefit. And this is one of the aspects where we need to change the way that we work. It’s interesting, we’ve kind of heard of a major project just this week, big program in the U.K. That’s really struggling. I won’t mention names, but it’s really struggling because they’ve been so desperate to achieve a certain point that they’ve kind of lost their way.
They’ve hired lots of people. They’ve got lots of people leading different parts of the product and all the rest of it, but they kind of lost their way because in their quest to arrive somewhere so quickly or make progress, they’ve kind of lost track of where they were trying to get from the business objectives’ point of view. And I think that’s a common problem. I mean, I’ve been in this business 25 years, I guess, and something I see again and again, that if we can build the team to a certain size or if we can get this kind of throughput of features shipped, we will arrive somewhere.
And of course, that’s important. Progress is at the heart of all of this. But you do need to keep this mindset, as Deane mentioned, this kind of incrementalist mindset, of break things down, take it a step at a time, and structure the organization, manage upward, manage your sponsors robustly so that they understand that this is not something that you can just steamroller into existence. It’s much more of a kind of step forward across a series of fronts to make progress. And that takes kind of courage and communication with all kinds of levels of the organization.
It does. And it is a very common problem because you end up with too many cooks in the kitchen as it were, and then you also end up with a quantity over quality issue, which is such a common problem that you find within organizations. And then you also have the issue of just all the siloing that goes on and the lack of transparency between different departments, and so you have this huge team, but they’re not communicating with each other. So that’s also just a very difficult thing to work around and there has to be a better way, don’t you think?
Yeah. I mean think this is the thing, is that this is why people need to want… Where I’ve seen this successful is where it’s seen as an organizational change, as much as it’s seen as a program of delivery of product or delivery of an experience or new channels or whatever, is that the organization needs to learn and change as the program evolves. You can’t just throw tons of money at this. You need to understand how it’s going to require people to behave differently, work together differently, measure things differently, check in on one another, enable mistakes to be made in a way that people aren’t afraid of that, and that they get surfaced quickly, and that they’re maturely and honestly addressed, all that kind of stuff. And I think a lot of some kind of wasted money over the last 10, 15 years has been where that hasn’t really been seen.
The business case has been made for the program, for the objectives of the program, without really thinking about how the organization is going to change. And organizations are changing, have changed profoundly in the last few years. We’re working from home. We’ve changed the way that we interact with one another socially. We’ve got political upheaval in the U.S. We’ve got a war in Europe. We’ve got all of this stuff that’s really changed the way that we kind of feel about the world and trust is more important than ever and kind of empathy, and understanding, and individualized experiences, and all of these things are not just technical problems to solve by throwing a load of infrastructure in place.
Infrastructure is important, but it’s also about building an experimental mindset. It’s about empowering your people to take risks in a safe environment. It’s about changing the way that your organizations have run right from the top to show and demonstrate that behavior is understood from the frontline all the way to the C-suite.
Hundred percent. So when you talk about these changes that organizations need to make to dovetail into this evolution, where have you seen this approach be successful? Do you have any examples that you can describe for us?
Yeah. When I think where we’ve talked about it, and Deane feel free to jump in here, is where I’ve seen it on organizations of all kinds of sizes that have invested in their digital teams, both from the kind of point of view of giving them the freedom to be able to innovate and the freedom to be able to try new things out, try new technologies out, and build experiences, and invest in audience research, and kind of pulling together the kind of insights, departments and sources of insight within the organization, but also where they’ve had the visibility and had the visible support from the senior leadership.
I think still, you see quite a lot of digital teams being run by either technology or marketing. And I think digital is something that is actually the responsibility of the whole business now, the whole organization. I don’t know, Deane, have you got any thoughts on this? We talked about it extendedly.
You and I have talked about this, Dom, and I think I’ve talked about this in the podcast before, is that a key component of digital leadership is trust. Do you trust your people to work towards the good of the organization. Too often, we get kind of hampered by the tyranny of metrics. We need an instant uplift. We need an instant improvement, where that really discourages your team from making small changes and running experiments and trying new things that might not work. For some reason, we want everybody to guarantee that everything’s going to work right out of the box. It’s not. And I think if you trust your teams and provide them kind of the emotional and professional safety to make small changes, and see what works, and come back to you and say, “Look, we tried five things. Four of them didn’t work, but this one thing worked really, really well.”
I’m big on taking little bets, small incremental changes, and lengthening the periods required for return and results. If you demand quantitative metric results from your team in 30 days, you’re going to get some very brittle results, if anything. Someone might even be massaging some numbers or framing it in such a way to give you the numbers that you want. But if you sit your team down and say, “Look, I’d like to be in a better place this time next year.” Well then, they can come up with a long term plan, and they can try some things and see what works and see what doesn’t work, and I also think that plays very heavily into employee retention. I think that lets your employees do their best work and be satisfied with their job and satisfied with their efforts, and I think it’s a huge win for the organization, but it takes trust. As a leader, you need to believe that your people are skilled and are working towards the benefit of the organization, and some leaders are more shortsighted than others, let’s say.
It’s interesting, actually. You talk about this kind of leaders wanting results quickly because I think that’s a reality of organizations on this part is. And one of the things that I think a lot of kind of chief digital officers who we tend to work with are struggling between… I have this kind of analogy I use, which is a bit like you’re running a chip van. You’re trying to feed people, hot dogs and chips in the rain and there’s a big queue of people and everyone’s hungry, and you know that you could evolve your product and make better food, but you’re so bogged down by having to kind of feed people that you never get the chance to think about that. And I think one of the things that we talk about is building this idea of a balanced portfolio.
So digital evolution or digital transformation, but digital evolution is always going to be kind of made up of combination of small little bits of quick win work and big core transformational change, which are things like integrating your CRM, or migrating your digital experience platform, or swapping out your ERP or whatever. And you’ve always got this combination of the quick wins, the things that if you’re going to bring the business on the journey with you, you need to demonstrate some simple improvements, such as the marketing team in South America just can’t update their campaigns without calling you. And of course, you are running a chip van, so they’re going to be 15th in the queue, so they’re furious. They don’t want to hear about your big innovation program of new digital experience with the customer centricity. They just want to update their campaigns. So it’s about balancing a number of simple things that you can do for everybody, along with those longer term transformational changes.
And then a third part, which is what we call future possible, which is looking at what technology or platforms might be useful in the future for you and experimenting. So you’ve got this, do the simple stuff that just the CEO, she’s just getting hassled for every day from her colleagues. Get our stuff fixed, because that’ll make you popular and it’ll build you some support. Obviously investing in the, not being afraid to make decisions that are long term. This is not the right platform. We need to change, or we need to integrate this with this, or we need to invest in these people and up-skill them. That’s the kind of big kind of transformational stuff. And then these experiments that will help you discover what the future is. And you have to govern each of those three types of portfolios in a different way, and understand that the experiments will fail, most of them. But that’s where you will discover that the pot of gold for five years’ time, whereas the quick win or BAU, I hate that term BAU, but the quick win stuff, which is really important in building support.
So how can organizations get started on the digital evolution journey?
Well, I’ve always been a big proponent of absolutely knowing what your goals are, what your conversion points, are for your digital presence. A conversion, most people know this now, but a conversion is when somebody takes an action in your digital properties that provides value. Ecommerce, it’s somebody checks out or in other websites, if somebody requests a demo or something like that, you have to know what these things are. You have to know the moment that your visitor provides value and the moment that your digital presence has provided value to you. Without knowing that you’re just nowhere, and we see a lot of people doing an enormous amount of work without any idea kind of what the goal is.
Back when I was in services, I was working with a healthcare client, and I was talking to their director of marketing. He says, the CEO calls me all the time and says, “We need more social media updates.” And he would go back to the CEO and say, “Why?” And the CEO couldn’t even tell them why, because the CEO didn’t understand the chain from action that the digital team takes to conversion or some moment when the website provides value. So you have to know that. Once you know that, the conversion points when your website provides them value, then you just need to break things down. You need to divide your web presence up into chunks that you can improve over time. Too many people just try to tackle the entire thing at once.
Let’s take a look at your contact dose form. Maybe we need to spend some time just fixing that. And then, let’s move to your homepage and run a couple experiments there. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Optimizely sells an experimentation suite. Run a couple experiments on your homepage. What’s it going to take to drive people to that contact form? Literally, if that’s the goal that you know have to improve, you can work towards improving that goal and you can filter out people in the organization that have pet projects, or pet ideas, or they’re sure that this is going to make things better. If you can go back to them and say, “Nope, this is the goal. This is the goal we’re working towards,” you can start making incremental steps toward improving that goal. And that’s probably the most important thing that an organization can do.
Yeah. I mean think Deane hits upon two things that are really interesting there. The first one is a lot of people that we work with or often one of the struggles that heads of digital have is, I keep getting asked to do kind of crazy things like create more social media posts by senior people, which adds to that whole noise, that adds to the queue of the backlog of urgent stuff that needs doing, that means that you never get the chance to stop and actually think about things strategically.
And actually, there’s an element of a lack of understanding within very senior people because maybe they’re not so experienced at working within the kind of digital space. Although to be honest, it’s been 20 years. I have little sympathy for that now. An organization that’s probably not only just digital first, but pretty much digital all over. If you think about it now, your first interaction with an organization is going to be probably through its digital channels, and maybe even the entire service experience will be through digital channels. Leaders should get this by now, right?
But my point is that if digital teams are getting kind of requests from leadership, such as create loads of social media posts or build us an app is another one I’ve heard. “We need an app.” “Well, why do we need an app?” Is because actually there’s a responsibility on digital leaders to step up and be leaders and to be able to say, “Right. You need to tell us where this business needs to be. And we will help develop an understanding of what those key conversion points are.” You can’t expect senior, necessarily people who aren’t sort of native digital folk to understand that. But if you provide them with that information, I hope you would get less of those kinds of slightly daft requests. If you see what I mean, Deane, I think there’s a responsibility on digital professionals to educate upwards. And rather than kind of feel like if you’re in an organization that’s struggling, change that organization if you can. It’s a two-way thing.
This goes back to trust, right?
The reason why you have people in digital, not resisting calls to do things that aren’t going to provide value is because professional insecurity. They don’t believe that their leaders trust them. They think they just have to do whatever the CEO or the CMO tells them to do. They don’t feel like they can push back. I have been working in the digital space for 25 years and everything comes back to organizational and personal psychology at some level. I think you have people in digital team that they just don’t feel like they can push back and make the right suggestions. And they just have to do what someone higher at the [inaudible 00:22:13] tells them to do, and that’s just a recipe for disaster, really.
It also means you’re going to lose the other best people you have, because no one with any integrity and real talent will stick around if that’s the kind of corporate environment that they’re in. People have a lot of choice these days, particularly with increasing mobility and hybrid working, is that really the world is your talent market now and you can find the best people if you build the best cultures, and it doesn’t really matter where they live. For example, Netcel, some of us live outside of the U.K., Some of us live across the U.K., And it’s worked very well.
But I think this thing about what Deane was saying about breaking it down and we touched upon this in the answer to the last question about the balance portfolio. This is where you do need to break down those conversion points and how we improve those conversion points into a really simple set of steps, that by improving this, you can understand how you are influencing the outcome. So don’t necessarily need to rebuild the whole of your shopping funnel, for example, or your conversion funnel, but build a program and invest in this experimentation.
So, this is both in the platform, as Deane said, Optimizely has an experimentation suite built into it, but also working with the agency, the partner that you work with, to understand how experimentation works. At Netcel, we do a lot of work with pitch leaders on kind of building out both kind of capability at the kind of operational level. How do I design an experiment, but also about how you build a business case for experimentation, and kind of build a business case for broader digital evolution as a concept. We’ve actually published a report that you can download from Netcel.com/report that talks a lot about this, that’s Deane’s been involved with and some other leading digital professionals as well. So, if you wanted to read more, you can check that out. That’s been supported by Optimizely. Yeah, so there’s some good sort of starting points in that.
Yes, please go ahead and send me that link when you can, Dom, and I will definitely put it in the link to the show notes of this podcast that we will have on our website. Perfect. Thank you. Great. You guys have covered a lot and just being conscious of time, is there anything else that we didn’t cover that you’d like to speak on before we wrap up?
Both Dom and I have alluded to the concept of employee morale, psychology and retention. And I think this is one of the big crises in digital right now, is that people are searching for the organization that gets it. People are searching for the organization that they can work at, and feel good about their work, and feel like they’re making a positive impact. And so when you hamper your digital teams, when you try to overload them, when you are vague with them, and you don’t have clear goals with them, you don’t let them try new things and incrementally make improvements, you hurt your organization in two ways.
Number one, just through lack of conversion, right? Lack of digital efficiency and effectiveness, but you also hurt them from lack employee morale and retention. Losing digital employees is so painful because they’re so painful to replace these days. And so, the damage to your organization is considerable and I think it’s very shortsighted to put some 30-day quantitative metric in front of that.
Yeah. I mean, I completely agree with that, and I think one of the ways that you can tackle that is by ensuring that you’ve got… Digital isn’t something that’s just done with the digital team or just done by the digital team. We talk a lot about digital operating models with the clients that we work with, and this is where we get into the kind of, how do you govern and lead digital, not just how do you build the right products, or build the right experiences.
But if, for example, you’re a professional services company and you want to segment to different markets and build authority in different markets, say you’re a lawyer firm or another kind of professional services firm. You want to build authority in merchants and acquisitions. You want to build authority in sports licensing law. You are going to need a lot of help from the people in your organization to generate that content. That content isn’t going to be generated necessarily by the digital team. But the digital team are there as an enabler. They’re there to provide the technology and the advice and the kind of lead and give people the confidence to be able to create content themselves, to be able to create their own campaigns.
So digital is something that actually another principle and concept that Deane and I have been talking about recently is this idea of digital is like water. It’s kind of everywhere and you don’t notice it, as if you’re a fish, and we’ll put the link to that article in the podcast as well. There’s this idea that actually everyone should be responsible for doing digital to a level of excellence across your organization in the same way that everyone’s able to write emails to a level of excellence across the organization. And your digital teams are really there to set the standard, set examples, measure success, share that success, build a center of excellence, but also enable everyone else. So, you don’t need to necessarily overwork people. You can give people the tools they need to be able to run their own operations and the digital elements of their operations, but with the oversight and support from the digital team. So, this is known as a kind of hub and spoke model.
And this has been a really powerful way of scaling digital, where you don’t want to overload your digital teams. The digital leaders can stay being exactly that, leaders, innovators, consultants, working within the organization to set the agenda, to build the infrastructure that your organization needs for the future, while training up and building basic levels of high-quality digital competencies in your marketing teams, in your customer service teams, in your product development teams, in all the different parts of your organization that interface with customers. And that’s been a really successful model for many, and I think I’m one that has a kind of rosy future ahead of it.
I love that you brought up the, “What is water?” paper. I had a chance to read that and it’s a very interesting article and I know Deane, you actually sent a YouTube video that talks about the commencement speech. So, I am also going to put a link to that in the article, because it is quite fascinating and quite applicable as I said. So, thank you both for contributing both of those pieces that would supplement this subject that we talked about today. I think that’ll really drive the point home.
Dom and I have a shared love of David Foster Wallace.
Awesome. Well, thank you both so much for taking the time to come on today and thank you all so much for taking the time to listen to this episode of the Optimizely Podcast. I am Laura Dolan, and I will see you next time.
Thank you for listening to this edition of the Optimizely Podcast. If you’d like to check out more episodes or learn more about how we can take your business to the next level by using our marketing, content, or experimentation tools, please visit our website at optimizely.com, or you can contact us directly using the link at the bottom of this podcast blog to hear more about how our products will help you unlock your digital potential.
How to Leverage Social Media for Your E-commerce Business
You’re probably in a competitive market if you sell fashion accessories, premium gadgets, or consumer-packaged products.
With competitors, consumers, and cultural trends shifting quickly, it can be tough to gain a competitive advantage – and even more difficult to maintain. Fortunately, an effective technique to stake an e-commerce claim allows you to move quickly and organically engage with customers to increase sales and conversions.
Even better, it is most likely that you already have one foot in the door using this instrument, which is social commerce.
Why is Social Commerce Important for E-commerce Businesses?
Social commerce is selling products or services directly through social media platforms. It differs from traditional e-commerce because customers can discover and purchase products directly within their social media feeds. It often involves more user-generated content and personalized shopping experiences. Social commerce provides businesses with an additional avenue for reaching customers and increasing sales and engagement.
The following are the benefits of social commerce for e-commerce businesses:
- Increased visibility and brand awareness: Social media platforms give businesses a wider and more engaged audience to showcase their products, increase visibility, and build brand awareness.
- Higher conversion rates: Social commerce enables customers to browse and purchase products directly from social media platforms, streamlining the buying process and increasing business conversion rates.
- Improved customer engagement: Social media platforms allow businesses to interact directly with customers, answer questions, and respond to feedback. This interaction can help businesses build stronger relationships with their customers and improve customer satisfaction.
- Cost-effective marketing: Social media platforms offer cost-effective marketing opportunities for businesses of all sizes, allowing them to reach a large audience without breaking the bank.
- Increased sales: By leveraging social commerce, businesses can tap into the power of social media to boost their online sales and grow their customer base.
- Competitive advantage: Social commerce is still a relatively new concept, and businesses that adopt it early can gain a competitive advantage over their competitors.
How to Utilize Social Media for Your E-Commerce Business
Utilizing social media for your e-commerce business can be a highly effective way to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, and boost sales. Here are some tips on how to make the most of social media for your e-commerce business:
1. Choose the right social media platform: Identify the target audience and the social media platforms they are most active on. Then, create a presence on those tailor-made platforms for the audience.
2. Create a social media strategy: Define the social media goals, target audience, content strategy, and posting frequency. Ensure that the content strategy showcases products and provides value to the audience.
3. Build a social media presence and engage with the audience: Respond promptly to comments and messages, and encourage user-generated content. This helps build a loyal customer base and increases engagement.
4. Drive traffic and sales to the e-commerce website: Create shoppable posts, use product tagging, and promote sales and discounts to drive traffic and sales to the e-commerce website.
Revolutionizing e-Commerce: Unique Features of Social Commerce Platforms that Help Businesses Grow
Social commerce platforms offer unique features that can help businesses grow and revolutionize the e-commerce industry. Here are some of the most important features that businesses can utilize:
Instagram is a popular social media platform that allows users to share photos and videos. With its shopping feature, businesses can create a shoppable feed of their products, tag products in their posts, and even set up an Instagram shop where customers can browse and purchase directly from their profile.
Facebook Shops is a feature that allows businesses to set up an online store on their Facebook page. With Facebook Shops, businesses can showcase their products, customize their storefront, and communicate with customers through Facebook Messenger.
Pinterest is a visual search engine where users can discover and save ideas for projects, products, and more. Businesses can create pins and boards showcasing their products, and users can save and share them with others. Pinterest also has a shopping feature that allows businesses to tag products in their pins and create shoppable pins.
TikTok is a popular short-form video app that has become a powerful marketing tool for businesses. With TikTok’s “Shop Now” feature, businesses can link to their online store directly from their videos, making it easy for viewers to shop for their products. You can also use TikTok analytics tools to get more insights.
Snapchat is a social media platform that allows users to share photos and videos that disappear after a short period of time. With its shoppable AR lenses, businesses can create fun, interactive experiences that allow users to try on products virtually and purchase them directly from the app.
Each social commerce platform has unique features that can help businesses grow by reaching new customers, increasing engagement, and driving sales.
Tips for Successful Social Commerce Implementation
Successful implementation of social commerce requires a well-thought-out strategy and execution plan. Here are some tips to help ensure success:
1. Best Practices for Incorporating Social Commerce into your e-Commerce Business
- Choose the right social media platforms: Research the platforms your target audience uses most frequently and focus your efforts on those channels.
- Optimize your social media profiles: Make sure your social media profiles are complete and consistent with your brand image. Use high-quality images, engaging descriptions, and links to your e-commerce site.
- Create engaging content: Utilize visually appealing images and videos to showcase your products and promote special offers and promotions. Engaging content can help capture the attention of your audience and increase engagement.
- Make it easy to purchase: Ensure that customers can easily find and purchase your products from your social media profiles. Use social commerce tools such as “Shop Now” buttons, shoppable posts, and in-app checkout features. Look for apps that help deliver an excellent customer experience.
- Provide excellent customer service: Respond promptly to customer inquiries and feedback on social media. Use social media to build relationships with customers and address any concerns.
2. How to Measure the Success of your Social Commerce Efforts
- Track social media metrics: Monitor engagement metrics such as likes, shares, comments, click-through rates, and lead conversion rates to gauge the effectiveness of your social commerce efforts.
- Measure sales: Keep track of the number of sales generated from social media channels to determine the impact of social commerce on your e-commerce business.
- Analyze customer feedback: Monitor customer feedback on social media to identify areas for improvement and gain insights into customer preferences and needs.
- Conduct surveys: Use surveys to gather feedback from customers on their social commerce experience and identify ways to improve it.
3. Common Pitfalls to Avoid when Implementing Social Commerce
- Neglecting customer service: Failing to respond to customer inquiries and feedback can damage your reputation and hinder your social commerce efforts.
- Focusing solely on sales: Avoid using social media as a sales platform. Instead, focus on building relationships with customers and creating a positive user experience.
- Ignoring data: Monitor and analyze social media metrics to identify areas for improvement and adjust your social commerce strategy accordingly.
Social media has changed the game for e-commerce businesses with the rise of social commerce. By integrating social media platforms with e-commerce, businesses can tap into the power of social media to boost sales, improve customer engagement, and gain a competitive advantage.
To succeed in social commerce, businesses should choose the right platform, create engaging content, and make it easy for customers to purchase their products.
It’s time to revolutionize your e-commerce business with the power of social commerce!
Three Irish Small Business Ideas that Could Be US Hits
The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
A happy and lucky St. Patrick’s day to all my readers! I’ve seen it again and again that small and local businesses became successful due to a great inspiration and some little happenstance bit of luck that got them noticed. Today, I’d like to celebrate with you by offering a shamrock of three ideas I’ve seen taking off in my mother country of Ireland. You may not replicate the exact business model, but do take away the underlying concepts which I strongly believe could succeed in the US. I’ll also point out how you can help luck along with a little creative marketing. Share this article with your team for brainstorming new campaigns, or with anyone in your life who wishes they could start a small business
Finding the “grá”
Ever wondered how to say “I love you” in Irish? One way is “tá grá agam duit” (taw graw ah-gum duts/ditch). It’s not uncommon to hear Irish folk saying they have a “grá” for something when speaking English, and to me, the word not only conveys love but a kind of longing. When people have a “grá” for some really good bread, or a trip to the seaside, or a warm coat they saw in a shop window, it’s what we might call “consumer demand” in American marketing lingo. Pay attention right now, and you may be starting to notice people in the US and elsewhere expressing a special kind of “grá“ for a different life. Recently, such a thread stood out to me on Twitter, started by author and founder Dave Gerhardt.
Software, of course, isn’t going anywhere any time soon, and the more we see of the current state of AI chat, the less many analysts are convinced that it’s going to be a major disruptor at present, but what I observe in this tweet and the replies to it is that people are starting to get tired of the one-dimensional confines of too much screen time. Wanting a satisfying local life and community “IRL” is a great “grá“ statement. Americans are deeply attached to our tech, but more and more, I’m running across peers talking about having an “analog life”, wishing their kids would become “luddites”, or wondering how an off-grid life would feel for their families. More simply put, many people would like to experience more satisfaction in what is right around them.
This dynamic is, in fact, tailor-made for small business entrepreneurs, so let’s look at these three aspirational concepts to see if you or your clients have got a “grá” tugging at you for any of them.
1. Be about life
Within living memory, it was the mark of respectability to have your little weedless patch of green lawn. You constantly cut the grass to keep it under tight control. You yanked out every dandelion – or worse – poisoned your own nest with herbicides. Think things never change for the better? I hear you, but check out TheIrishGardener because now, instead of rolling out bundles of monocrop sod, the Irish are carpeting the outdoors with native wildflower matts. One dimension isn’t enough anymore – folk want flowers and bees and moths and butterflies and bugs and more of everything alive. Yard by yard, they are reinvigorating essential ecosystems. Clever wildflower seed sellers are now marketing their products like seed matts and seed bombs not just to homeowners but as wedding favors, holiday gifts, classroom projects, and more.
There’s been such a base trend in US marketing in which we try to sell things to our neighbors by scaring them. Our ads are full of guns, screaming, threats, panic, anxiety, and danger and it’s very weird contrasting this with the ads I listen to on Irish media which seem to be largely focused on green energy, eating nice things, and enjoying the arts.
Could your great small business reject fear-and-shock-based marketing and instead hinge on beauty and satisfaction in life? We do have that old adage of drawing more flies with honey than vinegar, and if you can align your business with the very strong yearning for life to be abundant, varied, diverse, interesting, healthy, and fun, I think you’re moving away from the old lifeless lawns to the new thriving garden.
2. Be about locality
There’s only one place you can get real Irish seaweed – from the coasts of the country, of course! WildIrishSeaWeeds.com is one of those rare businesses that has seen the potential in a gift of nature that many might pass by without noticing. Seaweed is practically a miracle – you can eat it, bathe in it, and use it as a very carbon-friendly fertilizer that elders have always sworn by. What was once mainly a snack remembered fondly by children is now becoming a serious green industry in Ireland, and not far from where I live, I see a Californian company testing whether they can latch onto a similar demand in the US.
What is overlooked where you live? Is it something that can only be gotten in your local area? Something people used to love but are forgetting about now? Maybe it’s a local food source that’s starting to disappear because no one is using it anymore, or maybe its a skilled craft like basketmaking in a local style, baking or brewing a regional speciality, knitting or sewing a heritage garment, compounding an old-time remedy. Maybe it’s reviving a tradition that used to anchor your community. Could your great small business idea simply be about reconnecting neighbors with what’s special about where you live…a place that may have started to have vanished in our collective consciousness because the screens are blocking the view?
3. Be about people’s simplest pleasures
Our SEO lives may be consumed with ChatGPT right now, or GA4, or what will happen next on or to Twitter, but Padraic Óg Gallagher is up on the balcony of his restaurant, growing real Irish potatoes for his Boxty House in Dublin. If you’ve never had the luck to eat boxty, it’s a delicious potato cake, beloved enough in Ireland to be the inspiration behind a restaurant that’s seen such success, it was able to open a second location. Boxty is not fancy. It’s something your mother would make you from leftovers, something treasured from childhood, the memory of which warms your very soul.
If we look again at Dave Gerhardt’s Twitter thread, he’s not longing for a yacht, nor a manion, nor a pot of gold. He just wants the simple pleasure you get from “building in your community.” Most of us can be plenty happy with just enough, and rather than creating a business idea around elite luxury, consider what you might offer that actually delivers human contentment to the most people. A basic kitchen good that isn’t made well any more? A handcrafted walking stick? A cozy bookshop, a guided tour for visitors, your grandmother’s pecan pie, a wooden toy, a cloth doll, a sturdy garden implement, a bayberry candle, a regional herbal tea?
The simpler and better quality your idea, the more of a welcome change it could be for customers increasingly expressing fatigue from low-quality, mass-produced, and very limited options. America’s Vermont Country Store has been outstandingly successful in helping people relocate fundamental merchandise they can’t find anymore. Study their approach.
Creative marketing of your small business idea
What can you do to catch the eye of your audience? You’ve probably guessed that I’m going to say that, no matter how small your local business, you’ve got to have a website and local business listings. 30 years ago, I would have said this about the telephone book, and however much we may long for more off-screen time, we’ve got to concede that the web makes it so easy to be found! So yes, publish the best website you can budget for, build out your Google Business Profile and other listings, and invest all you can in learning about digital reputation management. It will help you achieve your goals.
That being said, the room there is beyond the web for creative marketing could fill all the pages of the Book of Kells. If you’re starting out quite small, try these low-tech approaches to getting the word out about your new business idea in your community:
Ask an established business owner to host you as a pop-up shop inside their store, perhaps for tourist season or the holidays.
If you produce enough volume, meet with local shop owners to discover whether your product could win a permanent place on their shelves.
Approach local reporters with the most succinct, newsworthy angle of your business to seek press.
Real-world community message boards still exist in some towns. Use them.
Put a sign outside your house or in the window of your apartment. No room? Ask local officials for permission to put a sign in a vacant lot or on a street corner where you’ve seen other signage posted. Be ready to sell them on how your idea benefits the community.
Research local regulations regarding hanging fliers around town.
Research whether there is an opportunity for you to be included in existing print catalogs. 90 million Americans purchase something from a catalog annually, and even as the Internet has become so established in our lives, catalog shopping has continued to trend upwards.
Found or join a local business organization for brainstorming, networking and cross-selling.
Coordinate with other micro-business entrepreneurs to host a shared party in a local park, acquainting your community with your presence and offerings.
Sponsor local teams, events, and people and be cited for it both on and offline.
If your community still has a local radio station, try to get on it, either with an ad or as a guest, to reach 82.5% of US adults.
If you live in an area favored by tourists, contact the local visitors’ center to see how to get listed in their publications.
Advertise in the mailers and bulletins of local houses of worship and schools.
If what you produce relates to any type of food, music, art, cultural, or local festival, participate in it.
I’m closing today with this famous Irish proverb, because it seems right for this moment in America, where the myth of endless growth and the dangers of an unchecked appetite for luxury have done no favors to the economy or environment our whole people must live in. The Irish phrase, “Cé gur beag díol, caithfidh sé a sholáthar,” has traditionally been used to remind us that even the small wren has to work hard to provide for itself – a scenario every small business owner and local business marketer will easily relate to.
But I’m starting to see a double-meaning in this phrase, and new business trends in Ireland are helping me to see it: a more sustainable way to found a venture may be in asking not how much you want, but how little you actually need to be satisfied. SEOs everywhere already know it’s a best practice to get clients to define what success looks like before a project begins so that all parties can see when a goal has been attained. For most small business owners not seeking to become big business owners, achievement will simply mean something along the lines of being able to pay themselves and their staff enough to have a modest, good life. To me, this recognition matters right now, because most customers are in search of the same thing – having just enough.
Whether it’s through thrifting in Ireland or thrifting in America, re-storing in Drogheda or re-storing in Simi Valley, eating local and organic at Moyleabbey Farm in Kildare or at Waxwing Farm in Washington, or preserving traditional crafts that last on that side of the water or on this, tandem trends are indicative of a search for a simpler, better life. 57% of Americans say they shop small to keep money local, and there is no overstating how much both nearby economics and the global climate benefit from this approach. If you’ve decided 2023 is the year to lean into the new/old ways by starting or marketing small businesses, I’d say the luck may be on your side!
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