Hong Kong

The State of Content Marketing in 2019

There's a saying that content is king. That applies to all industries in Hong Kong, to any business trying to reach and inform their customers. For advertising to work on a targeted audience, there must be something there that initially draws them in. In the old days of pre-digital marketing, that content was entertainment. People didn't normally enjoy commercials on TV for their own sake but viewed them because they were interspersed with the content that really engaged them, such as dramatic TV series, documentaries, or even news broadcasts.

In the digital world of the internet, content has a similar value. Not only is content marketing one of the top skills that every digital marketers should hone, it also is the next logical step of taking material that has appeal to a market and making it a marketing tool itself, rather than a "lure" to get the audience to view marketing. After all, why spend time creating content only tangentially related to your business, when you can make ads that are already a topic of interest? By making the content a part of the marketing, rather than an "assist" to the marketing, you have improved your chances of success. Content marketing has become an effective tool, and it's not going away anytime soon. In fact, content marketing is actually increasing in value and usefulness thanks to the tweaks and developments made in search algorithms.

So if you're looking into getting the most out of your content marketing, what should you be considering? These are things you need to think about going into 2019.

Value Is Your Primary Target

Content marketing is about providing meaningful content, but the interpretation of meaningful can vary. In the past, with simpler search engine algorithms, "fluff" or filler content was perfectly acceptable because simpler algorithms only looked at basic parameters, like how many times a particular keyword was used. So it wasn't unusual for early websites to have nonsensical gibberish, with a keyword placed at the bottom of the page 100 times to get the attention of a search engine.

Today, of course, that doesn't work. Search engines are smarter and will even hand out penalties for this unethical practice. Consumers are also looking for reliable content to inform purchasing decisions. Your content must have value, which can be broken up into three types based on its benefit to your target market.

  • Useful:

This kind of content assists readers. Useful content helps consumers or potential clients achieve a goal. When your content provides help, that creates a lot of value and generates positive feelings for your business and its image. People may also come back looking for more help in the future, establishing trust, loyalty, and authority.

  • Informative:

In some ways a parallel of useful, informative content creates value through education. The goal here is not necessarily to help a consumer achieve a specific goal in the way that a guide or tutorial might. Here, the aim is to teach a consumer something interesting or new that may potentially have uses in the future, even if it doesn't right now.

  • Entertainment:

The value of engaging content should never be underestimated. Just think about the fun people have interacting with and sharing memes or videos, the kind of things that go viral and are consumed by millions of people across the globe. Entertainment, when done well, has high value, perhaps the highest of all. Trying to create viral content with global entertainment value deliberately is a daunting task. Don't aspire to go viral but instead set out to truly engage your audience with a compelling piece of content.

Looking to improve your content strategies already? We have not one, but six helpful tips for you.

Distribution Is Always a Concern

Once you create good content marketing, where are you putting it? Do your customers know where to find it? Do they even know that it's out there? Marketing basics tell you to put your business out there on social media and through a website to build awareness, but make sure that your content itself is getting the same spotlight and consideration as your products and your marketing efforts.

The creation of a "content hub," for example, may deserve some marketing and creative attention of its own. If you're finding that your customers are increasingly coming to you for the usefulness of your content, make sure you continue to impress them. Useful content is "evergreen," and new customers will go to that old content again and again if it continues to remain relevant. Create a place where your articles, videos, podcasts, and other content can all be easily found. Then, do a little bit of marketing to make sure your ideal customers know about your useful library of resources.

Content Is Advertising

One of the most significant advantages of content marketing is that can operate as an ad in disguise. When you make your content the advertising itself, it is no longer an interruption to what people are searching for, but it is the goal. As an example, 615 million devices used AdBlock software in 2017, and that number has only been growing. So if you're creating an ad, banner, or another traditional type of internet advertising, millions of people aren't seeing it. They've taken the trouble to download and install software that blocks any attempt to interrupt their browsing.

However, with content marketing, the content is the advertising. That means you need to create content apart from cut-and-dry ads. Blogs, articles, podcasts, and videos are all better ways to advertise to your customers subtly. When you work toward creating valuable content that will entertain and educate your audience, you remain unaffected by things like AdBlock. People are deliberately seeking you out instead of shutting you out. Focus on positively driving people to seek out your marketing tools, your content, rather than interrupting what they're trying to achieve online.

Content Is Changing the Customer Relationship

In the past, the classic marketing funnel concentrated on building up awareness and creating a "short-term relationship" with a customer that lasted only until a purchase was made. Once that goal had been achieved, customers tended to be regarded as "spent assets" and were subsequently ignored unless they had an issue that required customer support to deal with it, so as not to impact a business's reputation.

Today, content marketing is now viewed as a way to create an ongoing relationship with a customer beyond making the initial purchase. Content marketing expands the way a customer interacts with a business, going beyond just giving that business money or requiring technical or customer support.

For instance, people who buy a musical instrument from an instrument manufacturer establish an ongoing connection with that business through content marketing. The might return to that business's website for FAQs or video tutorials or any other content. They might even scan the business's social media for answers to their questions or to connect with fellow customers. That customer is now in a "long-term relationship" with the company. The addition of good content on a regular basis extends the length and quality of that relationship.

Divert Resources to Video

If content is king, and content marketing is one of the biggest movers in marketing, then the undisputed king of kings is video. New studies indicate that in 2019, 80% of general consumer internet traffic will be the viewing of videos. That figure does not even account for video chat but refers merely to the consumption of pre-recorded videos or live video streaming.

Video is one of the best ways to get attention for content marketing because it is easy for the viewer to consume. Video also combines all three benefits of valuable content; it is useful and informative while also being entertaining. For companies that are willing to invest in a good production team and set of equipment, video can be a great way to quickly create content on a regular basis. When your content strategy is combined with other uses for video, such as live video broadcasts—especially with social influencers—you can quickly establish a relationship with customers and maintain it. Two types of video content are especially useful to customers, and they include:

  • Testimonials:

In the same way that the user review is one of the most critical pieces of research that potential customers undertake, video testimonials can be even more sought after. By showing other customers highlighting uses and positive aspects of your product or service, you are inspiring consumer confidence.

  • Tutorials or Demos:

People are always interested in learning new things and guaranteeing that a purchase is worthy. While detailed articles can be very enlightening, but sometimes, especially when involving an action, it is better to use a video. Create or share customer videos with actions, animations, and explanations to reinforce learning.

The important thing to note with these popular types of video content is that they are centred on enriching the customer's understanding of your products and furthering the customer's goals. Make sure that any actual marketing or advertising is secondary, and not pursued in an aggressive manner. You want these forms of video to build trust and authority. Consumers are very wary of being sold to. Like content marketing itself, the value of the content takes precedence over product or service promotion.

SEO Integration Is Still Important

Some may make the mistake of thinking that with the importance of quality content and the dominance of video as a marketing tool, SEO or search engine optimisation may not be as crucial in 2019. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the content is ultimately what your customer engages with, good SEO practices are still what enabled those consumers to find your content, if they were only inputting a general query into a search engine.

While SEO is important for "conventional" computer users on desktops and laptops, the push to prioritise mobile search and content consumption will continue into 2019, and there will be an even greater emphasis placed on optimising for voice search.

The rules and practices for voice search optimisation are not yet set in stone, and it will involve a bit of tweaking and experimentation. After all, search engines themselves will have to see what works best for people conducting searches via smartphone, and how it differs from other computer use. In the same way, the interface and outputs for verbal searches are very different. You don't have a visible SERP with meta descriptions to inform your next time. There are a lot of unknowns, so this is pioneer territory for SEO that you'll want to keep tabs on. Do not be daunted if you feel like SEO is an uncharted territory for you, there are courses for you to improve your knowledge of the subject quickly.

Social Media is Your Best Option for Sharing

Social media has become one of the most important means of communication and entertainment for the general public. And that means it has now become one of the most critical virtual spaces for marketing, including content marketing. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and many, many more are where people are digitally these days. As a result, it's no surprise that social media is where a lot of digital marketing takes place. Even customer support systems are moving over to social media, with some companies establishing reputations for themselves, such as the humour now associated with the Netflix Twitter account.

But general digital marketing isn’t limited to social media. Content marketing can be just as at home here as well. Videos can be published anywhere, whether it's on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or directly on a company website. However, other types of content marketing, like blog articles and photos are still being successfully promoted on social media or linking back to fuller sites. A combination of proper social media usage, the careful selection of accompanying captions, tags, and cover images, and consistent engagement with consumers will all provide great results for your content marketing campaigns.

Produce High-Quality Content

The one thing that should never be forgotten is the cornerstone of content: quality. When you create a reputation for producing high-quality content, it will draw in new and repeat viewers. Quality is the more attractive part of content, and the market will reward you for it with more new customers and greater success! Don’t forget to keep learning and improving to keep yourself abreast of the latest trends, especially if you want to excel in the digital marketing career.

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

7 Essential Skills Every Digital Marketer Should Know

Even in a small city like Hong Kong, the digital industry is always vast, so it can be difficult to navigate for newcomers or those looking to find their niche; how do you set yourself apart from the competition and fast-track your way up the corporate ladder?

Check out these 7 essential skills to keep you relevant in the ever-changing digital industry.

1. Video

Video is taking the internet by storm and this isn’t about to stop. According to MarTech, videos have the potential to hold customer’s attention on retail sites for two minutes longer than average (which is really like a lifetime in the digital world) and a well-optimised video can boost your chances of being in a top Google ranking position by at least 50. In addition, more than 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product after seeing it detailed in a video.

Bear in mind that these are just loose statistics are going to vary depending on who you ask, but the point is that most statistics point to much higher conversion, engagement and higher SEO rankings when it comes to video.

What makes it so engaging? Because it’s personal. When people can see your face (or the face of the person promoting the brand), they are more likely to trust the entire enterprise. It’s also a wonderfully versatile content to use through different platforms.

Digital marketing professionals don’t have to know everything about video production, of course, but knowing how to create a quick intro video from your laptop is a good place to start. And if you have some training in this area and you love it, your skills and talents will not be wasted as video will continue to be in demand.

If you want to learn more on your own, you can try out video editing tools like Apple Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro.

2. SEO & SEM

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is key to all levels of digital marketing and as such, anyone going into the field must have at least a basic handle on it. You can certainly leave the highly technical, back-end stuff to the more technically-oriented people on the team, having a solid understanding of best practices and how to optimise all forms of content is crucial for running a successful digital marketing campaign.

Both SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) inform your entire digital strategy on both a data and content level, and you need to be able to communicate to other teammates about this, so you just won’t get far if you don’t make a point of learning the basics.

3. Content Marketing

Content is the core of digital marketing and content marketing will continue to be a crucial part of the game no matter what happens. But content marketing is a huge job in itself. You have to be able to understand how to not only create high quality, SEO-friendly content of various sorts, you also have to understand how to effectively get audiences to engage.

And to make things a little more challenging, it’s important to note that content can take many forms, from video to social, emails, web content, blogs, e-books, videos, whitepapers…the list goes on. You also have to have a firm grasp on social media marketing as this will tie in to most content marketing type of work. You’ll need to be able to strategise based on a given client’s overarching business goals, develop a campaign that involves an effective strategy, and monitor analytics as well

3. Data / Analytics

No matter what facet of digital marketing you are going into, Google Analytics will probably be central to your strategy. Monitoring and reporting via such tools is pretty straightforward, but the tricky part is how to gather and use that information to help you learn more about consumer behaviour and apply it to new solutions that boost traffic and conversions.

Most businesses (even small ones) have huge amounts of data to track, and great digital marketers need to understand how to gather and use this to their advantage. Most companies will always be looking for people who to only know how to “read” this data, but to know exactly which data to use towards improving business strategy in the future. If you can show that you can do this in innovative ways and that the way you do it ends with important results, you’re going to be a valuable asset in the industry.

4. Understand Design-Based Thinking & Planning

Design Thinking is a term that basically refers to a way of approaching problems from a user-centred perspective. The approach essentially encourages us to think in a human-centred way when solving large-scale complex problems.

According to The Interaction Design Foundation, there are 5 key phases to this process: empathise, define, ideate, prototype, and test. The reason why this works so well in the digital marketing sphere is that so much of it is (or should be) centred on the user experience. Another interesting thing about this approach is that it can be used in a non-linear way – so that in some instances you may get to the testing phase and then come back to the middle phase, for instance, to re-consider ideas.

Designers and developers are likely to use an approach like this, so even if you’re not one, it’s a good idea to at least have a solid understanding of it and apply it when feasible.  

5. Be Tech Savvy

Because the industry is really technology driven, you have to have a decent grip on technology as well as be able to learn it quickly. If you’re millennial-age or younger, this is probably going to be second-nature, but older generations may want to put a bit of elbow grease into teaching themselves not only specific technologies but also just getting familiar with the most commonly used software and tools in their focus area.

Generally, if you understand the basics of web coding, as well as having a clear idea of how to use the basic Content Management (CMS) systems like WordPress, you’re likely well on your way to landing that dream job, especially if you have a resume that highlights such points.

6. Be Persuasive

A great digital marketing leader will not only show up with great people skills; but they’ll also be able to combine analytical thinking with creative-problem solving to help teams come up with innovative campaign ideas to drive businesses forward.

And a big part of this is being persuasive. Can you convince someone else to purchase? What about convincing other team leaders that your idea is the best? This isn’t about arguing as much as having the confidence that you know what you’re doing and showing this in detail.  

7. Highlight Unusual Skill Sets

As far as soft skills go, great digital marketers should be curious, enjoy versatility, forward-thinking, business-focused and strategy-centred. But there is plenty of room in this field for all kinds of personalities and skills sets. To this end, it’s important that you leverage your own unique blend in order to stay competitive in the industry.

It may, for instance, be unusual to find someone well-versed in both back-end SEO strategy as well as be able to take on a managerial role, or it may be unusual to find someone with a computing science degree that also loves social media.  

Conclusion

A great digital marketing professional will have the ability to adapt quickly and learn on their own, even being ready to pivot into different digital careers as they choose or as needed should old skills become less in-demand. They will be working with diverse teams and clients, so they will have to know how to communicate well and build strong teams.

While there are a number of things that you will have to do in order to be competitive in the digital marketing career field, it’s important not to forget about leveraging and improving your hard and soft skills as you move forward into exciting new positions. Having a solid breadth of basic knowledge alongside depth in a few areas (what Rand Fishkin calls a T-Shaped Marketer) will help you get further than if you try to be a jack-of-all-trades.  

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

10 Reasons Your Business Should Invest in Digital Transformation

Regardless of sector or industry, to thrive on today's commercial battlefield, embracing the emerging technologies and trends is crucial.

If your business is looking to secure a sustainable commercial future, investing ample time, money and energy into your digital transformation strategy is a wise move.

By 2020, experts project that spending on digital transformation strategies will break $2 trillion globally. That's a colossal level of investment by companies across sectors. Hong Kong is no exception to this projection.

To inspire your efforts, here are 10 stats that will convince your business of the need to invest in digital transformation. 

Consumer Culture

1. 80% of today’s video consumption is video-based. Print media, while still relevant, is a less potent force than it once was. Today’s hunger for visual content is inherently digital and to connect with your target audience you have to provide engaging marketing materials that are video-based. Digital channels and touchpoints are the best way to deliver such communications.

2. Today’s average college student has never so much licked a postage stamp.In the age of the digital native, analog approaches to promotional as well as internal communication will seldom provide the results you need for success.

3. 61% of smartphone users admit to regularly sleeping with their smartphone under their pillow or next to their bed. A staggering insight that is a testament to today’s mobile-centric mindset. By investing in your mobile offerings, from applications to mobile-optimised landing pages and social media content, you stand to accelerate your business success in an increasingly digital age.

The State of Digital Transformation

Here we explore the current professional climate and as such, the necessity for digital transformation.

4. 76% of companies feel their relationship with technology and digital transformation is on the whole, average or above average. The vast majority of companies across sectors are on the path to digital transformation. If you fail to embrace the digital age and all it has to offer, you could fall behind the pack and risk becoming obsolete in the long run.

5. Around 70% of companies feel their CEOs’ practical understanding of emerging digital technologies to be solid or above average. If you feel that your understanding of digital methodologies and technologies in the digital age is lacking, now is the time to upskill.

6. 61% of enterprises state that the Internet of Things (IoT) plays a pivotal role in their digital business strategies, with manufacturing and high-tech leading all other sectors. By investing in the power of the IoT and its business-enhancing benefits, in addition to a host of other emerging digital technologies, you stand to accelerate your commercial success, exponentially.

The Power of Digital Transformation

Insights on the undeniable power of digital transformation in the modern age.

7. 56% of CEOs feel that digital advancements have already led to boosts in revenue. With this being the primary goal of business growth and acceleration, this is a clearcut case for investing in digital transformation.

8. By 2020, 47% of all revenue will be influenced by digital. Without a doubt, digital technologies will become all the more sophisticated in the not so distant future. To remain relevant and continue to foster growth, embracing the power of digital is a now a necessity rather than a far-flung luxury.

9. 39% of today's marketers plan to boost their digital budgets without increasing overall marketing spend, essentially reallocating their current budgets into digital channels. The wealth of digital channels, platforms and touchpoints available to today’s businesses is on the rise and by investing in such outlets, you stand to enjoy a healthy level of ongoing business success.

10. More than 50% of the world’s population are under the age of 30 - With over half of the population being under 30-years-old, there are more digital natives (or indeed, budding digital natives) than ever before. To continue appealing to this new generation of digitally-minded consumers, investing in digital transformation on a continual basis is nothing short of essential.

Conclusion

It’s clear that digital transformation is a sustainable means of commercial success today, tomorrow and long into the future in Hong Kong. 

If you haven’t done so already, you must embrace the unrivaled power and potential of digital transformation now, before it’s too late

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

What Should the Perfect Digital Marketing CV Include?

You have done the work, gotten the skills, and chosen the career that speaks to you. Now comes the hard part: the job application.

You know what you say about books: don’t judge one by its cover. However, when it comes to finding a job in Hong Kong, it is all about having a good cover; in this case, a great CV. Nothing is more intimidating than putting yourself and your skill set out there, but a great one can help you get your foot in the door.

A CV is essential in showing employers who you are and what you have to offer. You want to show potential employers that you’re exactly who they’ve been looking for.

While every CV will be different for every position and company, they all adhere to the same fundamental principles. Knowing what language an employer is looking for will help your application stand out from the crowd.

Just remember these five essentials to write the perfect CV; it’s never been easier.

1) Make It About You

Keep the focus on you with your name as the title of the CV and your contact and professional details at the top.

Don’t waste valuable space in which you could be highlighting your skills, rather than filling it up with a gaudy “Curriculum Vitae” as the title. Remember, you are the product, and you are what your CV is marketing. So, make yourself stand out with your name as the title.

While the format of CV is flexible, your phone number and email should quickly follow the title in a smaller font. Since you certainly want the employer to contact you, ensure your reader can easily understand where and how to locate you.

Add a LinkedIn profile or any other professional site to the top of your CV. These links let the employer get to know you a little better and show them you’re a real person who’s interested in the position. A certification in a digital marketing course will help in this case, as it proves your interest in the industry and gives the recruiters confidence you know what you should be doing.

You should also include a professional profile at the top of your CV before listing your experience, education, and certification. This is a summary of the specific skills, experience, and goals you have when applying for the position, and it helps give recruiters a quick snapshot of what your CV will include.

You shouldn’t include information like your date of birth, and you certainly don't need to include a headshot. Not only is this type of content unnecessary and inappropriate, as it may actually be illegal for employers to ask your age. Strict rules govern what employers may ask employees to protect their privacy and to safeguard human rights.

Quick Tip: Treat yourself like a brand, and market yourself.

2) Keep It Clean and Consistent

Nothing is worse than reading an unfocused and visually disorganised CV.

To avoid giving the recruiter a headache, make sure you check that your content is spelled correctly, doesn’t have too many fonts or visual designs, and clearly lays out your skills and experience.

An easy way to clean up your CV is to use bullet points. Alison Doyle, job search expert for The Balance Career, says that “the average recruiter or hiring manager spends only seconds looking over an applicant’s resume. To get the interview, you need to make your experience stand out – and quickly. A bulleted list can help you build your case. It shows the employer quickly and easily that you are a good fit for the job.”

The best fonts are simple and easy to read. Stick to Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri in 10 to 12 points. A larger size font in 14 to 18 point is good for titles, headings, and subheadings, but keep it all one style. Your margins should also be standardized.

Infographics can often look messy on a CV and are best left out.

Michelle Kruse from Career Cast says that while creative designs can be appealing, “they're also a great way to annoy recruiters who are attempting to sift through hundreds of other applications. When it comes down to it, it really just depends on the situation.”

Don’t take any chances with your CV, and leave the cute text bubbles and cartoon computer graphics at home; your readability will skyrocket.

Quick Tip: Keep it short, stylish, and simple.

3) Know Your Audience

Be sure to tailor the information you include on your CV to the position you’re applying for. Be selective about what experience, volunteering, and skills you choose to include. Those 10 years of ballet? Probably not very relevant if you’re applying for a job in advertising, so leave it off. But that part-time job while you were in high school, running the social media campaign for your local hardware store is worth noting.

Do a little research and get familiar with the company you're interested in. Familiarise yourself with the keywords they use in their documentation and job descriptions, and integrate them into your CV. This will help show recruiters you’ve done your research as well as show that you’re a good fit for the position.

For instance, if you’re applying for an SEO specialist or digital marketing role, make sure you mention your SEO and SERP experience as well as your familiarity with PPC.

Jen David, CV consultant at CV Library, believes that you should only include relevant experiences from the past decade, no later.

In addition, she goes on, after you’ve carefully selected which aspects of your skills and experience that you’re going to include on your resume, you should be as brief as possible. Your CV should be a summary of your job roles, employers’ names, and dates for the positions held. It should enable a recruiter to quickly and easily see the highlights, successes, and progression of your career.

It doesn’t hurt to add a brief description of the position and the types of responsibilities you had when you worked in it to the job list. A little detail lets recruiters know the kinds of roles you’re familiar with. Just remember to keep it engaging and in an active voice.

You should list your experiences in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position at the top of the list.

If you follow all these tips, you should have no problem creating a basic CV that you can then customize when you’re targeting specific positions or companies. It’s easy to create a CV template that you can subsequently edit on the fly.

Quick Tip: List only relevant and recent experiences.

4) The Numbers and Platforms Matter

A quantified list of achievements will keep your digital marketing CV job specific and show off your skills and dedication to past projects.

Next Generation believes you should use analytics and metrics to communicate how you improved business, such as increasing traffic to a site or revenue in general. You should provide tangible elements as well, such as a 20% bump in organic traffic.

Not only will quantifiable results help make your CV more specific, but they provide you with an opportunity to showcase how your skills and work ethic made valuable contributions to your past employers’ goals. If you highlight the fact that organic traffic has increased on a project you’re involved in, your skills using SEO analytic tools like WordPress, Moz OSE, SEMrush, or Google Analytics will stand for themselves.

Don’t leave anything up to guesswork – let the recruiter know exactly how much you were involved and how much you achieved with a project. All of this will make your digital marketing CV that much more personal and specific to you and your accomplishments.

Quick Tip: Link a professional portfolio or website under your analytics.

5) Proofread

Last, but certainly not least, is the proofreading stage. It can make or break a digital marketing CV. While it’s easy to assume that you didn’t make any errors, it never hurts to go back and scan your CV for any potential mistakes.

If you’re applying for a digital marketing position that is content heavy, just about the worst thing you can do is have simple syntax errors. These blunders will make recruiters think you’re inattentive when creating content, and they will ruin an otherwise well-done CV.

Avoid simple mistakes by proofreading. For a good guide to proofreading, check out Darla Phanklong’s post on CV-Library.

Watch out for spelling and grammar errors. Another good way to check your CV is to run it through Grammarly.

Quick Tip: Grab a friend to read over your CV. Sometimes, having a fresh pair of eyes helps catch any mistakes you may have made.

Conclusion

If you follow all of these tips, your digital marketing CV will be more readable and reflective of your skills. Now all you need to do is click that submit button. 

Let’s hope it’s your first step to that coveted personal interview in which you can really persuade your audience that you’re the best candidate for the job. Good luck! 


Source: Digital Marketing Institute

6 Ways to Clean Out Your Digital Marketing Strategy

The digital marketing world is always evolving, and you're always executing your strategy. This is especially true in Hong Kong, one of the most fast-paced cities in the world. You're getting inspired by new campaigns, making last-minute changes, and receiving feedback from your customers that has you tweaking each post, video, and email. The result might be a disorganised, unfocused mess.

Is it hard to see the big picture of your digital marketing strategy? That's no good because the best plans are focused on the goals and metrics that matter most to your company. Further, the best strategies are unified across platforms and create a stable brand that your customers can connect with.

It's time to pull a Marie Kondo - do a little cleaning. Just as you'd clean out your closet, you can clean out your digital marketing strategy. In the end, you’ll have a more agile marketing department that has a clear vision to propel your company forward. Here’s how:

1. Focus on Your Key Metrics

Your digital marketing strategy has to be guided by your goals and the key metrics that reflect them. A company’s goals are changing all of the time, so chances are your goals have changed since the last time you cleaned out your digital strategy.

Collect all of your goals and key metrics in one place, so you get a sense of the overall accomplishments you’re looking for in the next year. When possible, avoid vanity metrics like Instagram followers, unless you can show that they are closely related to achieving what actually matters to your business—like conversions.

When you’re reflecting on your business goals, throw out digital marketing goals that don’t advance the business, and create new goals that do. Get as specific as you can. “Grow our Facebook audience as much as possible” or “become a trusted source on industry topics” are both too broad. Build specific goals by reflecting on past performances. If last year you gained a thousand new email sign-ups, aim to double that.

Starting with a new platform or business that doesn’t have a past performance you can build on? Check out what your competition is doing to help you create long-term goals.

Also, be sure to include realistic timelines with your goals. If the goal is huge, like “create ten cornerstone content blog posts,” try breaking the goal up into smaller pieces so that you can track your progress over the next year. Include those dates and smaller goals in your content calendar. That way, if you slip behind, you’ll notice faster, and you’ll have a chance to catch up.

2. Collect All of Your Digital Strategies

Now that you know what you should be aiming for, you need to reflect on which tools you’re using, and if they are still advancing your goals. Create a list of the strategies and platforms you’re using to spread your digital marketing message, including:

Broader digital media strategies may include multiple blogs, social media channels, and more. It's important to evaluate the ROI you get for each. Have your SEO efforts gained you any 1st place keywords, and if not, why not? Have your Instagram efforts resulted in sales? When you’re cleaning, it’s a good time to invest in market research to better evaluate your efforts; you are even better off studying a good digital marketing course to learn how to use the various tools in better and more efficient way.

3. Check Each Strategy Against Your Goals

Many digital marketing strategies are easy to evaluate. Either your emails are being opened more often, and readers are following links back to your site, or they aren’t. Either you’re ranking higher for select keywords, or you’ve lost ground. You might be surprised at how your strategies have been performing, but at least now you’re informed and know where you should invest more.

On the other hand, your social media presence is notoriously hard to evaluate. Getting more likes on Facebook doesn’t necessarily translate to sales or even clicks back to your website.

So how do you analyse your performance on social media?

  • Reach: You always want your posts to reach your target audience, so expanding reach is a good sign that you’re moving in the right direction.

  • Clicks: Many people respond to Twitter posts or comment on Facebook without ever visiting your website or engaging with your brand off the platform, so it's essential to track clicks more than likes or even shares.

  • Emotional reaction: On Facebook, it’s simple to assess how your followers feel about your post because they can sort themselves by emotion by clicking "angry" or "wow." On other platforms, the ratio between comments and shares might be more helpful. A lot of comments and few shares is, generally, bad news.

4. Check Each Platform or Strategy for Change

Cleaning always has to focus on the new. With social media and other forms of digital marketing, keeping up with trends is absolutely essential.

Here are a few ways to gauge how things have changed online:

  • Has your audience moved? Social media platforms fall in and out of favour. Newcomers might present you an opportunity to beat your competition. Falling rates of engagement might mean you should reduce your investment, in both time and dollars, on the platform. For example, Facebook may be reducing your ability to reach your audience.

  • Are you pursuing video content? For 2019, video content should be a central focus in most digital marketing strategies. Did you know that 1200% more shares are generated by social videos than images and text combined?

  • Have you personalised your approach? Salesforce research has demonstrated that 73 percent of customers want a more personalised experience online. There are many opportunities for personalisation in digital marketing, from segmenting your email marketing efforts to hosting more targeting Webinars for specific segments.

  • Is your strategy mobile? Going mobile isn’t just for websites. You need to make sure that every aspect of your digital marketing is easily accessed on a mobile device, from email to webinars.

5. Check Your Competition

After a bit of cleaning in your digital marketing strategy, you may have cut several areas. Now you have free resources, in time and money that you can reinvest elsewhere. It might be the right time to start a new strategy you’ve always wanted to try. Or, it might be the right time to check in on your competition and see if they are investing somewhere you aren’t.

Start with just your top three competitors. Check out their website to find where they are active in social media and which other digital media strategies they are using. You can read through their social posts and emails yourself, but you’ll get more information if you use a competitive analysis tool.

You might consider:

Of course, you don’t have to do it all yourself. You can hire a professional competitor analysis company to can help you identify new opportunities and strategise about how to make your brand stand out, in voice and content.

Don’t make the mistake of simply moving your digital marketing strategy to match your competitors. If you only do what they are already doing well, you’ll always be behind. Instead, look for blind spots they might have. Also, invest in strategies where you think you stand a chance of surpassing your competition, not where you might just catch up.

6. Create a Calendar

Cleaning doesn’t last for long—neither in your home nor in your digital marketing toolbox—unless you implement some organisation. The best way to keep your digital marketing running well through the year is to have a robust, master calendar.

Too many of us have a separate calendar for each platform, plus one for our blogs, and another for our email marketing. If so, it’s hard to see the full picture. Remember, many of your customers are interacting with you through two or more of these channels, so they need to be synchronised and unified. You want to reach out to your customers frequently, but you don’t want to send them the same message several times a day.

Your master calendar should show you the publishing schedule for multiple platforms, and it should point to the key goals each effort is meant to target. In a way, your calendar is more like a brief guide that you can use to refresh your mind; something to remind yourself of what you want to accomplish. This will facilitate your goal of re-evaluating your digital marketing on a daily basis.

Repeat This Digital Marketing Cleaning Next Year

Cleaning for your digital marketing strategy will help you stay on top of your goals and the latest changes in the digital marketing world if you do it routinely. 

You may be able to get away with re-evaluating your content marketing strategy yearly, but other aspects of digital marketing, like SEO, change much more frequently. It's best to run through these steps every few months, so you know if your digital marketing strategies are working and optimised. If you are in Hong Kong, you also have a chance to hone your skills by learning from the industry experts by taking our certificated course.

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

5 Things Not to Say to Your Digital Marketing Manager

One of the biggest challenges for many people in digital roles is they weren't necessarily intending to wind up working in digital marketing. There is a highly diverse mix of people that make up digital marketing departments. Often, there isn't even a digital marketing department per se. 

Regardless of what your digital marketing situation looks like, there is one thing you can be certain of: If you want to be successful and remain a member of that elite, highly talented team, then you should never utter any of the following words to your Digital Marketing Manager.

1. We’re out of money

This situation is often a given in digital marketing departments where the higher-ups fail to see the need for digital marketing. It’s hard to imagine in today’s digital world, but low budgets for digital marketing still exist. Instead of worrying about being out of money, a better approach might be to watch your spending.

It’s easy to lose track of spending, especially when you are using things such as pay per click in your strategy.

Here are a few ways to manage your spending more effectively:

  • Make sure you understand how PPC budgets work to get the most bang for your buck.

  • Get creative with your content making sure that you effectively repurposing it across all of your channels.

  • Use your in-house resources to provide content, talk to the experts in each area of the business, and leverage knowledge that will be helpful to your customers.

  • Don’t be afraid to look for influencers who might be willing to push your brand for free.

  • Learn to research more effectively for things such as free images and video to create posts and memes.

  • Get to understand analytics better so you can make knowledgeable recommendations on where best to spend your limited ad dollars.

  • Make sure you are using the right targets for ads, so you don't waste time and money.

2. Are you sure you want to go with PPC?

This one could not only tick your manager off, but it might also make them rethink why they hired you in the first place. According to Blue Corona, for every USD$1 spent on Google Ads, a company generates USD$2 and 63% of people said they would happily click a Google ad. PPC ads bring in close to 50% more conversions than organic traffic.

So how can this be? PPC has a huge learning curve, and it takes a lot of time and effort to get it right. It requires keen insight and a lot of time to make sure things are going as they should. If no one in the department gets PPC, raise your hand and offer to become the expert. Taking a course is a good start, and you will greatly improve your marketability when it comes time to make a career move

3. Something must be wrong with our Facebook Chatbot

There are more ways than ever to communicate with customers and find leads. Many people have benefitted from using Facebook's chatbot. It may work for you as well, but first, you’ll want to understand exactly how it can help you and how to get the most of it.

First and foremost, it only works when you are answering all the messages it generates. This can be done live, but there are other ways to make it more effective.

You can add a widget to your website so people can chat with you. The widget can keep track of and store those messages, as well as help you answer. Messenger chatbots also allow you to auto-respond, so you don’t have to be worried about falling asleep at the switch. This can allow you to capture leads and force them into the next step of the conversion funnel.

Messenger marketing known as chat blasts also outdoes email marketers with open rates as high as 70% to 80% compared to just 5% to 10% for email. So put that in your digital marketing pipe and smoke it.

4. I don’t think we’re doing so well on our campaign

Says who? If you don’t know how to use analytics properly, you are dead in the water. You better make sure you know how to prove you are failing, or show you are succeeding when it comes to digital marketing.

There is plenty of free analytics tools, and you should know some inside and out. Your boss doesn't have time to worry about it but will surely be in the mood to ask you how things are going someday.

According to Digitalist Magazine, analytics offers the following benefits:

  • Keyword insight to help drive traffic to your site

  • Insight into how your customers think when they shop or search

  • What channels you should be dedicating more time and money to

  • The quality of the pages on your site and channels and how they are working to get people further towards the end of their customer journey

  • Key insight into trends that are keeping people with you and sending them away

5. Looks like we’re going to miss our lead targets—again

This phrase is probably the worst thing you can say because it eats into your bottom line. As digital marketers, you need to harness the most successful digital techniques available for lead generation, including:

  • Gated content: Gated content generates between 19% and 45% conversions according to Unbounce. Create heavy duty white papers and eBooks that people have to request in order to access. That process collects email addresses for sales leads while helping to establish expertise. Larger, higher-quality content such as this can also be made into bite-size pieces to repurpose for other content.

  • Paid campaigns: If you aren’t one of the unlucky ones uttering words about budget issues, a PPC campaign on a professional channel like LinkedIn is a great option for B2B leads. According to HubSpot, 65% of B2B companies gain new customers using LinkedIn paid ads.

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

What is it Like to Work as a Digital Marketer in an Agency

Whether you’re talking Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay-Per-Click (PPC), content creation, social media marketing, mobile strategy or multi-channel analyticsdigital marketing skills are in huge demand right now in Hong Kong.

With the average business's main priorities being lead generation (63%), proving the ROI of their various marketing activities (40%) and securing ample budgets (28%) for their promotional activities, many modern brands are turning to digital agencies to enhance their efforts in a number of key areas.

Working with digital marketing agencies offers a business the opportunity to evolve their brand by gaining access to a wealth of niche skills, resources, and talent that aligns with their commercial goals. And if you’re a budding digital marketer looking for a rewarding, varied and potentially lucrative career path, working for a forward-thinking digital agency could be the answer.

But, what is working for a digital agency really like? In this article, we explore the benefits of working as part of a fast-paced marketing collective, as well as career progression within a dynamic digital agency.

The benefits of working for a digital agency

Working as part of a specialist digital marketing agency offers a host of potential benefits for any marketer looking to expand their skill set while working with an exciting mix of different clients:

A constant challenge

While digital marketers working for one brand might find that their role stagnates at times, working as a marketer in a digital agency will present a constant challenge, keeping you on your toes at all times.

Studies suggest that agencies between 10 - 20 active clients enjoy maximum profits with minimal operational issues. That’s a lot of different projects to sink your teeth into.

By working with a multitude of different clients, all with differing values, ideas, and business objectives, you'll need to morph your approach, mindset and tone of voice depending on the project.

In doing so, your role remains a constant challenge and as no two days will ever be exactly the same, you’re unlikely to become bored or complacent.

An ever-expanding skillset

We are living in the midst of a gaping digital skills gap. In fact, this particular deficit in skills could cost the UK economy alone up to £141 billion in incremental growth.

By upskilling your digital marketing abilities on a continuous basis such as digital marketing courses, you stand to enjoy a long and rewarding career in the field - and working in a digital agency is an effective way of honing your existing talents while acquiring fresh practical knowledge on a weekly basis.

Many modern agencies place a great deal of emphasis on driving digital innovation, and as such, many offer continuous learning opportunities as part of the job.

Moreover, by working with an eclectic mix of clients and wearing a multitude of hats on a regular basis, you’re likely to expand your skillset organically over time. Not only will this keep you motivated, but it will increase the likelihood of boosting your career prospects.

Creative autonomy

Naturally, the level of creative freedom or the autonomy you’re given to do your job is largely dependant on company culture - and that applies to every brand, business or organisation the world over.

But, due to the tight-knit and varied nature of being a digital marketer at an agency, your mix of clients will often look to you to come up with ideas and lead on campaigns or projects.

As such, most agencies offer digital marketers more job autonomy and creative freedom than they might enjoy at other companies.

If you’re trusted to use your skills and creative talents in a way that best suits the need your clients without too much micromanagement or scrutiny, you’re likely to remain engaged, motivated and flourish in your role.

The key qualities of an agency-based digital marketer

As a digital marketer working at a fast-paced digital agency, alongside a solid fundamental knowledge of digital marketing and ample experience in your field of expertise, you’ll need to work with to incredibly tight deadlines and wear a number of hats.

As such there are core attributes that you will need to work as a digital marketer in an agency setting which includes:

  • Self-motivated and are comfortable working to tight and often changing project or campaign deadlines.

  • A strong communicator that knows how to address different clients based on their outlook, values and organisational style.

  • Run on creativity; strategic and you enjoy collaborating on campaigns, projects and initiatives with a broad mix of different personalities.

The dynamics of working at a digital agency

It’s clear that working in a digital agency setting is varied, challenging and at times, high-pressured.

Most agencies will require their staff to have a comprehensive working knowledge of all of the key digital marketing disciplines, including SEO and SEM, PPC, content marketing, video production and data analytics.

That said, to even entertain working as part of a dynamic digital agency, you must gain experience and certification in all of these fundamental areas to stand a chance of survival.

Armed with a solid base knowledge of digital marketing, you will set solid foundations for career progression.

In addition, by choosing to specialise in a particular branch of digital marketing, you will thrive in a digital agency setting. Many agencies want their new recruits to jump in and start building client relationships as well as achieving results from day one. If you have an area of specialism, you’ll be able to delve deep into new projects and start making a difference straight off the bat.

If you’re able to make your mark, foster solid client relationships, and you make a distinct effort to hone and expand your skills both inside and outside the workplace, you stand to progress up the digital agency career ladder, working your way up to a lead account manager in your field of expertise, or even a strategic head of team.

Also, if you focus on gaining ample experience in managing budgets and creating data-driven strategies both for the agency and its clients, you could accelerate your career progression even further, rising to the status of a senior executive, decision-maker or in some cases, partner.

Unlike more formal work environments, there’s no 100% set career path or set remuneration package for a given role - these factors often depend on the size, success and model of the digital agency. But, to give you a rough guide of earnings, here’s an overview of some of the career options available in digital marketing and the average salaries.
 

"Once people reach that glass ceiling of ‘Director’ or ‘Head of’, the next objective is to work on other areas of digital marketing. The wish is easily granted, but this is often done myopically. " - Clarke Boyd

Potentially one of the greatest rewards of working as a digital marketer in an agency setting is that once you do progress to the top of the ladder the hands-on and entirely eclectic nature of the job will allow you the opportunity to evolve your skillset beyond your existing grasp.

As inherently, an agency must remain innovative, cutting-edge, forward-thinking and chameleon-like to survive, so must its staff. That said, if you do excel in an agency setting and reach ‘the top’, there will always be an opportunity to explore brave new areas of digital marketing or become an industry thought leader.

Also, as digital agencies are typically tight-knit and come with an ‘all hands on deck’ mentality, as an experienced agency professional with a wealth of tangible knowledge, your seniority will give you the chance to help others hone their craft and make their role more purposeful.

Final Thoughts

Working as a digital marketer in an agency setting comes with its share of potential rewards and opportunities. If you feel this is the path for you, by gaining a rounded fundamental skill set, gaining expertise in your preferred niche and asking yourself the right questions, you’re likely to enjoy a long and rewarding career.

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

What’s the Ideal Mindset of Today’s Modern Marketer?

Remember the good old days in Hong Kong, when getting a job just required years of experience or a trusty education to nail you the best positions in your chosen industry? Things were simple then, with clearly defined skills that made sense to the average HR person, not to mention to the people applying for the jobs.

However, today’s digital influences and technologies are changing the way we look at skills. A new landscape now dictates a new set of skills affectionately referred to as “soft skills.” In fact, soft skills have become a more valued skill set when it comes to digital marketing professionals. So just what are these high demand soft skills and what is the ideal mindset employers value in the modern marketer? Let’s take a look.

Hard versus Soft Skills: Who Wins?

The truth of the matter is that hard and soft skills work alongside each other to create a completely symbiotic set of qualifications the modern marketer needs. 

For a while, there was a strong pull towards technical skills as digital marketing began to grow. These skills included understanding how to work social media platforms, figuring out effective SEO tactics (white hat only please), and of course, understanding the cryptic world of PPC

However, as content started to influence digital marketing more and more, the hard skills from the technical side of the industry became less important. Instead, a new string of skills began to dominate the most effective digital marketers’ talents including:

  • Creativity: It is no longer enough to know how to work technology, digital marketers are now required to have a more creative mindset that will allow them to contribute new ideas and effectively interpret situations to better overcome the many challenges of modern marketing. This also means having a creative spirit that can turn a phrase with a keen understanding of the power of the well-written word.

  • Resourcefulness: Analytic minds thrive when they are more creative. Resourcefulness adds to this creative mindset allowing people to become more forward-thinking in their approach to access and use accurate sources of data for in-depth analysis that is more informed and insightful.

  • Adaptability: Today’s marketer never knows what might be coming down the pike and therefore the ability to make quick changes and adapt to new demands is a must. This is both for marketing strategies and marketing tactics.

  • Collaboration: The new mindset of the marketer has to understand the importance of collaboration. Many departments now work together to gain revenue, market share and the almighty followers who help generate leads. From sales to R&D and advertising to high-level executives, buy-in, teamwork, and shared insight are the new name of the game.

  • Leadership: Thought leaders must exist within organisations to lead effectively and inspire peers with new insights, shared valuable experiences and a hunger for innovation.

A New Complexity

This new mindset is arousing curiosity, leading to research across many different industries. According to Econsultancy their study on the new Skills of the Modern Marketer found that marketers are acknowledging the complexity of their roles. They are also seeing the value of soft skills and their importance in providing the right mix to work in hand with traditional expertise. 

This can be unsettling for both traditional marketers and marketers who have carved out a niche thanks to their hard skills. They are being out-skilled by marketers who combine the best of both worlds balancing hard skills with soft.

According to recent research by creative software icons Adobe, 40% of the marketers surveyed wanted to “reinvent” themselves. However, only 14% felt they knew how to accomplish this goal. This new complexity would suggest that the best way to achieve this would be to develop soft skills. 

Opportunities and Challenges

These changes to the industry offer opportunities for growth and learning. They also provide challenges to marketing professionals who find themselves lacking the skills required, but then don’t know how to improve.

 As well, these soft skills are less tangible and cannot necessarily be learned, especially if it’s being an intuitive writer or having a more creative mind. This calls for people who are self-motivated learners with a hunger to adapt their skills to work more effectively in a changing environment.

The opportunity you must embrace today is learning itself, as it allows you to be better equipped to focus on developing your own soft skills. Developing appreciation for the creative process and learning to integrate this new way of thinking into your strategy will allow you to become more adaptable. This adaptability will, in turn, allow you to embrace out of the box thinking to attack digital marketing with a more curious view. 

Adaptable Thinking and Creativity

Life-long learners hone their personal and professional knowledge to develop and evolve their skills. The hunger to know more about emerging trends and the latest technology provides a broad view of what is happening in the industry without the need to try and be an expert at everything. More importantly, constant learning allows you to become a better communicator so you can present your ideas and strategies in a manner that is clear to people of all different levels and backgrounds. 

You become an authority who is sought after as a problem solver, thought leader and trusted peer who people rely on to get results and meet goals. 

Effective Marketing in the Modern World

According to Econsultancy, there are broader skill areas that are also becoming significant for marketers in this modern world. The emphasis once again is on soft skills. Those interviewed stressed the need to combine the varying approaches and marketing expertise that are more qualities than qualifications. Those qualities included:

  • Adaptability

  • Articulation and persuasion

  • Hunger to learn

  • Collaboration

  • Creativity

  • Data-driven decision making

  • Empathy

  • Curiosity

  • Passion

Many of these qualities might sound familiar as they re-emphasise common themes including creativity, adaptability, learning, and collaboration.

 In a New York Times article, Laszlo Bock, SVP of People Operations at Google stated that the number one thing they look for when hiring staff was "learning ability." This hunger to learn is a very real but less tangible skill. It allows people to adapt on-the-job and identify value from a mess of information. This is the new thinking that creates self-motivated learning. 

The Skill of Articulation and Persuasion

The Econsultancy study also found that articulation and persuasion seemed to be the skill that came up most often. Participants found that marketers who are able to communicate their value clearly to others within an organisation can be more effective in their positions.

 This is because they not only know what they have to do but also understand the business requirements, allowing them to come up with digital solutions that meet business goals. They can collaborate with other people in the business including non-digital teams and traditional marketers so that these collaborators understand the importance of digital strategies. This gets all the important players on-board with their digital plans.

The Skill of Being Human

AI provides a valuable tool to marketers which is data. It can target data, collect data and sort data. However, no matter how sophisticated new technology becomes, it is human instinct and creative thinking by human minds that harness that information and use it to target customers. Humans come up with the content and digital marketing strategy that will create trust, nurture loyalty and earn brand love.

Emotion is needed to resonate with the prospects AI might send a sales team. Modern marketers have to learn to trust their instincts and find ways to leverage everything AI sends them. It is leveraging emotions to find value in data and personalise it to reach customers in meaningful ways. 

Technical skills change too frequently to hold value any more. Instead, soft skills have a longer life cycle keeping adaptability and learning at the top of the soft skills list.  

Remaining Relevant

Most of us secretly wonder what the future will bring. How can we remain relevant in a world where technology changes at the drop of a hat? What will the skill set of tomorrow look like?

 According to LinkedIn’s Emerging Jobs Report of the 20 fastest growing jobs in 2018, the top skills required to fill them included Marketing, Management, Sales, and Communication. This might come as a surprise. However, although technology might make mundane tasks redundant, it cannot replace soft skills.

The ideal mindset of a modern marketer requires the soft skills that can’t be automated. This is supported by LinkedIn’s data which listed the same soft skills we have mentioned again and again including creativity, persuasion, and adaptability. These are human qualities that have transitioned into skills.

Although science has shown that machines can learn, they can't combine technical and emotional skills. This adaptability allows us to be empathetic, emotional, and logical, using each of these skills to be results driven by knowing when and how to use each. Learning in hand with human emotion and marketing instincts create a super marketer who will always remain relevant and never become redundant. 


Source: Digital Marketing Institute

What is the Value of a Digital Marketing Certification?

Are you a new or seasoned digital marketer wondering what, if any value there is in obtaining a digital marketing certification?

If you have any knowledge of digital marketing, you know that you are always going to be seeking more. More knowledge, more skills, and more ways to show clients or employers that you can set their business apart. Adding a qualification to your resume is one of the best ways to do that while setting yourself up for success, especially in Hong Kong.

It's becoming a widely accepted fact that becoming a digital marketer does not necessarily require a four-year degree. It’s a field where proven ability supersedes four years of school—largely due to the fact that bachelor programs aren’t teaching the specific skills required to become a digital marketer

In fact, many would argue that digital marketing certification is even better than a college degree and may be the best way to demonstrate that you have invested time and energy into learning and mastering the skills of your craft.

What Makes a Certification Legitimate?

There have been plenty of courses, certificates, and certifications that have been sold by scammers trying to make a quick buck—so how do you know if the certification you are looking at is legitimate?

 Ask these questions to determine for yourself if the certification you are looking at will be beneficial to your career:

Are They Taught by Industry Professionals?

If the people teaching the courses are not adept at doing what they are teaching, you’re wasting your time and potentially money. Employers want their employees being taught real-world practical knowledge as it applies to this industry. And any good marketing institution respects that and hires top-notch teachers with a proven track record in the subject they are teaching.

Does It Offer Practical Knowledge?

Will you be able to take from this certification the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired and then apply them to the real world? Will it teach you new skills, or upskill ones that you already have? You want to look at how you will be able to translate what you learn into your career in digital marketing. If you can and will, then it’s looking good.

Is It Widely Accepted?

This might be harder to determine, but a little bit of research can help in this regard. What are former students saying after taking this course? Check for reviews. Unfortunately, not all programs are accepted equally so if you are looking at two that appear to meet the above criteria, this could be the deciding factor for you. 

What is the Difference between a Certificate and a Certification?

Certification

Certification recognises that you’ve taken a series of classes and passed an exam on the course material. The courses can be quite in-depth, covering a range of topics. Your certification may in some instances only remain valid for a set amount of time before you must recertify. Certifications can cost more because they are more in-depth than certificates, and you may have to pay a fee in order to take the exam.

Certificates

Certificates are given at the end of a course, usually covering a single topic. They are often given for participation in the course and not necessarily a reflection of merit. This does not discount their value if they teach you something useful. In addition, many are offered for free, so taking them requires only an investment of time. Plus, it doesn't hurt to add them to your resume.

What Are the benefits of Obtaining a Qualification/Certification?

The value of a digital marketing qualification to career development is immeasurable. Whether you have experience in the field or you’re just starting out, there is value to be gained. One of the more appealing aspects of obtaining a qualification/certification is that you don’t have to have prior educational experience or upgrade any courses to begin.

Some of the specific benefits of obtaining a qualification/certification include:

Staying On Top of New Developments

Certifications help you keep on top of new developments in the industry as they occur. With innovations in technology constantly emerging, continually upskilling will help you stay on top of these advances.

Employability

A recent study suggests that college graduates don’t seem to be as ready to enter the workforce as they think they are. Having certifications that show potential employers that you have the practical knowledge you need to succeed in your job is invaluable in this context.

Promotional Opportunities

Digital marketing involves such a diverse cross-section of skills. Adding one or two specialties to your niche can help you advance quickly in a company. For example, a content writer that masters PPC and SEO can easily become a content manager.

Demanding a Higher Wage

Your earning potential as a digital marketer is high. It is one of the top ten earning jobs that doesn't require a degree. Every certification that you add to your resume adds to your ability to demand a higher wage and gives you the confidence to know that you deserve it.

Set Yourself Apart From Your Peers

When all else seems equal, the number of certifications you’ve compiled will set you apart from your competition. It is not just that you have the certifications and the skills that come with them, but it demonstrates a drive for self-improvement that speaks highly to your character.

Offers Legitimacy

The reality is that there is still a lingering mentality that formal education is important. A digital marketing certification is where education and practical knowledge intersect. It meets the requirement of post-secondary education that focuses on teaching you the things you will actually need to know in the real world. 

How Much Does It Cost to Get Certified in Hong Kong?

That will depend entirely on what you want to become certified in. There are a number of free certifications available online for things like Google AdWords, Google Analytics, Facebook Ad Manager and more.

If you are looking to invest in your education, paid certifications are an incredibly valuable asset. We have a new course offering digital marketing certification, and much like traditional learning institutions, they have financing options available. A course that covers all of the fundamental elements of digital marketing in a way and demonstrates how all of the pieces work together will give you a competitive advantage.

The most exciting thing about this business is how accessible it is to those that are willing to put in the work to become an industry leader. If you want to become a digital marketer in Hong Kong, or you already are, adding qualifications/certifications to your resume is going to position you as a leader and an expert.

Many of the certifications available are very affordable, especially if you are comparing the cost to a college degree. This is making digital marketing an accessible option for those who are looking to change careers or upskill in their current one. 

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

Thinking about Freelancing? Be a Freelance Digital Marketer in Hong Kong.

The demand for digital marketers in Hong Kong is growing at such a rate that there are more jobs than people with the necessary skills to fill them. This is making way for a new kind of entrepreneur, the freelance digital marketer.

There are a plethora of possibilities emerging in this field for those who are willing to dive in feet first. It is a fast-paced game with ever-changing rules giving the advantage to those that are able to stay on top of the changes and keep up with the pace.

As it becomes more difficult for companies to hire in-house digital marketing managers, especially in Hong Kong, and the demand for digital marketing services continues to rise—companies are being forced to outsource. If you can position yourself as an expert in even just one of the areas that need to be outsourced, it can be all you need to begin a rewarding career freelancing as a digital marketing manager. A good starting point is to take a digital marketing course.

One of the benefits of this type of work is that it gives you the freedom and flexibility to work from virtually anywhere in the world with an internet connection. 

What does a Digital Marketing Manager Do? (And Why Are They so Hard to Come By?)

A digital marketing manager is the person responsible for developing and implementing a company's online marketing strategy. This includes tasks such as:

  • Developing and managing marketing campaigns

  • Branding and enhancing brand recognition

  • Social media management

  • Content marketing

  • SEO

  • PPC

  • Customer acquisition

  • Driving website traffic

This is such a new and fast-paced industry; there just aren't enough qualified professionals to meet the demand. Digital marketing managers have so many aspects that make up the day-to-day requirements of their job, that in order to fill the gap between need versus availability, savvy freelancers are honing in on what they are good at and getting paid for it.

Lena Elkins, a freelancer who coaches millennials on creating successful businesses, encourages her clients to figure out what they are good at, and then focus on that. This is great advice if you are considering making a move toward freelance digital marketing.

As companies are forced to outsource to freelancers, this provides a unique opportunity for freelancers to narrow their speciality. You can learn from the experts to know the different tasks you may have to deal with, thus finding out which skills you are more interested in developing.

What Services Can I Offer as a Freelance Digital Marketer?

In the world of digital marketing, you are in the business of offering value. This requires a mind-shift. 

It’s a hard habit to break, but the question needs to be more client focused. Not what can you do, but how can you help? 

As a freelance digital marketer, you have to sell yourself by showing the client how you and your services are valuable to them. 

Specific Areas of Focus for Freelance Digital Marketers

Facebook Ad Management

Some businesses base their entire marketing strategy on Facebook Ads because it is a powerful tool. It can be intimidating to the uninitiated, but a master of this craft has unlimited potential to attract clients.

Google AdWords

Running and maintaining Google Ads campaigns for clients and showing them that you can use this tool to increase their revenue.

Google has an extensive amount of information and tools to get you started. 

Social Media Management

Are you a social media butterfly? Can you post relevant, exciting and value-driven content across multiple mediums several times a day? Then someone needs you. 

Handling social media accounts requires you to be a quick thinker. You must stay connected throughout the day and be ready to respond when your client's potential customers have something to say.

Content Marketing

Writing relevant, value-driven content using keywords. It is an in-demand skill as more companies recognize the importance of providing value.

If you have a way with words and can write knowledgeably on things you know nothing about, this is a lucrative service that can earn you a great freelancing income. You can set your own rates based on your experience and skill. But starting out, you can expect to make about .02 to .05 cents per word.

When you want to break into this field working for a content mill, it is a great way to quickly gain experience in a multitude of areas. This can help you get an idea of what kind of clients you want to offer your services to as you build your own freelancing business.

SEO Management

Search engine optimisation is not going out of style anytime soon. Organic rankings in search engines are one of the most powerful tools in the digital marketing tool belt, and mastering search engine algorithms will make you an asset to any business with an online presence.

PPC

Pay-per-click is a mystery to some, and a headache to others. If you have mastery of this art, you will have no trouble finding businesses in need of your services. The benefit to this is that since the client only pays when it works, you are able to quickly show your value with data-driven results.  


Salary Expectations and Job Outlook


The demand for digital marketers is growing at such a rate that there are more jobs than people with the necessary skills to fill them. This is making way for a new kind of entrepreneur, the freelance digital marketer.

There are a plethora of possibilities emerging in this field for those who are willing to dive in feet first. It is a fast-paced game with ever-changing rules giving the advantage to those that are able to stay on top of the changes and keep up with the pace.

As it becomes more difficult for companies to hire in-house digital marketing managers, and the demand for digital marketing services continues to rise—companies are being forced to outsource. If you can position yourself as an expert in even just one of the areas that need to be outsourced, it can be all you need to begin a rewarding career freelancing as a digital marketing manager.

One of the benefits of this type of work is that it gives you the freedom and flexibility to work from virtually anywhere in the world with an internet connection. 

Take your first step today and learn how you can become a certified digital marketing professional with us!

Source: Digital Marketing Institute