digital marketing course

5 Steps to a Powerful Digital Marketing Strategy

According to a ‘Managing Digital Marketing’ study by Smart Insights, 46% of brands don’t have a defined digital marketing strategy, while 16% do have a strategy but haven’t yet integrated it into their marketing activity. But here’s the thing: if you don’t have a plan in place how can you expect to grow and innovate, to measure meaningful results and to learn from past mistakes?

It’s time to stop panicking about next year or next month and start crafting a plan that can pack a powerful punch. We’ve selected the 5 most important steps that you, the decision maker should take to ensure that your digital marketing efforts create a real impact on your bottom line.

1. Know What You Want (& Set the Objective)

Nail Your Mission:

  • Define your business’ overall mission/objective first – your digital marketing mission must fit into your grand plan.

  • Answer this question: what is the overriding objective you want your digital marketing efforts to achieve (for example do you want to position your company as the go-to online provider for computer parts in Europe)? This is your mission.

Set & Measure Your KPIs:

  • Get specific with your KPIs by identifying the figures you will be held accountable for achieving.

  • Among other skills that can be useful - get realistic with your KPIs by analysing your previous digital marketing efforts first – this will ensure you aim for a positive increase on your current results, while helping you to avoid setting your expectations too high.

  • Identify a method to help you measure each of your KPIs – for example, will you use Google Analytics to measure your conversions, your individual social media analytics to track engagement or a tool like BuzzSumo to assess the success of your content marketing?

  • Here’s a handy KPI template for you to steal: (Insert goal, e.g. ‘Increase traffic’) by (insert figure)% in (insert number of months).

  • Before you begin planning your KPIs find out which metrics matter most to your CEO.

2. Analyse Your Past (& Learn From Your Mistakes)

You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) go into the planning period in the dark. Analysing your digital marketing strategy’s past success and failures can help focus you on setting the best KPIs for your business. You, therefore, might want to complete step one and two together.

Choose a time period you’d like to analyse (it’s best to set this time period as the same length of time you plan for your new marketing strategy) – for example decide on whether you’re going to analyse the previous year, quarter or month.

How to Analyse:

  • Determine the time period you would like to analyse and set your Google Analytics calendar to match this timeframe.

  • Try out Google’s Benchmarking Reports in your Analytics account to compare your progress to your competitors.

  • Don’t forget to analyse your competitors’ marketing strategy too – create an analysis spreadsheet of their online activities (you can use SEMrush to identify the SEO strategy of a competitor, i.e. what keywords are driving the largest volume of organic traffic to their website. It can also be used to compare the organic and paid traffic of different websites so again quite useful to see how aggressive they’re being with their paid spend.)

  • Ask yourself this question at regular intervals: is there anything else I need to analyse that I haven’t thought of before – e.g. should I be testing the times I post my content or the types of images I use?

3. Remember Who You’re Talking to (& Speak Their Language)

Don’t let the planning take away from the people you’re trying to reach. You already know who your audience are (at least we hope you do) but sometimes they’re the first thing a digital marketer can forget amidst the KPI setting, budget fretting and channel selection.

You’re not going to make this mistake – not this time. Instead you’re going to put your audience at the heart of your digital marketing strategy, cater to their emotional needs and satisfy their deepest desires. How? Through the creation of well fleshed out and well thought out personas, of course.

Develop Useful Personas:

  • Start with the basics and note down all the demographic information you know about your target consumer – like age, gender and location.

  • Then dig a little deeper and Identify the problems you can help your target persona solve.

  • Delve into their emotional desires, goals, aspirations and fears and document all of the factors that could make them tick (think about their conscious and unconscious desires).

  • You can dive deep into the ‘Audience Reports of your Google Analytics account to identify key characteristics of your target persona like age, sex, career, etc.

  • When creating your personas this is the perfect time to identify the people who will be of influence to them – these will be the influencers your marketing strategy should target. When you have your personas, you can then work on your content marketing accordingly.

4. Identify Your Means (& Stick to Your Budget)

Three things are important for identifying your means: these are your budget, your digital channels and your team (or people). It is important to take stock of all of your resources before deciding on what else you might need for the next period.

For example, now is the perfect time for creating an audit of your existing digital channels and to decide whether you’re going to outsource specific sections of your digital marketing and whether you need to set budget aside for a new hire or two.

How to Identify Your Means:

Your Budget:

  • Define your overall digital marketing budget.

  • Look at the historical data of what has worked before (for example, have any specific channels brought you quality leads at a low cost?)

  • Decide whether you will use paid promotion (for, example Adwords or paid ads on social media).

  • Allocate a specific portion of the budget for each digital channel you want to use for paid promotion (delve into your Analytics to help you assess the most cost effective digital channels with the largest reach and conversions and the lowest Cost Per Click).

  • If a certain element of your paid promotion strategy isn’t bringing you the results you desire, revisit it and invest the allocated budget figure into the channel that’s bringing you the best results.

Your People:

  • Look at your current team and assess what you are capable of achieving (be realistic here and ensure that no-one will be over stretched or over worked).

  • Identify whether you need to hire more people and whether you have the means to do so.

  • Decide whether all of your digital marketing activity will take place in house or if you’ll need to outsource some elements to a third party agency.

  • Get each of your team members to review their digital marketing activity and brainstorm a few ideas for their future marketing strategy (the more autonomy your employee has in their role the more they’ll be on board with your new plan).

Your Channels:

  • Review your current digital marketing channels and decide which channels to keep and whether you’d like to invest in any new ones (this depends on where your customers are and the time you have available).

  • Clearly articulate what each digital channel is trying to achieve.

  • Make sure you have at least one KPI attached to each of your digital channels.

5. Make the Plan (& Don’t Stick to It)

‘Create a plan and don’t stick to it? But, but, what do you mean?’ Before the panic sets into the most organised of digital marketers let me explain…your plan is never going to be perfect from the outset. Not every assumption you make is going to be correct.

And although you’ve taken every care to craft a carefully constructed plan based on a set of insightful assumptions and analysis you still can’t predict exactly how your customers will behave. It is, therefore, essential to continuously measure and monitor the performance of your digital marketing strategy and to change elements where needed.

Create Your Digital Marketing Calendar:

  • Try creating your timeline using Google Calendars – that way you can share it with your team members and allow them to edit it where necessary.

  • Highlight the key campaigns you’ll create and promote throughout the year and allocate a timeframe for each.

  • Document the digital channels needed to ensure the success for each campaign.

Review Your Marketing Strategy & Identify Changes Needed:

  • Create a measurement and monitoring plan (this should fit in with your KPIs).

  • Check the success of the individual elements of your digital marketing strategy at continuous intervals.

  • If something is not working (i.e. you’re not achieving the KPIs you’ve set out) isolate the different elements and try to identify what is not working (e.g. is it the time you’re posting content or the taglines you’re using for your ads?).

  • Revisit your previous analysis, personas and budget allocation and try something new.

  • Create a clearly defined KPI for your new venture.

Want to take a step further in order to come up with even better digital marketing strategies, or be a better digital marketer? A digital marketing course will be helpful.

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

What Are the Benefits of Offering Digital Marketing Education?

Just 50 years ago, the idea of having constant, real-time updates of current events in another part of the world, or a vast social media network exchanging ideas was unheard of. Today, it’s something that people take for granted, especially in cities like Hong Kong.

However, with such immense changes to technology and society comes dramatic shifts in the way we do business and advertise it. Marketing, one of the cornerstones of any successful business, is rapidly changing in the 21st century. 

Successful marketing is now digital marketing, which is why digital marketing education is crucial in today's job market, for a flourishing career, and for any professional interested in staying relevant.

Marketing is constantly evolving

Just two years ago, the Wall Street Journal, proclaimed that traditional marketing was being replaced

There was an understanding that the old methods of marketing, such as billboards on roadsides or even 30-second commercials on broadcast television, were losing their effectiveness. That did not mean marketing was dying, far from it, in fact. It was simply an acknowledgment that the most effective means of marketing was no longer the older, established ones.

With online methods of advertising and engaging consumers, digital marketing education is vital. If traditional marketing is no longer working, then what is? 

“Analog media” such as television, print, and radio are still alive, but they no longer occupy the same niche in consumers’ lives.

Computers have become the nerve centre of most daily activity, whether in the form of a desktop, laptop or the ubiquitous smartphone. In fact, the smartphone is the most popular computing device in the world, with 6 billion phones in use in 2018! That’s a huge number compared to the figures for television viewing, newspaper circulation, or radio listeners. So what will digital marketing education cover in this new, digital world?

Targeted marketing is effective marketing

A recent Neilsen study on television programming and marketing revealed a disturbing trend. The 18–24 demographic of viewership shrunk by about 50% in just five years in the United States. And it is safe to assume the trend applies to Hong Kong as well.

But of course, this younger demographic hadn’t just given up on video consumption. They were still consuming huge amounts of video content; they just weren’t getting it from television anymore. They were watching videos on the internet, primarily on YouTube. In other words, they were seeking out their own kind of content, the type that was targeted at them.

Analog media methods have two major weaknesses for marketers. 

1) Analog is passive, and it is low on data collection. A television ad, for example, is like setting off fireworks. It goes up into the air, and it creates light and noise, and all the audience can do is watch it, then go home. 

2) The extent of the relationship between the marketing, media, and the audience; it’s entirely one-sided. The audience has no way to interact with the media; they can only consume it. And a marketer has no engagement with the consumer.

All of this means that there’s a lot to learn now for businesses, especially those that rely on traditional or analog media marketing. Continuing to invest in conventional marketing will yield lower, less certain results. 

For a new generation of marketers, not knowing how to take advantage of innovative, modern platforms means being hamstrung for relevancy when applying for jobs.

The Benefits of Offering a Digital Marketing Education

here is a growing demand for digital marketing skills, from businesses and students. Getting a digital marketing education benefits businesses that invest in training sessions and courses, students who are looking for employment, digital marketers who want to stay relevant, career changers who want new prospects, and of course, schools that want to increase their profits.

Investing in digital marketing education is a way to future-proof workers who can bring a highly desirable set of skills to the workforce.

Graduates

For people who are still in school, considering graduation and career choices, the increasing importance of digital marketing means career opportunities. 

Unlike other jobs that are vulnerable to automation in the future, digital marketing is something that will always require a human touch. A concentration in digital marketing immediately gives an edge when it comes to applying for jobs in today's digital business world.

Established Professionals

For employers, getting existing employees to upgrade their skill set with a digital marketing education is a wise investment. A trusted employee that already produces good results is invaluable to any business, but to help that employees grow is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve the bottom line. 

Employees feel more loyalty to a company that is willing to invest in their skills and help them thrive, and at the same time, the company benefits from a tried and tested asset with an upgraded, modernised skill set.

Career Changers

Nearly $50 billion was spent last year on digital advertising and the figure continues to grow. Many people already in the workforce are aware of how digital is affecting every industry, and they want to either remain relevant to their companies or get better job prospects through retraining and professional development.  

A program or course developed to enhance the skills of working people will boost enrolment rates and the number of qualified individuals who can fill open digital marketing positions. 

Quality Education Still Matters

Program coordinators or business executives who are looking at their curriculum or training sessions understand that education is always changing. 

With new technologies, markets, and industries, there’s a growing need for graduates and employees with relevant knowledge and training in digital marketing. In order to remain relevant, quality education must have its finger on the pulse of the conditions in the marketplace and workforce. Schools need to focus on offering what will get their students meaningful employment while businesses need to provide employees with opportunities to bring more value.

A valuable digital marketing education (for students and businesses) should not look like a diploma mill. The courses and topics should cover strategies, tools, and trends that prepare students for real-life situations and challenges. 

Digital marketing education is an area of professional development that is growing larger with each passing year due to the changing nature of jobs across industries and departments. 

Final Thoughts

Digital marketing is an ever-evolving field that continues to grow more important.

It’s not going to go away anytime soon, and organisations that can offer education in this field are future-proofing both upcoming graduates and established career professionals who want to broaden their skillset and prospects.


Source: Digital Marketing Institute

How to Become an SEO Professional

Whether you’re making your marketing content or not, the number of clicks on your page matters. When organic traffic increases, so does potential revenue. Investing time to become an expert in SEO is an essential part of any successful business marketing plan.

You may be switching careers or just starting out; perhaps, you’re a digital or traditional marketer looking to learn more. In any case, the first thing that any SEO professional knows is that SEO stands for “search engine optimisation." SEO is the practice of creating content designed to increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your site via organic results on search engines.

Search engines have algorithms, “crawlers,” that scan the pages of your site and organise yours and others on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Practicing SEO involves understanding the rules of the search engine’s crawler to make sure your posts skyrocket to the top of the first SERP.

An SEO professional stays current in this quickly moving digital marketing field. Though making your content according to SEO seems like a daunting task, it’s easy to grasp when you take the time to figure out how search engines work and how you can tailor your content to get it into the highest-ranking search results.

Here’s how to become an SEO professional and get as many clicks as you can.

Read, Read, Read

SEO writing is a constantly-changing field because search engines are always changing. It pays to stay on top of any updates to Google and know what current software patents they have.

A useful tool to unravel the mysteries behind the engine is checking out sites like Search Engine Roundtable. Here, authors fluent in SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) create forums and threads about SEM topics. If you’re looking for discussions and information about Google’s recent bugs and tests not only in Hong Kong but in places all around the world, this is the site to check out.

Search Engine Land is another great platform to learn more about what industry experts are saying about current search engine trends. They even have SEO search engine specific content where you can learn about the difference between optimisation on Google and Bing.

A great way to get software-specific information is to check out companies that offer SEO solutions.

Software like YoastMoz ProConductor Searchlight, and Serpstat are good SEO tools that digital marketers use to improve their rankings on SERP. You can run your content through these products to get keyword analysis, backlink tracking, and trend analysis – these all provide useful insight into how to make your content more SEO friendly.

Check out an SEO software company’s blog to acquaint yourself with the kind of services they offer and what you’re looking for. Yoast has a great blog that’s specific to the SEO services they offer. Here, you can keep abreast of the kinds of updates coming to products that Yoast runs on. For example, their post about WordPress’ message to consumers to update their PHP for the upcoming WordPress 5.2.

Get Hands-On

All of that SEO reading can get repetitive and confusing after a while. Take a break and get hands-on by reading through some training guides or getting enrolled in an SEO course.

You’re never going to get better at SEO without practice. Training guides and courses are a great way to get real-life experience without buying the software.

Search Engine Land has a helpful video with Common Craft for beginners explaining how a search engine’s algorithm organises content’s position on SERP according to its words, titles, subtitles, and links.

They also offer a complete SEO Guide on common pitfalls and ways to improve your search rankings. If you don't have time to read the 9-chapter guide, they have a Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors that summarises the guide’s information for quick reference.

Yoast offers a variety of SEO courses designed to improve your SERP ranking. They also offer practical all-around training, specific copywriting training for a writer looking to make their content more SEO friendly, tips for web designers and marketers looking to improve their website’s SEO, more technical SEO training, and coding specific training.

Moz also offers an SEO guide for improving your rankings. Their guide is useful for beginners to people fluent in search engine algorithms. Moz takes a triangular approach to teaching SEO; their guide starts with a general focus on improving rank and then narrows its focus to making your content and website more competitive.

If you want a guide not created by an SEO software company, SEO by the Sea offers consultation, training, and coaching for people interested in being more web visible. 

Be Both Analytical and Creative

SEO is a unique field that blends creative content with the demands of a search engine algorithm. An SEO professional writes content with a two-pronged marketing approach. They must try to appeal to both people and search engines.

There are two types of SEO expert – the developer and the marketer. Website development improves the "crawlability" of the webpages, while the digital marketing aspect makes the links, titles, and diction more SEO friendly.

No matter how much people enjoy what you write, there’s no way it’s going to create traction and generate organic traffic if it doesn’t hit the top of the SERP. On the other hand, nobody wants to read content or buy a product that’s surrounded by a mass of keywords designed to exploit Google’s algorithm.

From January 2018 to 2019, Google searches took up 74% of all internet searches. If you’re not marketing your content in a way that’s Google-friendly, you’re missing out on most potential clicks.

Since algorithms scan and organise your page according to its code, link structure, titles, and diction, it helps to have a fundamental understanding of the technical aspects of SEM before you start writing and designing. 

Anyone Can Become an SEO Pro

It’s not hard to become an SEO pro with a little practice. Anyone can learn how to use search engine algorithms effectively regardless of whether they have a degree in digital marketing or computer science. Whether you’re transitioning careers, just at the beginning of your professional life, or looking to improve your digital marketing tactics, SEO fluency is vital, and it’s easy to learn.

Bill Slawski

Bill Slawski, the editor of SEO by the Sea and Director of SEO Research at Go Fish Digital, attended law school and worked as a legal and technical administrator at the Superior Court of Delaware for 14 years before he joined an SEO agency. Bill Slawski uses his expertise in law to focus on search engine patents and white pages. In Slawski’s words:

"Just because a search engine has a patent on an invention doesn’t mean that they are currently using it. The search engine may have technical or business reasons why they may not be or have decided to follow a different approach. But a patent is a clear signal that a search engine has researched a topic and has had search engineers and lawyers work together to protect their intellectual property and to exclude others from using the processes described in those patents."

Bill Slawski is just one of many people who have used their SEO knowledge to supplement their skills and experience. Understanding how to optimise search engines for your website is a transferrable skill that you can use across fields, businesses, and organisations.

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

Top 3 Social Media Benchmarks You Need To Know For Your Business

There’s no denying that social media has exploded on the online landscape. There are over four billion people around the world that use the Internet, and over three billion of them use social media; and it is no different in Hong Kong.

With that many people on social media, it’s no wonder that many businesses have realised that leveraging the scope of social media means engaging with a huge portion of the potential market, including launching appealing digital marketing campaigns.

Anyone that ignores social media in favour of traditional advertising channels like television and radio is in danger of losing relevancy as these platforms shrink in popularity.

Choosing to dive into social media and engage in online marketing in this arena means wading into new territories. Hashtags, shares, and a whole new suite of data and tracking metrics makes for a complex marketing environment. One of the chief concerns is how, aside from tracking your sales, do you assess your progress? How do you know how well you’re doing in your social media marketing when compared to your competitors? 

We’re going to break it down for you and explain three of the key social media benchmarks you should be tracking in different businesses across different platforms. 

The Cornerstone: Engagement

In a general sense, the “one metric that rules them all” is engagement.

Engagement broadly refers to whether or not people are even interacting with your marketing or not. Is there participation? Are people rating, sharing, liking or commenting on your content? When a video requires someone to click or tap on it to play it and view it, are users actually doing so?

All of these interactions are classed as engagement, and when we look at the different benchmarks across various social media platforms and measure their performance, we’re often just accessing more granular, specific forms of engagement, some of which may be specific to a particular social media platform, such as hashtags on Twitter.

The Best Metrics

There are a few key engagement metrics that help show how the benchmarks for different businesses are performing. These metrics are a mix of what a social media account holder is doing, versus how the audience is reacting to those actions. The metrics you should be looking at are things like:

1. Post Frequency

How much content is your social media platform producing? Post frequency can be measured in posts per day or posts per week. It’s a crucial starting metric for measuring your effectiveness. If you’re noticing no decrease in engagement with fewer posts per week, or you see you an increase in engagement with more posts per day, this is important information for formulating your marketing strategy.

2. Trending and Top Hashtags

This doesn’t apply to all social media platforms, but it matters a lot on Twitter and Instagram. By affixing a hashtag to a word or phrase, that hashtag becomes searchable. Paying close attention to the trending hashtags on Twitter or Instagram is a good way to exploit that trend. Strategic use of hashtags can yield good results.

3. Engagement Rate

This metric varies wildly depending on the Internet environment you’re in. Engagement rate is all about measuring participation. Comments, shares, and other interactions are engagements on Facebook, while time spent watching videos, liking or subscribing is part of the engagement rate metrics for YouTube. 

Even a website can measure engagement rates, such as time spent on a particular page, scroll depth, or reaching out to contact or comment on the website.

You can use all of these different metrics in one form or another across different social media platforms, but they can have very different implications, depending on the business and the platform. 

Social Media Benchmarks You Should Consider Based on Industry

Here are some of the benchmarks that a business should look at when it comes to social media across different platforms.

Higher Education

Post-secondary institutions such as universities and colleges are, unsurprisingly, very age-oriented. This can be seen in the way the benchmarks vary dramatically based on the different social media platforms, which themselves skew towards different age demographics. The RivalIQ breakdown across different platforms gives us these benchmarks:

  • Facebook

On average, Higher Education groups posted about 1.08 times daily on Facebook, with a return of about 0.12% engagement per post. This is not very impressive, but it is also consistent with the fact that Facebook caters primarily to the Baby Boomer and Generation X demographic, which doesn’t have the same interest in school.

  • Instagram

This is the clear winner for benchmarks when it comes to higher education. At just 0.49 posts per day, Instagram commands an impressive 3.96% average engagement rate per post. This is largely due to the age of the average Instagram user, between 18 and 24, a key post-secondary age range, and the use of photos and specific features like Carousel.

Influencers

One benchmark that many in different businesses want to keep an eye on is influencers. Celebrity endorsements have always been popular, but personalities have been taken to a whole new level online, with niche personalities commanding sizable audiences. Here’s how influencers stack up.

  • Facebook

Influencers command the space when it comes to Facebook. With 0.95 posts per day, they still garnered a 0.12% average engagement rate. Compared to other industries on Facebook this is quite good.

  • Instagram

Influencers did better on Instagram, getting the most engagement from photos, at 0.76 posts per day, and a 1.97% engagement rate per post.

Retail

Selling things online is nothing new, and marketing these retail products continues to be a staple across all the major social media platforms. Here’s how retail did in terms of benchmarks.

  • Facebook

Retail didn’t really “move the needle” one way or the other on Facebook with about average metrics. 1.12 posts per day were met with an engagement rate average of 0.08% - a consistent figure.

  • Instagram

Instagram is the winner again when it comes to retail. At just 0.79 posts per day, and an engagement rate of 0.97%, it’s clear that shoppers respond more strongly on Instagram.

Hotels & Resorts

Travel is still a popular pastime, and hotels and resorts continue to entice visitors on all the different social media platforms, but with different results.

  • Facebook

Numbers dropped all around for Facebook, with fewer posts at 0.77, and less engagement at 0.13%.

  • Instagram

Instagram did 0.64 posts per day, at 1.73% engagement, and this was an overall drop for the industry on this platform.

Food & Beverage

Everyone loves good food and drink, but that didn’t necessarily translate to big social media numbers.

  • Facebook

There was an average of 0.48 posts on Facebook, with an engagement rate of 0.12%. Not bad, but a dip in performance compared to previous years.

  • Instagram

Instagram averages were at 0.45 for daily posts, and 1.69% engagement, which is a drop-off in performance by about half.

The Future

An important thing to note for these metrics, especially for Facebook, is changes in the algorithm

Facebook is currently “unstable” in the sense that they are reorganising their algorithms to try to come down harder on harmful content, such as fake news and bots. This means that the results for what people see are less reliable and predictable than they have been in the past.

However, things are always in flux. Facebook continues to remain the dominant social media platform, and with more social platforms evolving and coming on the scene, there’s still a lot of room for surprises and upsets. This is not to say there is little we can do; in fact, there is plenty we can do to up our social media game: one way is to continue to invest in content marketing, as good contents always help, and learn from the industry experts to keep our social media game up to speed.


Source: Digital Marketing Institute

7 Ways to Become the Best Digital Marketer

In the modern world, our lives are much more intertwined with the digital world than they were even ten years ago. In fact, over half – 53% – of the world’s population can currently access the internet from various mobile devices, with 42% of people having access to the internet.

With so many people playing, working, and shopping online, it's no wonder that digital has moved to the forefront of the marketing department's priorities. From maintaining relevance in their customer's mind to building a profitable brand, companies, organisations, and businesses are starting to invest a lot in digital marketing

Whether you've set your sights for a future career as a digital marketer or want to level-up your skills, certain tactics and steps can be taken to find success in any position. Between working for yourself as a freelancer and landing a high-level digital marketing position in an organisation, there are a variety of jobs available to those with relevant and up-to-date skills. 

So what can you do to become the adaptable, in-demand digital marketer that companies are seeking? Here are 7 key tips that will help you specialise, strategise, and streamline your career as a digital marketer.

1. Attend Networking Events

Although knowledge and information on digital marketing are widely available from sources such as podcasts and online articles, investing in a trip to a professional conference offers you benefits that other informational sources just can't. 

At these conferences or networking events, you have the opportunity to listen to industry experts in Hong Kong, take advice from best-in-class digital marketing professionals and get a glimpse of the direction that the digital marketing industry is heading in. They are often full of interesting events, workshops, and lessons, all geared to help you enhance your skillset and expand your understanding of why you do what you do.

Not only can these local or international conferences revamp your professional skills, but they give you the opportunity to build better professional interpersonal relationships. 

2. Learn from Digital Marketing Brands and Entrepreneurs

If you're considering or just starting out in a career in digital marketing, making the investment in a professional digital marketing conference may sound like too big of a leap. Luckily, there is a variety of progressive and informative content online geared towards making your career in digital marketing a success.

These digital marketing 'thought leaders' have the experience, expertise, and knowledge needed to create digital content that is extremely accessible for beginners. And since most of these thought leaders are digital marketers themselves, they know exactly how to make their informative content easy to find on search engines and across social media platforms. 

Chances are you've already seen articles from digital marketing experts like Neil Patel and Service as a Software (SaaS) providers such as HubSpot. These professionals have created content directed towards industry newcomers and high-level marketers alike, helping you reach your goals as a digital marketer in a field that can sometimes feel like it is continually changing.

3. Connect with Like-Minded Individuals

As a digital marketer, a large part of what you do is developing communities online. Whether it's around your personal brand or for a global organisation, an active community can make or break your business. So why wouldn't you want to be actively involved in a like-minded community of digital marketers?

Active digital marketing communities either online or offline can help you recognise the importance of what you do and how it fits within the 'big picture' of your business and your life. 

When you're able to communicate your frustrations openly or simply ask a question about an area of digital marketing you're unfamiliar with, you can gain confidence in your abilities and push yourself to both learn and try new strategies and processes.

4. Find a Digital Marketing Internship

Like with any internship position, many individuals take them for the opportunity to be exposed to a professional environment that pushes their capabilities forward. An internship is often challenging, but when you're surrounded by the right team of professional marketers, you can learn from both the mistakes and successes they've experienced over the years.

Not only an internship can help you expand your digital marketing portfolio and experience, but it can help you determine what you appreciate in a work environment. 

As there are so many facets of digital marketing, you may find that you appreciate solitude when trying to write creative content, or instead that you thrive completing a collaborative content strategy to push a new product or service.

Although you can take the time to learn and experience facets of digital marketing for yourself, an internship will put you face to face with the real-world roadblocks that marketers must overcome and the processes that help them become the renowned marketing team that they are.

5. Become a Member of a Professional Body

Did you know that becoming a certified member of a professional body isn’t just for service-based careers like architects, solicitors, or doctors? 

Digital marketing is a necessary and growing industry around the world, meaning that being a member of a professional digital marketing representative body can help you stand out from the competition when trying to land your dream job.

Often, becoming a part of a professional body can only be achieved after completing a certificate program. For digital marketers, a Digital Marketing Professional Certification training course can qualify you to be a certified digital marketing professional. These courses often cover essential facets of digital marketing, including:

6. Stay Up to Date on the State of Digital Marketing

In the same way that programs, apps, and social media platforms are ever-evolving, so is the way in which digital marketers must interact with audiences. From keeping up with popular online acronyms to knowing how artificial intelligence (AI) is impacting the way people use technology, the world of digital marketing is ever-changing, and it takes adaptable digital marketers to keep up.

To become a best-in-class digital marketer, make sure that you are staying up to date with industry issues, valuable content, and various updates. 

The good news? Keeping up with the digital marketing industry isn't hard. Incredibly informative podcasts on the subject are widely available, and websites such as Buffer and the Content Marketing Institute write clear and well-researched pieces on basically anything you’d want to know about digital marketing.

Whether you subscribe to these publications to receive regular notifications of new content in your mailbox or prefer to tune into a podcast on your morning commute, this newfound understanding of your industry and its inner workings can help you become a digital marketing expert.

7. Practice Continuous Learning

Although education can be a valuable asset to any career in digital marketing, learning shouldn’t stop when school is done. Investing in training throughout your digital marketing career can help you become a stand-out digital marketer with a varied, in-demand skill set.

As we mentioned above, the digital marketing industry is continually evolving, meaning that your knowledge of the industry should be, too. A career in digital marketing allows you to follow your curiosities by taking advantage of available training sessions. 

As you know, you’re much more likely to follow through with a course or certification if it’s an area you are interested in. Curious to know how PPC advertisements work? Want to know what factors create a persuasive sales page that gets results? 

There are plenty of digital skills training courses available both online and offline, so don’t be afraid to invest in your career.

Becoming a Best-In-Class Digital Marketer

Are you eager to propel your digital marketing career to the next level? The tactics above are designed to help you learn, grow, and excel as a digital marketer, both online and offline. A career in digital marketing can be rewarding, allowing you to understand both your own goals and the world around you a bit better.

Whether you are aiming to start a successful self-run digital marketing business and brand or want to skyrocket to a management position on your digital marketing team, the industry is full of opportunities for those who are willing to put in the time to hone their craft and adapt to changing demands.

If you’re interested in reputable digital marketing training, a professional diploma or postgraduate diploma in digital marketing from the Digital Marketing Institute may propel you to bridge the gap between your current professional situation and your dreams.


Source: Digital Marketing Institute

How Are Jobs Evolving in the Digital Marketplace (& What Does it Mean for Education)?

We're living in a world where career considerations have to include a future-proofing plan. 

Many people live in fear that their jobs will be lost due to artificial intelligence and other forms of technology. However, learning to look at the changing digital marketplace as evolutionary can provide a clear picture of how continuing education can help improve chances for job security today and into the future.

As jobs evolve and skills gaps widen, employees and employers need to look for ways to upgrade skills to ensure their skills and knowledge are relevant. For the education sector, these changes can provide great opportunities provided colleges, universities and training providers know how to tap into the marketplace. 

Technology Skills

Between 2012 and 2016, the Association for Talent Development analysed over 30 million job descriptions asking for technology skills and experience. 

They reported that 60% of the jobs listed included technology skills and experience for non-IT jobs and discovered some other interesting facts about the role technology plays in the workplace.

Beyond the IT Department

Today, an understanding of technology is required across all departments and functions. Although the IT department still fulfils an important role in providing technology to business, almost 80% of business leaders have recruited employees with technical skills or experience instead of being reliant on IT alone.

As well, over 75% of workers require analytics tools and technologies to perform their jobs. This trend is tied to an increase in digital marketing, products delivered online, and the growing use of the cloud.

Security Skills

Security skills are not related to loss prevention or building management. Instead, the rise of breaches circling around personal and corporate information pose a new threat that has transformed the need for heightened cybersecurity.

Chief information security (CIS) officer positions have risen in profile with 20% finding themselves in front of corporate boards of directors who want to know what they are doing to protect corporate information. 

This means the role of the CIS has become a highly visible position. Security-related skills have also become a benefit for many marketing and finance job roles. 

More than Computer Literacy

Computer literacy is a given for just about any job today. However, there is a growing demand for technology skills once reserved for IT positions such as “solutions design” and “user interface.”

These additions to job descriptions span many different roles including HR and finance. Other job requirements once designated to IT departments include analytics skills, digital management skills, and experience managing technology vendors.

Closing the Skills Gap

The increasing demand for technology skills shows the strong shift towards the digitised workplace and the new skills more jobs will require.

Technology should not be seen as something that will replace humans, but instead is the reason humans have to be forward thinking on skills development. The desire to re-educate even the most educated professional is more real than ever before.

Leaders and workers alike will have to consider how they can contribute to the changing digital landscape to close the skills gap created by changing technology. This rapid innovation requires a new mindset and skill set that is adaptive in nature.

The world has changed the way products and services are delivered. These changes have altered the way technology is used from the manufacturing floor to the way marketers advertise their products. Efforts at adaptation must be made to improve technical knowledge and experience in order to further careers that can be sustained well into the future.

The education sector has the perfect opportunity to tap into the demand for digital skills across roles and industries by providing up-to-date and industry aligned qualifications that are recognized in the workplace. 

The Role of Education

The promise of increased productivity through automation raises questions for policymakers and business leaders who are struggling with the impact that automation will have across many facets of business. 

That includes jobs, in general, the skill level required in existing and new roles, as well as areas such as expected wages in a changing job market.

Many areas are still unknown and challenge conventional ideas of employment. One of the greatest challenges is keeping pace with the changing skill set required by the digital marketplace. Most companies do not have an educational program in place to help workers maintain the relevant skills required to perform their jobs effectively.

At the same time, educational systems are not changing to keep pace with workplace demands. In fact, according to a McKinsey survey, 60% percent of employers and young people in nine countries agreed that new graduates did not have the proper skills to enter the workplace. 

The Skills Gap

The same McKinsey survey found 40% of those surveyed cited lack of skills as the main reason for entry-level job vacancies. These gaps included technical skills as well as “soft skills” such as punctuality, teamwork, and communication. 

The survey also refers to research conducted by LinkedIn found that workers feel they are not able to realisze their full potential in their current roles. Of participants, 37% said they were not using their full skills and were in jobs that lacked challenge.

Digital Disruption

Digital disruption is the new industrial revolution in Hong Kong. It calls for organisations to embrace technology and incorporate effective training and educational programs into the workplace. More and more employees are looking for organisations that focus on skills training to encourage career growth.

Two years ago, Cushman Wakeman published a study exploring the opportunities presented by digital disruption in the workplace. They surveyed graduates entering the workplace who listed three attributes that were the most important when job hunting:

  1. Professional training and development

  2. Creative and dynamic working environment

  3. Leaders who support my development

Perhaps even more telling was an increase in organisations introducing more digital tools such as:

  • Customised mobile applications developed for internal use for both teamwork and customer interaction.

  • Using AI such as Siri and Cortana to find corporate information, as well as robots being used for security and other interactive roles. Some organisations are even introducing their own AI assistants.

  • Internal social media such as Yammer, Chatter, and WeWork, as well as customised apps, are providing new ways to reduce emails and offer instant conversations throughout an organisation.

  • Re-purposing existing applications such as WhatsApp offers an affordable way to communicate in group chats for special projects as well as corporate and customer communication.

All of this information points to internal training as the key to attracting talent and to ensuring staff can use digital tools in the workplace. 

Digital Enablement

In a world where independent work is made easier thanks to technology, digital “enablement” makes independent work easier.

McKinsey’s independent work study reported 20 to 30% of those employed in the U.S. and Europe are engaged in independent work. Although 70% of this group chose independent work, the rest of the group were forced into independent work when they were unable to find a traditional job. 

Those in the group who were forced to choose independent work cite income variability and the lack of benefits as reasons they do not prefer this mode of employment.

Companies who are going the independent worker route using digital platforms to enable working from home will have to find better solutions to meet the needs of independent workers. On the flip side, digital platforms empower those who prefer self-employment or contract work. It is not something unique to the U.S and European countries.

Conclusion

Digitisation is opening opportunities globally and across all sectors. Education systems will have to evolve as will organisational training programs to help improve preparedness for a digitally driven workplace. 

Creativity, critical thinking, and analysis will become the less traditional skills required to meet the challenges of the changing workplace. Systems and organisations that embrace adaptive, lifelong learning will prove to be the biggest talent draw now and into the future. 

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

How to Become a Digital Marketer

Are you a recent graduate, traditional marketer, or a tech-savvy entrepreneur who’s ready for an exciting career change? Do you want to excel in a field that bolsters unlimited learning opportunities and potential for rapid personal growth?

If you are ready to become a highly in-demand digital marketing professional, you are in the right place.

With the increased use of the internet and more people than ever in Hong Kong focusing on digital marketing — there's never been a better time to start a new career as a digital marketer! 

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is the combination of all the marketing efforts a company uses via digital media to connect with potential customers, such as websites, email, search engines, and social media. Marketers connect with consumers on devices like phones, tablets, and laptops. It involves understanding where your potential customers will be online, what device they will use to connect, and meeting them there.

Digital marketing differs from its traditional counterpart in that traditional marketing campaigns focus on selling the customer a product. Digital marketing focuses on providing value to potential customers where and when they need it. The goal of digital marketing efforts is to put what a person wants or needs in front of them when and where they are looking for it.

Digital marketing is an umbrella term, and there are many specialised jobs involved in the industry, including SEO, social media management, content marketing, data and analytics, and PPC to name a few.

Skills Needed to Work in Digital Marketing by Specialty

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

People are looking for information on Google and other search engines. Optimising websites to come up organically in search engines is a fundamental aspect of digital marketing. An understanding of how to integrate keywords into content, change alt text, collect backlinks, and so on are essential parts of this strategy.

Social Media Management

Running Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn is another aspect of digital marketing. You have to be able to attract followers and engage with them on a level that’s meaningful to them. An in-depth understanding of who is using what platform and when will help drive your social media campaigns. 

You want to use creative storytelling to post on relevant trends. To do so involves researching not just your audience, but also what they are interested in right now. It’s a fast-paced aspect of digital marketing that requires steady management and an ability to think on your feet.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a big job. As a content marketer, you are both a creative thinker and data analyst. You use both of those skills to create content across multi-media platforms to spark the interest of your audience so that they come to you for more—which ultimately creates more leads and more conversations.

Data and Analytics

An understanding of Google Analytics is a must. One of the benefits of digital marketing over conventional methods of marketing is its measurability. You must be able to use your skills to interpret which of your marketing campaigns are the most successful. The metrics can be complicated but being able to use them to paint a picture of your target audience and what motivates them will give you the tools to scale your campaigns and increase overall profits.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Where SEO focuses on organic traffic, PPC is the sponsored ad equivalent. The digital marketer bids on keywords that when searched will have your ad come up in the paid ad listings. A person in this role is responsible for driving traffic to a website, and the digital marketer determines what action the customer takes once there. It requires analysing data to reduce ad spend and increase ROI.

How to Become a Digital Marketer

Aside from the professional skills and the education you possess, digital marketers bring a certain attitude to the table. They are go-getters and thought leaders. If you want to be one, you will need to think like one. The best way to do that is to learn from them.

Take an Internship

If you are just starting out, an internship can help you gain experience and expand your portfolio. Being around other industry professionals will give you exposure to the different aspects of digital marketing and help you determine which is your preference.

Follow Thought Leaders

Digital marketers today understand that the field is growing at such a rate that sharing industry secrets isn’t creating competition or taking business away. Many digital marketers will not only tell you what they did, but they will share with you case studies showing you how they did it. Watch them, listen to them, sign up for their emails.

Network, Network, Network

You want to be a digital marketer, so go where digital marketers are and talk to them. Attend networking conferences or sign up for online groups. Often, it’s from these places that unexpected opportunities are born, and they can be great learning experiences.

Always Be Upgrading

Whatever you are good at, you should strive to be better. And if there is something you need to work on, there’s nothing stopping you from mastering it. As a digital marketer, you will always be upgrading your skills, and there is no shortage of courses, eBooks, and webinars both free and paid to help you keep your skills fresh.

Transition to a Role in Digital Marketing

If you have a degree or experience in any number of fields, as long as you have a keen interest, you can make the transition to a role in digital marketing. 

A few careers with skills that will translate well and propel you to a career in the field include but are not limited to:

  • Journalist

  • Teacher

  • Writer

  • Data Analyst

  • Newspaper Editor

  • Print Marketer

  • Sales

  • Retail Management

  • Blogger

Final Thoughts

If you want to be a digital marketer, you’ll need to have drive, ambition, and a real passion for the business, in addition to the tech, education, and professional skills required. 

You have to understand that digital marketing efforts are all about what you can do for the customer, not what you are trying to sell to the customer. If this sounds like your dream job, start learning today

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

What’s the Market Demand for Digital Marketing Education?

Marketing is a traditional industry as the need to spread awareness, make people aware of products or services has been around for as long as capitalism itself.

In today's economy, marketing has become a very sophisticated, complex, and ever-evolving industry. It’s something that every business in Hong Kong relies on and there's no question in anyone's mind that if you want a successful business, you need a strong marketing presence.

For those in the education sector, this presents great opportunities. As marketing becomes more complex and specialised, it's a skill that needs to be continuously nurtured and cultivated making a comprehensive digital marketing education crucial for professionals across industries

In this article, we explore the evolution of marketing and the growing demand in the marketplace. 

Does Market Demand Exist?

The first question any organisation needs to ask is if there is any kind of sizable demand for digital marketing education in digital marketing? Is there a need in the workforce for people who are trained in this field? While sectors such as medicine, engineering, and law have decades of proven demand, digital marketing is a relatively new field.

Regardless of digital marketing’s age, the answer to that question is “yes.” Even taking the digital aspect out of the equation, the general field of marketing has a sizable spectrum of demand. Public relations, brand management, and of course, traditional advertising like television and radio commercials and print ads are still important parts of the industry in Hong Kong.

When you add the digital component to this equation, the actual demand for marketing jumps up by orders of magnitude. In fact, current estimates say that the demand for digital marketing specialists outstrips the currently available supply, with 56% of the companies in one survey saying they needed people with digital marketing expertise.

With that type of demand, it is simply impossible for the existing job pool to meet current needs. New blood is needed. But where do businesses get it? They can get it from a qualified group of graduates or even their own employees, as long as the person has undergone substantial digital marketing training and education.

Digital Marketing is a Global Phenomenon

One of the most interesting things about the market demand for digital marketing is that this demand is universal.

The list of potential countries with a high annual salary for people with digital marketing training and expertise are:

  • Australia: $44,000 for entry-level positions, up to $87,000 for senior.

  • Netherlands: $38,000 for entry-level, and $65,000 for senior.

  • USA: $35,000 for entry-level, with $64,000 for senior.

But of course, while that’s the top three, there are plenty of other regions like Canada, the United Kingdom, ,Singapore, and of course, Hong Kong, that are placing increased importance on securing staff with education in digital marketing.

But why is this demand growing? What is it about digital marketing training that makes it such an “exportable” skill to so many different parts of the world?

Digital Marketing is Growing in Relevance

The relevance of digital marketing continues to grow, with over $111 billion spent on advertising. By 2019 that figure is estimated to account for 55% of total media ad spend. 

The biggest reason for this growth is the migration of the market. More and more people are spending their time using internet-connected devices like smartphones or desktop and laptop computers, rather than watching broadcast television or free-to-air radio. At the same time, traditional print ad venues such as magazines and newspapers are experiencing contractions in their audience. It’s not that people have stopped consuming media, they’ve simply decreased their consumption of traditional media and moved onto digital, online platforms.

So, the traditional career route for a marketer of joining a large established advertising agency is changing. More and more businesses are taking advantage of the smaller, more approachable and customisable nature of digital marketing. They might choose smaller or more nimble agencies that give them the attention they need. Or managers might bypass ad agencies entirely and hire their own in-house marketers.

More often than not, people now talk about something they saw on Twitter or Facebook, not on a commercial in last night’s latest episode of a popular television series. Digital marketing is rapidly passing traditional marketing in importance and audience reach, and more and more businesses need specialists in this industry so that they can be where the customers are. 

Digital Marketing is Diverse & Education Must Be Too

There’s more to digital marketing than just having an instinct for smart promotion or coming up with an enticing slogan or striking ad concept. Good digital marketing training doesn’t just focus on marketing; it embraces all things digital.

Advertising in the digital era provides massive, global reach, but it is not simple to achieve. The algorithms social media uses to find popular topics, the optimisation of content so that search engines can more easily find it, and the multi-media nature of the digital landscape means that there’s a surprising amount of technical proficiency employees need.

The most compelling sales content in the world does no one any good if it’s hard to find on the internet or created in such a way that search engines actually ignore it. Digital marketing is far from a straight transference of advertising skills to a digital platform. 

It demands an understanding of the parameters of search algorithms, paid ad techniques, what content inspires consumers, and more. As such, digital marketing education, whether from a school or business-developed program, needs to cover these topics and skills. 

Change Is a Constant, So Frequent Updates Are a Must

Perhaps one of the most important points to keep in mind about digital marketing training is that this is not a static discipline. New technologies are always developing, so there’s always a cutting edge to the technical side. One example is the algorithms that Google uses to rank content. These algorithms are being tweaked regularly, so what works well in 2019 may no longer be as important or as crucial in 2022. Marketers need to realise that education isn’t over once they get their degree. Digital marketing is in a constant “arms race” as better techniques and tools are invented.

But even more crucially, fashions change. If digital marketing had been as important 15 years ago, marketing experts would have been focused on MySpace. Today, marketing focuses on Twitter and Instagram, as the dominance of Facebook gradually erodes in favour of the platforms preferred by millennials and Generation Z.

In other words, new social media platforms and algorithms will come and go. That means there will always be something new to learn or a program to adjust to. As the demographics change, and new technologies emerge, so too will new digital marketing possibilities for people willing to experiment, innovate, and gain the first-mover advantage by pioneering these spaces. 

Digital Marketing Is a Growth Industry

Developed nations have moved past the point of being industrial-based, manufacturing economies. The forces that move modern nations are services and technology. The growth of the internet has made digital marketing not just a local concern but a global one as well. Digital marketing will continue to grow as the audience, the market, and businesses increasingly put their attention on the digital space.

Unlike some professions that are threatened by automation, digital marketing is something that machines simply cannot do. There’s a certain amount of “future-proofing” built into this career that ensures that students looking to graduate and enter the workforce will have viable career tracks open to them.

For professionals already established in their careers, digital marketing education is needed to keep up with competitors. Companies can add value to existing employees by expanding their skill set and providing them with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the company and to help the business maintain an important marketing presence in a changing digital landscape - a good start will be enrolling them in a practical digital marketing course.

Conclusion

“The skills are in demand and businesses are wanting to power their marketing efforts by strengthening their digital marketing offering” – Mark Ashbridge, General Manager of The Left Bank

Digital marketing is not going to go away. In fact, digital marketing is only going to grow in importance for all businesses. The demand for people with digital marketing training is already at the point where there’s a deficit of qualified personnel. 

Organisations and educational institutions that have the foresight to develop strong programs and train people in this area are a critical need.

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

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