The list of skills every small business marketer needs to succeed continues to grow and evolve. It’s true now and will continue to be true throughout 2020.
Every small business should make deliberate decisions about their marketing strategy but the complexity is leaving many owners wondering which way to turn…and how to allocate their limited resources.
We don’t live in a siloed world anymore.
A business’ reputation follows it everywhere, online and off. Everything is connected throughout the consumer’s shopping process. Small business marketers must possess the skills to map that process and deliver the right content (at the right time).
Marketing continues to challenge.
According to the Mailchimp Small Business Marketing Trend Report, 62% of small business marketing decision-makers agreed that they want to try new things and adhere to current best practices, but they simply don’t have time to figure out what those best practices are or how to implement them. Given that data, it’s no surprise that 31% of small business owners cite marketing as their number one challenge.
Time and lack of resources continue to hinder small business owners. Many don’t particularly like doing marketing themselves or have a lot of experience with it. Given that very few small business owners outsource their marketing, this illustrates the conundrum many find themselves in.
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Today’s small businesses have more marketing options than ever.
The number of tools and apps designed for small business has skyrocketed. From automation and social media management to customer relationship management (CRM) and analytics, the increasing amount of information and capabilities is powerful.
But with power, an array of tools and apps to choose from, and rapid changes in marketing trends, comes complexity and uncertainty in knowing which methods and tools are effective and deliver results.
Additionally, with rapid change in technology, it can be challenging for small business owners to gain in-depth knowledge about the latest marketing trends and understand which tactics work best for their business.
Street Fight’s research on small business owners found that among business owners that either do their marketing themselves, delegate it to an internal team, or outsource it to an agency, the owners who do their marketing themselves are the least satisfied with their results.
Marketing is evolving. Small business marketers are not.
Social media, search (including local search and Google My Business), content, Facebook ads, digital ads (and the strategies that bring everything into focus) have all advanced to a level that many small business marketers struggle to keep up with.
It’s very difficult now to achieve good outcomes without a specialized group of skills.
Small business marketers may be incredibly talented in some of the more traditional skills. But in the past few years, those traditional skills have become the baseline.
It’s no longer possible to just ‘figure things out.’ In fact, it could be dangerous to your business reputation and future revenue.
9 Skills Every Small Business Marketer Must Have in 2020
Small business owners may be rethinking their approach to marketing and possibly considering a different approach in 2020. Here’s a list of diverse skills every small business marketer needs in order to survive (and thrive) in 2020.
1. Web Design
Your website is your digital storefront and in many cases, it’s the first thing customers come in contact with when they’re researching what you sell.
- Does your website represent the company and its products/services well?
- What’s the user experience like – does it flow through to sale?
- Is the site structure solid and secure?
- Is it optimized for search engines?
- Does the content answer users questions?
- Is your site converting visitors into customers?
A basic understanding of site structure and user experience is crucial.
Pro Tip: Being familiar with or possessing a working knowledge of WordPress is of great advantage to today’s small business marketers. I’m not saying you need to build a full website from scratch, just that a marketer should know enough about it so that when issues arise, they don’t interrupt daily workflow.
If your website isn’t what you’d like it to be, or need to know why something isn’t working, check out our Website Audit. For a very affordable price, you can find out what’s working, what’s not, and we’ll even help you fix it!
2. Comprehensive Writing Capabilities
Writing skills, including copywriting, are vital in today’s marketing and will continue to grow in importance in 2020.
Writing for the web requires two separate sets of skills:
- Ability to create content that attracts, engages and converts customers.
- Search engine optimization techniques to achieve site authority.
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of good copy and content.
3. Strategy Development and Deployment
I just had a small business reach out to me for marketing advice. They had been bootstrapping it for a year and were at a point where a digital marketing strategy was sorely needed. A few months back, they tried Google PPC/Adwords but said, “Because we didn’t have a strategy, we spent a lot and got very little.”
Goals are at the heart of strategy development.
Many small business marketers jump to tactics first. Some simply acquiesce to the boss’ demands, (“Get me more sales!”) and rarely inject their own expertise to uncover the specific metrics to achieve success.
Always map out a strategy for your business, marketing or anything else. Just like GPS on your phone, you need to know where you’re going and the best route to take to get there, in order to arrive at your destination on time and in great shape.
4. Data Analysis
There is a MASSIVE shortage of marketers that are skilled in the art of data analysis. A recent study found that only 3% of marketers are competent in analyzing data!
In digital marketing, every visitor, view, click and share is tracked. In fact, there’s so much data now that small business owners get a mountain of it to review each month. Sifting through it all can be exhausting.
Of course marketing creative and execution are important but measuring and analyzing results are too. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. One without the other only gets you halfway there.
5. Social Media Savvy
Social media has grown up, graduated college, got married, had kids and is staring down the barrel at middle age.
Every small business marketer in 2020 should be a regular user of social media personally, as well as professionally, which requires being savvy in the social environment.
To be competitive, marketers should possess social finesse, be able to tell stories well and maintain a working knowledge of storytelling components. If a marketer already has a blog or they write for online media, that’s a huge advantage because that means they’ve already tested the waters of content marketing.
It’s also crucial to manage the community you’re building. The bigger a business’ presence gets, the more important to integrate Community Management into daily job duties. People are commenting and sending messages – replies are expected.
As I mentioned above, we don’t live in a siloed world anymore. Social media is not independent from other media now. It’s an integral part of an overall marketing strategy.
Pro Tip: When you’re ready to hire your social media marketing manager or agency, take advantage of >>these 10 questions<< to ask your candidates. Their answers will inform your decision and help you pick the right person or vendor.
The art of business is the constant readjustment to our customer’s needs.
Digital media has transformed all facets of modern lifestyle and culture. There’s hardly any aspect of modern society that has remained untouched by the digital media revolution.
Navigating this as a small business is treacherous. How can you continue to build your business while at the same time, make sure you’re utilizing the latest and best solutions? Be flexible and ready to adapt to new, uncomfortable ways to attract customers.
Stay on your toes and be willing to respond to new information as it arises. In order to create a truly flexible digital strategy, you need to incorporate adaptability into the structure of your marketing.
7. Marketing Automation
Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for small business to more effectively market on multiple channels online and automate repetitive tasks.
According to the Deloitte’s Connecting Small Businesses in the U.S. report, 80% of U.S. small businesses aren’t taking full advantage of digital tools such as data analytics and more sophisticated online tools.
The marketing automation industry grows exponentially each year. As marketing automation tools continue to improve and multiply, it won’t get any easier to navigate in 2020. Shrewd marketers command the use of specific tools while also investigating and re-evaluating to discover new and enhanced solutions.
Humans are predictably irrational, readily sidetracked and constantly making decisions. And the more decisions we make in a given day, the worse we get at it.
Decisiveness is an element of great leadership.
In today’s marketing, it’s not only what you put out there to attract customers that counts – it’s what you do once they see it and start interacting with it.
I see so many small businesses still trying to keep a veil up between themselves and their customers. Most of it is habit from the old days of advertising and PR. Those small businesses (and their marketers) who work decisively at removing this barrier will be positioned for success in the long-term.
Small businesses that connect with consumers on a human level will win in 2020.
It’s a skill to interact with customers and to do it well demands decisiveness. Often that interaction requires thinking on your feet, which calls for confidence, patience, empathy, gratitude and courage. All those skills make for better decisions and happier, engaged customers.
And speaking of empathy…
Putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and seeing things from their perspective helps a great deal with understanding customer needs, creating meaningful marketing, and ultimately satisfying their queries enough to get them to act.
Empathy is also the key to outstanding customer experience. As social media has become more integrated with how we communicate, and how your customers prefer to communicate with you, small businesses must develop protocols to be able to successfully address customers’ needs and inquiries.
In tense crisis situations, such as comments sections or online reviews, where there’s an audience watching, a marketing manager may not always deliver a solution but she/he can always deliver empathy.
Empathy is feeling with people.
When you put yourself in your audience’s shoes, it becomes easier to acknowledge struggles and think critically about the best solutions.
Is your marketing moving at the speed of digital?
The skills every small business marketer needs have never been more diverse. Mastering the complexities that are happening now and those beyond 2020, means upping your skills game.
Take control of your business growth by learning more about what you need to succeed. Insist that your marketers possess the skills to take you where you want to go.
As always, I’m here to help. I’ll navigate the digital marketing waters for you and give you a solid growth plan. Contact me and I’ll be in touch within 24 hours.