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 2019.
Every small business should make deliberate decisions about their marketing strategy but the complexity is leaving many owners wondering which way to turn.
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).
Small businesses are being left behind.
According to the 2019 Infusionsoft Small Business Marketing Trends Report, more small businesses are being left behind when it comes to digital marketing. In fact, 29% of respondents said they won’t be using digital marketing in 2019!
Time and lack of resources continue to hinder small business owners. Many don’t particularly like doing marketing 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.
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, 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.
8 Skills Every Small Business Marketer Needs in 2019
Small business owners may be rethinking their approach to marketing and possibly considering a different approach in 2019. Here’s a list of diverse skills every small business marketer needs in order to survive in 2019.
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?
- Is it optimized for search engines?
- Does the content answer users questions?
A basic understanding of site structure is crucial.
Pro Tip: Being familiar with or possessing a working knowledge of HTML, PHP and 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 my Website Review. For a very affordable price, you can find out what’s working, what’s not, and we’ll even help fix it!
2. Comprehensive Writing Capabilities
Writing skills, including copywriting, are vital in today’s marketing and will continue to grow in importance in 2019.
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 year and were at a point where a digital marketing strategy was sorely needed. A few months back, they tried 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.
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 is 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 2019 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.
Social media is not independent from other media now. It’s an integral part of an overall marketing strategy. Unfortunately, it’s a buzzword and a lot of people are trying to capitalize on this booming market…so here’s a shocker:
Not everyone who says they can do social media marketing has actually done it successfully!
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.
6. 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.
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 2019. Shrewd marketers command the use of specific tools while also investigating and re-evaluating to discover new and enhanced solutions.
According to Dennis Yu of Blitz Metrics, “We’ll see a dramatic shift to AI-powered business, as the major networks abstract complexity away from the end user.”
“The movie recommendations from Netflix, posts you see in your Facebook newsfeed, and driving directions in Google Maps are all examples of machine learning working behind the scenes in our daily lives.”
The amount of data these networks have is staggering and AI-driven algorithms critically impact your ability to drive sales. Small business marketers must recognize what the algorithm wants and ‘feed it’ with the right ingredients, so it can do the ‘heavy lifting’.
“In other words, the complexity of AI-driven marketing is such that our attempts to ‘trick’ the algorithm in 2019 are no longer fruitful. So we must be systematic about how we feed data and content into the ‘machine.’ Ironically, the winners will not be the tool jockeys and technology geeks, but the smart business owners who recognize what the algorithm wants.”
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 2019.” – Donald Miller, Storybrand
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 (empathy) helps a great deal with understanding customer needs, creating marketing that attracts them and ultimately satisfies their queries enough to get them to act.
In tense crisis situations, where there’s an audience watching, a marketing manager may not always deliver a solution but she/he can always deliver empathy.
Understand what matters to your customers and put that at the heart of your campaigns.
As Dr. Brené Brown notes, “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. That’s why empathetic content marketing is such a powerful strategy for small businesses — both B2B and B2C.
Empathy is vital in creating high-quality marketing content, including ads. Content hits the mark when the customer is left thinking, “Wow, that was meant just for me!” Empathy is what allows a marketer to create such content.
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 2019, 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.