Rockin’ It Like a Pro: The Skills of Internet Marketing

This post is the fifth section of seven-part series called “The Fundamentals of Internet Marketing.” To read the earlier posts, see Part 1: IntroductionPart 2: DefinitionsPart 3: Strategy or Part 4: The Tools.

Skills of Internet MarketingLet’s face it: to market you gotsta have skillz.

(I just said that.)

But for realz (oh!), it’s easy for someone to rattle off marketing strategies at you like they’re giving you the steps for baking cookies: “Oh, just put up a blog on your website, set up your social media profiles and build a following, then drive traffic with engaging content.”

Great! We’ll keep it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 and, voila!

In order to market anything, you have to have skills like graphic design, writing and a level of computer literacy. If you don’t have these basic skill sets, doing anything at all can seem rather impossible.

All in all, let’s be real: we’re not talking flying fighter planes or doing heart surgeries here. No one is going to die if you can’t figure out how to update your blog. On the other hand, I have talked to people who would rather jump out a window than try to resize a picture. The fact is that when you don’t have the basic skill sets required, internet marketing can be hellaciously frustrating.

It’s all fine to talk about grand marketing strategies, but at the end of the day, we’ve got actually get them executed. Someone has to actually DO it.


That’s the question.

Why Marketing, Why You?

Marketing is vital. Anyone in any kind of business has to do it. They can’t live with out it. If you’re in business, you need to make sales. The way you make sales is to close the leads you have. Where do you get leads? From your marketing.

So, if you’re in any kind of of business where you’re trying to get the word out or close people to do anything, you’ve got to do marketing somehow.

And this is where it can get rough. For anyone who has tried it before, marketing can be confoundingly complex and time consuming. Very time consuming.

There are a million and one details that have to be cared for, from doing market research and working out your marketing plan to writing the copy and doing the graphic design.

Now, if you are the kind of person who digs that sort of thing, this isn’t a problem. Some people are just natural writers. They love sales. They like the idea of planning a marketing campaign. They might get excited about their marketing strategy and feel like it’s a creative outlet.

However, that doesn’t apply to a lot of business owners. They’re…less than enthusiastic about it.

But even if you’re totally stoked about marketing and love it, if you’re running a business you probably don’t have time to do it yourself, if you’re going to really do it right. There are a lot of technical details and mechanical parts to stay on top of it.

Who has time for it when they’ve got everything else on their plate?

The Bottom Line

The cold truth is that to really be successful at marketing, you’ve only got two choices:

  1. Learn the technical skills required so that you can whip out marketing for your company like a pro, or
  2. Get a pro. 

But still, in order to get a pro, you have to know who to look for. What does it take to make good internet marketing? Who do you hire and where do you find them?

We’re going to talk a bit about the skills that are required to do basic internet marketing. Even if you decide not to hire anyone and do it all yourself, these are the skills you’re going to need.

The Marketing Team

Internet marketing isn’t composed of just one skill. There are several different professions that work together in any truly high-quality marketing. Some people can do more than one of these roles because they’re multi-talented. However, these are still each an individual skill set and area of expertise.

We’re going to keep this simple. There is a lot more that can be said about the basic roles of marketing. When you get to the level of a massive corporation like Apple, you can bet they’ve got a lot more going on in their marketing department(s) than what I’m going to list below.

But we’ll just cover the basics here. The following is a description of each of the basic areas of expertise required to make good marketing:

1.  Project manager

This is the person who manages the whole thing. This is the marketing executive. He has different names in different fields. I’m calling him a project manager here. He understands the basic principles of marketing, knows who to go to for what and can see a project through to a successful conclusion.

He’s the guy who is looking at your business, figuring out where your customers are and how to reach them. His specialty is constructing a marketing strategy, then hiring the right guys to get it done. He may sub-contract parts of it out, or may have his own team do all of it.

He’s thinking overall strategy. He’s thinking sales. He’s balancing everything to make it come out right. This is team’s coach. This is the army’s general. This is Professor Xavier. This is…ok, I’m done. You feel me though, right?

2.  Researcher

Research is vital for effective marketing because it’s how you make sure what you’re saying will actually get response. Surveys, market research and analysis of past successful marketing are examples of this. All too often, marketing is done with no research. The result is that it doesn’t sell.

Marketing without research is just based on hope and theories. This can be extremely expensive. How many campaigns have to fail before someone finally does the research and finds out what their prospects are really looking for? It costs money each time you promote. Lack of research is often what causes people to think marketing “doesn’t work.”

High-quality marketing should always be based on known data. This is a distinct area of expertise and has its own set of skills.

3.  Writer

The writer is the one who takes the information from the research and actually writes the advertisement or promotional piece. No matter whether you’re doing radio, TV, websites or print, the writer is the one that really creates the marketing piece.

The writer has to truly understand the product or service he’s selling. If he doesn’t, he won’t be able to actually get it across to the audience. He has to effectively communicate the heart and soul of your company in a compelling way which honestly speaks to prospects. He’s your voice. In order to speak truth, he has to understand you.

It is around his work that the actual marketing pieces will be created.

4.  Graphic designer

Marketing today is very multimedia. On the Internet you’re communicating with a mixture of text, images, video and sound. A vital part of this is graphic design. Your marketing has to visually impact your viewers. Colors, fonts and images must all forward the basic message you’re trying to get across to prospects.

Photos, logos and design elements are all part of this. The graphic designer is the one who takes the ideas the writer creates and turns them into a visual masterpiece.

Without the graphic designer, all you would have would be highly-researched, brilliantly-written text…in a Word document.

5.  Computer programmer

This is the new guy. He wasn’t part of this 25 years ago. However, in today’s digital era, the programmer is tied into almost everything. You have to have someone who can actually bring the writer’s words and the graphic designer’s images to the Internet. Without him, you don’t put anything online and so never reach your audience. You would just have a bunch of cool graphics and text sitting on your computer somewhere.

The programmer (or “developer”) is where the rubber meets the road. He understands current computer technology and uses whatever coding solutions are necessary to make your websites, emails, videos and social media do the stuff that you want it to.

While everyone can have a cool idea for a website, it is the computer programmer who actually translates it into computer code and makes it happen.

Putting it Together

So as I said earlier, if you’re a DIY guy, then these are the basic skills you’ll need.

If you’re not, this is the basic crew you’ll need to put together. You can either hire a company who does all of this under one roof or (likely more cheaply), you can find individuals who do each of the above and assemble your own informal team. Of course, the problem with this is that you’ll be way more involved in the process.

If you have any other questions, you can learn more about the process for constructing websites here, or you can contact me.

Stay tuned for our next installment in this series. We’re going to talk about one of the most important parts of all marketing anywhere. It can make or break what you’re doing. Check out “Part 6: Communicate!

Photo Credit: Motorcycle by Steve Jurvetson.