If you want to grow your online presence, you need a skilled digital marketing manager — but finding a great digital marketer is hard. There are many talented people in the job market, but few can execute the specific growth strategies you need to take your company to the next level.
However, if you know what skills to look for, you can make your hunt a little easier. Here are the five things you want when hiring a digital marking manager:
1. A Specialized Skill Set
For a digital marketing manager role, you don’t just need someone who knows marketing — you need someone who knows the specific marketing channel you want to maintain or grow, whether it be social media, search, or something else entirely.
So, before you head into the job market looking for a digital marketer, you should first define for yourself what kind of marketing you need. Then, identify the specialized skill set a candidate would need to execute on that marketing.
For example, let’s say you need someone to manage your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Some of the critical skills and qualifications you should look for would include:
• Advanced understanding of Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
• Knowledge of SEO tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMrush.
• Knowledge of link-building and content creation.
• Understanding of technical SEO factors, like page speed.
• A track record of improving search rankings for previous employers.
Whether your candidate has hands-on experience with SEO or picked up a robust knowledge of the field through schooling or other courses, what matters is that they know their stuff. In addition to checking candidates’ resumes for relevant experience, consider using some SEO tools of your own to see how their previous employers are faring in terms of SEO.
No matter what marketing channel you want to focus on, it’s a good idea to look at your candidates’ past work for prior employers. This can tell you a lot about what they might be able to do for you.
2. A General Knowledge of Digital Marketing
In addition to specific skill sets that align with the marketing channels you want to pursue, you also want your marketing manager to have sound knowledge of the digital marketing field overall.
Digital marketing is constantly evolving. If your manager doesn’t keep up with the latest developments in the industry, your company will get left behind by competitors. Moreover, effective digital marketing involves engaging with leads across multiple channels. A manager who can successfully utilize multiple channels and strategies is more likely to deliver real value for your company.
In terms of broad marketing knowledge, look for a candidate who has experience with:
• Conducting research and creating marketing personas.
• Using customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
• Conceptualizing and creating creative collateral (copy, visual assets, etc.).
• Improving search-engine rankings for digital assets.
• Executing content marketing plans across different platforms (blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc.).
• Planning and executing social media campaigns.
• Managing pay-per-click campaigns across various paid channels.
• Monitoring campaign performance through key performance indicators
The good thing is that most digital marketers are generalists, and many candidates will have some knowledge of most facets of digital marketing. You don’t necessarily need a person with experience across all of these aspects of digital marketing, but you do want someone who at least broadly understands the majority of them.
3. Strategic and Analytical Thinking
Strong analytical skills are a definite asset for any digital marketing manager. A strategic thinker will take a long look at your brand, the market, and your campaign to figure out how to reach your marketing goals on time and on budget. They will review competitors’ digital marketing campaigns, break down how they work, and take away lessons they can apply to your business. They’ll interpret Google Analytics and email marketing reports to determine how your campaign is doing and how it can be improved.
In short: Look for someone who doesn’t shy away from crunching the numbers, putting the pieces together, and coming up with a fully formed plan.
4. Good Communication Skills
Digital marketing managers need excellent communication skills. They interact and negotiate with stakeholders, customers, vendors, and colleagues, and much of their success will depend on getting all these people on the same page.
That’s why recruiters should pay close attention to candidates’ communication skills. Interviews are a great opportunity to evaluate this: How a candidate communicates is just as important as the content of their answers to their questions.
For example, a candidate who uses lots of industry jargon during an interview might struggle to communicate with stakeholders who don’t have the same knowledge level, or they could be compensating for a lack of expertise. A digital marketing manager should be able to communicate clearly and convincingly with people with varying levels of technical knowledge.
5. Strong Organizational skills
A digital marketing manager usually juggles multiple campaigns, responsibilities, and initiatives at once, so it’s important to pick a person who can keep it all straight. They’ll need to prioritize tasks, hit deadlines, and achieve key performance indicators — often all at the same time.
Look for a candidate with strong organizational skills. Ideally, your candidate should be able to prove they have experience working in a high-pressure environment. A good indicator of this is an internal promotion. After all, businesses generally promote people who have proven themselves trustworthy and capable of effectively managing their work.
As is the case with any role, great digital marketing managers have certain sets of skills that make them useful to your business. If you know exactly what to look for, you’ll have an easier time finding the candidate who is really right for your company.
Eduard Klein is an international digital growth marketer, blogger, and entrepreneur.
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