It’s crazy to think most children that are born today will likely grow up to do a job that hasn’t even been invented yet. When I was born, the internet had barely been opened to the public and content was reserved for newspapers, books, and magazines. (Remember all those?)
Today I write a wide range of online content, from website copy and editorial articles to long-form guides and blog posts. Along the way, I’ve got to grips with many different bits of technology such as becoming savvy with a Mac, using collaboration platforms like Google Drive and even dabbling in promotional video creation.
As the platforms and the technology we use changes, so do the skills we need to get the most value from them. You’re expected to be creative yet analytical, communicative yet independent, critical yet open-minded — and those are just the soft skills.
Your attitude and the values your business upholds count for a lot, but what about the hard skills you need to be able to come into work and win every day?
Here are six core skills we believe we believe every inbound marketing team needs to generate leads that close, delight your customers, and grow better.
6 core skills every inbound marketing team needs
1. Front-end development and web design
If you’ve ever experienced the pain of having to reach out to a third-party every time you want to make a small tweak to a landing page, this one will ring especially true.
Front-end development skills equip you with a solid understanding of website structure and the ability to make design changes when the need arises.
Being able to navigate design platforms such as Canva and create custom graphics using Photoshop can also help you test the design of your landing pages so they’re optimised for search engines and user experience. (Make it as easy as possible for your visitors to download that ebook!)
UPSKILL: Learn how to build and manage websites on the HubSpot CMS in this free course.
2. Solid data analysis skills
The world runs on data, giving you valuable insights into everything from customer behaviour, bounce rates, and page impressions to leads and click-through rates. But it’s not enough to collect that data — to draw meaningful insights from it, you need to understand it.
Data-driven marketing depends on a team capable of building a consistent framework (standards, models, integrations etc.) for collecting, managing, and using data while the rest of the business is constantly evolving around them.
Technical data science skills allow you to accurately interpret, dissect, and comprehend the meaning behind the data you collect so you can take action accordingly.
UPSKILL: Level up your data analysis skills using our three-step process for making sure you’re collecting the correct data and categorising it in the right way.
3. Automation skills
Did you know marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity? Today, there are plenty of automation platforms (hello again, HubSpot) and tools available to inbound marketers to help automate repetitive tasks and increase efficiency and productivity.
Automated processes help reduce human error and can handle a range of tasks including content scheduling, social media management, market research and analytics, structuring data, customer communication, and more effective email campaigns and personalisation.
They’re also essential if you’re looking to scale without losing that personal touch your customers know and love you for.
It’s up to you to understand how to use these automation tools effectively and learn how to adapt and personalise outreach to get more leads, conversions, and sales.
4. Up-to-date SEO capabilities
If you’re frequently blogging but your organic traffic isn’t growing, it could well be time to level up your team’s SEO capabilities.
As you’re well aware, SEO is all about increasing visibility and awareness in search engine results and using organic means to boost rankings and drive traffic to generate leads that close. It’s a sustainable, long-term way of growing traffic — but the SEO scene moves fast.
- Is your team using a variety of tools and platforms to identify the most appropriate keywords?
- Are you keyword-optimising your webpages and articles according to current best practice?
- One of the biggest SEO factors right now is quality content. Google makes this call based on a range of tells, including how engaged readers are, how well circulated/shared a piece of content is, and how many people convert on the page. Could it be time to hire a standout content writer?
5. Leveraging video
Video is known to be one of the most preferred ways of digesting content. According to HubSpot’s Social Media Certification, four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product rather than read about it, and one in four people lose interest if there’s no video content on social channels.
In fact, by 2021, 82% of all consumer IP traffic is estimated to be video.
It’s easy to think of video (and any associated training) as complex and technical (read: time-consuming and expensive). But there are plenty of ways you can upskill your team to incorporate video across marketing, sales, and services without having to shoot costly, resource-heavy productions requiring technical expertise and editorial savvy. As we’ve previously written on the subject:
‘Bake the act of shooting, publishing, and sharing video into the way your team thinks, so when they need to communicate with a prospect, they’re automatically thinking about whether or not video would be the best way to do it and they’re comfortable enough to press record.’
UPSKILL: Discover 21 ways the smartest brands are pressing ‘record’.
6. Leveraging social media
People use social media to remain informed, entertained, and connected. It’s a way to showcase your company culture and help your prospects. Listening and responding to social media channels is how you get involved in the consumer conversation.
Social channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter, are gateways to introducing viewers to your brand’s longer pieces of content (blog posts, ebooks, and newsletters, for example). As a marketing team, you should be asking yourselves a series of questions when it comes to managing your social media to attract and engage prospects and customers.
- Are you aware of the best times to post on social media?
- Where is your audience?
- What time zones do you need to consider?
- What time of the day are people most active on each social channel?
- What tone do you need to use on each channel? Is your Instagram more casual and conversational? Maybe your LinkedIn is more formal? (Check out our article on how to write simple yet effective tone of voice guidelines for more info on this)
- Is your voice/personality consistent across each channel?
UPSKILL: Learn how to make every tweet, post, and update perform.
Celebrating the soft skills: communication and critical thinking
Apart from the more technical skills, every inbound marketer should also be developing their critical thinking and communication skills. Assessing a campaign from many perspectives, prioritising projects, analysing incoming data, and determining what’s valuable and what’s redundant are the skills of a strategic, critical, and analytical marketer.
In particular, marketers with data-handling responsibilities must have the ability to turn technical information into understandable and actionable insights. When communicating their findings, marketers have to keep in mind with whom they’re speaking and what those people will understand so the data insights can be effectively actioned across the business.
Staying at the forefront of inbound marketing
At this point, you’re probably well-used to the constant developments in your field. If you’ve made it this far, it’s only a matter of applying yourself to some of the training and resources linked in this article before you find your groove.
And if you need any guidance along the way, we’re always happy to help — just drop us a line.
For more on developing your skills as an inbound marketer and expanding your knowledge on data collection, analysis, management, turning the data into helpful insights, and actioning them across departments, read our latest guide ‘From Data to Insight to Action’.