With the meteoric rise of digital and inbound marketing, we marketers have become increasingly reliant on our colleagues with development and graphic design skills.
While most of us welcome the increased opportunities for collaboration, there is nothing more frustrating than having a project come to a screeching halt while we wait for help with some code or graphics.
Rather than have our initiatives held hostage by other departments’ schedules, what if we used our waiting time to expand our own education so that we could work independently?
Here are just some of the real-world projects that marketing skills like HTML/CSS, graphic manipulation, data analysis, writing, and workplace rapport will empower you to complete without waiting on external resources.
(For more details on vital skills and how to get them, check out 7 Marketing Skills That Will Make Your Life Easier.)
Why Learn Technical Marketing Skills
The projects you can manage with these skills run a huge gamut from updating your website to creating email split tests. For all of us who have spent hours (or days!) twiddling our thumbs waiting on a developer’s help, the thought of being able to just get these things done is very enticing.
Get Website Changes Made Immediately
- Correct typos. There are few things as embarrassing as finding a long-term typo on your website. Basic coding skills mean you can change it ASAP.
- Make updates to contact information. If your phone number, email addresses, mailing address or other static information suddenly isn’t so static, you’ll be able to instantly take care of it.
- Edit opt-in forms and calls to action (CTAs) on your website. If your email sign-ups decline or this month’s webinar isn’t getting good RSVPs, you can tweak the language, colors, and button to try and rectify the situation right away. This is particularly vital if you’re up against a time-sensitive event like a webinar, where every hour that a less-than-optimized form is visible costs you conversions.
- Test pricing and product offerings. Coding skills mean you can find out if a “special offer” or a price reduction will get you more sales without much outside help. Combine this with Data Analysis skills and you can set up tracking on an A/B test that will let you see which permutation is performing best and adjust accordingly.
Optimize Your PPC Landing Pages
By allowing you to create and optimize your landing pages, these coding-based marketing skills can pay big dividends for pay per click (PPC) marketers.
For example, if you adjust your keyword strategy you don’t need to suffer poor conversions while you wait for the landing page’s copy to be adjusted. Instead you can just tweak the content yourself.
Similarly, if you want to test out a new offer, a new call to action, or any other conversion enhancement within your paid traffic, coding skills will make that an immediate possibility. Without them you’ll need to either pause a campaign to a landing page that needs attention or risk poor conversions and a higher cost per click.
Constant Improvements to Email Marketing
As with inbound marketing on a website and PPC, being able to wield these marketing skills means you can take control of every aspect of your email marketing.
From changing the font on your headlines, to adding a more compelling visual, to adjusting the link destinations, HTML and CSS allow you to be the master of your emails. This means you get to fully customize the message your subscribers and customers are getting, and to constantly improve it as you test new permutations.
More and Better Content Marketing with Visuals
Your content marketing efforts will probably benefit most directly from graphical marketing skills, but social media marketing and email marketing will see improvements too.
- Add visuals to articles. At MarketerGizmo we put out lots of content from a very small team, and we don’t have much budget to buy nice(r) stock photos. That means we are responsible for making most of our accompanying images ourselves, or going without one.
Being able to adjust an existing image with Photoshop (like we did in our Tweet This Not That article) or put together something customized for our content (like this simple graphic on brainstorming) is vital for us. Simple programs like Piktochart and Canva are lifesavers, but Photoshop is a crucial piece too.
- Create enticing ebook and white paper covers. Pinterest and other image-centric sites force you to make the most of the space you’re given to grab readers’ attention and clicks. Simple text isn’t going to do; you need eye-catching graphics.
Just like waiting on a developer, holding publication while you wait for a graphic designer to get around to making your cover can be maddening. You’ll be more flexible and less blocked if you can deploy these marketing skills independently.
- Customize social media images. Each social media channel has unique image dimensions that display best. If you have graphic manipulation skills you can adjust your original image size, either through a crop or simple scale, to show to its best advantage on your targeted channel(s). By showing your images at their best you’ll get a much better ROI on all your social media efforts.
Track ROI With Data Skills
Without the ability to identify, setup, and analyze key marketing metrics, you’ll be wandering around in the dark hoping others will tell you what’s working and where you should focus your next efforts.
- Figure out what’s working. Knowing how to test your site’s overall health in search engines, figure out which pages/sections are creating conversions, and determine your top performing email campaigns gives you powerful information. Before you can build on success or address shortcomings you’ve got to be able to analyze the data your current efforts are producing.
- Test new initiatives. Telling your boss that you “feel” like the new split test is a success doesn’t ever work as well as presenting her with a chart indicating how much the traffic, time on site, and conversions all improved after the changes were made. Having numbers that you’re confident with allows you to move ahead, or roll back, and keep constantly improving.
- Be as agile as possible. All this data-driven marketing skill should be enabling you to analyze, test, and adapt rapidly, the cycle that’s at the heart of effective agile marketing.
Writing Successfully for Marketing Excellence
It’s not hard to envision how faster, more effective writing skills can improve your marketing day. Whether it’s commenting intelligently on LinkedIn, reacting swiftly to a negative customer review, or consistently producing effective content marketing material, this marketing skill is generally accepted as crucial.
Marketing Skills Bring Independence and Career Advancement
Improving your understanding of HTML/CSS, graphic manipulation software, writing, and data analysis will certainly pay big dividends right away. No more waiting for a space on the development calendar or being squeezed into a designer’s busy day.
Instead you can leverage your new education to improve your marketing department’s agility and productivity.
What that means in the long term is that you’ll be well placed for professional advancement in your current position, and that you can command a higher salary if you decide to move on.