How To Be A Digital Marketing Ninja [Infographic]
A ninja is always on his toes, looking for opportunities, exploring and evaluating all outcomes. As a digital marketer, we cannot afford to keep all our eggs in place; we're marketing on the INTERNET after all. I imagine the function of a digital or online marketer as a continually expanding neural network that keeps adding new connections over time. The cross-linkage between these connections gives way to a profound understanding of how the different elements should and can link to one another. A couple of years ago, there was no need for a digital marketer to know how to code but now with the advent of web technologies and the increasing reliance on developers, has led to a new wave of "code literate" marketers who understand that it's not optional anymore, it's a necessity. From something simple like using regular expressions in Google Analytics to something complex like automating AdWords reports in Google Sheets via Apps Scripts, it's efficient, productive and self-reliant.
Digital Marketing is a rapidly evolving field of study that keeps developing new branches making it harder and harder to keep up and maintain focus. I often struggle to retain my focus towards one particular topic, I guess the internet is to blame for our declining attention spans thanks to the repeated bombardment of targeted & retargeted advertisements, but who am I to complain, it's a necessary step towards a future where there is enough data(exabytes of it) to create personalized advertisements for each user that is indistinguishable from their personal preferences. All this could very well be possible with massive developments in fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence that take the guesswork out of marketing. Developing hyper-targeted campaigns serving dynamic creatives and optimizing in real time isn't something we could have envisioned a decade ago. We are moving on from full page magazine and newspaper adverts to tiny 250x250 HTML5 animated banners that deliver 50X the ROI.
Online experiences almost always start with a Google search, the first touch point for your brand, and if you're not on the first page, then you essentially do not exist. As the saying goes "The best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of google search results" and Google crawls 20 billion websites every single day, that in any niche is a hell lot of competition. Back in the day, it was quite easy to dupe google's algorithm into thinking the website is relevant by adding keywords all over the place. Since then google's algorithm has gone through some pretty radical changes focused more on the context and meaning of the search query rather than the keyword itself. In today's competitive world even being on the first page of search results might not be enough since the top 3 get 50% of the clicks which makes sense because the CTR drop below the fold is going to be logarithmic.
Getting to the top page of search results is the Holy Grail, there are over 200 signals used by Google to rank websites. The Top 3 broad ones being - Content, Backlinks, and Rankbrain; which is Google's machine learning AI, part of the larger algorithm - Hummingbird. The most difficult thing in all of SEO is to get high domain authority websites in your niche to point back to you. The only way to do that is reaching out to webmasters and blog writers and ask for a backlink, but this doesn't work 99% of the time unless the content you're asking them to point to is incredible. This task becomes even harder when you have an eCommerce website with no blog for others to points to, no one is going to backlink to your product pages or home page for that matter. The only backlinks you can get in this case will be from the brands you're dealing with, these brand domains usually have a quite high domain authority, and since you're already selling these products, Google will pick up the relevance and boost your rankings. Reach out to them if they're not linking to you already from their dealer/store locator pages. The number of links from the same root domain does not matter and will not affect your ranking, no of unique root domains will. You can use Moz's Open Site Explorer to find out which domains are linking to you and their domain authority.
In the Digital world, things move fast, and if you don't keep up, you're doomed. As your business starts to scale, certain repetitive will keep clogging up your time and leads to inefficiencies and slower revenue growth. Marketing Automation platforms aim to streamline such processes through workflows so that we marketers can focus on things that matter. Automation in its simplest form is a configurable software with a Yes or No logic function; if yes do this else do that. If you're a blogger, then you know how painstakingly annoying it would be to manually set up an email campaign each time after you publish a new article.
That's just the tip of the iceberg however for marketing automation; email marketing is a small subset within this rapidly progressing field. Other areas that automation has a hold of in digital marketing include - Content Marketing, Social Media & Web Personalization.
Artificial Intelligence and machine learning have already begun to integrate into this arena; generating, optimizing and A/B testing content is not a future prospect, it's already happening. It's just a matter of how much data you can throw at it to analyze and learn. Wordsmith, a natural language generating platform uses data to produce narratives that seem as if an expert wrote it.
These are exciting times, and we'll just have to wait and see what impact marketing automation has on digital marketing in the future.
I've put together this infographic "How to be a digital marketing ninja." to illustrate visually what I believe should be a part of an online marketer's arsenal based on what will be expected of one in the future. Let me know if you have any questions or if you feel there is more to add to this.