The essential skills needed for digital marketing

How to ensure your digital marketing agency has all the skills it needs to succeed

If you run a digital marketing agency, what are the essential skills that you are looking for in your team? The skills that will make you stand out from the crowd and face down the competition?

Many people are attracted to a career in marketing – particularly digital marketing – because it seems like a cool and fun thing to be doing. Which indeed it can be. But what kind of skills and attributes do you need to really succeed?

Here are six skills that we consider to be essential:

Good people skills

Some people are just good with people. Their so-called soft skills are off the scale. These are the people you want in your digital marketing agency. People who are intuitive and empathetic, and somehow always seem to know what people are thinking.

Whilst it’s true that people skills can be developed and improved, it can be an uphill struggle. So when recruiting for your digital marketing agency, look for people who can:

  • Chat to people without awkwardness, and put them at their ease;
  • Understand where people are coming from;
  • See things from someone else’s point of view; 
  • Pick up non-verbal cues – eg body language – as well as what is being said;
  • Communicate ideas in a way that others will understand;
  • Speak to colleagues and clients effectively and achieve results;
  • Convey a sense of trust.

Communication skills

As well as people skills, an effective digital marketer needs a broad range of communication skills. They need to be able to communicate well verbally, in writing, and also through effective use of visual media. Whether creating adverts, web pages, emails, newsletters or social media posts; good communication skills are crucial.

At the core of digital marketing is the ability to create content that will engage a target audience with a brand. Content needs to not only be high quality and optimised for SEO but, above all, engaging for the reader. A digital marketer needs to be able to source and recognise great content, and improve poor content as needed.

Good communication skills are also critical in client relationships and within your digital marketing team. Whether face to face, by phone, chat or email, there needs to be clear communication about needs and wants so that everyone is working together towards the same goal.

The ability to be proactive and strategic

No matter how highly skilled someone is in terms of their people and communication skills, it’s still vital that they get on and do the job. Digital marketing requires continual effort: to stand still is to start falling backwards. 

Once a member of your digital marketing agency team understands their role, you need to be able to rely on them to use their initiative and get on with it. This means empowering them to do this and confirming that you trust them to make it happen.

An effective digital marketer should not only continually be fulfilling client needs in terms of creating and posting content, but also be strategic and proactive about additional opportunities to do so. Be alert to trends and how they could be incorporated into fresh content. 

For example in our last article we had a hypothetical company HappyYogaLegs. So as well as the planned and ongoing content for them, if there was a trending news item or influencer post about yoga this could be tagged in an additional post. 


In digital marketing, things don’t always go according to plan. Flexibility is the key to being able to operate effectively under these circumstances. Every day there’s something new. Trends come and go, clients change their minds, pitches get rejected, and sometimes the supply chain for digital products lets you down. 

A successful digital marketer will remain positive and learn lessons from mistakes or less than ideal outcomes. They will have the tenacity not to give up or to sulk, but to get back in the fray and move forward. 

In your digital marketing agency you also need team players who will pitch in as needed to help a colleague meet an urgent deadline, rather than being completely absorbed in their own silo. People who are able to multitask for the greater good, rather than trying to carve out a self-centred career path.


Software, tools and data

So far we have looked mostly at soft skills. How we deal with people, communicate with others and manage our workload and expectations. But in digital marketing there are definitely many hard skills needed as well. A quick summary of our Top Five would be:

  • Google Analytics: free information about your site. Everything from traffic to conversions. A must-have.
  • Other digital marketing software – for example Google Ads, SEM Rush, Ahrefs, Mailchimp, Hootsuite and Hotjar – to analyse and streamline every aspect of a digital marketing campaign.
  • An understanding of SEO, including keywords, title tags, H1 and H2 tags – which also involves some basic knowledge of html.
  • The ability to create and edit your own visuals, for example Adobe software such as Photoshop, After Effects, Illustrator and InDesign.
  • Good data and statistics interpretation skills, and the ability to manipulate and present data, for example in Excel spreadsheets.

The key thing is never to stop learning. New and improved software is being produced all the time, so you need to keep up with these trends. Attending digital marketing conferences and events is a good way to keep up to date and to learn from other experts in the industry.

Social Media

Many of the above skills will equip a digital marketer to function effectively on social media. But social media is about much more than just posting content.

A digital marketer needs to understand the algorithm used by the platforms of choice to target content to specific audiences. They also need to decide whether a social media platform is going to be used to sell products and services using its social commerce solution.

They then need to focus on:

  • Quality of the content;
  • Relevancy of the content;
  • Engagement with the audience. 

Additionally, there may be the option of using paid advertising, boosted posts and hashtags to boost social media presence. Also look for relevant groups and pages both to network with other professionals and interact with consumers. Both can be a useful measure of social response to a brand.


In this article we have looked at six essential skills for a digital marketer. Whether you run a digital marketing agency, are new to digital marketing or are a more experienced digital marketer looking to improve your skills and performance, we hope that some of the above information can help you to move forward in your digital marketing journey.

For more tips for a successful digital marketing agency visit this page again soon at Xcite Digital.

For more tips on how to develop your digital marketing strategy or SEO agency visit this page again soon at Xcite Digital.