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Tag: Skills

How upskilling your paid advertising skills will tackle economic downturns

September 29, 2022 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Marketing budgets are often the first to be slashed in a downturn – upskilling your existing team with digital marketing techniques can provide huge efficiencies and minimize the impact of cuts
  • Creating an upskilling program does not need to be expensive or time-consuming if a well-thought-out strategy is adopted and results are constantly measured
  • Nurturing your own in-house talent pool also increases business resilience, improves marketing innovation and creativity, and reduces reliance on third-party operators
  • Choosing the right skills for your team to acquire depends both on your immediate goals and long-term business strategy – done right you can steal a march on your competitors
  • Sarah Gilchriest, Global COO of Circus Street, discusses the key skills brands need to cultivate to stay competitive during an economic downturn

We’re entering what is likely to be a pretty tough global recession. As consumer sentiment worsens, brands will increasingly look at ways they can cut costs to protect their bottom line. Unfortunately, we all know that marketing is usually one of the first budgets to be slashed.

It is seemingly much easier to stop a campaign or give an agency notice than it is to sack a developer or reduce infrastructure costs. However, more often than not, cutting marketing is a false economy that worsens the impact of a downturn by slowing a company’s growth. So, is there a way for brands to instead maximize their digital marketing output while also freezing or reducing costs?

The answer may be found in upskilling.

Training while cutting costs?

Now, your first reaction may be that training programs are expensive luxuries that make little sense if your goal is to cut costs. There are a few things to unpack here –

  1. Size and scope of training matter. You can make an outsized impact by training one or two individuals who then share their knowledge with their wider team. The right strategy (which I’ll discuss further below) can lead to a highly targeted program that gives the most critical skills to those who will be best placed to use them immediately.
  2. Next, there are a lot of freely available supporting resources that can significantly reduce costs and help to embed learning.
  3. Finally, let’s put costs in perspective. The ROI on a well-executed training scheme pays for itself and the initial outlay pales in comparison to most other business functions. Put simply, you get a lot of bang for your buck. 

Why paid advertising skills?

Paid advertising makes a lot of sense to focus on for a number of reasons. Generally, compared to other marketing fields, paid advertising is characterized by the sheer diversity of skills and techniques needed to fully execute a campaign. It is incredibly fast-moving and often requires you to leverage a number of different tech platforms. Consequently, many brands outsource this functionality to a network of agencies and freelancers. Those that don’t usually rely on one or two individual ‘power users’ or worse, skills are haphazardly spread among a range of departments leading to bottlenecks and single points of failure.

As such, digital advertising is usually the prime area where efficiencies, greater innovation, and marketing effectiveness can occur via upskilling. It is where your business can do much more for less. 

Identifying the right skills

Getting the right skill mix is where the rubber meets the road. A mixture of creativity, data analysis, platform knowledge, development techniques, and marketing expertise are all needed. To get started the best approach is to fully understand what capability your team has in-house. The crucial element is to remember that a lot of ability might be hidden because it is not used on a day-to-day basis. You would be surprised at how quickly a business ‘forgets’ about the previous experiences of team members after they have been hired.

Auditing team skills should expand beyond the marketing department

You don’t know what gems are lurking in other areas of your business until you start to look. This is also the perfect opportunity to identify both the potential of your employees to acquire new skills and also their individual aspirations. It is much easier to upskill someone who has a professional and personal investment in learning that particular expertise. The audit itself does not need to be complex – a simple matrix that enables people to categorize their proficiency and outline the areas where they would like to develop will suffice.

When you know what you have to work with, then it’ll become much easier to define the best way forward. Deciding the best skill mix comes down to first working out how to fulfill your most immediate needs. For example, taking a costly service in-house, plugging a weakness – where a team member’s departure would severely hamper your ability to function, or obvious gaps in ability that prevent you from undertaking certain digital advertising activities.

Build on the compatibility between your employee’s aspirations and your commercial objectives

This is then overlaid by areas where your marketing output can most obviously be improved and your future aspirations in line with your commercial objectives. For example, if in the future you want to more heavily target users on particular social media platforms or ‘exotic’ platforms like IoT devices and digital boards. Perhaps you can see the financial benefits of adopting headless CMS tech and would like to put in place the skills needed to make that transition after the recession. Maybe you want your team to have the insight to tell you whether the Metaverse has any potential for your business.

This may sound complex but once you get started the hierarchy of skills you need more often than not becomes very obvious. Remember, one of upskilling’s great strengths is its flexibility – if your needs change or you feel you have chosen the wrong skills – it’s very easy to change track.

Getting started in a cost-efficient way

How you train your team is very much up to individual preferences – everyone learns in different ways. Speaking to your employees and specialists will enable you to build a tailored teaching structure. It can be a combination of in-house learning, online tutorials, accredited programs, or book learning. You do not have to go all in on a full program straight away. Piloting can remove a lot of the risk. Start small – one team or a handful of individuals from across your company – and continually assess the impact.

A mistake to avoid

A common mistake businesses make is they wait too long to get their team to use their new knowledge. This can hold up the process and damage ROI. The best way to embed new skills is to apply them. Ensure that your team has an opportunity to practice their newfound expertise on real initiatives. Then keep a close eye on your business metrics – including team and customer feedback – to determine the impact. Unlike many other departments, digital marketing can have very clear outputs. This will let you know quite quickly if it is working. From there, you can decide on how to roll out your training scheme. 

Marketing doesn’t end with the marketers

As I’ve mentioned, diversifying the skillset of your team builds resilience and promotes more innovation. The reason is simple, if you only have marketing skills in your marketing department, you are naturally limiting the number of people who can provide useful insights that fuel innovation. You reduce oversight and feedback loops, and your marketing output will suffer from a lack of outside perspectives. 

By making your teams multidisciplinary and cross-functional you can spread useful skills throughout your business. Customer service teams can learn the fundamentals of digital marketing, marketers know how to do the basic dev and data work to enable their day-to-day, and your data teams can think like marketers if they need to.

Preparing for the worst doesn’t mean losing capabilities

If the worst does happen and you do need to make cuts to your team, having key skills shared across your business means that the damage to core functions will be limited.

To finish – I should highlight that much of what I’ve discussed applies equally to business owners as it does to individual freelancers. A downturn can be a daunting prospect if you are a sole trader. Upskilling can be one of the best ways to increase your value to clients now and future-proof your business.

If you have seen business drop off, the time you now have available could be best dedicated to more training. This may sound obvious, but a mistake many people make in their careers is failing to adapt to how demand for skills can quickly change or technology can come along that makes them obsolete. Adding more skill strings to you and your company’s bow is never a bad thing.


Sarah Gilchriest is the Global COO of Circus Street.

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The post How upskilling your paid advertising skills will tackle economic downturns appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Top Coding Skills You Should Develop as a PPC Specialist in 2021 and Beyond

November 16, 2021 No Comments

Here we outline the necessary coding skills for a PPC specialist in 2021 and what to pay attention to in this niche if you want to become a pro!

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Seven essential enterprise SEO skills to master in 2021

December 22, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • SEO holds the keys to digital success.
  • Managing SEO across large enterprises or multiple sites requires many skills.
  • SEO can be time-consuming and gets increasingly harder by the day.
  • A combination of talent and technology is needed for Enterprise SEO success.

From a global pandemic to the continuing economic, environmental, and leadership crises we’ve seen throughout 2020, brands are being challenged now to rise up and rethink ‘business as usual’. Unprecedented shifts in consumer expectations and behavior, placing digital convenience and personalization at the top of the must-have list, present an opportunity unseen to date for those who can master enterprise SEO skills to deliver for increasingly demanding consumers and clients.

As we head into 2021, the importance of SEO as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy cannot be understated. SEO holds the keys to digital success; from the insights and context, it delivers to the content it optimizes and the results it facilitates. SEO is the most viable and cost-effective channel for enterprises today.

One quick note on the term ‘enterprise SEO’ before we dig in. Enterprise SEO pertains to large companies with complex organizational structures and various lines of business and products, and that is the most common definition of it. Yet enterprise SEO may be practiced by smaller companies and agencies, as well—particularly those managing large or multiple sites. It’s a common misconception that size is a prerequisite for enterprise SEO success. At its core, enterprise SEO is the management of digital campaigns (search and content) holistically. A platform of integrated tools and features, including monetary, productivity and customer relationship management, enterprise SEO platforms take digital strategy from the page to the personal – and what business couldn’t benefit from that?

Organizations of all sizes can leverage enterprise SEO to deliver meaningful, personalized experiences to their customers in real-time. Managing SEO across large enterprises or multiple sites requires many skills, and for those new to the world of enterprise SEO deciding which skills to focus on first can seem a daunting task. But an innovative, technologically-savvy SEO knows there’s always room to grow.

As the ongoing evolution of SEO fuels careers (and creativity), this developing industry presents endless learning opportunities. Here are seven essential skills for SEO success in 2021.

1. Industry and market-specific knowledge

Whether your agency-side or in-house, the depth, and breadth of your knowledge about the industry determine how you interpret the data SEO and analytics tools provide. In short, enterprise SEO strategies are only as good as the thinking behind them.

AI-powered technology can help deepen your knowledge and understanding of the company’s place in the market, particularly its place in SERPs. But truly keeping ahead of the curve means understanding what your customers need and want, then translating that industry and market-specific knowledge into action supported by SEO. There really is no one-size-fits-all approach. The more you know about your industry and target market, the better equipped you’ll be to leverage searcher intent as the driving force behind your SEO strategy, delivering the right resources to satisfy consumer curiosities and secure sales.

2. Data-driven digital awareness

SEOs must understand the comprehensive digital marketing ecosystem and where SEO fits in. Data-driven digital awareness enables you to collaborate and strategize with the wider marketing and communications teams including paid search, social media and community managers, copywriters, and producers, and provide real value. How you continually support one another from insight sharing to process optimization is the key to holistic digital marketing.

Data-driven digital awareness can support ongoing ideation and optimization, allowing businesses to maximize spend and execute pivots to plans in real-time. Once we understand that set-and-forget strategies simply no longer meet the need, the question becomes simply where to start.

Consider for a moment your content marketing strategy. Designed to engage consumers and answer questions at each stage of the buying process, ultimately earning the consumers business, it’s only as good as the insights behind it. With the right collaboration and reporting support, the types of content your team develops can evolve to meet and exceed your customers’ expectations. What’s more, AI can help drive dynamic content optimizations that meet each customer’s needs in real-time.

Keen awareness combined with the right data and analysis can help you to connect and remain engaged with prospects, saving time, and directing resources more efficiently.

3. Multi-tasking and big picture thinking

SEOs wear a number of hats. It’s important that you understand what’s going on at other points of the customer journey and have that big picture view of what each person and channel is doing to support content discoverability, engagement, and conversion.

Take a step back and think about cross-departmental collaboration, from sales to service and everything in between—how often are you coming together (virtually or otherwise) to ideate and strategize? As consumers are increasingly demanding more from the companies they choose to do business with, seamless experience is key, and that demands collaboration across teams. Your ability to see the bigger picture and map the customer journey, understanding pain points, and optimizing experience along the way, will set you apart from the pack.

Be curious, ask questions of your colleagues, and think outside the box in terms of the sorts of solutions SEO can help to support. You’re only limited by your imagination.

4. Technical proficiency

Knowing how, why, and when to utilize technology and automation is key. Technology isn’t just about automating certain tasks; it has the power to dramatically impact the customer experience.

More than simply moving consumers through a generic funnel approach, for example, once equipped with the right knowledge—from demographics to buyer traits and behaviors—and the right technical expertise, a savvy enterprise SEO can leverage the technology to deliver on market opportunities by triggering meaningful real-time personalized experiences for consumers. Technical proficiency alone isn’t enough but combining your skills with strategic thinking and the right vision can provide incredible value.

5. Management skills

How skilled are you at inspiring, motivating, and building up those around you?

As an enterprise SEO, you’re dealing with multiple stakeholders at every level. It is critical that you understand and play well within the organizational hierarchy so you’re able to advocate for SEO, win buy-in for SEO initiatives, defend budgets, and generally communicate the importance of this incredible tool.

Being a leader means cross-functional collaboration. Now more than ever before, SEO has an opportunity to step in and lead by providing insights and analysis to inform the customer, and indeed employee, experience.

6. Excellent communication skills

Throughout the enterprise, communication skills are key. You need to be just as comfortable in the boardroom as in conversations with engineers and developers. Strong communication skills, and an understanding of your audiences and their priorities, are critical to delivering engaging presentations, market research, and background data.

From brand reputation to pay-per-click monitoring and management, SEOs who keep optimization of results top of mind and provide insightful and easy to understand reporting are communicators to learn from. Keep it simple, harness the data and insights SEO provides, and share your knowledge with the wider organization every chance you get.

7. Multimedia skills

You don’t have to be a writer by day and a video editor by night, but a top enterprise SEO needs to know how great content comes together whether that’s in video, graphic, text or another format. You may be responsible for managing teams of creatives or outsourcing content creation, so you need to know what you’re asking of people, how much it should cost, and how to evaluate and improve upon it.

Combining your data and insights with an understanding of each of the components of the digital marketing mix – and the creative that supports them – goes a long way in managing workflows and resource allocation. Once you have a multimedia foundation, your insights can help to ensure that your creative team is driving prospective clients to your website, and engaging those prospects in conversation, in the most efficient way.

Talent + Technology = Winning SEO Strategy

As the world continues to adapt and shift consumers will increasingly prioritize convenience while craving seamless and personalized experiences from the companies they choose to have relationships with. Ultimately, it’s about leveraging the right data to serve up the right offers to the right people, in the right places, at the right time.

SEO is time-consuming and gets increasingly harder by the day. SEO’s can use an average of 6 tools cobbled together and 4 hours a day on research, reporting, and analysis.

Enterprise SEO essentials for 2021

Smart SEOs look to platforms that can save them time on research, reporting, and analysis. This makes it easier for them to find the time to actually make the most important SEO changes and drive strategy.

Enterprise SEO is the best way to deliver the digital experience consumers now demand, and with these seven essential enterprise SEO skills in your toolbox, you’ll be well-positioned to identify opportunities and deliver business results for your clients.

Jim Yu is the founder and CEO of BrightEdge, the leading enterprise SEO and content performance platform.

The post Seven essential enterprise SEO skills to master in 2021 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Seven tips to sharpen your writing skills and copywriting technique

April 25, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • A great way to practice your headlines is to find a subject, article idea, or ad online, and write headlines for it, and try to write a better headline than the one that’s already there.
  • Don’t let style overcome content – we all need to infuse a little personality into our copy, but don’t let it become so over-styled that your audience loses interest.
  • Take one of your finished pieces and rewrite it for a different audience. If it was written for young adults, rewrite it for retirees, if it was for Americans try and make it more British or Australian.
  • It’s important to realize that site visitors and customers appreciate CTAs as well, as many of them are looking for information and a solution to a problem.
  • Until you’re super tuned-in to your own voice, read your work aloud whenever you finish a piece. This will help you spot areas that don’t flow and areas that don’t feel conversational.
  • When writing content for another website or blog, having expert content featured within your article is a win-win-win-win for yourself, the featured expert, your audience and the site you are writing the content to.
  • Stats are great to include with your content (along with visuals), as it breaks apart the reading process and gives the reader an opportunity to truly absorb such information.

Like all skills, writing and copywriting comes naturally to some, but it can also be learned. You don’t need to go to university or take expensive online courses (though of course those can help!) but you do need to dedicate some time and hard work if you are going to write the seemingly effortless pages of content you admire.

Here are seven tips that will help you develop your writing and copywriting skills fast.

Exercise 1: Headlines that scream for attention

Headlines are incredibly important – if you don’t appeal to what your readers want to see, they’re not going to click on the link. That goes for blog articles and ad copy, you’ve got to get your headlines down.

According to Digital Doughnut only two in 10 people will go on to read the copy after reading the headline so that headline better be good and promise what they want.

A great way to practice your headlines is to find a subject, article idea, or ad online, and write headlines for it, and try to write a better headline than the one that’s already there.

Another way to practice your headlines is to find an ad that’s targeting a product to you, and imagine the headline if it were aimed at a different audience, and write that.

Exercise 2: Practice being direct

Don’t let style overcome content – we all need to infuse a little personality into our copy, but don’t let it become so over-styled that your audience loses interest.

When you write a piece, practice minimizing adjectives and shortening sentences. Also, keep an eye on your clichés and on-trend phrases – when you come across them, ask yourself if they’re really helping you get your point across and connecting with your audience or just bulking your word count.

Exercise 3: Write for different audiences

This exercise is similar to the first. Take one of your finished pieces and rewrite it for a different audience. If it was written for young adults, rewrite it for retirees, if it was for Americans try and make it more British or Australian.

This will help you learn the nuances that different clients require and pay attention to the needs of the reader.

For more help, this is a great article on the subject, while also providing examples of each as well.

Exercise 4: Practice your CTAs

If you’re going to be a copywriter in any form you need to know how to insert subtle but effective call to actions. This is especially true if you are writing for authority websites or blogs that already have a product or service to offer.

It’s also important to realize that site visitors and customers appreciate CTAs as well, as many of them are looking for information and a solution to a problem. Another good idea is to simply tell you audience what to do, such as taking action in real life, to click on a button, or to send an email.

Whatever it is, if you want someone to do something (and if you’re writing copy that is exactly what you want them to do) you better be persuasive without being disingenuous, so practice writing CTAs.

Exercise 5: Read aloud

Until you’re super tuned-in to your own voice, read your work aloud whenever you finish a piece. This will help you spot areas that don’t flow and areas that don’t feel conversational.

If you’re not writing something conversational, try to put on the voice or accent you want it to sound like and find areas that don’t keep up the level of formality you’re looking for.

Exercise 6: Interview industry experts

When trying to create amazing content and value for your audience and site visitors, it’s always important to explore your options with interviews and integrating content from other experts within your industry or niche.

This is also a great opportunity for you to ask questions to an expert that your audience might not have direct access to.

This method works well for a number of reasons such as:

  • Bringing a familiar face and name to your content
  • Branding your site as an authority source experts find value in
  • Enticing your audience and experts to further share your content

When writing content for another website or blog, having expert content featured within your article is a win-win-win-win for yourself, the featured expert, your audience and the site you are writing the content to.

Exercise 7: Perfecting the art of finding great references

At it’s face value, writing is nothing special. Anyone can sit down and start writing content. What is of value is how well the article reads, the value it provides to an audience and it’s validity.

For all of these elements to work together, they must be backed up and authenticated. This is often accomplished with the addition of some trustworthy stats and references made throughout the article.

This is usually done by linking to outside references on sites like MSN, Forbes, Inc or any other well known brands.

However, as this BusinessInsider article tells us, not all media and news outlets are looked at in the same way–so make sure your references and sources align with your audience as well.

Stats are also great to include with your content (along with visuals), as it breaks apart the reading process and gives the reader an opportunity to truly absorb such information.

Writing skills and copywriting technique to make you a better writer

If you do these exercises regularly you’ll soon see your copywriting improve. Remember that the best way to get better is to practice regularly, so grab one of these exercises whenever you have some extra time.

If you’re not yet working with clients, find someone you trust to give you honest feedback and ask them to help you a couple of times a week.

The post Seven tips to sharpen your writing skills and copywriting technique appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Microsoft’s Cortana drops consumer skills as it refocuses on business users

February 28, 2020 No Comments

With the next version of Windows 10, coming this spring, Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant will lose a number of consumer skills around music and connected homes, as well as some third-party skills. That’s very much in line with Microsoft’s new focus for Cortana, but it may still come as a surprise to the dozens of loyal Cortana fans.

Microsoft is also turning off Cortana support in its Microsoft Launcher on Android by the end of April and on older versions of Windows that have reached their end-of-service date, which usually comes about 36 months after the original release.

cortana

As the company explained last year, it now mostly thinks of Cortana as a service for business users. The new Cortana is all about productivity, with deep integrations into Microsoft’s suite of Office tools, for example. In this context, consumer services are only a distraction, and Microsoft is leaving that market to the likes of Amazon and Google .

Because the new Cortana experience is all about Microsoft 365, the subscription service that includes access to the Office tools, email, online storage and more, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the assistant’s new feature will give you access to data from these tools, including your calendar, Microsoft To Do notes and more.

And while some consumer features are going away, Microsoft stresses that Cortana will still be able to tell you a joke, set alarms and timers, and give you answers from Bing.

For now, all of this only applies to English-speaking users in the U.S. Outside of the U.S., most of the productivity features will launch in the future.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


No computer science skills are needed to build scripts OR great landing pages

February 13, 2019 No Comments

In sessions 3 and 4 of the PPC Hero Summit, members of Hanapin’s Analyst and CRO teams, alongside Fred Vallaeys from Optymzr and Oli Gardner from Unbounce, tackle how to start using scripts to automate your tasks and how to build great landing pages for more traffic and more conversions.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


No computer science skills are needed to build scripts OR great landing pages

February 13, 2019 No Comments

In sessions 3 and 4 of the PPC Hero Summit, members of Hanapin’s Analyst and CRO teams, alongside Fred Vallaeys from Optymzr and Oli Gardner from Unbounce, tackle how to start using scripts to automate your tasks and how to build great landing pages for more traffic and more conversions.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


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