Curiosity is the first step to becoming the marketer you want to be. You need to read more, ask more, and do more of what helps you grow.
I was always a curious person, and it’s one of the things that helped me get here.
There are many things you can learn and courses to take, and I promise to get to these soon in other articles. But for now, I wanted to share 7 things that I believed have helped me gain a better insight into the marketing universe.
This list might be a bit unconventional, but every single thing mentioned has helped me immensely.
1. Master Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the bread and butter of every self-respecting professional marketer. To get and keep clients, you should be able to prove you know what you’re doing.
Learn to translate your results into actionable insights, review the return on investment of your client campaigns, and understand what your client’s audience is looking for.
- Are social media worth your time?
- Do you need a website redesign?
- What topics should you discuss more in your blog
- Does your site work better on Desktop or Mobile?
- Are you getting free traffic from Google, or should you invest more in SEO?
There are countless questions you can answer with Google Analytics, and I really can’t stress how important it is to start spending more of your time there.
Tip: Learn how to use Google Data Studio too, and create beautiful reports for your customers (or just for you) so you can quickly review the specific data you’re interested in at any given time.
Check out the Google Data Studio Report Gallery to understand the full potential. My personal favorites are my Organic Traffic and Blog Content Performance dashboards.
2. Get Google Ads Certified
This is a classic one, I know. But trust me, you need to get these certifications and renew them once a year.
Even if you never become a Google Ads expert or never even launch a single PPC campaign, you need to understand the concepts. I wouldn’t urge you to learn Bing Ads, but this is Google. They got 87.35% of the global search engine market share, and over 65% of small-to-midsize businesses have invested in PPC campaigns.
These stats should be more than enough reason to get Google Ads certified, but I do have one more to share. They’re widely recognizable, and they can help you land the job or client you’re after.
Note: Google recently updated all courses and exams, so make sure you get the new badges and show them off on your website or LinkedIn.
3. Read Every Issue of The Sophisticated Marketer
The Sophisticated Marketer is a free, quarterly magazine published by LinkedIn, and I haven’t missed a single issue since I discovered it. What better way to learn what’s new & hot in the marketing scene than to learn from the experts?
You can find the digital version of every issue on the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog, and you might still be able to order the paper version for some of them. I went ahead and recovered every single link so you easily find all the issues to date:
The only downside is that you have to fill out the form every time, and there is no actual subscription option. You can’t have everything, I suppose…
4. Subscribe to Ann Handley’s Total Anarchy Newsletter
Are you among those that think the traditional email newsletter is dead? I beg to differ, but most importantly, so does Ann Handley.
In her own words: “My feelings about newsletters are strong. It’s the one enduring place that we have as marketers, and it’s the place where conversations are most intimate”.
Don’t subscribe to the Total Anarchy newsletter because you’ll get writing ideas and useful tips on marketing. Do so because it will make you fall in love with newsletters again and inspire you to invest more time in this one-on-one opportunity with your audience.
Bonus! Here is an amazing whiteboard video based on this podcast conversation, showing you how to make your email newsletter ridiculously good.
5. Learn to Use & Love Zapier
If you haven’t heard of Zapier before, I urge you to stop reading this article and find out now.
Essentially, it’s a tool that “moves info between your web apps automatically, so you can focus on your most important work”.
It will allow you to do everything faster. Simple as that.
At Zima Media, we have automated everything with Zapier (client onboarding, the hiring process, client prospecting), which saves us a few good hours every day.
What you can do is start with automating your emails. Try sending them to a Google Spreadsheet or Airtable and maybe save attachments in a Google Drive folder. This will help you figure out how things work in the beginning.
Then, all you need to do is use your imagination.
This skill might not help you directly with marketing work (although it really could), but it will undoubtedly help you rethink and optimize the way you work.
6. Subscribe to Andrew Davis’ YouTube Channel
This is not the only YouTube channel worth watching. But it’s one of the most unique. Andrew Davis is one of the most influential marketers in the world, but honestly, I just love listening to him talk about marketing.
His videos are engaging and based on real-life examples. Just watch this video he made on re-engineering virtual events and webinars, and you’ll see what I mean!
Andrew Davis will probably not teach you what to share on social media, or how to do SEO and Google Ads, but he will certainly show you how to provide the best possible experience for your clients (and their clients).
7. Learn Graphic Design Fundamentals
You’ll need it for everything: Social Media images, web design, form design, lead generators, client reports…
So far, in my career, I’ve had to design images for social media, create landing pages, plan and outsource a brand & website redesign project, and so much more.
I do recommend this Graphic Design Essentials course by Hubspot and the Canva Design School, but if you Google “graphic design fundamentals” you’ll find a variety of different resources, so you can choose what works best for you.
After that, you need to practice. Create a couple of images for social media, work on a new landing page design, set up a Google Data Studio reporting dashboard. You’ll see that you can apply the fundamentals almost anywhere! And if you need some feedback, don’t hesitate to contact me, and I promise to review your designs and give my honest opinion.