Your digital marketing team no doubt plays a pivotal role in your business. As with any member of your team, it’s in your interest to make sure they stay on top of their skillset, up to date with developments within their remit and have a chance to enhance their skills too. For areas where things might not change too frequently (perhaps something like bookkeeping or stock control), this may require courses or training on new software or even bringing in outside expertise to education on things like regulation changes.
But in an area that moves incredibly quickly, how do we keep employees up to date with skills and the wider industry knowledge?
There are, of course, training courses. According to recent statistics, there were over 18,000 Google searches for “SEO courses” in January last year alone, a 500% increase over 6 years. So demand is high for training around SEO, PPC, social media and other forms of digital marketing.
But the reality is that very often, something has changed in the time it might take someone to get a course prepared, approved and delivered. So courses are incredible for fundamentals, introductions to new big changes and technology changes. But for day to day changes, keeping up to speed with advancements, new features on ad platforms and so forth, what else can you offer your employees?
Keeping up to speed with industry blogs, with webinars and announcements from social platforms, search engines and other key players in the digital marketing space takes time. Is it feasible for you to offer up an hour or two a week for them to dive into recent articles, studies or play with some new tech?
This could be massively valuable in such a fast paced marketing world.
Conferences can be really valuable if you go to the right ones. Aside from the speakers (who can of course have a lot of knowledge and insight to share) you enable your employees to network with people doing similar jobs in other businesses.
Now, as humans we can be a little guilty of tunnel vision in our work sometimes. When you’re focussed on your day to day tasks, looking at the wider picture isn’t a top priority. But getting the day out of office to listen to talks from industry leaders and network with peers can be really useful. You spend time listening to people share their own problems and the solutions they came up with and, if it’s the right kind of conference, come back inspired or armed with practical knowledge to apply to your own job.
Google will tell SEO practitioners that they made hundreds of tweaks to their algorithm annually. Ads formats and page layouts changes all the time. Cookie and privacy compliance laws seem to be being updated more often than we can keep up with. Something new happens in social media seemingly constantly.
And, let’s be honest, in marketing sometimes there isn’t one simple “right answer.” Take SEO, for example, we don’t simply have a list of Google rankings factors. So allowing your team the flexibility to hypothesise and test is really valuable.
Now, you may not want tests being run on your main business website. So consider giving marketing team members support, resources or time to run tests on sandbox type websites – either smaller and less important sites or yours, purpose built testing grounds or their own testing builds.
The lessons we learn from testing and trialling in marketing are often some of the most useful.
Why do you want to invest in keeping your staff skilled?
Keeping your staff knowledgeable and up to date within their own areas of expertise requires investment. But consistent development helps to ensure your staff are delivering the best for your business but also helps keep them motivated and content in their work.