Learn which soft and hard marketing skills you need to grow your freelancing career. Plus, discover how to achieve these skills and promote them.
Marketing requires you to be up to date with the latest skills to remain relevant and impactful. And as the digital platform evolves, so does the toolkit of marketers. Now, translate that into freelancing, where you aren’t just a marketer but also an entrepreneur, responsible for everything from self-promotion to client relationships.
In this guide, we’ll look at 15 in-demand marketing skills, including both soft and hard skills, and how to acquire them. We’ll also take a look at how to add these skills to your portfolio or resume.
7 marketing soft skills 🗣️
Soft skills refer to personal attributes, personality traits, inherent social cues, and communication abilities essential for building relationships, communicating, and complementing hard skills to successfully execute a job.
Here are seven soft skills needed for marketing, along with marketing experience examples:
- Communication: Clear and effective communication is vital to conveying ideas, collaborating with clients, and presenting marketing strategies. For example, if a client sends you feedback to change a few things in a deliverable, you must respond with self-awareness and respect.
- Teamwork and collaboration: Collaboration often extends beyond independent marketer-client relationships into situations where you coordinate efforts with other freelancers or in-house teams to achieve common goals. Examples include a social media freelancer collaborating with graphic designers to ensure consistent branding.
- Creativity: Marketing often requires thinking outside the box to create compelling content, storytelling, and campaigns. Creative skills come into play to develop unique and attention-grabbing concepts. For example, a content writer could brainstorm ideas for a new advertising campaign or create innovative contests for a social media campaign.
- Time management: As an Independent, you often juggle multiple projects and deadlines. Effective time management ensures you meet client expectations and deliver quality work on time. For example, when handling multiple client campaigns simultaneously, time management helps you allocate your efforts appropriately.
- Adaptability: As digital marketing evolves, you must adapt to new tools, trends, and client preferences. For example, when a client changes their campaign goals or budget mid-project, you should be able to pivot and revise your strategy.
- Problem-solving: This essential skill involves developing innovative solutions to potential hurdles, from technical issues to unexpected setbacks. Examples include evaluating performance analytics, adjusting email marketing campaigns, or creating a new social media strategy to boost engagement after declining interactions.
- Critical thinking: In marketing, critical thinking is indispensable for analyzing data, scrutinizing campaign strategies, and making well-informed decisions. For example, you can use critical thinking when carrying out search engine optimization (SEO) analysis to improve content when copywriting and adjusting your content marketing strategy.
8 marketing technical skills 🧑💻
Hard or technical skills refer to the specific abilities or knowledge sets an individual can acquire and master through training, education, or direct experience. In marketing, these skills are especially crucial when diving into specialized roles, allowing marketers to execute complex tasks, analyze data, and drive campaigns effectively.
Here are eight marketing technical skills, along with recommended tools and examples:
1. SEO and search engine marketing (SEM) 🤑
SEM and SEO both improve site traffic and visibility. Skills in either area help you make informed decisions about a company's content, presence, and customer needs.
Key tools: Yoast, SEMrush, Ahrefs
Examples: Conducting keyword research, enhancing on-page SEO, and analyzing backlinks for enhanced search visibility
2. Social media advertising 📱
This hard skill involves running paid advertising campaigns on social media platforms to boost brand visibility.
Key tools: Hootsuite, Sprout, Facebook Ads Manager, TikTok Ads Manager
Examples: Creating and managing targeted ad campaigns, tracking ad performance, and refining audience targeting criteria
3. Content management system (CMS) 🤠
Learning how to use CMS platforms helps you create and manage website content.
Key tools: WordPress, Wix, Shopify, Joomla
Examples: Building websites, publishing blog posts, and customizing site elements to enhance user experience (UX)
4. Video marketing 📹
Video marketing skills involve using clips or recordings for marketing purposes. There’s a diverse range of video skills, including using video posts as part of a social media plan and knowledge of video platforms.
Key tools: Adobe Express, Adobe Premiere Pro, StreamYard, WeVideo
Examples: Developing engaging video content for YouTube and social media, and analyzing video performance metrics for continuous optimization
5. Analytics and conversion rate optimization (CRO) 📊
Possessing analytics skills helps you assess your website’s performance and optimize for improved conversion rates.
Key tools: Google Analytics, HelloBar, Hotjar
Examples: Conducting A/B tests, mapping out user behavior, and studying user session recordings to enhance website usability
6. Design 📋
Having knowledge of photo editing, typography, color, and layout can also be a strong addition to your marketing skills.
Key tools: Canva, Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Sketch
Examples: Creating and editing visuals for marketing materials, designing social media graphics and infographics, and editing product images for e-commerce
7. Marketing automation 🤖
Understanding how to implement automated workflows allows you to streamline many marketing processes.
Key tools: HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot
Examples: Automating lead nurturing, scoring, and segmentation, and triggering responses based on user interactions.
8. Writing ✍️
Understanding copywriting and content writing helps you craft compelling content for marketing or advertising purposes.
Key tools: Grammarly, Copyscape, Hemingway Editor, Google Docs
Examples: Creating engaging blog posts, and producing persuasive sales copy, website content, guides, etc.
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How to develop marketing skills: 4 tips 📝
To excel as a marketer, you must continuously evolve and hone your skill set. Marketing, like many disciplines, requires a blend of theoretical knowledge and hands-on practice. Whether you're just starting out or seeking to enhance your capabilities, here are some tried-and-true strategies to boost your marketing skills:
- Earn a professional certification: Certifications like Google Analytics Individual Qualification, Google Ads Certification, and Digital Marketing Institute certifications can help you grow your marketing skills.
- Stay up to date on industry news: Identify a few promising digital marketing skills, areas, or tools that interest you. Next, subscribe to industry newsletters, follow marketing blogs, and engage with marketing communities on platforms like LinkedIn to access valuable insights and updates. You could also get beginner-level knowledge of digital marketing tools such as Photoshop or automation skills such as programmatic marketing.
- Obtain a degree: Earn a bachelor's degree in marketing to bolster your career and gain knowledge and skills in marketing topics.
- Get hands-on training: Working on freelance or volunteer projects can help you grow your marketing skills. It also gives you experience to add to your portfolio.
How to promote your marketing skills 🥳
As a marketer, you're already familiar with promotion, and now it's time to turn that expertise toward yourself. Ensuring you stand out among the crowd can make the difference in landing that dream freelance gig or job position. Building a comprehensive marketing portfolio is essential, but how do you ensure your marketing skills shine in your resume? Here are a few actionable tips:
- Quantify your achievements: Whenever possible, provide metrics to highlight your achievements. For example, instead of just stating "managed Google Ads campaigns," specify "boosted CTR by 25% within three months on a $10k/month Google Ads budget."
- Highlight relevant tools in your portfolio: For technical skills, especially, mention the tools you're proficient in, and consider creating case studies in your portfolio. For example, if you excel in SEO, display a before-and-after analytics shot of a site you optimized or provide data from A/B tests you've run.
- Storytelling in interviews: When discussing soft skills, particularly during interviews, resort to storytelling. Narrate instances where your communication, teamwork, or adaptability made a real difference in a project.
- Include testimonials and references: If you've done exceptional work, let others speak for you. Positive testimonials, client reviews, or recommendations provide social proof of your skills and accomplishments.
Promote your skills with Contra 🚀
As an Independent, your skills are your currency. But just having the skills isn't enough; how you promote them makes all the difference. Join Contra now and start showcasing your marketing services commission-free. Want to ensure your first impression is striking? Contra’s portfolio tool offers customizable templates that let your brand and work shine in the most captivating way.