Zilla Efrat
Business Journalist

Zilla Efrat is a freelance journalist who has spent the past 25 years writing on all facets of business and finance for print and online publications, and has been editor of Company Director, AB+F and Super Review

Zilla Efrat
Business Journalist

Zilla Efrat is a freelance journalist who has spent the past 25 years writing on all facets of business and finance for print and online publications, and has been editor of Company Director, AB+F and Super Review

Accessing a range of “new” skills – especially those focused on maximising digital engagement and marketing – can help you keep up with the big end of town in an ever-changing business environment.

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1. Customer relationship management (CRM)/Email marketing specialists

According to a recent McKinsey & Company study, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook or Twitter combined.

Email is an important tool for lead generation and customer engagement, says Alex Kenning, general manager, Melbourne, at Aquent, a digital, creative and marketing recruitment company.

“CRM/email marketing specialists are responsible for the business’ email marketing programs. This covers everything from analysing and segmenting the business database, planning the email marketing and schedule, to writing and designing the emails and the appropriate landing pages. It’s about ensuring the right customers are being sent the right message at the right time. Equally important is analysing the success and effectiveness of the email campaigns.” 

2. Social media specialists

The 2014 Yellow Social Media Report revealed that 69 per cent of Australians use social media, with almost half of them logging on daily and some more than five times a day.

“Businesses that don’t engage in social media are playing a dangerous game,” says Kenning. “Like it or not, their customers, potential customers and even competitors will be talking about them on social media.”

Social media specialists manage social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram etc). They curate and create the content to ensure there is brand consistency and each channel is being used effectively. They can also be responsible for managing the social community, engaging with followers and answering any questions or inquiries. 

3. Search specialists

A search specialist is responsible for ensuring that websites are optimised for search engines – for example, that the company appears high up or at the top of the page when a relevant keyword or phrase is searched. This can be in the form of organic search or pay-per-click ads or retargeting.

“This is a complex role involving analytics, website design and development, copywriting and identifying what keywords and phrases are relevant to the specific business and should be optimised,” says Kenning. “Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an ongoing process that must be continually tested and optimised. It’s not a one-off project. A search specialist can really assist in helping a small business to be found and to generate business leads.”

4. Digital designers/developers

According to Deloitte Access Economics, there’s plenty of low hanging fruit to be plucked by small businesses with very low digital engagement. Just creating a simple informative website for customers can increase business performance.

Kenning notes: “A business website is where social media, email marketing and SEO efforts all direct traffic. It’s the digital shop window and as such, it needs to be well-designed, easy to use and navigate, and contain all the information a customer or potential customer will need. Your website, blog and emails should also be mobile friendly – that is, look and function great on a mobile device. If a company’s email marketing and website are not optimised for mobile, then it will lose customers.”

Finding the right skills

As businesses invest more in digital marketing, digital marketing specialists are in high demand and can become more difficult to hire. Professionals in this space work on both a permanent and freelance capacity, so they can also be hired on a part-time basis through sites like freelancer.com.au, Elance, Upwork and Airtasker, depending on your needs. 

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