Whether you’re a professional marketer or a business owner looking to do your own online marketing, you need certain traits in order to be successful. While some of these traits are inborn -- meaning you either have them or you don’t -- most can be learned and honed over time.
Following are 10 of these essential traits:
1. You love a good puzzle.
Online marketing is like a large, complex puzzle, especially when it comes to SEO. There are many pieces to this "SEO puzzle" -- keyword research, link-building, technical compliance, user experience and social-media integration being the most significant. A successful online marketer will naturally be able to see how these pieces fit together.
Examples of what a successful marketer will recognize include how social media reach impacts organic link building; how user experience affects search rankings; and the best way to incorporate keywords while still remaining technically sound. If you have a knack for solving puzzles, there’s a good chance you’ll excel at SEO.
2. You’re patient.
Online marketing requires a willingness to put in hard work now, even though you may not see the results for months (or even years) to come. There are no quick fixes when it comes to online marketing, so you must be prepared to continually work toward your goal without losing steam. A lack of short-term results may be disheartening, but if you’re patient, the results will be well worth the wait.
3. You never stop learning.
SEO and social media are constantly changing. Google tweaks its ranking algorithm hundreds of times each year, and new social media platforms emerge constantly. In order to remain authoritative when it comes to online marketing, you must be passionate about lifelong learning. This means staying on top of industry news, attending conferences and regularly networking with others in the digital marketing space.
4. You’re trustworthy.
More than ever before, people buy from people they know and trust. Being trustworthy -- and able to convey this trait to others -- is critical to being a successful online marketer. Garish, over-the-top landing pages; blatant self-promotion on social media; and spammy, keyword-laden copy will inevitably damage or destroy your online reputation. Being authentic and trustworthy is what will set you apart, helping you build long-term relationships with your customers and clients.
5. You’re a competent manager.
Most online marketers find it necessary to outsource or delegate at least a few of their marketing tasks. It’s rare that any one individual will excel at (much less have time for) every aspect of marketing: writing, communications, social media, technical SEO, etc. For this reason it’s important to have great management skills -- in particular, the ability to inspire and motivate those around you to help you meet your goals.
6. You care about your customers.
A great user experience is not only good for conversions, it’s increasingly important for achieving and maintaining high organic rankings in search engines. Successful online marketers, however, aren’t out just to make a quick buck. They want to meet -- or exceed -- the expectations of their customers and website visitors. They know this is the way to build long-term, profitable relationships based on trust.
7. You’re a great communicator.
Being able to communicate effectively is critical to online marketing success. This doesn’t mean you have to be an expert writer or speaker; it does mean you need to clearly and professionally convey your thoughts and expectations to clients, prospects and members of your team. It also requires an ability to listen and actually hear what others say, and to connect, engage and think about things from someone else's point of view.
8. You make things happen.
Industry knowledge and analytical thinking are both key to online marketing success. However, if you aren’t willing or able to actually execute your plans, you’ll never succeed online. Do you frequently start projects or tasks but then fail to complete them? Do you prefer the planning stage of tasks to the actual execution of those tasks? Do you get excited by research, but lose steam when it comes to implementation? If so, online marketing may not be the career path for you.
9. You know how to tell a good story.
Marketing is getting more and more difficult, as consumers grow increasingly wary of being "marketed to." Stories have a way of cutting through the clutter and helping to create an emotional investment in your business or product. Being able to envision and articulate the story behind your brand will be a defining characteristic of successful marketers as consumers become more and more cynical.
10. You’re not distracted by the 'next big thing.'
Online marketing is usually a long-term endeavor. For this reason, it’s critical that you maintain your focus over the long haul. This means setting attainable goals -- both short and long-term -- and not being swayed or distracted by irrelevant trends or fads. It means staying on task and seeing your plans through to completion, even when those around you may be trying new strategies and shifting course. While it’s certainly important to remain flexible and adaptive, changing your focus frequently can significantly eat into your productivity and leave you in a constant state of flux.