When I started my entrepreneurial career, several of my mentors gave me the same warning:
“You’ll need to spend way more time marketing your business than you expect.”
They were right. I quickly learned that if I really wanted to succeed as an entrepreneur, I had to devote as much time to marketing my business as I did to serving my clients.
Getting a marketing strategy up and running is no easy task. There are so many different options to choose from and, from the outside, many seem intimidatingly complex.
Before I jump into the skills to consider, here are some guidelines to decide which ones are right for you.
Choosing your digital marketing channels
Deciding which entrepreneur marketing skills to focus on depends on a few factors:
Who is your target audience?
You can’t build a successful marketing strategy without first gaining a deep understanding of who your target audience is. Research your audience’s demographics and consider what marketing methods they will most likely respond to.
What are your marketing goals?
Determine your overall marketing goals for your business. What does success look like? What actions do you want customers to take in order to maintain your income? There are many potential goals you could choose, depending on your business. You may want to sell more products, generate new client leads, or grow your following, for example. Choose your top 3 goals and consider which channels will get you there quickly and efficiently.
What skills do you already have?
If you’ve already got some of these digital marketing skills for entrepreneurs in your wheelhouse, then you’ve already got a good starting point. Lean on the skills you have as you explore new channels.
What sparks joy and curiosity?
Marketing your business is an endless job. You should focus on digital marketing channels that you actually enjoy or those that you’re genuinely interested in learning. Otherwise, you’ll burn out quickly. Eventually, you’ll be able to hire experts to help with the channels you don’t enjoy.
The Top 8 Entrepreneur Marketing Skills
Here’s the good news: You don’t have to master every marketing skill to grow your business. But having a few of these under your belt is vital to bring in new leads and keep your business evolving.
1. Web design to build your online presence
No matter what type of entrepreneur you are, you need a digital presence—a central place where potential customers or clients can learn more about your business, make a purchase, or inquire for more information.
Learning how to design your own website can save you time and money because your website is something you’ll be updating consistently as long as you’re in business.
Fortunately, designing a website isn’t as challenging as it used to be, thanks to platforms like WordPress, Shopify, Wix, or Squarespace (among many others) that make it easy for those with little to no design experience to build their own site.
Eventually, you may want to hire a professional web designer to build you a sleeker site. But for now, getting something up and running yourself will make it much easier to manage every other entrepreneur marketing skill on this list.
2. Copywriting to communicate effectively
Learning how to write engaging, effective copy is a skill that impacts every single marketing channel you will use.
If you work on developing strong writing skills, you’ll be able to tweak copy on your website, write captivating posts for social media, build email marketing campaigns that move customers through your funnel, and create click-worthy microcopy for paid advertisements.
Beyond that, written communication is an asset when it comes to client interactions. You can use this entrepreneur marketing skill to create quotes that make clients want to buy. Plus, clients will be more responsive to daily written comms you send through email or Slack.
Copywriting goes beyond good grammar—though using a tool like Grammarly to ensure your copy is as close to error-free as possible is a wise move.
Good copywriting requires you to speak to your audience on their terms and alter your writing depending on what you’re working on.
For example, creating copy for a Facebook ad requires brevity, urgency, and emotional language. A long-form SEO blog, on the other hand, requires research, educational language, and strong structure.
The best way to improve your copywriting skills is to read others’ work and practice. Subscribe to a few blogs and email lists you like, and research examples of the type of copywriting you want to master.
There are also a number of online courses that teach copywriting techniques and plenty of professional copywriters on LinkedIn who share their methods and advice.
It will take time and effort to bring your copywriting skills up to snuff (unless you’ve already mastered them), but once you get the hang of it, it will be one of the most useful digital marketing skills under your belt.
3. Social media to showcase your expertise
There’s no better way to get word out about your brand quickly than through social media channels. Businesses, large and small, leverage these platforms to promote their products and services, reach new clients, and establish their brands.
The platforms you use depend largely on your audience and comfort level. Here’s a quick key to help you decide which platform is best for you:
Social Media Platform
Who should use it?
• Ideal for audiences 30+
• A must for brick-and-mortar businesses
• Post in industry-related groups for exposure
• Ideal for B2B marketing
• Excellent place for digital marketers to build their brand
• Use to establish credibility
• Excellent for visual brands
• Ideal for retail, hospitality, and food brands
• Retailers and dropshippers can use Instagram Shopping to make more sales
• Ideal for digital marketing and SaaS industries
• Good for building brand recognition and authority
• Excellent tool for networking
• Ideal for audiences under 30
• Perfect for visual brands
• Less saturated than other channels, making this a good place to carve out a name for your brand
• Ideal for brands targeting female audiences
• Excellent for visual brands
• Great space for food, travel, and clothing brands
The key to succeeding on social media is to choose the right platforms and be consistent. All platforms use algorithms that reward regular posting. This means the more frequently you create high-quality content, the faster your audience and reach will grow.
We have lots of resources to help you improve your social media marketing. Check out these articles:
4. Paid advertising to spread the word fast
Paid ads are the fastest form of marketing. They can get the most traffic to your website or social media pages at a quick rate—for a cost, of course.
If you have a bit of marketing budget to spend, then learning how to create and manage your own paid ads can put your business on a growth fast-track.
There are multiple channels you can use to advertise your products and services on the internet. One of the most popular is on Google—you see these ads at the top of every search you run.
For products and services, you can create visual ads like this:
And to push your digital software or other services, you can put together text ads like these:
Either way, Google offers free training to use their Ads Management software, which will guide you toward ideal keywords and give you tips on creating the right type of ad.
Beyond Google, you can also learn how to advertise on social media platforms. Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and TikTok all allow you to sponsor posts to reach a wider audience; they show your posts to people who fit within your audience parameters.
Like the other entrepreneur marketing channels on this list, paid advertising takes experimentation to see what connects with your audience. Start with small bids to test things out, and once you find your sweet spot, increase the amount you invest for more traffic and conversions.
5. Search engine optimization for long-term gains
Search engine optimization (SEO) is similar to paid advertising, except that instead of using money to bid on various keywords and audiences, you use content to organically reach the right people through various search engines.
While Google is by far the most popular channel for SEO, you can use this digital marketing skill to increase traffic on any site with a search engine, from Amazon to TikTok.
Unlike paid advertising, SEO is not about quick gains. Instead, this is a long-term investment that has long-term returns. That being said, the sooner you begin understanding how search engines work, the sooner you can start boosting the organic traffic to your website.
At its most basic level, SEO is about creating high-quality written content on your website. This is why so many companies have a blog. It’s a space where they can frequently publish new content that’s helpful for their readers and related to their industry.
Even if you don’t have time to deep dive into SEO, creating good content on a regular basis and publishing it on your website will help draw in more organic traffic.
6. Public speaking to grow your network
The relationships and partnerships you form at the start of your entrepreneurial journey can make or break your success.
There are many ways to build your network, but few methods are as fast and efficient as public speaking.
You can develop your public speaking skills by being a guest host on podcasts, leading online workshops and webinars, or simply recording yourself talking on a subject and publishing that to your website and social media pages. If and when you’re ready, you can move on to live speaking engagements at conferences.
Public speaking serves your entrepreneurial business in a few ways:
You get access to new, bigger audiences
You can showcase yourself as an expert in your field
You can promote your products and services
Start small and stick to topics that you’re comfortable with. Ask for honest feedback from your audience and use that to improve your public speaking skills. Eventually, you’ll have a few different talks that you can give with your eyes closed and one hand tied behind your back (though I wouldn’t recommend that).
7. Email marketing tactics to own your own audience
Email marketing is perhaps the safest form of entrepreneurial digital marketing. Social media platforms come and go, paid advertising can fall flat, and SEO takes a long time. But email marketing gives you a marketing channel that you can own and nurture into a steady income stream.
To get started with email marketing, you’ll want to choose an email marketing platform like ConvertKit, Mailerlite, or Mailchimp. There are plenty of options out there.
These platforms allow you to set up sign-up forms and design and schedule emails to go out to your audience.
If you’re new to email marketing, you’ll need to focus first on growing your audience. You can do this through other channels you’re using. For example, whenever I post on LinkedIn, I encourage people to sign-up for my email list for more tips. Because I post on LinkedIn a few times a week, this nets me around 15-20 new subscribers a month.
You can also use digital assets to grow your email list. Create an ebook, template, guide, or checklist that would be valuable to your audience and give it away for free on your website. People will submit their email addresses to download, and as long as you’re consistently sending them helpful, engaging emails, most will remain subscribed.
From there, it’s a process of creating a nurture funnel that introduces people to your products and services and shows them the value of what they offer.
With email marketing skills in your toolkit, you can set up all of this on your own and start seeing regular sales come through your pipeline.
It’s tough starting out as an entrepreneur
You’ll have a lot of work to do to get noticed and start making sales. And you may not have the income to pay for marketing professionals.
That’s why it pays (quite literally) to master a few of these digital marketing skills for entrepreneurs. The time you invest now will pay off big time down the road.