The field of marketing is incredibly broad and encompasses a wide variety of skill sets, from SEO and coding to website design and social media. Furthermore, marketing for a startup business is much different than marketing for a traditional, corporate company. When startups look to hire a marketer, they’re going to look for different skills than a traditional company might need. The stakes are much higher when adding a new member to a one or two person team, as opposed to a large marketing team of 10 or 20 people. Considering 90 percent of all startups fail, the pressure is on to find someone who can wear multiple hats — and wear them well.
Startups typically have minimal resources to devote to marketing, and yet their marketing plan could make the difference between the success and failure of the business. Because of this, they’re going to look for someone who is energetic, creative, willing to learn through trial and error, and someone who can work independently. In addition to these personality traits, it helps to have some marketing skills that are specific to startups. Below we’ve compiled a list of five skills that every marketer should have on their resume if they’re interested in applying to startups.
1. Knowledge of SEO and content creation.
If you’re a writer, good at content creation and familiar with SEO, you’re golden to a startup. Startups especially need help creating an online presence, and you can assist them in this by blogging and creating video content, as well as creating SEO goals and tracking your progress. Content creation is what’s going to make a startup stand out to a customer, and consistent, valuable content will help create and maintain a lasting relationship with an audience. Some people would say that writing skills are even more important than industry knowledge because of this (but we can’t deny that it’s obviously ideal if you have both).
SEO is also imperative to a startup, but it’s complex and requires a lot of time, so most small business owners need help in this area. Any knowledge of SEO strategies you have will be valuable to a startup, and the good thing about this is that it’s easy to learn on your own.
2. Basic coding skills.
You’ll be even more valuable to a startup if you’re familiar with SEO strategies and have some basic coding skills. These two things typically go hand in hand, and oftentimes they’re lacking in the skill set of a startup business owner. Coding can help streamline a lot of processes, which is essential for a startup that doesn’t have a large team or budget to work with. Don’t be turned off by the word coding. No one’s expecting you to be an expert. Some simple knowledge of HTML and CSS is sufficient and valuable for WordPress, email marketing, social media and more — and both these things are easy to learn.
There’s a ton of resources available on coding. It just requires some time to learn, and time is something that most startups don’t have. So if you come into the picture with this knowledge already, you’ll be sure to impress.
3. Data analysis experience.
If there’s one thing that startups are swimming in, it’s data. Every day there is new technology being developed that produces large amounts of data faster than ever, and this is great, providing you know how to analyze and use this data to make good business decisions. Startups need a point person for data because it’s such a complex and time-consuming area of business. So much of a startup’s marketing strategy comes down to trial and error, so show them you know how to create and run A/B test campaigns on your own.
Data is the core of content marketing, and companies are getting much better about using the data from clicks, conversions, keywords and more in order to track their progress, so show business owners that you not only know how to gather the data, you can make sense of it as well. I can almost guarantee it will be a huge weight off their shoulders and an invaluable skill.
4. Social media marketing.
Social media is the place to get the word out about a new business, so knowledge of all the different social platforms is imperative. Many startups don’t have someone dedicated to social media, so it falls on the marketer. And keep in mind, many don’t see social media to be as time consuming as it really is. You should be familiar with the major ones like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and know how to tailor a marketing strategy for each site.
In addition, it’s helpful to know the niche sites that are specific to the startup for which you’ll be working. Do your research ahead of time; do they have a large presence on Pinterest or LinkedIn? If they are not present on social media, can you suggest a platform that will work well for them?
The best way to show off your social media skills is to have an online presence yourself, so if you’re going to be talking about LinkedIn, make sure you have a great profile to use as an example. And if you’ve helped other businesses market themselves socially, make sure you include any tips and strategies that have worked well for you in the past. Case studies speak volumes, so don’t be afraid to brag a little (or a lot). This article will give you some tips on how to best optimize Instagram for SEO. You’ll be sure to impress during an interview.
5. Design skills.
A startup will need to develop not just their social media presence, but their brand as a whole, and this is where some design skills can come in handy. Most likely, they’ll still be working on their website, email design and internet marketing, so user accessibility is key. You can have the best business idea in the world, but if your website isn’t functional, you’re never going to succeed.
Take the time to learn WordPress backwards and forwards, as this is the preferred site for most startups. Familiarize yourself with the different templates (this is where some coding can also come in handy because even the best templates should be customized for each individual business) and create some example websites you can use to demonstrate your knowledge. Startups need to do more than just function; they need to look the part, and having some background in design can help them get that professional feel they’re striving to achieve.