Before you read more about my conversation with him, let me give you a quick introduction to Neil and why he’s the perfect candidate to talk about digital marketing.
Neil Patel is one of the leading digital marketers in the world with immense knowledge in marketing, SEO, social media, PPC, ecommerce, email marketing, and many more. He is also an entrepreneur, a New York Times bestseller, a marketing expert, speaker and internet personality. He is ranked among the top 10 marketers by Fobes and is called a top web influencer by The Wall Street Journal. You would probably know him as the co-founder of Crazy Egg or the creator of Ubersuggest, the popular SEO tool. And I think these are reasons enough why I chose him to talk about this particular topic.
Here are some important takeaways from my conversation with Neil:
There is a huge need for a work-life balance for all professionals. If you want to do well in a job, you need to have a work-life balance. However, it is hard to incorporate a balance when you are at the beginning of your career and trying to climb up the ladder. But in order to be good at what you do, it is a sacrifice you have to make.
According to Neil, whatever you do, you have to put in 110%. Having a work-life balance is not about putting in a lot of hours into different buckets without making those hours actually count and getting value out of it.
People who make the best digital marketers are the ones who tend to be very creative and think outside the box. Everyone is going to have more money or resources than you and would have started their journey before you. If you can’t think outside the box, you cannot grow and win in your career.
Creativity is not something that can be taught. Some people have it in them, some don’t. But there are many ways that can help spurt creativity in people. You can read a lot, look at examples of what other people are doing, study competitors and look at different marketing campaigns that work for people in different industries as they can give you a lot of fresh ideas.
Digital marketer or not, having good communication skills is a must. Communication skills are easier to fix than creativity. If you are a digital marketer lacking in that aspect, you can start off by being quick in checking and responding to messages and notifications. It goes a long way.
It is also not necessary for a digital marketer to be fluent and proficient in the English language. Work with the languages you know and are good at. People want digital marketers to specialise in specific languages for better reach. Remember that marketing is not always about marketing in English.
There is quite a lot of uncertainty in the digital world. Algorithms keep changing constantly. Sometimes they benefit you and sometimes they don’t. You need to understand that you can’t control it and instead focus on using every single platform to your advantage. Adapt to the changes and use it till it works. The key lies in adding as many channels as you can on many platforms. You cannot earn revenue from just one place.
Three strong strategies for D2C businesses to grow:
- Have multiple payment options – By doing so, you can quickly see more revenue.
- Obsess over your product – The way to build a massive commerce company is through word-of-mouth marketing. And you can benefit from it only if your products are amazing. Always fix bad reviews to make your products better. This will eventually lead to more referrals.
- Follow-up – D2C marketing is all about the follow-up. Usually, businesses forget to optimize for repeat purchases. Big brands like Amazon and Flipkart make big money, not because of one sale but because they get their customers to purchase repetitively. It is easier to earn revenue from existing customers than from new ones. Make sure to follow up through promotions for every other holiday, text and email, and by adding more ancillary products to upsell.
Tools Neil uses for activating omnichannel marketing or understanding his customer behaviour better: Mailchimp for email marketing, Messenger for messaging, Search Console for web traffic and performance, Ubersuggest for keywords and SEO, Buffer, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social for social media. Hubspot is an all-rounder for all channels.
Neil’s mantra to help digital marketers keep their calm: “When things are going really well for you, there is always someone out there who has it better than you. When things are going really bad for you, there is always someone out there who has it much worse than you.”
When things go well, you get too excited and get caught up in the emotions. People are on a high like they are invincible and nothing can affect them. When things do down, it feels like doomsday when everything is over. Neither of these is true. Staying level-headed is important to make clear and precise decisions.
Young digital marketers often get uncertain and try to learn every aspect of digital marketing. But it is important to specialize in any one field. It is always better to be a master of one than to be a jack of all trades. Even if a company knows it has to incorporate omnichannel marketing, they only hire people who can focus on one single channel individually as they scale up and grow because that is how you get the best results.
Digital marketers do not have any time limit as to how long they should work in a specific industry. Keep going as long as possible. If you are doing SEO, you should figure out link building, on-page seo, content, etc as it keeps expanding. You have to keep going until you eventually figure out all aspects of digital marketing that affect your main concentration.
It is very important to delegate work to people who can do a task better than you. If you have to teach someone how to do the job, you are hiring the wrong people. The key to delegation is to delegate work to people who do it better than how you would have done it. You hire people who are better than you.
Digital marketing is not a must-have life skill. You can always hire people who can do it for you. UX, design or copywriting are just as important as marketing. You should always remember to do what you love and what you are passionate about as you will put more effort, time and energy into doing things you love. You will also eventually succeed in the job you do with passion.
Neil on how and where he learns digital marketing from: I learn digital marketing every once in 2-3 days through reading blogs from Moz, Backlinko, and Search Engine Land. I learn more by studying other players within my industry and other players outside my industry that do unique marketing techniques. For example, when I see D2c ads on TV, I look up their website, the kind of ads they run, and also their Facebook ad library. I learn from seeing people in different spaces.
Here’s the thing about how people mess up the whole lifecycle of being a digital marketer: After they master one subject, they stop. They don’t continue to learn more and improve themselves. That’s the demise of a career. The moment you stop learning is the moment someone eventually takes over you. You should never stop learning as you can always get better.
Things to look for when you hire a talent:
- Did they work for your competitors?
- Did they work there for a while? If yes, that means they are loyal.
- Did they get promoted at that job? If they got promoted, it means that the company found them valuable. Chances are that you will find them valuable too.
- Can they teach you new things? It’s a great sign if they can!
- Hire people who can execute tasks and get their hands dirty
- Finally, don’t forget to check if they are culturally fit. This is the most important part. If you don’t find them culturally fit, they are not going to last long or do well in the company.
Neil Patel’s values to carry forward:
- Always treat people with respect irrespective of caste, colour, gender, experience, age, etc
- Always be ethical in whatever you do.
- Always think long-term
- No matter what you do in life, do what you love
Not-so-important points of the conversation:
- Neil spends atleast 5-6 hours on his mobile phone every day.
- According to him, Instagram will eventually be a better social network than Facebook in the near future.
- Neil’s discipline to grow a personal brand: Do it for a long time. You can’t win in the short term. Keep adding value and genuinely look forward to helping people.
- One thing Neil doesn’t like about the digital marketing industry: How platforms have so much control and can crush so many businesses and the fact that you cannot do anything about it.
So, that ends this blog post! It was a really insightful conversation with Neil Patel about the ‘Life and Life Cycle of a Digital Marketer’. I would also like to appreciate how Neil answered all my questions so promptly, considering the fact that he was not informed about the questions previously!
Hope everyone who read this post had something valuable to take away.
What’s the one point that struck you the most? Let us know in the comments below.