If Your Online Presence was an Employee, What Would You Put in its Job Description?
Job descriptions are concise statements laying out the responsibilities of an employee, his or her role within your organization, standards for measuring effectiveness, and accountability expectations. An interesting tactic that marketers can use when designing a digital presence is to ask the question, “If my online presence was an employee, what would I put in its job description?”
A digital marketer’s role is to help businesses achieve their objectives through the medium of online communication. Numerous different approaches are available, from website creation through social media or email marketing and into the multitude of possible calls to action, including direct sales, marketing, lead generation, client communication, or any number of possibilities.
As an exercise in defining expectations for an online presence, this blog post will apply the five standards for writing a job description (as suggested by the U.S. Small Business Administration) to digital marketing principles. The suggested job description standards are:
- Individual tasks involved
- The methods used to complete the tasks
- The purpose and responsibilities of the job
- The relationship of the job to other jobs
- Qualifications needed for the job
Individual Tasks Involved
What do you expect your online presence to do for you? Are you communication heavy, hoping for high levels of engagement on your blog and social media channels, or are you sales-focused, hoping to generate and qualify leads, or even make sales directly through your website? Or, perhaps you are really just interested in gaining exposure and generating as much traffic as possible, which would involve more promotional tasks like content distribution, PPC advertising or banner ads.
The answer to this question doesn’t need to come at the expense of the other options, but should help guide your resource allocations.
Methods Used to Complete Tasks
Identifying the tasks involved makes finding the best methods for accomplishing each goal easy.
If, for example, you are hoping to make direct online sales, make sure you put a strong emphasis on conversion optimization and sales-based calls to action throughout your digital content. Sales-based organizations should make sure to have fast and effective integration with CRM programs like Salesforce or Sugar CRM, and processes for contacting leads as they qualify. Marketing automation programs, like Volacci Automatr, can help streamline these processes and maximize revenue potential.
On the other hand, if you are looking to build an online community around your organization, make sure there is a heavy focus on content sharing buttons and that your social media accounts are optimized and easy to find. Invest in fresh content and assign staff to regularly monitor and contribute to the ongoing dialogue.
Purpose and Responsibilities
Just as your job description for a marketing professional would differ from the description of a sales or service based professional, make sure to clearly delineate the foremost purpose, or responsibility, of your online presence. This exercise will help marketing staffs keep focused on the primary business objectives desired from a digital presence.
Purpose should include general objectives like promotion, sales or engagement, while responsibilities should be more clearly defined objectives achievable through the tactics mentioned in the previous section. Responsibilities might include, “receive and process messages through the website, email or social media of prospective clients,” or, “engage with current and prospective clients about our services.” Write out as many responsibilities as you can think of, and make sure that you have clear processes in place for each one.
Relationship to other Jobs
Answering this question can be an incredibly useful exercise for figuring out where your staff’s responsibilities take over for web content and processes. For example, it may be your website’s responsibility to create a lead generation report for prospective clients, but a sales person’s job to follow up with them. Or, perhaps you have a marketing automation platform that automatically enters each prospect into a nurturing campaign, only alerting sales staff when that lead has qualified.
Similarly, your social media presence may act as a 24/7 public ambassador for your business, but should be designed to hand over customer comments or feedback to the appropriate department in a clearly defined manner.
Qualifications Needed for the Job
Just as you wouldn’t hire a plumber to fix the wiring in your house, neither should you expect that any digital presence will suffice for the tasks set before it. If you are writing this “job description” before you’ve even started a website, use it to help guide the CMS selection. Wordpress might work well if you’re looking for a proficient entry-level employee, while something more substantial like Drupal would work better if you’re looking for a career-minded employee who can help grow with the company.
Additionally, evaluate any outreach efforts to make sure they meet the needs of your digital marketing objectives. Where Facebook might be the greatest asset for one company, a more visual medium like Pinterest might be the best option for a different company. Regularly scheduled outreach, like an email newsletter or RSS feed could also help for certain objectives, in which case you’ll want to make sure your online content is easily repurposable for such objectives.
It is easy to get overwhelmed when trying to design an effective digital marketing presence. New social media programs, website possibilities, screen sizes and forms of content seem to pop up every week. Writing a job description for your digital presence may just be the trick you need to stay focused and effective. What other categories should you consider in your digital marketing job description?