Why Online Marketers Should Learn How to Code – Part 1

The important of coding in digital marketing

While at Sparro we hire based on personality and approach to problem solving, rather than experience and education, there is no denying that having the right technical skills would set you apart. Having an understanding of coding will put you at a distinct advantage as an online marketer.

I dabbled with Matlab while at university but nothing very serious. If there was one skill I could go back and improve on during my time studying, that would be my programming ability. I entered into digital marketing as a novice, and it’s taken being  in contact with code almost on a daily basis for me to grow the skillset I have now.

While I don’t expect someone without a coding background to be able to build a functional program through an API or create beautiful responsive websites from day one, just understanding how scripts work and being able to make minor changes can go a long way.

So how exactly would learning to code benefit you as an online marketer? Here are two key reasons I can give you:

You Understand How the Web Works

As a digital marketer, you are online all day, using websites without a second thought. Wouldn’t it be good to understand how it all works?

Whether it’s a basic understanding of how a browser interprets and loads the web standard trio of JavaScript/HTML/CSS used to build websites, or how servers and web hosting work, or even to figure out how to build an app, it is never a bad idea to improve your knowledge. Coding and computer science will be a great asset to you, and with a few languages in your toolkit or even just the framework for understanding how a computer interprets the instruction you give it, you become much more capable at your job, and more valuable to your company.

You Help Small Businesses

Sometimes, you have to be the expert. Sometimes your client is just one guy trying to run a business out of his home, with no background knowledge on how websites work. Very rarely will there be a development team behind the business to help you with improving the site, and add conversion tracking tags for you.

These small business owners will look to you as the “online expert” for help in all aspects of their online business, even if you only have expertise in one area of the online marketing industry. By having an understanding of how their website works, you can offer tips to help them improve their website and online presence (which in turn will improve your conversion rate and bounce rate, so it’s a good investment of your time, even if you’re helping in areas outside of your role), find solutions they wouldn’t be able to achieve otherwise, and be a Jack of all (online) trades for them. Providing value beyond and outside of a client’s expectations can only be hugely beneficial when it’s clear they don’t have an expert for every aspect of their business.

In the next part of the series I will explore some specific ways we use coding at Sparro to help us achieve our goals.

– Zac Nicholson

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