Internet marketing has only been around for a little over 15 years, while design and engineering have been around for far longer. Given the relative infancy of internet marketing, there still isn’t solid training or education available. That’s not to say that there isn’t a lot of information out there — you just need to be able to find the right resources by filtering through a lot of noise on the net.
WHERE TO START
The hardest part about doing things is starting. Internet marketing is no exception. The trouble in this space is that there are a lot of people writing content for the sake of gaining search engine rankings or for quick affiliate marketing wins.
The big takeaway with learning internet marketing today is being able to discern signal from noise — getting the right information from the right people and taking action. Here are the areas that I think are most important in internet marketing, plus helpful blogs that cover each topic more in depth.
Organic search (SEO) is still the top growth channel in most cases today, according to Custora. It takes the most time and effort, but if you can execute well, it brings the most long-term value. On top of having the “Beginner’s Guide to SEO,” the Moz blog has a lot of advanced SEO tips plus a helpful video series every Friday called Whiteboard Friday.
Pay-per-click (PPC) has evolved quite a bit from just text link ads in search results. Now there’s access to social ads, retargeting, video ads and much more. It might seem overwhelming, but if you have the basics down for AdWords, you should be able to transition into other forms of pay per click. PPC Hero has great how-to posts that provide lots of utility to the reader.
If you’re not looking at the numbers, you’re not going to get anywhere. Average order value? Bounce rate? Engagement? Traffic? Conversion Rates? All inside your analytics. If you’re at a tech startup, you’ll probably be paying attention to lifetime value, churn and more.
Avinash Kaushik is the Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google and really knows analytics. Most of his blog, Occam’s Razor, is Google Analytics related, but it’s great for anyone that is just starting out.
Email is still one of the best acquisition channels today. It’s essentially the world’s biggest social network. Email Institute includes tons of email marketing best practices.
Writing great headlines is one of the easiest ways to generate more click-throughs and eventually more conversions. Copyblogger is great for improving your copywriting skills. Take a look at the headlines for their posts and try to mold them into your own. They say that the headline is worth $.80 of the $1 you spend on your content, because if people don’t click on it, your content is almost worthless.
At the end of the day, social media is all about connecting with people who care about what you do. There are new platforms coming out every year, and it’s hard to keep up with what’s going on. Social Media Examiner provides valuable, actionable social media posts to emulate.
Content marketing is a new buzzword but the practice has been around for ages. Content that brings utility to your readers helps build brand awareness, likability, trust and more. Like SEO, content marketing takes a lot of time, money and effort to see results but it compounds over time. Content Marketing Institute offers up-to-date tips and tricks on effective content marketing strategies.
Startup marketing is a different beast from typical marketing. Its very metrics driven and requires a lot of testing through different channels. There’s a finite amount of time to hit numbers. Most startups need full-stack marketers to help with growth, and unfortunately, there aren’t many around today. You’ll also learn about customer development, product market fit and driving growth with little to no budget.
Sean Ellis’ blog, Startup Marketing, covers a lot of these different topics well. You’ll also want to note that he’s now blogging on his company’s blog.
Affiliate marketers are sometimes seen as shady, untrustworthy marketers, but I have found that to be untrue. They’re actually some of the most creative marketers because they tend to make things happen by doing anything it takes to get the job done. Learning affiliate marketing is just one piece of the puzzle. If you’re trying to grow a startup and you start an affiliate program, you’ll need to learn the ins and outs of managing an affiliate program.
Geno Prussakov’s blog on affiliate marketing is called AffiliateMarketing Navigator. He’s a leader in the affiliate marketing space and has written a highly rated affiliate program managementbook.
YouTube is a major search engine, and video will continue to grow as people shift more of their attention online. It’s a good idea to get in now. ReelSEO is great for video advertising and YouTube tricks.
A good full-stack marketer understands that they need to keep learning because things move so quickly. Become complacent and you’ll quickly become average. Keep testing, keep reading, and keep asking questions.
There’s a lot of information about internet marketing online, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to learn everything at once. Start small and then branch out into other areas. Don’t be afraid to take risks every once in a while and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a full-stack marketer.
To me, a full-stack marketer is a growth hacker. But that’s up for debate since there are multiple interpretations about what a growth hacker actually is and isn’t. What do you think?