“”The Valley skill set that should be in highest demand and greatest scarcity is neither engineering nor design, but rather internet marketing.” – Dave McClure ranting about what startups are missing“
Makes a lot of sense, right? 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 a solid training/education available. That’s not to say that there isn’t a lot of information out there – there is. You just need to be able to find the right resources and that usually means filtering through a lot of noise on the net.
This blog post is intended to point beginning-intermediate internet marketers in the right direction. Here’s how
Where To Start First
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. Don’t believe there’s a lot of marginal content out there?
Just look at this eHow article and you’ll know why it can be difficult to find the best content sometimes:
The big takeaway with learning internet marketing today is being able to discern signal to noise. That means getting the right information from the right people and taking action on it. I’m going to cover the areas that I think are most important in internet marketing below as well as link to one blog that you should be reading if you want to learn more about it.
I’m only linking to one blog for each category so you can focus on that blog and not get overwhelmed by too many. Should you become more interested in the subject, feel free to dive deeper into it and broaden the blogs you’re reading.
Oh, and if you’re trying to copy the Demand Media (eHow) model of creating a bunch of marginal content rapidly, that stuff doesn’t work as well today. That’s why their stock looks like this:
Blogs To Read
Organic search(SEO) is still the top growth channel in most cases today. It takes the most time and effort, but if you can execute well, it brings the most long term value.
Here’s the one blog I recommend for SEO:
Moz Blog – 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.
Here’s the blog I recommend for PPC:
PPC Hero – PPC Hero has great how-to posts that provide lots of utility to the reader – their popular posts are a good place to start. They also have a series of guides and whitepapers that will help you out.
Bonus: I also recommend Brad Gedde’s Advanced Guide to Google AdWords You can either pick up his book or the video training. I personally used the video training.
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.
Blog to read:
Occam’s Razor – Avinash Kaushik is the Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google and really knows analytics like the back of his hands. He has a lot of helpful gems on his blog. Most of it is Google Analytics related, but it’s great for any one that is just starting out.
E-mail is still one of the best acquisition channels today. Just think about it – it’s essentially the world’s biggest social network (re: communication channel):
I recommend reading E-mail Institute since it has a plethora of e-mail marketing best practice tips.
Writing great headlines is one of the easiest ways to generate more click throughs and eventually more conversions. I recommend reading Copyblogger to improve your copywriting skills. Take a look at the headlines for all of their blog 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 that care about what you do. There’s new platforms coming out every year and it’s hard to keep up with what’s going on, but Social Media Examiner does a good job of providing valuable, actionable social media posts.
Content Marketing is a new buzzword but the practice has been around for ages. The short explanation is that 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.
I recommend reading Content Marketing Institute for the most up to date tips and tricks on doing content marketing effectively.
Startup marketing is a different beast from typical marketing. It’s very metrics driven and requires a lot of testing through different channels. It’s also a different mindset because there’s a finite amount of time to hit numbers (unlike a big company where there’s an abundance of runway). Most startups need full stack marketers (re: growth hackers) to help with growth and there unfortunately aren’t many around today. You’ll also learn about customer development, product market fit and driving growth with little to no budget sometimes.
Affiliate marketers are sometimes seen as shady, untrustworthy marketers but I tend to find that to be untrue. They’re actually some of the most creative marketers because they tend to just make things happen by doing anything it takes to get the job done. Learning how to do 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.
I highly recommend reading Geno Prussakov’s blog on affiliate marketing. He’s seen as a leader in the affiliate marketing space and has written a highly rated affiliate program management book. I highly recommend it by the way.
Let’s look at some YouTube stats since it is the world’s second largest search engine:
- 600 million views come from mobile devices every day
- 500 years of YouTube video are viewed on Facebook every day. 700 YouTube videos are shared each minute on Twitter.
- Over 800 million unique visits to YouTube each month
Video will continue to grow as people shift more of their attention online. It’s a good idea to get in now while it’s still the wild west.
I recommend reading ReelSEO for video advertising and YouTube tricks.
There’s a lot of channels and a ton of information to dive into, so here’s my recommendation on how to actually get started:
Start Out With One Channel
I recommend you choose the topic that you find most interesting and dedicate your time to it. This is so you don’t spread yourself thin. For example, I started off with SEO first and created a few websites to test out different strategies/tactics. Once I started getting a hang of it, I tried running some affiliate marketing campaigns. One thing led to another and I was eventually helping large publishing sites and Fortune 500 companies with SEO.
But that wasn’t enough. I decided that I needed to branch out into other online marketing areas so I could become a well rounded marketer. So I picked up PPC. I learned more about Analytics. Then I learned how to do social media effectively. Then I layered on copywriting and so on.
A good full stack marketer understands that they need to keep learning because things move so quickly in the internet world. Become complacent and you’ll quickly become average.
The learning never stops because things move so quickly in the technology space. Keep testing, keep reading, keep asking questions.
Although I wanted to keep the number of blogs recommended to one per channel above, but I felt that it would be helpful if I shared some of my other favorite sites:
David Skok’s Entrepreneurship blog – Fantastic posts on growing a SaaS companies. His metrics posts are exceptional.
Quicksprout – The blog of KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg co-founder Neil Patel. He covers topics from entrepreneurship to internet marketing. He also has created some exceptional ‘advanced online marketing guides’ that are completely free.
KISSmetrics blog – Widely viewed as a the best all-around online marketing blog.
Inbound.org – The Hacker News of internet marketing. This is where you can find the latest internet marketing news floating around.
One Post To Read
If there’s one post you need to read on acquiring customers, it’s Paul Graham’s essay on doing unscalable things to grow your business. This is a must read for any marketer.
There’s a 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 when you’re comfortable. Don’t be afraid to take risks every once in awhile and you’ll be well on your way into 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?
Disclaimer: As with any digital marketing campaign, your individual results may vary.