Written by Neil Patel & Ritika Puri
The most extensive and comprehensive introduction
to online marketing that you’ll find anywhere.
Why We Wrote this Guide
Online marketing moves at the speed of light. To keep up, you need a strong foundation with the judgment to think critically, act independently, and be relentlessly creative. That’s why we wrote this guide — to empower you with the mental building blocks to stay ahead in an aggressive industry.
There are plenty of guides to marketing. From textbooks to online video tutorials, you can really take your pick. But, we felt that there was something missing — a guide that really starts at the beginning to equip already-intelligent professionals with a healthy balance of strategic and tactical advice. The Beginner’s Guide to Online Marketing closes that gap.
Who This Guide Is for
We wrote this guide for an audience of first-time marketers, experienced entrepreneurs and small business owners, entry to mid-level candidates, and marketing managers in need of resources to train their direct reports. Most of all, we want you to walk away from this guide feeling confident about your marketing strategy.
How Much of this Guide Should You Read?
This guide is designed for you to read cover-to-cover. Each new chapter builds upon the previous one. A core idea that we want to reinforce is that marketing should be evaluated holistically. What you need to do is this in terms of growth frameworks and systems as opposed to campaigns. Reading this guide from start to finish will help you connect the many moving parts of marketing to your big-picture goal, which is ROI.
Chapter 1 Be Laser Focused on Your Customers
Your customers, prospects, and partners are the lifeblood of of your business. You need to build your marketing strategy around them. Step 1 of marketing is understanding what your customers want, which can be challenging when you’re dealing with such a diverse audience. This chapter will walk you through (1) the process of building personal connections at scale and (2) crafting customer value propositions that funnel back to ROI for your company.
Chapter 2 Build Your Marketing Framework
Mediocre marketers think in terms of campaigns. Great marketers think in terms of growth frameworks. Learn how to position your marketing strategy into a sustainable, ROI-positive revenue engine for your brand. Gone are the days of shallow branding. Leverage metrics to build a solid revenue stream.
Chapter 3 Develop Your Brand’s Story
When people spend money, they’re thinking with both their rational and emotional brains. The most effective marketing frameworks appeal to both. Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools that your company can wield to build customer connections. This chapter will walk you through the mechanics of cultivating your company’s story.
Chapter 4 Get ‘Em to Your Site: Foundations
of Traffic Acquisition
You can have the most amazing web storefront, blog, or product in the world, but if you’re not getting traffic, your business’s growth strategy will fall flat. This chapter will walk you through some of the most common free and paid traffic acquisition frameworks for bringing visitors to your website.
Chapter 5 Get the Plumbing Right:
Foundations of Conversion Optimization
Traffic acquisition is only half the marketing equation. You need to invest the time in building a strategy for driving sales. Conversion optimization is the practice of (1) converting first-time visitors into customers and (2) converting first-time customers into repeat buyers. This chapter will teach you how.
Chapter 6 Build Audience Connections
with Content Marketing
Content marketing is more than just blogging. When executed correctly, content including articles, guides (like this one), webinars, and videos can be powerful growth drivers for your business. Focus on building trust and producing amazing quality. And most of all, make sure that you’re capturing the right metrics. Create content to generate ROI. Measure the right results. This chapter will teach you how.
Chapter 7 Find Customers with Paid
Paid channel marketing is something you’ve probably come across in some form or another. Other names for this topic include Search Engine Marketing (SEM), online advertising, or pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. Very often, marketers use these terms interchangeably to describe the same concept — traffic purchased through online ads. Marketers frequently shy away from this technique because it costs money. This perspective will put you at a significant disadvantage. It’s not uncommon for companies to run PPC campaigns with uncapped budgets. Why? Because you should be generating an ROI anyway. This chapter walks through the basics of how.
Chapter 8 Amplify 1:1 Connections with
Email marketing has a bad rap. Why? Because in the majority of cases, it’s spammy. When executed correctly, email marketing can be incredibly powerful. The trick is to prioritize the human-to-human connection above the sale. Balance automation with a personal touch. This chapter will teach you how.
Chapter 9 Drive Incremental Sales
Through Affiliate Marketing
It’s hard to believe that the Internet is now multiple decades old. Affiliate marketing has been around since the earliest days of online marketing. It’s a great solution for businesses that are risk-averse or don’t have the budget to spend on upfront marketing costs. Use affiliate marketing to build a new revenue stream for your ecommerce or B2B business.
Chapter 10 Get Found with SEO
Search engines are a powerful channel for connecting with new audiences. Companies like Google and Bing look to connect their customers with the best user experience possible. Step one of a strong SEO strategy is to make sure that your website content and products are the best that they can be. Step 2 is to communicate that user experience information to search engines so that you rank in the right place. SEO is competitive and has a reputation of being a black art. Here’s how to get started the right way.
Chapter 11 Get the Word Out with PR
You’ve launched an amazing product or service. Now what? Now, you need to get the word out. When done well, good PR can be much more effective and less expensive than advertising. Regardless of whether you want to hire a fancy agency or awesome consultant, make sure that you know what you’re doing and what types of ROI to expect. Relationships are the heart and soul of PR. This chapter will teach you how to ignore the noise and focus on substantive, measurable results.
Chapter 12 Launch Your Social Strategy
Your social media strategy is more than just a Facebook profile or Twitter feed. When executed correctly, social media is a powerful customer engagement engine and web traffic driver. It’s easy to get sucked into the hype and create profiles on every single social site. This is the wrong approach. What you should do instead is to focus on a few key channels where your brand is most likely to reach key customers and prospects. This chapter will teach you how to make that judgment call.
Chapter 13 A Quick Note on Mobile
Most businesses aren’t optimized for the mobile web, and that’s a problem. We operate in a cross-platform world. Smartphones and tablets are taking over. If you’re not optimizing your site for mobile visitors, you are likely losing money. Learn how to craft a data-driven mobile approach. This chapter will help you learn the ropes.
Chapter 14 Loose Ends: The Community Weighs In
When writing this guide, we reached out to the marketer community to collect case studies and learnings about creative marketing strategies. Most of these examples are included throughout the guide, but some didn’t quite fit. So we included those loose ends here, from the perspective of four awesome marketers. What better way to wrap up this guide than with you, our community?