Online Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide
Do you know who Chandler Bolt is?
If you’re an online marketing nerd like me, you probably do.
But, if you’re part of the other 99.9% of the world who isn’t super excited about this “Internet marketing stuff,” you’ve probably never heard of this man.
So, what is he doing with this headline on Business Insider?
How did he get on there?
Is he rich or something? Yes, he is indeed.
That’s part of the beauty of online marketing.
This 21-year-old kid has made hundreds of thousands of dollars from his kitchen table.
No need for fame, magazine interviews, talk show visits, or acting classes (you know, to act in a blockbuster movie).
You have no clue who Chandler Bolt is. But he has made tons of money, and he’s also helping others do the same.
His company, Self-Publishing School, helps people publish books on Amazon and make a living from it.
If you’re an introvert, that’s a cause to celebrate!
Fewer than 20 years ago, extroverts had a way better chance of becoming rich and successful.
Why? It involved a ton of networking.
You had to hire employees and build a huge company. Or, for a career in arts, music, movies, etc., you had to get every person in your industry to know you.
While connections are still a huge deal, today you can get them right from your couch (or from your living room floor in my case).
As a single individual, you can build a huge business from the comfort of your home after work, during your afternoons, and on your weekends.
I don’t think that I’m being overly dramatic when I say that online marketing is your shot at the life of your dreams.
Trust me — I would know.
I want you to have as much fun at work as these guys and I do. So, today I’ll introduce you to this world with my online marketing guide.
Note: Even if you’re deep down the rabbit hole already, you can still learn a ton of new things from the following examples.
If you’re interested in a particular topic, feel free to jump ahead:
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
- SEM – Search Engine Marketing
- Content marketing
- Why content marketing?
- Social media marketing
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Everything that you need to know about Google AdWords
- Affiliate marketing
- Email marketing
If you’ve read my previous guide on digital marketing, you already know that it’s different.
Not every digital marketing campaign is automatically an online marketing effort.
According to TNMedia, online marketing is “…any tool, strategy or method of getting the company name out to the public. The advertisements can take many different forms and some strategies focus on subtle messages rather than clear-cut advertisements.”
Want the drop-dead simple version of it?
Online marketing is any effort to spread the word about your company that uses the Internet to reach people.
Basically, it’s anything that you do online to get more eyeballs on you, grab people’s attention, and hopefully, at some point, get them to buy from you.
We’ve already talked about search engine optimization (SEO), and I showed you all of the important aspects of it that you have to get right.
Next to SEO, there’s search engine marketing (SEM), which is simply the paid version of SEO.
Marketers pay Google to display ads in their search results in the hopes that they will drive traffic (especially interested people, or leads) to their product landing pages.
Then there’s content marketing. This is where marketers try to create valuable media and content to distribute to potential future customers. This is the good guy version of online marketing where you mostly try to guilt people into buying.
Of course, you already know social media marketing, which is where you use one or several social media channels to engage with customers, build relationships, and then send them to your products and services.
Pay per click advertising (or PPC) is similar to search engine marketing, but it isn’t limited to Google and its competitors. Most social media networks let you create ads that integrate naturally into their feeds, allowing you to pay for clicks to your website.
Affiliate marketing is a kind of referral marketing where you share profits with fellow marketers in exchange for promoting each other’s products.
And finally, there’s email marketing, which some already consider old-school. But it’s still one of the most effective channels. Once your customers have given you permission to contact them, you can email them at any time, providing value and asking them to buy when the time is right.
You can already guess how big online marketing really is. You know how huge of a space each of these individual categories fill.
I mean, just think about how many social media platforms you can name off the top of your head:
Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Google+, YouTube, Periscope, LinkedIn, Reddit, StumbleUpon…
OK, you get the point.
I want to give you a good grip on all of these categories just like in our beginner’s guide, localrenopros yet not drown you in the vast information that’s out there.
That’s why I’ll give you one example in each category of someone who absolutely crushes it in their niche along with some great points to help you get started.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
It goes without saying that I think Quick Sprout is one of the best sites when it comes to SEO (we’re kind of a big deal, I think).
Our Advanced Guide to SEO alone has gotten thousands of shares.
But, instead of spending an entire category bragging, I want to point you to someone who is a true search engine marketing ninja who has worked for us at Quick Sprout for quite some time.
I want to point him out not only because he has all of the SEO skills you need up his sleeve, but also because he is super underrated.
Brian Dean, aka Backlinko, might be flying under the radar. But when you start Googling around and learning SEO, you’re bound to bump into him.
He outranks huge sites like Wikipedia, Forbes, and Copyblogger, and he completely dominates the SEO space with his super long case studies that provide actionable, step-by-step instructions for upping your SEO game.
Backlinko ranks #1 AND #2 for “how to get backlinks.”
What’s great about his blog is that instead of just rounding up SEO news like Search Engine Land and others do, he actually shows you how to implement good SEO techniques that work.
As I outlined in one of the previous guides in this series, SEO is the process of optimizing your online content so that a search engine likes to show it as a top result for searches of a certain keyword.
Brian is one of the best sources on the web for you to learn how to do search engine marketing right.
For example, Brian recently published an article called “How to get backlinks with guestographics.”
There, he does two things.
1. He shows you the results that prove that the strategy works.
2. He gives you detailed steps that you can follow to execute it.
As a case study, he talks about someone who he’s helped pull off this strategy in their niche.
You see the results, and then you can just scroll down and follow along as you read. In this case, the steps are:
- Step 1: Publish an Awesome Infographic
- Step 2: Simple (But Effective) Link Prospecting
- Step 3: Show Them Your Infographic
- Step 4: Bribe Your Prospects With Free Content
- Step 5: Get Your Contextual Links
That’s easy to follow, right? So, what’s the catch?
It’s hard to execute. It takes time.
And that’s the reason that not many people do it. Be one of the few who does and you’ll get the results.
Just check out this backlink that we got to a Quick Sprout infographic:
Do you want more proof?
Go through the entire Backlinko blog. You’ll find fewer than 40 posts over the last several years.
If Brian’s SEO didn’t work, then he would never have been able to grow Backlinko to 100,000+ monthly readers, 100,000 email subscribers, and such a massive SEO brand with fewer than 40 blog posts.
The following three blog posts are the best ones to help you get started:
- How to rank for any keyword
- Link Building: The Definitive Guide
- Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List
Within search engine optimization, there are two big sectors to be aware of:
Over the past few years, Google has made numerous updates to their algorithms.
Data tells us that Google makes up to 600 changes to their algorithm every single year.
It’s almost impossible to keep up with Google’s rapid pace and changing user behavior.
But one thing that’s remained relatively constant is conducting on-page SEO.
Most on-page activities for SEO aren’t linked to direct ranking factors, but rather to indirect factors like click-through rate and time on site.
For example, an on-page SEO task that’s common is to optimize your meta description and title tag:
Your title tag and meta description are what shows up on a given Google search result. For example, if someone searches for “SEO Tips,” my post will show up with the headline and description that I’ve personally customized.
While placing keywords in the title and description can help users navigate the content faster (as seen by the bolded text), it doesn’t directly increase rankings.
So simply stuffing keywords in your meta and title tags isn’t an option.
But they do contribute to click-through rate. When your title tags and meta descriptions are more compelling or related to the topic that someone is searching for, you can expect higher click-through rates.
And the higher the CTR, the higher the chance of ranking better.
Google is all about providing the best user experience possible. So if Google notices that your post that ranks at #10 is getting a higher CTR than the post above you, they will move your content up.
On-page SEO consists of a few major elements to be aware of:
- Crawl errors
- Keyword research
- Page optimization
In this section, I’ll walk you through how you can improve each of these elements to get your on-page SEO on the right track.
Crawl errors can be anything from a 404 error (broken link) to duplicate content. And all of these issues can plague your website with:
- Slow speeds
- Impacted rankings
- Penalties from Google
- Increased risk of users leaving your site (bouncing)
If you’ve ever seen this on your site, it’s a broken link error that can cause major problems: