4 People to Know if You're Trying to Get Into Digital Marketing

4 People to Know if You’re Trying to Get Into Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing is a tricky little harlot.

You think you are getting a firm grasp on the culture, you’re starting to see Google Analytics as more than just squiggly graphs and total traffic, and then WHAM!  You realize you can compare date ranges and create custom reports.

Or, once you think you finally understand the basic design of a good homepage, you remember that there’s tablets and mobile phones to worry about as well.

As a new member of a digital marketing agency, I get overwhelmed with all the new information, especially since this is a field that is, quite literally, changing every day.  What you thought was a good plan for a homepage layout looks old-fashioned two weeks later. It happens, and you have to go with it.

Luckily, there’s a world of people out there who have taken it upon themselves to write phenomenal blogs that will make your head stop spinning briefly. These people are leaders in the industry, and they’re doing amazing things to help push marketing toward data-driven analytics and measurable results.  Essentially, they’re putting science back into something that sort of just seemed like matter of opinion before.

If you think you might enjoy UX Design, conversion optimization, or market analytics, then these are some must-reads. And this isn’t boring, dense literature. It’s stuff you cruise through because it’s so fascinating.  Even if you’re not in the web-world, these people provide valuable insight into the proper way to run a business. Anyone in the working world can take something from these people and apply it. Learn from the best.

Peep Laja, of the ConversionXL blog

Digital Marketing Company NYC

This is one of my favorite blogs ever and this guy is kind of my hero.  This blog is one of the main reasons I got interested in conversion optimization and UX design in general, and it’s been a tremendous resource whenever I get stuck.

Peep is great at taking a simple concept (Google Analytics), helping you understand how vastly complicated it actually is (custom reports, anyone?), and then helping you make sense of the mind warp he just threw you into.

His posts are generally long-form,and despite their length, I end up reading them wide-eyed and fascinated until I hit the comments, and then I’m sad it’s over.  He has a great way of drawing conclusions that can apply to anyone, no matter how much traffic your website is seeing and how little you have to work with.

Even if you’re not getting hundreds of thousands of hits a month, Peep will teach you so much in one post that you’ll realize you probably didn’t know squat about Google Analytics until you found this blog.

Blog posts to start with:

Peep breaks it down for you and gives you the 10 most-read articles of 2013.  Work your way through them one at a time and really make sure you understand the content.  There’s a lot to take in, but you’ll come out with so much new insight that you’ll be running your own custom reports in no time.

Avinash Kaushik,marketer for Google and creator of  Occam’s Razor

Digital Marketing Company NYCAnother favorite of mine, Avinash writes in a hugely accessible way to the average reader, and makes wonderful little graphs and witty quips to keep his blog posts lively.  This guy is a born and bred teacher, and it shows in his writing.

Avinash pioneers the idea of “if you don’t have quality content to post, don’t post anything at all,” and his work shows that every time. He only posts about once every three weeks, and each post is so packed with information, it can take several sessions to work your way through.

And he tackles issues you didn’t even know exists.  For example, did you know that you’re completely messing up your Google Analytics reports unless you know the difference between session-level and page-level metrics and dimensions?

Blog posts to start with:

This one talks about what he does and why he does it, just to get inspired and feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

The biggest mistakes analysts make, and how to avoid them.

Ashley Friedlein of the Econsultancy blog

Digital Marketing Company NYC

Besides the fact that Ashley gave some incredibly valuable insight in his free PDF, his blog is an oasis of PR advice and staying ahead of the curve in terms of company culture.  He stresses company culture that always puts the client first, and how any company worth their salt has both creativity and good customer service.

When you read Ashley’s blog, you get the immediate sense that what he cares about most is the consumer. He encourages readers to think like the customer, and to market and design with the end goal of creating something that is a pleasurable and useful experience.

Blog posts to start with:

The marketing manifesto.  This post boils things down to the very basics of being a good marketer (spoiler alert: customer service is a big point).

Micro-failures and the future of marketing.  This one has great tips for anyone working in a start-up environment.

Chris Goward of the Wider Funnel Blog

Digital Marketing Company NYC

Headed by Wider Funnel founder Chris Goward (whose company we very much admire), the Wider Funnel blog is a lot like the ConversionXL blog in the fact that it addresses a lot of topics that halt conversions, and how to fix them.

If not just for the quality content, the fact that you can Tweet little snippets of the blog by just clicking on the little bird right next to the text is incredibly cool.

This blog is a big fan of graphs, whether in hard-data form or as fun infographics.  Wider Funnel does a great job at taking abstract ideas and making them accessible to the average reader.  You might not even know what your problem is, but Wider Funnel will help you find it.   The company’s website is an amazing resource for conversion optimization in general, because it’s kind of what they’re really awesome at.  They provide a whole section of free things to download essentially holding your hand as long as possible.

Blog posts to start with:

Making an awesome value proposition.  This addresses the very first thing people will see when they come to your page, yet somehow the hardest thing for companies to nail down.  Don’t lose customers because your value proposition doesn’t make sense.

14 ways to have digital marketing success.  This might come across as the “secret” to hitting it big as a digital marketing agency, but the article stresses methodical processes tied to data to quantify results, as well as constantly creating good content that converts.

The moral of the story here is this: if you want to learn, you should study the habits of those better than you.