Online marketing is one of the most dynamic forms of advertising in history. In the space of less than two decades, it has evolved and grown into a multibillion-dollar industry. It started with basic images and messaging and has morphed into a specialized discipline that continues to create wealth in a harsh economic climate.
Because the whole field of online marketing is based around ever-changing developments on the Internet, some of the most savvy entrepreneurs in the field are constantly educating themselves about the latest trends in the industry. Here are five of the best sources for keeping up-to-date on the best Internet marketing tactics:
MarketingExperiments.com. This site helps clients turn existing Web traffic into sales and leads. With regularly scheduled live webinars, members can present an existing website to a team of experienced specialists who point out obvious and subtle reasons that can keep people from filling out an online form or completing a sale. In the world of eCommerce, "shopping cart abandonment" is one of the biggest challenges faced by retailers, and this site regularly presents users with options to reduce the "friction" in the shopping process.
bgTheory.com (previously eWhisper.net). Aside from their core business of providing Internet marketing training, bgTheory.com blogs extensively on developments in the online marketing and pay-per-click (PPC) arena. The advice on PPC is especially useful for people who manage their own online marketing campaigns in Google™ AdWords, Yahoo!® Search Marketing, or Microsoft® Advertising adCenter. By improving one’s quality score, increasing conversion rates, and using new features outlined on this site, novice and seasoned PPC managers can get more results from their Internet marketing budgets.
WebProNews.com. This site provides a broad array of timely topics on ebusiness, search engines, and social media. The broad scope of WebProNews.com’s articles helps the full-time online marketing guru stay up-to-date on the latest trends, ad spending rates, and the Internet in general. An "Expert Articles" section is invaluable for anyone who is looking to create or rebuild a marketing strategy.
MarketingProfs.com. By offering advice about online and offline marketing strategies, MarketingProfs.com gives its members access to more than 2,000 how-to articles on email marketing, branding, positioning, social media, and lead generation. Their 90-minute online seminars help to educate users on improving the customer experience, utilizing databases to increase sales, and creating winning online presentations. Although this site is heavy on general marketing knowledge, it creates an ideal bridge between traditional marketing and its Web-based counterpart.
Sphinn.com. Although this site is weighted toward search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) information, it should be part of every Internet marketer’s toolkit. A voting system (similar to Digg.com) allows members to mark articles that are highly relevant or topical, and discussions range from brand building to avoiding penalties on search engines. Sphinn.com’s network of experts also makes it possible to find more in-depth information from specialists in a particular field of online marketing.
Most of the sites above publish newsletters, have forums or "Ask an Expert" sections where questions can be submitted to knowledgeable people in specific fields, and hold regularly scheduled events with question-and-answer sessions. In those sessions, users can often get free tips and tricks from consultants who charge corporations several hundred dollars an hour for the exact same advice.