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Introduction

The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing

The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing

A Hands-On Primer to Tripling Your Email Subscribers, Doubling Downloads, and Rapidly Growing Your Business

Download the free PDF: 'The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing'. A Hands-On Primer to Tripling Your Email Subscribers, Doubling Downloads, and Rapidly Growing Your Business.

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How do you find paying customers for your business??

Growth doesn’t just happen. Most of us will never luck our way into creating a viral post that brings in 100,000 new subscribers. And a $100,000 marketing budget won’t do you any good if you waste it trying 1,000 different “tactics” that don’t work.

Growth comes from deliberately creating a consistent flow of traffic to your website. After all:

  • More traffic creates more readers
  • More readers means more subscribers
  • More subscribers is the key to more sales

More sales opens up all kinds of doors in your business. You can hire a team to free up your time. You can develop new products and services. You can invest in better software or technology.

And of course, on a personal level, more sales means more money for your family. It means more freedom for traveling. It might even mean being able to try new things like hiring a personal trainer or chef. (Those last two have been life-changing for me.)

All of this is possible using free or low-cost digital marketing strategies.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is anything you do online to:

  1. Grab attention
  2. Drive people to your website
  3. Convince those people to join your email list, buy your product, or download your app

Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing is measurable. Which means you can identify what’s working, do more of it, and stop wasting time on failed campaigns.

In boardrooms across the country, executives still look at their marketing budgets and ask:

  • How many people actually watched our TV commercial?
  • Did anyone buy because of the billboard?
  • Did we really build “brand capital” that year we sponsored the baseball team?
  • How’s the response to the headline on our newspaper ad?

But more than that, it’s insanely expensive. A single billboard in Atlanta, Georgia costs $3,000 a month. (Actually it costs $30,000 a month because you can’t just get a single billboard. The broker requires you sign up for at least 10.) And once you buy, you can’t make any changes to your ads without overhauling the entire campaign.

Digital marketing, on the other hand, is measurable, inexpensive, and easy to test and pivot.

Common mistakes people make with digital marketing

Digital marketing begins with traffic. And when it comes to driving traffic to your website, there are two common mistakes:

  1. We don’t try any traffic strategies: We think our material should “sell itself.” It’s great, so people will just naturally find it...right!? We write posts that should go viral, that should inspire people to share, that should lead to people flooding our site and paying for our services. But the truth is, it just doesn’t work like that. We need to be active about promoting our material by getting it in front of our ideal audience. I’ll show you how in this guide.
  2. We try every traffic strategy: It’s easy to get sucked into the digital marketing vortex — SEO, PPC, Twitter, Snapchat, Affiliates — you name it, there’s some “guru” out there telling you it’s the ONLY way to make money. “Get on board or you’ll be left behind!” The result is that we spend our time (and sometimes our money) haphazardly chasing the “next big thing” in digital marketing. This guide is designed to help you avoid what I call “marketing tactical hell.”

Neither plan ever works. But focusing on a few key strategies can take a small blog that nobody reads and turn it into a multimillion-dollar business. I know because that’s what I did, and that’s why I created this guide.

In this guide, I’ll show you how to be strategic about digital marketing. You’ll discover how to start with the fundamentals, and scale up as you grow.

We’ll talk about 5 strategies that work:

  • Email Marketing, the lifeblood of your business (Part 3)
  • Content Marketing, a powerful traffic-building strategy (Part 4)
  • Social Media that pays for itself (Part 5)
  • Pay Per Click Advertising, to build out your Customer Machine (Part 6)
  • Relationship Marketing, to create & leverage meaningful relationships that boost your traffic quickly (Part 7)

But first, we’ll create a plan to get you started — whether your business is currently making $0/year or $1mm/year.

In this no-nonsense guide to digital marketing, you’ll discover:

  • Who are the digital marketing experts I’ve studied (and you should, too)
  • What are the exact digital marketing strategies I’ve used to grow my blog to a million readers per month
  • Why you can’t ignore these tools — even if you write amazing material, if nobody knows about it, it’s worthless (I know because for years nobody read my material)
  • When to use each of these digital marketing strategies (hint: some of them may not be for you right now, and that’s good!)
  • How to start using them today for free or with minimal investment

Digital marketing works — and I’m living proof

Over the last 12 years, I’ve used digital marketing to grow my first company (I Will Teach You To Be Rich) to over 1 million readers per month. In January 2016, I launched a new brand called GrowthLab. Since then, GrowthLab has generated millions of dollars in sales, been read by hundreds of thousands of people, and been featured on Tim Ferriss’s blog.

But in the beginning, I had no clue what I was doing.

A few years ago, I Will Teach You To Be Rich was just a tiny blog nobody read. Want proof? Just dig into some of my earliest posts. I went months and months without a single comment. But through the years, I kept writing.

I kept improving my craft. And, most importantly, I figured out what people actually wanted to read. Over time, I got more eyes on the page, more comments and more shares.

Today, millions of people visit my blog every month. Yep, that dinky little blog — that nobody read — turned into a site with more than 1,000,000 readers every 30 days.

Average Daily Visitors to IWT - June 2015

I started out by using the strategies of email marketing and content marketing (parts 3 and 4 of this guide) and as I grew, I hired a team to teach me the more advanced digital marketing strategies you’ll learn later in this guide.

Who am I?

Ramit Sethi, CEO of GrowthLab

Hi, I'm Ramit Sethi, New York Times bestselling author, and founder and CEO of GrowthLab and I Will Teach You To Be Rich. I've helped millions of readers get ahead in life using psychology, tough love, and tested, step-by-step systems that work in the real world.

When I started, I had no idea what I was doing — and nobody read what I wrote. But as I grew, amazing opportunities opened up. Things like speaking in front of thousands of people and being on national TV.

Being in business for over a decade (and growing year after year after year) has also led to some awesome media opportunities and publicity, including a 6-page spread in Fortune magazine and being featured across from Warren Buffett in Forbes Top 20 Wealth Wizards.

My 6-page Feature in Fortune (left) and me next to Warren Buffett in Forbes (right)
My 6-page Feature in Fortune (left) and me next to Warren Buffett in Forbes (right)

I’m not telling you this to brag. But there’s a lot of horrible information out there about digital marketing.

Some of it is even dangerous. The unproven, short-term trends touted by some “marketing ninjas” not only damage your business now (think of all the lost time and money), but can do irreparable damage to your brand in the long term.

If you want to avoid jumping from one “shiny object” to the next, you need to be able to trust the person giving you advice.

In this guide, You’ll discover what it took to grow from nothing to an 8-figure business with only digital marketing. And how you can apply those principles to do the same thing for your company. What you won’t find is any super-secret push-button “magic bullets.”

Instead, I’ll show you real strategies that work. You’ll see what you should be doing right now (no matter where you are in your business) and what can wait until you grow (for example, I didn’t start experimenting with paid advertising until I’d had a business for many years).

As an added bonus, I also brought in a few of my expert friends, bloggers, and other writers. They're revealing their secrets for creating huge audiences and mobs of passionate fans.

Now, will you get a million readers overnight?

Let's be realistic: no. But can you get hundreds or even thousands of readers and build from there? Absolutely.

But first, a word of warning

A lot of people will tell you, “You need to get affiliates. You need to do PPC. You need to get on social media.” You need to do all this stuff.

Jumping from one technique to the next puts you in what I call “Marketing Tactical Hell.” That’s when you waste your time on pointless tactical maneuvers that never move the needle in your business.

Marketing Tactical Hell Not a fun place to be

It’s important to remember that there are different stages in your business. In each one of those stages, you can focus on different strategies and tactics.

But you don’t need to overcomplicate things in the beginning.

I mean, let’s say you want to start going to the gym. On your first day in the gym, you’re going to stretch, walk on the treadmill, and get an idea of the gym’s layout.

You’re not going to go over to the bench press and lift 225lbs. That wouldn’t be a great way to start working out. Even if you could lift the bar, you’d burn yourself out, get frustrated, or just kill yourself because you don’t know how to hold the bar and you’d drop it on your throat.

Whereas, if you’d been training for a while — let’s say you were an Olympic athlete — you already know how to stretch, and you know the layout of the gym.

Your workout is going to look very different than someone who is just beginning.

Growing your business works the same way.

You’ll try different things at different stages of your business, moving from beginner to more advanced later on. But you can’t do it all up front.

This guide is your first step. We’ll walk you through the digital marketing strategies you need to focus on up front (making a plan, email marketing, and remarkable content). Master these and you’ll already be ahead of 92% of your competition.

Then, for more advanced readers, we’ll cover next-level strategies like social media, pay-per-click advertising, and affiliate marketing.

Here’s what we’re covering in this free guide to digital marketing:

Part 2: Your 5-Step Digital Marketing Plan

Part 2: Your 5-Step Digital Marketing Plan

I’ve seen thousands of sites randomly “try out” digital marketing strategies one after another, hoping for the magic secret to traffic and sales. In Part 2, you’ll learn the ONLY way to skip trial and error and do what works from Day One — I’ll show you which specific digital marketing tactics to focus on first for lasting growth, and what to ignore.

Take Me To Part 2
Part 3: Email Marketing, the Lifeblood of Your Business

Part 3: Email Marketing, the Lifeblood of Your Business

Maybe you’ve heard this before: “The money is in the list.” Your most valuable asset in business is a crowd of people who like you and have given you permission to email them. In Part 3, I’ll show you how to build your email list and what to send your subscribers so they look forward to hearing – and buying – from you.

Take Me To Part 3
Part 4: Harness The Traffic-Building Power of Remarkable Content Marketing

Part 4: Harness The Traffic-Building Power of Remarkable Content Marketing

How do people like Tim Ferriss, Neil Patel, Brian Clark, or other big-name bloggers regularly produce high-caliber material that readers can’t get enough of? Their amazing content turned them into respected experts and opened up huge opportunities in their business and personal lives. Can you do the same? Yes, and I’ll show you how.

Take Me To Part 4
Part 5: Social Media Marketing That Sells

Part 5: Social Media Marketing That Sells

Too much social media advice consists of vague and useless soundbites like “Join the conversation!” and “Engage!” In this advanced section of the guide, I’ll show you how to get real results — aka profits — from social, not just likes, retweets, and followers.

Take Me To Part 5
Part 6: Build a “Customer Machine” with Pay Per Click Advertising

Part 6: Build a “Customer Machine” with Pay Per Click Advertising

You’ve seen “pay per click” ads on Google, Facebook, and Twitter. PPC is great for more advanced businesses because it’s very scalable and provides a predictable ROI. But the downside is that you need to know your numbers — or risk running ads that cost more than they’re worth. I’ll show you how to get started without using your money to guess what works.

Take Me To Part 6
Part 7: Creating Affiliate Relationships That Boost Your Traffic Quickly

Part 7: Creating Affiliate Relationships That Boost Your Traffic Quickly

One of the quickest ways to build authority is by getting other people to share your material. You can use other people’s reach to gain credibility, build your email list, and get more sales. In Part 7, I’ll show you how to build relationships with meaningful connections that will grow your fan base, build your reputation, and position you as an authority faster than you would have ever thought possible.

Take Me To Part 7
The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing