Essential Guide to Online Marketing From Beginning to End

Table of Contents

  • What is Marketing  
    -Direct Marketing
    -The Internet
  • Uses of Online Marketing
  • The Key Principles of Online Marketing 
  • Creating a Brand Identity
    -Choosing Colors that Match your Brand
    -Importance of Font
  • Understanding Content
    Content types
  • Different Marketing Channels
  • Defining your Audience 
  • Persuading your Audience
  • Running Digital Ads 
  • Tools for Online Marketing

History of Marketing?

First, to understand online marketing, I think we need to go back and understand what marketing is. We define marketing as.

“The action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.”

Take note of the word ACTION, this is what we want our customers to do, take action! Marketing as a whole started as a means to sell goods and services, just imagine a time with no technology and a crowded marketplace. As a merchant, you would need to come up with creative persuasive methods to make your products stand out in the crowd. And just like that, the humble beginnings of marketing took root.

Modern Marketing began during the industrial revolution, this was an era when it became crucial to reach customers because of the boom of technological and industrial advancements. Technologies created for mass production allowed for widespread growth taking products from single stores to national levels and a further needing to reach out to a growing consumer market.

The infrastructure and framework for quickened communications, mass media and transportation grew. With its competition on a non-localized scale, the call for companies to evolve their current marketing strategies and develop more sophisticated methodologies of reaching their consumers was nigh.

The 1940s brought about increased production outputs, distribution methodologies, and the value of marketing strategy became key in driving sales revenues in the ever-growing sea of competitors.

Direct Marketing

As markets became more saturated in the 1960s, the need for hiring “specialists” arose, their sole purpose in business was to market a product or service, these specialists were equipped with the knowledge of direct marketing.

Marketing managers became instrumental parts of a business’s core team determining the best venues of communicating with their customers, the costs of acquiring these customers, and creating strategic plans.

By the 1990s brands had grown with solid foundations, resulting in the creation of improved products with higher margins, and widespread consumer brand awareness.

“A product is something made in a factory; a brand is something that is bought by the customer. A product can be copied by a competitor; a brand is unique. A product can be quickly outdated; a successful brand is timeless.”–Stephen King 

The Internet

“We have technology, finally, that for the first time in human history allows people to really maintain rich connections with much larger numbers of people.” – Pierre Omidyar

The invention of the internet ushered in a golden age for business and marketing. Many marketers went from pounding on doors to sending endless streams of direct mail, to now having websites dedicated to informing their customers everything they needed to know about their business from the comfort of their homes.

From then to now, the internet has had a profound change in the business scapes of the present. Giving individuals or small businesses the power to scale and reach their audiences like never before, sell their products with the click of a button, and even run businesses entirely digitally.


Uses of Online Marketing

The versatility and use cases of online marketing are endless. To keep things simple let’s cover some of the core uses.

  • Increase product awareness – consumers stick to products they know and feel comfortable with, online marketing gives you a way to put your product within eyes reach.
  • Reaching out to a wider audience – the internet is borderless, you can talk to customers in your local vicinity or customers in some unknown corner of the world. That’s the true beauty of online marketing.
  • Cost-Effective – marketing online is free, social media is free, starting a blog is free, the real challenge is using these tools to create value.
  • Consumers are online – you’ve probably noticed a bunch of malls, retails chains, etc going out of business. One word online shopping, which means you should do it too.
  • Increased Traffic – want more online sales? Want more brick and mortar sales? Through the use of marketing channels, spreading your brand to the masses is an easy decision.
  • Always Accessible – having an online presence means that you are in front of your customer 24/7/365. Through the use of automation, you can even tend to your customers while snoozing.
  • Increased Sales – this ultimately is the number one goal of every business. With the right usage and utilization, online marketing can skyrocket your sales just ask all the self-proclaimed gurus (pun intended).

“People shop and learn in a whole new way compared to just a few years ago, so marketers need to adapt or risk extinction.” –Brian Halligan, founder & CEO of HubSpot

The Key Principles of Online Marketing 

Guess what, marketing online is just like marketing in person just better. Selling is just a big mind game based on emotions, human nature, buyer cues, effective communication, and an understanding of your customers. Let’s take a look at the psychology of marketing.

  • Reciprocity Principle – the basic idea is here is that you must first give something to receive something. OH NO, I have to give my customer something. Yes, value if you can add value or enrich their life somehow they will buy from you. This could be content, a free product or service, or free session.
  • Information Gap Theory – people are naturally curious, so when they find something interesting it’s natural they want to understand more about it. Your job as a marketer has quenched this need for more information. Ask your audience a question and supply them with the answer.
  • Scarcity – Things are limited, especially the money in your wallet. So how do you convince someone to shell out that limited resource? Make it exclusive, limited, or only available in the now.
  • Social Proof – “I have a friend who has a friend who said this thing is awesome!” sound familiar? People tend to buy out of trust and comfort if a friend referred a product, an influencer they follow, or there is just a ton of positivity around a thing more people are likely to indulge.
  • Loss Aversion – Similar to Scarcity, loss aversion plays on a person’s fear of losing out. Ever hear someone say “last chance to buy?”. Trial offers, offering a free gift with their purchase, or using scarcity tactics are all forms of loss aversion.

We will cover branding next, as these principles are important, so is consumer perception. Colors, fonts, etc all play a role in inspiring a person to act.

Creating a Brand Identity

93% of consumers say that appearance is an important factor when making a buying decision and 85% saying color directly affects their decision. –

Choosing colors that match your brand

What is your branding message and what do you want your customers to feel when they interact with you? Are you trying to push them to act, make them feel relaxed, or do you want to make them happy?

Different colors create different emotional responses, green tone colors create a sense of serenity and thoughts of nature. Yellow can create feelings of optimism and happiness. Warm color can make you feel warmer, literally. Men lean towards bolder color tones and women tend to softer color tones.

Not only can color make you feel different, but we perceive them as negative or positive.

  • Blue, White, and Green create trust.
  • Black, Blue, and Green create security.
  • Yellow, White, and Red relate to speed or going faster.
  • Yellow, Brown, and Orange can make something seem cheap.
  • Red, Black, and Gray can insight fear.

Different color combinations play to buyer moods. Warmer colors like red, orange and yellow make buyers buy on impulse frequently. Cooler colors like light blue with pink make buyers want to think decisions through more thoroughly.

An important thing to remember is to be aware of the cultural norms of the market you are targeting. Different colors can mean different things depending on the country or region.

Importance of Font

Good typography can make a bland and boring written piece, seem interesting or change your mood creating similar emotions that a watching a video would ignite in you.

So what makes good “font”?

  • Let’s start with the age-old question, does size matter? With font it does, larger fonts lead to increased reading speeds. However, there should be a balance.
  • Contrast, make it easy to read and see. Remember not all your readers have the site of a 20-year-old.
  • Ever been in a crowded car? It’s uncomfortable right. The same thing with font, space it so it’s comfortable on the eyes.
  • Style, yeah we know you want to put that fancy font in to make your content or website look good, but if your purpose is for reading instead of visuals, it’s best to stick to something easy to read.

The great debate, to serif or not to serif. Serif fonts have strokes on the characters san serif fonts do not. In terms of use cases, they are about the same. Although consumers view Serif fonts as more traditional and san serif as more casual and modern.

Your brand should appeal both in color and font, blending them to create uniformity throughout your brand entirety. Try to stick to 2-3 colors and fonts max, anything over your going to look like a crazy person.

Understanding Content

If you have reached this far, congrats. You have been consuming this piece of content now for about 1,600 words. Why is that important, I as the writer have been able to keep your eyeballs glued here long enough for you to get this far.

Recently content has become increasingly important in the battle to stand out and gain new customers. Content is anything that you engage with from graphics to videos, to infographics, to this article that will be reformatted into micro-content, gif, pictures, podcasts, webinars, and so forth.

Content is multimedia, it doesn’t matter the type as long as your content is good and consistent. I can’t preach too much because I have made quite a bit of crap content myself. However, content is all about trial and error, finding what works best for you, finding what works best for your audience, and blending these elements to create engaging materials people will like.

The content you produce should directly correlate to your audience, to the platform your marketing on, and current marketing trends.

Tips for a solid content strategy

  • Plan. With tools like Hootsuite, you can post to multiple channels at the same time and even schedule them ahead of time.
  • Know your audience, define your customer personas and build custom content that fits their demographic.
  • Test different content and find the fit that produces the most engagement.
  • Post frequently and consistently, if not prepare for your audience to seek relevance somewhere else.
  • Spread your content everywhere, create as much organic reach as you can.

The Different Marketing Channels


According to Kick off Labs, Over 75% of snapchat users have purchased within the last 30 days. There is huge potential for eCommerce brands to take advantage of this “ready to buy” market that comprises younger buyers between the ages of 18-34 who are accustomed to purchasing a majority of their items online already.


If you’re writing content regularly it makes perfect sense to have a presence on Medium. Unlike posting on your site, Medium has a large and growing user base with the company stating they experienced 300% growth from last year. If anything Medium will supplement your current blog strategy.


Due to the nature of Pinterest users are quick to share content and this leads to a large amount of organic reach. A huge benefit of Pinterest is its ability to convert buyers with less friction, as they are already visually interested.


Tiktok is the perfect platform for influencer marketing and is growing at a phenomenal rate with over a billion app downloads. The ability to go viral on Tiktok is huge, especially when riding the wave of hashtag challenges.

Why Reddit

Reddit is a great platform for reaching your niche market segment perfectly, it’s probably right in the name of the subreddit! Reddit the perfect place to build a community and use AMAs (ask me anything) to connect with your following.

Defining your audience

Knowing is half the battle – G.I. Joe

You know your business; you know your product offerings, but do you truly know your customer? Many businesses believe they have a clear picture of their customer, but it turns out they don’t and it becomes a costly process to learn.

Recently I ran some campaigns for a company in the programmer space, we put together some awesome video creatives, defined an audience, and ran some ads on LinkedIn (probably my first mistake). The results were less than appealing, however; the client knew this because they had been struggling before with reaching this client base.

This was a learning experience for myself as a marketer. We myself and the company failed to understand the audience. This service wasn’t something that someone would sign up for, no this was a service that needed time to sink in, time to understand the need for, it wasn’t a buy now call to action like we had pushed, it was a “let me talk to my team, asses the need, and get back to you” service.

After failing to produce the results we sought, a level of understandings and insight we’re provided from the data of this failure. Thus giving clarity to the right approach to get clients for the service.

The point here is knowing your audience, not on a surface level, but on a deeper level takes testing, trial, and error, and data. This is lookalike audiences and re-targeting can be such powerful tools because of the algorithm. It knows your customers based on the facts.

Persuading your audience

Remember how we talked about the psychology of marketing, colors and all the non-sense. Well, it’s time to put it into action. Let’s talk creatives and how to persuade your customers to act.

First, you need to do that thing where you determine your audience that I just talked about. You need to create a customer persona or profile of sorts that gives you a better understanding of your potential customers.

  • What does your customer like to do?
  • What is your customers’ age group?
  • Who does your customer associate themselves with?
  • What is the purpose of your product for your customers?

Once you know this, you can create something that is custom catered and targeted to this audience.

If your product is for people who like to go camping, who are middle-aged, and frequently join nature retreats. You should already know that you should defer to a natural color like green, we should gear a serene scene or an outdoor environment as the scenery to making them understand how your product can fix their pain points associated with their camping interest.

*remember test, test, and test more test your creatives, test your copy, test your audience for optimal results.

Running Digital Ads

Many people seem to have this notion that running ads online is a breeze, let me just be the bearer of bad news, it’s a tough, costly experience if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Story-time got a cold message on LinkedIn from someone, trying to sell their service. Instantly I knew I could help this person. We began chatting, and I offered to look at his ads for free and give him advice. Take into account he had said “I’ve used Facebook ads before and didn’t get any good results”

Long story short after looking at his ads, I quickly realized he was targeting the wrong audience, he was targeting the wrong intent for his campaign, and he was paying way too much per action.

Folks, Ads are a powerful tool but only if they are used correctly.

AD Platforms

There are several platforms that you can run ads on from Facebook, Google, Linkedin, Ad networks, high traffic websites, etc. All the platforms have their advantages.

If you are running traffic to a website, you must have a FB pixel installed, well you don’t have to but you would be a fool not too.

For the sake of keeping things simple let’s talk about Facebook.

  1. First, you need to go to your ads manager dashboard.
  2. Click that green create button
  3. Choose your objective – there are 11 to choose from but I won’t go into depth on that (research that yourself)
  4. Next, you are going to be brought to a page that provides you with the ability to create an audience and target your audience. There are a ton of choices, as my story above to get your audience right you will most likely need to conduct some test. Note tiny audiences probably aren’t going to get you any results, it’s better to create an audience somewhere between small and large. Unless you have audience data from your trusty algorithm.
  5. Now you go to your budget, I tend to start small and scale upon getting results, so don’t blow your wad all at once.
  6. Next, Schedule when you want your ads to run
  7. Choose whether you want Facebook to get the best results for your budget or bid on it yourself if you’re trying to stay within a certain cost range bidding will be a must.
  8. Choose how you want the ads to be delivered, if you want to get the word out quickly choose accelerated, if not go with the standard. Accelerated will spend your cash quicker.
  9. Next, you will need to choose your creatives videos, carousels, pictures, catalogs, there are a ton of choices to choose from. Once again this is a good place to test.
  10. Fill out the information and preview your ad.

Boom, you’re ready to start running it.

Tools for online marketers

I could sit here and write out a bunch of cool tools that will help you, but fortunately, i already did. Just follow the link

Looking for away to accelerate your revenue growth?

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

Let's Connect! Book a Free Discovery Call

"Advertising doesn't work the same way digitally, it‘s passive, hyper-targeted, preference-based and intelligent reaching you sometimes without you even knowing it."

David Borden


Start receiving updates, new product offerings, helpful content and more.

Subscribe now