Sometimes, all you need to achieve breakthroughs in business is a good mentor. The path to growing a small business using digital marketing is never easy nor obvious. Yet, by following the guidance and advice of others, it can quickly become more clear.
Business owners these days have more advantages than ever when it comes to finding great marketing insights online. Whereas a few decades ago you’d have to buy books and attend talks in person, now mind-blowingly great advice is just a few clicks away.
To help you find the information and inspiration your small business needs to achieve greatness through digital marketing, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best digital marketing experts worth following. Their content and vision will help you cut out bad habits, embrace change and start engaging in strategies that grow your business reliably.
Neil Patel has a ridiculously great resume to add to his inspiring, can-do personality. He co-founded KISSmetrics, Hello Bar, Crazy Egg, Quick Sprout and countless other companies.
Reading his bio on QuickSprout reveals a fairly inspiring rags to riches story. Patel got where he is by learning through trial and error. He trained his mind to break down fairly complex marketing concepts people take for granted in order to repeat their success.
Now, on his blog, he does the exact same thing for his readers. Every post he writes gives deep-level insights without dumping too much on you at once. He also gives step-by-step instructions for how to use the world’s best marketing tools.
The only issue is that he can be a bit scattered, and his gung-ho business attitude means that he will bombard you with sales pitches to sign up for. But even still, his highly personable writing voice and capacity to break down tough subjects into digestible nuggets makes him every bit worth following online.
Like Neil Patel, Ann Handley has a jaw-dropping resume. She founded MarketingProfs, she’s a bestselling author, and she’s worked with some of the biggest names in tech and marketing on the planet.
But even more impressive are her writing chops. She writes with the passion and skill of a full-time journalist. Every one of her blog posts feels incredibly eye-opening. They also peel back the layers — not just the hows and whys of writing good marketing content, but also where the industry’s going and how we got where we are.
In other words, she offers not just great marketing advice but also an all-important dose of context. The subjects she touches on have equal value to big companies and small businesses just getting off the ground, so make sure to delve into her pieces on both her personal blog as well as her MarketingProfs author profile.
Kurt Elster’s got a magnetic personality and a way of boiling down marketing strategies to their core components. Reading his stuff is like putting on glasses after having fuzzy vision for years.
His main focus is ecommerce, which stems from his deep relationship with Shopify. He even hosts an unofficial podcast on the service. But he also can help business owners with their lead generation, marketing funnel, website design, advertising and more.
Best of all, he uses Twitter to actually offer helpful tidbits, not just dump links to his most recent blogs and events. Follow him to read things that make your head nod vigorously.
Founder of the highly successful Moz, Rand Fishkin nevertheless acts with the energy of an up-and-comer rather than an established name in digital marketing. His Whiteboard Friday series is an indispensable resource that helps business owners get perspective on tough issues of the day.
He’s also got an unconventional approach to marketing that aptly fits his odd name and even more unusual hairstyle. Yet, his advice works, and it makes tough marketing decisions incredibly easy to break down.
Barry Schwartz is the CEO and founder of Rusty Brick, but we know him best for his contributions to Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. Chances are that if you see a great in-depth piece on SEO practices and the latest search algorithm changes, Barry’s byline appears at the bottom.
His approach to marketing is focused on details and answering tough questions. At the same time, he isn’t above cracking a joke or taking a lighthearted look at the industry. Follow his work on Search Engine Land if you never want to be caught off guard by sudden Google algorithm changes or the latest shifts in best practices.
Heidi Cohen runs the aptly named Actionable Marketing Guide, and she’s also been a regular contributor on digital marketing sites like Business 2 Community, ClickZ and Social Media Examiner.
Heidi has a professional approach to complex marketing issues without getting too serious. Like Neil Patel, she breaks down every concept into its smallest parts so that nothing is overlooked, but she always remains focused and easy-to-follow. Her posts will have you taking notes and trying new approaches to digital marketing that could revolutionize your workflow.
Nick Loper is owner and founder of Side Hustle Nation. He really owns that “side hustle” angle, too. All of his advice and ideas are centered around one concept: you could be making more money if you channel your passion and energy in the right ways.
His advice relates more to structuring your business model and developing new income streams, but it also touches upon important marketing concepts. He also points out great resources that help business owners save time while earning more money.
If you’re a freelancer, ecommerce retailer, investor or just a passionate self-starter, Nick can act as your coach and motivator to make more income.
Gene Marks is a remarkably successful journalist covering small business issues and the economy at large. He’s a regular contributor to the Washington Post, Forbes, Inc.com and many other respected publications. He’s also appeared as an analyst/expert on Fox News and MSNBC.
Through his columns, Gene takes on the trending business issues of the day. He also does a great job of analyzing current marketing strategies. He’ll tell you as business owners what works and what to worry about.
It also helps that Gene always has a fresh, inquisitive attitude in the mold of a true beat reporter. His humor and accurate takes will help you keep up with the pulse of modern businesses while helping you become a more effective business owner overall.
Melinda Emerson speaks from the heart and never pulls any punches. Her energy reflects the scrappy attitude needed to succeed as a small business owner in America.
Keep up with her “Succeed as Your Own Boss” blog for advice on digital marketing, management and just about anything else you’d need to know to make it as a business owner. She’s also an avid Twitter user, updating multiple times a day and always staying on top of the biggest trending topics.
We started with one of the biggest, most authoritative names in modern digital marketing, so we might as well finish off with one!
Jay Baer posts exhaustive pieces on how to master digital marketing techniques through simple strategies and best practices. He relies on deep research and experimentation to source his data first-hand, so you’ll rarely find hearsay or regurgitated facts on his Convince & Convert blog.
As an added bonus, he also posts occasional teardowns of marketing concepts business owners might take for granted. So read his blog regularly for a much needed reality check from time to time!
We cannot emphasize enough how transformative it is to stay well-read on digital marketing. By reading the latest studies and data, you can stop making assumptions and start making the right call. You’ll also stay up-to-date on changes and developments that would otherwise catch you by surprise.
Keep reading smart people, keep trying new things and keep giving your digital marketing campaigns your 100% best to make growing your business more achievable with every passing day.