When graduating business school a few years ago, I planned on starting a company which had a very heavy digital marketing component. But after decades of schooling and several degrees, I realized I had zero skills that I could use in a increasingly digital world.
Even worse, I didn’t know where to go to get up to speed. Where should one learn things essential to an online business, like Facebook marketing, SEO, and the basics of web design? In just the first year of my business, I spent tens of thousands of dollars on online courses and gurus that always made big promises. Though they often provided decent information, that investment somehow didn’t move the needle for my business.
After seemingly endless failures, I finally found the courses and digital marketing leaders that took me to my first seven figure year. These teachers not only provide great information, but in my experience they over-deliver, providing a framework for accountability to make sure your business stays on track.
These are the 7 Digital Marketing Gurus that can take you from zero to hero in digital marketing.
1. Ecommerce: Chris Record, Tecademics
Chris Record is one of the few on this list who offers truly comprehensive training, currently primarily focused on Shopify Ecommerce. He brings total newbies up to speed in programs like his 90 Day Ecommerce Challenge, and he has additional courses to teach some of the most advance techniques for Ecommerce advertising.
When I was new to Shopify, it was Chris’s teaching that took me to proficiency in just a few months. More than anyone else online, his courses show you the “nuts and bolts” of making money in the digital space, with over-the-shoulder demos for everything from setting up a website to creating and running ads.
2. Facebook Ads: Jon Loomer
Jon Loomer is a great resource for both basics and cutting-edge of Facebook Ads. His free content on JonLoomer.com is enough to level-up even advanced Facebook marketers, though he has paid groups for when you’re really into the weeds on new Facebook marketing techniques.
I’ve been following Jon Loomer’s content closely for about a year, and I’ve improved my results several times over as a result of his teaching. Most notably, he turned me on to the potential benefits of Facebook Instant Articles, which really moved the needle early-on for one of my sites.
3. SEO: Neil Patel
Though Neil Patel is a very accomplished digital marketer, I turn to him most for his incredible SEO methods. He provides a huge amount of free training on NeilPatel.com and the QuickSprout blog, as well as the occasional paid course. What’s great about Neil Patel’s SEO content is that he uses only above-board tactics that can be used to build a sustainable business.
If you’re looking for a great SEO case study, I’d check out his $100k A Month Challenge, where he creates a site and aims to make $100k/month within one year. (Spoiler alert: he succeeded.)
4. Funnels and Advanced Ecommerce: Tanner Larsson, Build Grow Scale
Tanner Larsson is a master of advanced online selling. He’s best known for doing some pretty incredible sales numbers in so-called “passion niches,” like fans of kitchen products or folks passionate about the Second Amendment.
Tanner has a lot of online courses as well as live events covering his unique ecommerce method, which is based around very intentional product research, engaging your audience, and data-driven upsells. When you have the basics covered, Tanner is perhaps the best person to teach you how to really scale your business profitably. He also runs one of the most advanced masterminds in the space, Black Label (members are all doing millions in sales per year).
5. Building A Digital Marketing Team: Ryan Deiss, Digital Marketer
Ryan Deiss is one of the most respected digital marketing teachers in the space, with expertise taught through live events, the Digital Marketer podcast, and some very comprehensive courses covering all major aspects of digital marketing.
Digital Marketer also now focuses on certifications and job training, which can help individuals prepare for a career in digital marketing, or help companies train their own employees on useful techniques.
6. Customer Psychology: Derek Halpern, Social Triggers
Derek Halpern writes a lot on blogging and building courses (great content), but in my mind he’s the absolute best at website visitor psychology. He thinks more than anyone I’ve come across about what readers want, how they navigate your site, and how you can really make the most of each and every visitor.
My number one recommendation for Social Triggers is to sign up for their email list and watch him in action. His creative subject lines and content always make me open his emails, which I can’t say for anyone else selling me stuff, even the very respected people on this list!
7. Entrepreneur Journey and Ethics: Pat Flynn, Smart Passive Income
Pat Flynn has a lot of quality content and actionable material on his site, but in my mind he really stands out in terms of how to build a brand ethically to always serve the customer first. In an industry that has a lot of noise (the “make money online” industry), he stands out with his practical approach and transparency. He’s even one of the first to disclose his monthly earnings on his site in an effort to be completely transparent.
The most important thing about the teachers on this list is that they really care about the people they’re teaching. All of them have shown to me, time and time again, that they care about my success and the success of the other students.
As I start on a relatively new entrepreneurial journey, building BarBend.com, I’m empowered by having this group of people teaching me along the way. Building a business is never easy, but receiving advice and insight from people that have done it before definitely lifts the burden from time to time.