10 Online Marketers to Follow for Inspiration and Growth
No matter how seasoned you are in the world of online marketing, it’s always smart to surround yourself with other pros. The good news is that there are countless marketers online who are willing to share their advice. The bad news, of course, is that it’s not always easy to distinguish between the true gurus and the wannabes.
And that’s where this list come into play. The marketing experts that follow have met at least the following criteria:
- They get results for their clients.
- They’ve been around longer than a year or two. No fly-by-night marketers on this list.
- They contribute to the marketing industry by consistently offering advice and new ideas for other marketers.
- They’re trusted and respected by other top marketing experts.
- They contribute something unique to the marketing industry. Each of the experts below are marketing innovators in some small (or big) way.
Ready to expand your marketing knowledge every day? The following 10 experts won’t steer you wrong.
1. Neil Patel.
The co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and Kissmetrics, Neil Patel, a regular contributor to Entrepreneur, is recognized as one of the top 10 online marketers. His client list is impressive: he’s helped grow the revenues of renowned brands such as NBC, Amazon, Viacom, GM and HP. Whether you want to grow in your knowledge of Web analytics, marketing or conversion, you’ll learn a great deal from him daily.
Where to find him:
Notable quote: “Don’t expect things to be handed to you or for doors to open up when you want them to. You have to be a go-getter and if you aren’t one, you better learn how to become one.”
2. Avinash Kaushik.
Avinash is an entrepreneur, author and speaker with a depth of knowledge that even the most seasoned marketers can learn from.
The digital marketing evangelist for Google, Avinash helps marketers understand the complex world of data analytics. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Market Motive, and the author of two bestselling books: "Web Analytics 2.0," and "Web Analytics: An Hour a Day."
Where to find him: You’ll find a treasure trove of Avinash’s knowledge on his blog, Occam’s Razor.
Notable quote: “Data is important. I believe it can help drive your business strategy smartly. But, a data-first strategy, defined as above, is nuts. It will only slow down your progress and allow your competitors to crush you like a bug (even if you are a top player in your market today.) You should reject data-first. You should accept data-with strategies.”
3. Melissa Mackey.
A marketer since 1988 and a PPC practitioner since 2002, Melissa’s got a whole world of online-marketing knowledge to share. She’s currently the Search Supervisor at gyro, the largest independent B2B agency in the world. Her expertise helps clients achieve maximum ROI from paid search.
Besides busily serving gyro, Melissa has spoken regularly at marketing conferences such as PPC Hero’s HeroConf, Search Engine Strategies and SMX Advanced. In 2015, she became a Microsoft MVP for Bing Ads.
Where to find her:
Notable quote: “I do this as well -- at a minimum, I’ll visit competitor landing pages and take screen shots to share with our clients. Often, we get ideas from competitor landing pages -- or at least we learn what not to do.”
4. Nadav Dakner.
Nadav is a veteran online marketer and the founder and CEO of InboundJunction, an Israel-based content marketing company. He helps well-known brands boost their online visibility through the latest PR, SEO and social media strategies. Nadav specializes in influencer marketing and performance PR and also gives back to the marketing industry by sharing his knowledge of things that work, and things that don’t.
Where to find him:
Notable quote: “As your audience faces this sea of information, what they’re looking for isn’t more. Instead, they’re looking for trusted and knowledgeable guides who can navigate them through the stormy, unorganized mess.
In other words, showcasing other people’s content cements your own website as an authoritative voice. Not only that, but curation is one of the most effective ways to build relationships and generate influence within your industry.”
5. Ian Cleary.
Ian is the founder of RazorSocial, a provider of online training in content marketing and social media. With a focus on using the best tools and technology, his training helps companies and marketers achieve better social-media results.
Ian is a regular speaker at marketing conferences around the globe, including Social Media Marketing World and Content Marketing World. He’s known as one of the leading social media specialists worldwide.
Where to find him:
Notable quote: “Influence is the new online currency. You build influence in your niche and you generate more money. It takes time to build influence, but it’s worth it.”
6. Syed Balkhi.
Syed was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by the United Nations. Specializing in viral growth, social media, lead generation and conversion marketing, when Syed has something to say, marketers listen.
Syed founded WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site on the planet. He’s also the co-founder of OptinMonster, WPForms and List25. His focus is on using his success and experience to help others build and market businesses online.
Where to find him:
Notable quote: “I often get asked about how many internal links should I have in my blog post. At minimum, it should be between two to three. You don’t want to force the internal links in your articles, but really there is no limit to how many internal links you can have. If you have a lot of content on your site, then go for 10 to 15 internal links. As long as it’s helpful for users, you’ll find it beneficial for SEO.”
7. Sujan Patel.
Sujan Patel is the motorcycle-racing, skydiving cousin of Neil Patel. An inspiring workhorse, he’s known for his 80-hour work weeks.
Sujan co-founded Web Profits, an innovative growth-marketing agency that helps clients gain more customers and grow brand awareness. He is also a partner in several software companies, including ContentMarketer.io, Narrow and Mailshake.
His more than 13 years’ of online marketing experience has earned the trust of clients such as Sony, Intuit, Turbo Tax and Sales Force. Sujan’s book on growth hacking, "100 Days of Growth," sold over 35,000 copies.
Where to find him:
Notable quote: “Successful companies aren’t the ones with the infrastructure and campaigns to quickly attract lots of new customers (even though, on the surface, they might seem enviable). Instead, it’s the companies that are able to keep those customers, long-term, that eventually win.”
8. Andy Crestodina.
A Web strategist who believes in “doing great work for people you love,” Andy Crestodina has worked in Web design and interactive marketing since January of 2000. He’s known as being an evangelist for content marketing and ethical digital marketing.
Besides co-founding Orbit Media, Andy also founded Content Jam -- Chicago's largest content marketing conference. His book, "Content Chemistry," is currently in its third edition. He’s also contributed his advice to practically every highly-read marketing website.
Where to find him: You’ll find a large collection of his articles and podcasts on Orbit Media.
Notable quote: “To be successful, websites must do two things: 1. Attract visitors, and 2. Convert those visitors into leads and customers. In order to do this, Web marketers must do two things: 1. Create content and 2. Promote it. Content makes the difference between success and failure on the web.”
9. Heidi Cohen.
As chief content officer of Actionable Marketing Guide, Heidi’s mission is to simplify the complex concepts behind today’s evolving marketing challenges. In her consultancy, Riverside Marketing Strategies, she builds on her clients’ competencies to “turn constraints into opportunities.”
Heidi has taught graduate level marketing at a variety of universities. She’s a sought-after speaker at marketing conferences around the world, and takes part in top events every year. She has spoken throughout the U.S., Europe and South America.
Where to find her: Find valuable insights with practical marketing tips and tactics at Actionable Marketing Guide.
Notable quote: “Use your video content as audio content. It already exists. Strip the audio out of your existing video. Voila, new enhanced content marketing. This is an easy way to extend the lifetime value of your existing content. It avoids the problem of once and done content.”
10. Mari Smith.
Nicknamed “The Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is known as one of the world’s most trusted social media marketers. She co-authored "Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day." She also authored "The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web."
Facebook recently selected Mari to hire and partner with as the company’s leading Small Business and Facebook Marketing expert. Forbes named her as one of the Top 10 Social Media Power Influencers four years in a row.
Where to find her:
Notable quote: “More than 89 percent of users access Facebook on their mobile devices and they check Facebook 14 times a day. Those people have an intimate relationship with Messenger. When your company starts conversations with users, you’re befriending them on that level. This is how to change business relationships into personal ones.”
Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.