Neil Patel wasn’t able to fly in for the Technori Growth Summit in Chicago this past week, due to crazy weather. But it didn’t stop him from dropping a bomb of web marketing advice at the event via Skype.

It all starts with marketing basics:

  • Know WHO your customers are…
  • WHERE they hang out…
  • HOW to engage with them…
  • HOW to convert them into leads.

Assuming you’ve got that much figured out, here are Neil’s top 10 web marketing tips:

1. B-L-O-G.

You’ve heard it before. Here’s a reminder: Blogging is the lowest cost way to build an audience and turn them into customers. If that’s news to you, you should probably stop now and go raise an extra million dollars for your advertising budget.

Blog consistently. Neil explained that when he took a month off from blogging for one startup, it took him several months to build up his traffic again to previous levels. Above all, make sure your content teaches readers something. Make your content useful, high-value, and sharable.

2. Infographics

Gather up your data and find a designer on oDesk to do the design. He showed an example of how he used a design budget of a few hundred dollars to create an infographic that generated more than $100,000 in traffic and new customers.

Like any blog post, a great infographic should have actionable advice. Limit the information to five data points and leave plenty of whitespace.

3. Popup (Lightbox) Opt-in Box

Sure, it might irritate a tiny percentage of visitors, but the spike in email subscribers is well worth it.

4.  Drip Email Auto-Responders

Neil uses Aweber to set up a series of seven emails that go out to new subscribers. The first six should be educational, and the seventh should include your pitch. Don’t try to sell before the seventh email, because trust levels won’t be high enough yet.

5. Sidebar Widget

A little box next to your blog with a few tabs will keep visitors engaged with your content. The tabs might be “most popular,” “case studies,” and “the latest.” According to the heat mapping tool Crazy Egg (yes, this is another one of Neil’s companies), this little widget is one of the highest clicked areas of his blogs.

6. Bounce Exchange

This trick causes a pop-up box to appear when visitors leave the site. It reminds them what they’re missing out on, and invites them to come back. Again, this is an aggressive approach, but effective.

7. Long Form Sales Pages

Forget the fold. There are many possible reasons why visitors are not signing up for your product. You can address them all with a very long page that breaks down all of the benefits. Include testimonials and pay close attention to design. The Crazy Egg home page is a good example.

8. Survey Your Visitors

Tools like Qualaroo help you gather questions and input from visitors in a non-obtrusive way.

9. Test Calls to Action

“Testing button colors is lazy,” says Neil. Try customizing calls to action. Create many possible calls to action and test them. Don’t just copy the competition. Try various button styles and text.

10. Build List of Influencers, Ask Them to Share

Find a few hundred social influencers, blogs, and websites relevant to your target audience. (Again, oDesk is an inexpensive way to outsource this). Now when you post something, send an email or direct message. It could sound like this:

“Hey there, we just published some great content and I think your readers might really like it. It would be awesome if you could share!”

….or maybe…

“We’re hammering out some great content over here. Do you think your audience might be interested in a post like this?”

It sounds simple and can lead to hundreds of shares and links.

Before he signed off, Neil answered this question: “What’s your top super duper secret SEO tip?” The answer was surprising …but it’s a secret. We don’t want to give away all of Neil’s tricks!