Back in 2008 I decided to go back to school to learn new and exciting inbound marketing strategies and tactics while earning a credential in internet marketing. At the time I had no idea that the options were few and far in between. As a matter of fact, they still are today! While perusing the internet looking for options I ran into a new program from the University of San Francisco that was excepting enrollees, but hadn’t started yet. After a little due diligence I decided to enroll in the USF Internet Marketing Masters Certification program. Below are the 10 most important concepts, strategies and tactics I learned in the program.

  1. On-Page SEO – Going into the program I had a pretty solid background in SEO already. However, after sitting through just one online class with adjunct professor Jay Berkowitz I was introduced to my favorite SEO tool of all time – SEOQuake.
  2. Off-Page SEO – Jay also introduced me to a few new link building tactics I hadn’t tried yet. After incorporating these new lessons I was able to reach new search feats I hadn’t previously dreamed of!
  3. Innovation – Being taught by some of the top Internet marketing minds in the world fostered innovation. Internet marketing moves so fast because of the technology there’s not a day that goes by where an opportunity for innovation doesn’t present itself. Being prepared for this inevitability has been very valuable.
  4. Setting Goals – I know this seems like common sense, but using the methodology taught in the program has helped me better define and plan my inbound marketing campaigns. The methodology starts with a realistic measurable goal. Next, you want to define your strategy. And lastly, you want to choose your tactics. This methodology makes inbound marketing campaigns so much easier to manage and track.
  5. Content Marketing – Adjunct professor Jim Kukral told me that people only go to the web for two reasons: To be entertained or to solve a problem. The more I thought about it the more it made sense too. From that point on I made sure that any and all web content I touched either entertained, solved problems or both.
  6. Email Marketing – Prior to studying under some of the industry greats I didn’t do much email marketing. In fact, most of the email blasts I did were newsletters or some type of announcement. I didn’t even really think of them as revenue producing. That quickly changed when I learned about advanced landing page strategies, lead capture and lead nurturing.
  7. Social Media Networking – I probably wouldn’t have given Twitter a test drive if it weren’t for the raves it received throughout the program. As a matter of fact, my fellow students and I used it to stay in touch between classes and continue to today. Besides the above, the USF program made me realize that social media was a viable content distribution system.
  8. Testing – Always Be Testing (ABT). Whether you’re managing a PPC campaign, email or doing full-fledged multivariate testing on landing pages, every campaign in inbound marketing has several testing opportunities. If you’re not testing how do you know if your campaign is performing at an optimal level?
  9. Tracking – The vast majority of people I encounter believe tracking a campaign is as simple as logging into Google Analytics once per week and looking at certain key metrics. This is exactly how I tracked my campaigns prior to the program. The only true way to track a campaign is by defining what a lead/sale is, identify how many visitors it takes to get one and how much that lead/sale is worth. Once you have that figured out your efforts can focus on driving more qualified traffic in order to properly measure ROI. This is the most underutilized methodology for tracking campaigns.
  10. Personal Branding – It quickly became apparent by the successful careers of the adjunct professors that they didn’t just own or manage successful companies. They owned, managed and planned their own personal brands. Most of them traveled around the world to speak at conferences and seminars, had a robust social media following and authored books and successful blogs. They were the “A-listers” of the industry. They got that way by owning, managing and planning their personal brands.

Above are merely 10 take-a-ways from the University of San Francisco’s Internet Marketing Masters Certification program. There are countless hundreds of lessons I’ve learned, but the above represent some of the most important lessons I’ve learned and continue to use every day. The investment of my time and money was definitely worth it and I highly recommend this program for anyone out there interested in becoming an Internet marketing master.