The ABCs of Web MarketingWay back in 2014 (that was shortly after the extinction of the dinosaurs) I wrote a post that outlined the ABCs of web marketing.

A lot changes in the digital world in four years.

Think about it, in 2014 we didn’t have Alexa or Apple watches. We were excited about the iPhone 5.

(Have you seen the pictures taken from iPhone 5? Hello, embarrassing!)

We didn’t even have Snapchat or Instagram filters. None of us were walking around like dogs or kittens.

Life was hard.

But somehow we were still able to use the archaic tools we had way back then for web marketing.

But now, four years later, it’s time to update our ABCs!

Web Marketing is Constantly Evolving

Web marketing is an ever-changing field in an ever-adapting world.

While the fundamentals stay the same (and you see that in this list), we must understand how the evolving landscape effects those fundamentals. And how to use new technology to meet our goals.

Below you will find the 2018 ABCs of web marketing.

Each letter not only represents an important characteristic of successful web marketing but also contains hyperlinks to associated articles that might be helpful for your future efforts.

The ABCs of Web Marketing

Ok, are you ready class? Let’s review our ABCs!

Artificial Intelligence

AI is here to stay. Like it or not, it’s part of your world, part of your job, and part of how you communicate with your customers.

It’s crucial in 2018 for communicators to understand AI and open our minds to how it can help us do our jobs better.

This Fireside Chat on artificial intelligence with Chris Penn is a great place to start.


Make sure yours is consistent across all of your digital channels.


Some things don’t change and the need for quality content to lead the way in every web marketing strategy is one of them.

Content is your alpha and omega.

It’s what you distribute to reach your prospect, how you drive them back t to your website, and what you use to convert them through your marketing funnel.

Gini Dietrich’s content creation series will get you started on the right foot with your content creation and The Communicators Playbook will teach you how to create a content strategy that drives leads and sales.


They matter.

In everything you do, whether that be your content, social, SEO, media outreach, or crisis communication plan.

Take the time to pay attention to the little things, they have a huge effect on your brand.


It’s no secret we are big on professional development here (kind of give it away in our tagline…).

It’s why Spin Sucks exists.

And why we created the PR Dream Team, The Modern Blogging Masterclass, and the latest The Communicator’s Playbook.

This field changes and evolves constantly.

Learning is part of your job description.

You must constantly learn in order to offer the best for your clients or organization.


We have a zillion and three distractions coming at us every minute.

This is especially true when dealing with web marketing.

To be successful you must learn to focus, prioritize, and learn when to take a break.


Like it or not, Google affects your business and you understand and use it to help you reach your goals.

Search engine optimization, Google Analytics and data analysis, PPC, and the many other platforms, educational opportunities, and data tools offered by Google must be part of your knowledge base and strategy.


Those who laugh with you, buy from you…according to an increasing number of studies.

Learn to use humor strategically to boost your web marketing strategies further.


Integrity and reputation are the most important assets you and your organization have.

Guard them fiercely and choose to work with others who do the same.


Brand journalism might be taking different forms now vs. in 2014, but the basic concept and importance remain the same.


Does anyone even talk about Klout anymore?

Remember when we all used to know our Klout score like we knew our social security numbers?

While Klout isn’t a marker of influence, I needed a K and it symbolic for the importance of influence.

(Give me a break, writing this post is like being dealt a bad hand in Scrabble).

Influence and thought leadership (not the buzzword versions, but real influence thought leadership) in your industry are important components of a successful digital strategy.


Know yours. You don’t need to be everywhere at once.

Figure out what channels make the most sense for your brand and your customer. 


Consumers continue to use mobile to a greater extent to interact with your brand and make purchasing decisions.

You need to have a mobile strategy. Period.

In 2014 I included mobile but asked if you had a plan yet.

Today I’m telling you: you’re behind.

Way behind.

Mobile should be considered in EVERYTHING you do.


Navigate the web marketing seas intelligently informed, but fearlessly.

Have a plan, but don’t be blinded by it.

Be aware of change and when you need to change course.


Why rent when you could own?

While shared, earned, and paid media are important parts of an integrated PESO model plan, the platforms you own and the content you build there are key.


Paid media, in the form of social media advertising and email marketing, is a crucial part of a communications strategy.

Yet still, one communicators often ignore.

Understanding how to use paid media as part of your overall plan is a crucial part of web marketing.


Engage your community with questions.

Ask them what they think, what they like, how they feel.

They want to tell you.

Listening will strengthen your business and their trust that you are truly interested in their needs.


Sure, you might have 10,000 Twitter followers, but Twitter followers alone aren’t going to grow your business, pay your employees, or put dinner on the table.

Tracking the right PR metrics and building your communications plan around them will allow you to show a REAL ROI of your communications efforts.


You must have a well researched, targeted, and actionable strategy to be successful.

Time Management

Time management skills are key.

Cultivate practices that help you be more productive.

User-Generated Content

UGC only continues to grow.

User-generated content campaigns happen all around you every day.

Your consumers are going to talk about your brand. I

t’s your responsibility to help direct that conversation in a way which supports your goals.


The use of video has only become more important in the last four years.

It’s crucial you have a video strategy and learn how to best use this visual content to best tell your story.

The good news is it’s easier than ever to create professional and effective videos on a small budget.

So don’t put video off because you think you need a production studio and Hollywood-sized budget.


That’s what you are doing as part of this community! Go you!


Imagine the four media types as being represented by each of the tips of the X.

A successful strategy brings them all together. After all, every pirate knows X marks the spot!

Pick yourself a pirate name and embrace the PESO model.


You are an important part of your brand.

Let your personality show, as well as that of the rest of your team.

People want to connect with people not nameless, faceless brands.


Who wonders what a zebra would tweet?

I know I do!

That’s my alphabet, what’s yours?

Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is chief marketing officer for Spin Sucks, an integrated marketing communications firm that provides strategic counsel and professional development for in-house and agency communications teams. She is a weekly contributor for their award-winning blog of the same name. Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.

View all posts by Laura Petrolino