8 Successful BYU-I Alumni Advice on Internet Marketing

In order to succeed in the industry you need to have the desire to constantly learn, constantly share, and constantly test everything. This is not the industry where you can just do the basics and be successful.

Mike Ramsey

Founder/CEO at Nifty Marketing


I would say take classes about internet marketing and develop a passion for whatever aspects you like most with it. Fuel that passion by taking whatever you learn and applying it to real problems that you can take on. I usually fail several times before I succeed so don’t lose hope or confidence when something doesn’t come out perfect the first time. I received my first job in Internet marketing by reaching out to someone that I knew was deeply involved with it so make sure you humbly network as much as you can… take what you know and think outside the box and never be satisfied with mediocrity.

Jordan Zornes

Campaign Director at Video Power Marketing


I think those that succeed in online business are those that learn to transcend the medium of ‘online’ and realizing that online business is just business. Google’s Adwords marketplace mirrors real-world economics. It takes capital to enter a marketplace. Relationships matter. Barriers to entry matter. Being good at sales matters. Surrounding yourself with people smarter than yourself matters. Online business isn’t a person just putting up a website and then making 10k a month. Supply chain, marketing, sales, margins, etc. etc. Succeeding in online business takes exactly what it takes to succeed in business. The technical skills or PPC/SEO/Webdevelop are impressive to learn and really important to understanding and evaluating opportunities. In the end, they are tools in a much larger kit.

Mark Jensen

President of Get Found First


Read the book “Who Moved my Cheese?” (super short read). It applies in life every bit as much as it does to succeeding in this industry. Without question someone will move the cheese and you can either quit and die or find new cheese. Expect your cheese to be moved frequently in this industry.

I think people who are successful in this industry know that no one owes them anything. They divorce themselves of entitlement and hopes that others will solve their problems. Most everyone will end up working for a small/medium business (still applies to big biz too!) – the problems that exist in each business will always be nearly identical and it all boils down to: Communication. Learn to ask for what you need, do your best to solve the problem, then draw on resources if you’re stuck. If you’re charged with a task it’s likely because no one else knows the answer either. In business my experience has been, especially in this industry, solving problems will make you an expert. Having others hold your hand while solving your problems makes you a commodity. Be an expert.

Take classes about internet marketing and develop a passion for whatever aspects you like most with it. Fuel that passion by taking whatever you learn and applying it to real problems that you can take on. I usually fail several times before I succeed so don’t lose hope or confidence when something doesn’t come out perfect the first time. I received my first job in Internet marketing by reaching out to someone that I knew was deeply involved with it so make sure you humbly network as much as you can.

Chad Henkel

Director of Marketing and Awesomeness at Nifty Marketing


New stuff is happening and you don’t want to miss it.

In online marketing there’s a lot that’s changing and not just year to year but month to month and even week to week. Because of how often the industry changes it’s important to find a good source that you can plug into daily to stay on top of everything. My favorite sources are Moz.com, SearchEngineLand.com, and the great master of the internet itself, Google.

Online marketing is like baking a cake.

There are a lot of ingredients needed in baking a cake to get your desired result. My online marketing campaigns usually involve bits and pieces of PPC, content marketing, technical SEO, link-building, social media, affiliate programs, email marketing, print marketing, and of course conversion analysis. Depending on the campaign these areas of marketing play varying roles, but it’s important to consider the potential that each one has in reaching my target audience. The moral of this story is that you shouldn’t get carried away with using one marketing channel, try mixing and matching and see if you can’t optimize your ROI and make your boss happy.

Remember you’re dealing with people.

Online marketing does not contain an exact equation that will work every time. Sometimes what worked for you one week doesn’t work for you the next week and it’s frustrating but that’s the way it is. Don’t freak out, just put yourself in the shoes of your customer and try to understand their needs and wants. Look at the data and see if there’s something in there that will help you understand how to reach your customers. And as much as possible when you’re putting together your campaign ask yourself “Knowing what I do about my customer, would this content/event/channel/product connect with them?” and then be honest with yourself.

We’re all just winging it.

There are some really smart marketers out there that have a lot of history with their markets and know their customers so well that their campaigns consistently perform well. But for the most part we’re all just hoping that the marketing project we’ve been working on for months, that is taking up a huge chunk of our budget, brings in some customers and makes the company some money. So relax, do your homework on your customer/market, try to produce work you’d be proud of, and hope for the best. Failure happens, learn from it and move on.

Final thoughts.

I feel like the students should be reminded that if they don’t obtain essential skills in areas like online marketing, content creation and email marketing they’ll most likely just end up in sales.

Jacob Young

Online Marketing Analyst at TaskEasy


The most valuable Internet Marketers are hungry to learn and work hard to acquire knowledge. They don’t just read about AdWords or SEO, they read about technology, business, design, psychology, economics, and more. They know how to filter the vast amount of information on the web to identify what matters. And they don’t just read. They do. They understand how the channels and levers of the digital world interact with each other and how digital and brick and mortar business work together. Here are a couple specific insights:

– Know the metrics that matter. Get as close to the money as possible.

– Know how to communicate strategies and data. You need allies if you are to execute the types of strategies necessary for long term success.

– Do whatever needs to be done. Don’t shy away from something because it isn’t your job or you’ve never done it before.

Aaron Edgell

SEM Manager at Helix Education


Learn to communicate. If you can’t present information, reasons, and expected outcomes you’ll have a very difficult time accomplishing anything. You’ll almost always be working with a budget and you can’t expect clients or your employer to simply let you spend more money just because you think it would be a good idea. You’ll also be working with people from all kinds of departments such as Finance, IT, Engineers, Buyers, and more people of varying levels of influence. Employees that can communicate and present information so that other departments understand are usually the most successful.

Remember that Internet Marketing isn’t just about keywords and ranking for those keywords. It takes time, money, and effort to figure out what will help a business grow. You may find that you spend days looking through data trying to figure out why your website is having problems and all the while you are trying to figure out what is going on the company is losing money.

The last thing I want to suggest is that you do your due diligence on any company you apply to work for. There are a lot of companies out there that want to take advantage of you and your skills. I worked for one agency that the rules of the company were, “The house always wins.” Literally the company would spend weeks designing programs that were meant to motivate the employees, but were impossible for anyone to accomplish. I also discovered that the company paid me less than I was owed. I brought it up to the my manager and the problem was fixed about 2 months later, however I started paying attention and 3 more occasions the company shorted my pay check. Every time it would take the company around 2 months to pay me what was owed. Do your research.

Lance Breckenridge

SEM Specialist at Body Building


  • A good mentor
  • Start building your network
  • Their own site to start learning and testing things on
  • Become an expert in one area and be okay at everything else. (This also depends on their career goals)
  • Get your certificates! (Google AdWords, Google Analytics etc.)
  • Follow key people in your industry on Twitter.
  • Spend at least 20 minutes a day reading industry news from Search Engine Land, Moz etc.
  • While still in college try to get 1-2 clients and offer your service at a cheap rate, but give them the most amazing service.
  • Find a good internship that you will learn a lot. Pay does not matter for the internship.
  • Figure out what you like
  • Any deal you do make sure it is always a win/win
  • Do not take the shortcuts when it comes to online marketing, if you do you will not last long.
  • If you are looking to do things on your own learn how to work with people on Odesk. Odesk can be amazing, but you can also lose a lot of money there too
  • Write a letter to yourself about what your goals are and what your ethics/standards are this way you have already made the hard decisions when they come up later in life.

Derek Ostler

Marketing Director at OnSoar Marketing


Don’t Miss Bonus Videos & Advice!

Since I put this post up I’ve gotten feedback from 3 more amazing BYU-I Alumni. And 2 of them have video presentations.

  1. Benjamin Beck, Senior Digital Marketer at SolarWinds
  2. Stuart Draper, Founder of Stukent & Get Found First
  3. Casey Nielsen, Account Manager at Orangesoda

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