The path to becoming a successful digital marketeer with 38.9k followers

The path to becoming a successful digital marketeer with 38.9k followers

Posted on Oct 08, 2015

The path to becoming a successful digital marketeer with 38.9k followers by Anthony Johnson, founder of Digital 4 Trade.


  • A series of fortunate accidents in the life of a self-confessed geek
  • Experiences from the last 12c years of Anthony’s career (don’t worry - we’ll explain the 12c years
  • See his hints and tips on successful digital marketing


Anthony Johnson

Who is Anthony Johnson?

We met Anthony at the BNI Inspire Chapter in Coventry early one Thursday morning a couple of months ago. Now, he did try and avoid us to start with but he needed to try much harder than simply not replying to one email. We’ve moved past that now to the point where Anthony doesn’t (visibly) wince when he sees us – I think he might even quite like us. Or maybe he just likes the opportunity to talk about himself. Probably best to ask him directly to be certain about that @AnthonyJohns0n.

So, Anthony, is a Digital Marketeer (Marketer?) who loves Twitter (it’s his favourite form of social media). His Twitter bio describes him as:

“Im just a #geek who has been doing Digital Marketing for 12 years or so, giving free #SEO and #SocialMedia advice to #Business & #StartUps @Digital4Trade #BNI


and that’s pretty much how he describes himself in person too. His love for Twitter comes from his short attention span: everything moves so quickly on Twitter that there’s always something new to look at, engage with or a technique to try out. The advantage of the speed is that, if you say something wrong, it’s gone in minutes. Conversely, though, that makes it tough to be heard above the noise sometimes.

 As for the rest, he’s not a fan of Periscope nor is he a fan of all the gimmicky stuff you can find for example apps that teach you how to communicate with people because, while he might be a digital geek, Anthony knows the value of a phone call. This is also quite literally meant – a phone call just netted Anthony £10k.

His rationale for why this works? It all comes down to people: marketing shouldn’t be considered B2B or B2C but rather people 2 people. To be successful you need to engage with real people through real content on a real level. It can be easy to forget you’re in work mode or separated from others by technology but people warm to the genuine and authentic.

What is digital marketing?

According to Anthony, it comprises 4 elements: 25% social media, 25% internet marketing, 25% SEO, 25% PPC


pie chart

You don’t need to ace all of them. We were given Groupon as an example. flick’s Suzee got a Groupon for her Hollywood tour of star homes (as totally irrelevant side note – Suzee was in her element with this. She knew more than the tour guide). Anthony suggested that we wouldn’t have found Groupon for searching for Hollywood Tours but I ended up using them anyway – I found them (or, more likely through the use of cookies, they found me).

Not wanting to fall into the trap of believing what we’d been told about Groupon, we did the search for ourselves. You can see the results below and, guess what, Anthony was right.


Google Hollywood

How did Anthony get started?

It was 12c years ago.

This means 15 years ago. He didn’t want to say he’d been in the business for 13 years (surely also a superstitious chap) so he stuck with the 12 year mark. In hindsight, moving to the format of 12a, 12b, 12c seems more entertaining.

It was an accident.

In a series of rather remarkable accidents, Anthony stumbled across internet marketing by accident. By accidentally writing a football blog for Coventry Telegraph: he sent in his thoughts on a Cov City match and, in fact, one day he did that five times and all five blogs got published. The result: an accident blogger.

What Anthony did next. 

He went off to learn more. Given what he describes as his natural ability to understand systems and a very good memory, he set about figuring out how to be successful by picking apart someone else’s system. It was probably also helpful that he’d always been intrigued by computers and had a ZX Spectrum* when he was young. Once confident that he could achieve, he put his neck on the line with the company he worked for at the time doing a deal with them which gave him 6 months to succeed. He did.

This prompted what Anthony considers to be a very successful career – he “lived the dream for a while” and enjoyed his business (I wonder how many of us can say that?). Quite ambitiously, there are still some goals left to achieve and that’s after setting up Digital 4 Trade and his previous company, the number one SEO company, SEO GO, where companies 5-times his size were using him to white-label their SEO.

*in case you're also wondering what a ZX Spectrum looks like (we had to Google it) imagine an even more basic-looking version of the BBC computer. 

Look at him in action

(and check out the difference between Google then and now!)




NB - this video is a few years old so the guidance isn’t in keeping with modern day best practice.


A trip down memory lane…

We discussed what Old School SEO was (see it in action below):












Did you get it? It was back when you used white text on a white background to simply add in loads of the key words. It seems so far off the SEO guidelines we’re using today.

We also reminisced about the early days of the internet and what we could remember being around at the time Anthony was starting out on this path. We’ve put together a timeline of the evolution as best we could remember but we weren’t 100% sure. What can you remember?


internet timeline



Share your memories with us


Top tips on digital marketing success from Anthony Johnson


  • Love what you do – if you can’t give 110% then it’s not worth doing
  • Stay hungry to learn more – with SEO the boundaries are always changing, this means you’ve got to stay on your toes to keep up.
  • It helps if you’re competitive – the SEO game is about being number-one and going up through the rankings. If you’re the type of person who aspires to be the best, then the spirit of this will appeal to you more naturally (and if you want to see how flick applies this spirit to e-learning, you can find out more in our blog on 10 way reasons e-learning should be gamified) 
  • A/B testing – success comes from a relentless sequence of trial and error, trial and error. You learn what works and then you keep refining it until it’s hitting the right levels of success for you.
  • Communicate in the language in which people are talking to you – you can try and fight it and try to educate them but it’ll be quicker and easier to simply talk their language.
  • Be committed – don't approach social media with a “have to” attitude. Engage and commit for the best returns.


Top tips for companies looking to outsource digital marketing

  • Don’t believe everything you read online – blogging, for some, is a business, so be discerning: are you looking at a blog or a paid ad/endorsement? There’s a big difference. Or it’s a matter of wording:

The spin – “previously worked with Muhammad Ali”

The reality – did the SEO for the UK website selling t-shirts showing Muhammad Ali and/or things he said.

  • Always speak to previous clients for a testimonial – don’t outsource your digital marketing until you’ve spoken to a happy customer of the company you’re considering. This will separate those who talk a good talk from those you’ll get you to the top of Google or gain a million followers on Twitter (feel free to substitute for your own personal goal)
  • Only buy a domain if you also buy the .com domain – within 12 months you won’t be able to use the site if you don’t own the .com site.
  • Follow the progress/growth throughout a SEO project – don’t wait until the end of the project to calculate as you can track things as you go through. Social media engagement in the early days can help initially while other stuff kicks in. Be cautious about measuring certain stats in isolation eg traffic volume as there’s nothing to ensure that it’s the right traffic for your company/product. The key metric is conversions.


Just for fun!

Apple vs Google – Apple for hands on hardware/kit, Google for the virtual world

Tea vs Coffee – Tea

Cats vs Dogs – Dogs


and that's it for the latest in our guest blog series. Thanks for taking part, Anthony. Would you like to be part of it too? If so, leave us a comment below and we'll get in touch.


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