Every week for the past 8 weeks I have been in a conversation with a writer, a designer or a small business owner about what books to read to get up to speed on Internet Marketing. That is a tall order for sure. There are far too many topics to do justice to the entirety of Internet Marketing. However, having a grasp of the fundamentals across the core disciplines is all that most people need to shape their understanding, to direct their efforts and to help them make better decisions within their own discipline.
Here it goes.
1. Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs by Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah
This is my current favorite introductory overview of the whole process of internet marketing. I must have recommended this book 20 times this year and I have colleagues who are on their 3rd reading of it.
Read our full review
2. The New Rule of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott
This is my second favorite introduction, that is focused more on the current paradigm shifts occurring in public relations and marketing.
3. Scientific Advertising by Claude C Hopkins
Written in 1923, a ground breaking work that is still relevant and contrary thinking today. The book highlights the need for measurement in marketing. It is also available as a free PDF download online if you poke around a bit.
4. Crossing The Chasm by Geoffrey Moore
I recommend this book because it drives home the point about what marketing really has to do for businesses that do not sell commodities. This book highlights the problems I spend my life trying to solve.
5. Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch
For similar reasons I recommend this book to writers, designers and small business people because it highlights our job as marketers more clearly and pragmatically than Moore's book. It focuses on sales lead generation and bridges between traditional and internet marketing.
Read our full review
6. SPIN Selling by Neil Rakham
SPIN Selling is my all time favorite sales book. It doesn't seem to matter how effective the marketing is, the sales leads ultimately end-up in the hands of a person who needs to make a sale. SPIN selling is another paradigm-busting book that is still relevant after over 22 years.
Read our full review
7. Made To Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Likely the most challenging aspect of marketing is figuring out how to make our ideas relevant, impactful and sticky. This book will challenge your thinking as it invites you to take your communication from boring to extraordinary. It offers principles to follow and loads of examples to consider.
8. Net Words by Nick Usborne
This is one of the first books to contrast writing for the web from writing in general. It is simple, relevant and challenging. This is an excellent place to start looking at your writing differently.
9. Web Copy That Sells by Maria Veloso
This book will challenge you to go beyond writing for the web, into writing to make a sale. It is the most comprehensive book I have found on the subject. What I like about this book is the emphasis it places on measurement.
10. Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug
This book on web design and usability is aptly named and what is more impressive is the book follows its own advice. I challenge you to find a more accessible and better designed book anywhere. It will also challenge you to think about websites differently.
11. Save The Pixel by Ben Hunt
Now in its second edition, I was pleased to recently upgrade my first edition. This book is also focused on usability. It provides dozens of before and after examples of original and improved web designs. It also breaks the whole design process down into key principles to follow.
12.The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization by Enge, Spencer, Fishkin and Stricchiola
You don't need to become an SEO expert, but you do need to understand how it works. This is true for writers in particular, but also designers, coders and business owners. This is a hefty book and you need to spend some time wading through it to grasp how your decisions can make or break your website from an organic search perspective.
13. Landing Page Optimization by Tim Ash
Where the rubber meets the road is with landing page conversion effectiveness. How do you take an average run-of-the-mill landing page and transform it into a high performance selling machine, is the topic of discussion. This is one of the first books on the subject worth reading.
14. Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics by Brian Clifton
If you are not already familiar with Google Analytics and its capabilities to increase your marketing effectiveness, then you need to read this book. It takes you beyond the basics available from weblogs into what is possible with Google Analytics.
15. Always Be Testing by Eisenburg, Quarto-von Tivadar
Split testing and multi-variant analysis of a landing page's performance may be an advanced topic, but why would you bother to read all these books if you are going to stop short of the finishing line? This is the ultimate goal, where you have your marketing system up and running and you get to focus on squeezing every ounce of performance out of it. This book will give you a glimpse into where you and the rest of the competition are headed.
There You Have It
These are the top 15 most influential internet and marketing books that I am aware of after 12 years of scouring Amazon, Chapters and Google. I sincerely hope that this list saves you some time, streamlines your learning process and has a positive impact on your business and career.
If you have any questions about these books or if you would like to recommend better alternatives, please comment on this post or contact me to share your ideas.
John Watson is the president of Accrue Performance Marketing Inc. and is the author of Being Profitable™ : the earnings growth program. John has been consulting since 1993. He helps entrepreneurs Design Build Grow™ market leading companies with strategic internet marketing, social media and sales lead generation programs.