Who’s got time for reading books in 2020, right? Wrong. I bet you’d rather watch a movie about the best content marketing strategy or a TV show on the secrets of SEO, but until George Lucas decides digital marketing is the new Star Wars, you’re stuck with books. Which, actually, doesn’t have to be a bad thing at all.
Even though articles, blogs, videos, and podcasts seem more accessible than books in 2020, here’s why you should find some time for reading digital marketing books as well. Plus, we present you with the 10 best digital marketing books that are guaranteed to make you a better marketer.
Why Bother Reading (Marketing) Books in 2020?
According to the recent research by the Pew Research Center, 24% of US adults say they haven’t read a book (whether in print, electronic or audio form) in the past year. Now you know who doesn’t read books, but who does (or should)? Anybody who wants to advance their career in any field, digital marketing being no exception. Top 4 reasons why you should grab a book right now:
- In-depth information. Articles, blog posts, YouTube videos, podcasts are all great sources of easy-to-get information. But they surely can’t go in as much depth as a 300-page book, right? Books are a great choice if you’re looking to get in-depth information on a particular topic.
- Variety of formats to choose from. When you think of a book, a dusty old bunch of papers glued together is probably the first thing that comes to your mind. Well, today, books are available in several easy-to-digest formats. In addition to the hard copy ones, you can enjoy books in the digital and audio format as well.
- They improve your cognitive abilities. Brain exercise is vital. Reading stimulates your brain, keeps it active, and improves your memory.
- They introduce you to new ideas and challenge your imagination. Creativity is vital in order to succeed in the modern business world.
These are just some of the reasons why we’ve prepared this list of 10 best digital marketing books. Now let’s get your creative juices flowing.
10 Best Digital Marketing Books to Read in 2020
“Digital Marketing for Dummies” by Ryan Deiss and Russ Henneberry
Don’t get deceived by its title. “Digital Marketing for Dummies” indeed is one of the best digital marketing books for novice digital marketers (as it provides a lot of basic information), but it’s not just some dummy-material. It actually represents an excellent reference source, which contains a bunch of specific, practical, and current insights and pieces of advice.
Don’t get put off by its 300 pages – it’s quite readable. The book covers pretty much the entire digital marketing journey – from marketing planning, over content creation, SEO, paid advertising, email and social media marketing, to data and analytics.It also includes some rather practical advice, such as 57 blog category ideas or the 10 most common mistakes digital marketers make.
“Epic Content Marketing” by Joe Pulizzi
Joe Pulizzi, the founder and owner of Content Marketing Institute (CMI), is one of the best digital marketing book authors and content marketing strategists in the world. Hence the nickname – the ‘Godfather of Content Marketing’.
In his book, epically titled “Epic Content Marketing”, Pulizzi emphasizes the importance of valuable content that customers actually want to read and share instead of too much traditional marketing and clutter.
This 350-page guide lays down the basic principles of content marketing and reveals some secrets behind creating and distributing quality content. One of the most important things I’ve learned from this book is that companies just need to stop talking about themselves and focus on their customers instead.
In addition to the print and digital copies, it’s also available in the form of an audiobook and can be downloaded from Audible.
“Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost Into Profit” by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose
In the words of the authors – “Killing your current marketing structure may be the only way to save it”.
After their initial success with the 2011 digital marketing book titled “Managing Content Marketing”, two of the top marketing experts in the field of content marketing, Pulizzi and Rose, have teamed up again to reveal the next step of business success in the modern digital world – transforming your marketing strategy (okay, transforming, not really killing it) into a clear-cut profit center.
The authors are actually mocking the traditional perception that marketing is nothing more than an expenditure center. So, Pulizzi and Rose wonder: “What if we completely flipped the idea of the marketing function on its head?” They propose doing so by recognizing the media trends and turning the marketing department into a standalone profit center. Read the book to find out how.
“Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” by Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary Vaynerchuk, one of the New York Times bestselling authors and the owner of the digital agency, VaynerMedia, has assisted a number of Fortune 500 companies in designing various digital marketing strategies. This means that the author of “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” is someone with actual and significant experience in the industry.
The book focuses on social media marketing and emphasizes the importance of winning the hearts of your customers. It’ll provide you with just the right combination of ‘jabs and hooks’ for triggering an adequate emotional response that will enable you to transform followers into brand loyalists.
Vaynerchuk also gives examples of how NOT to do social media marketing, by pointing out the examples of some of the iconic brands who produced low-quality content because of the lack of understanding of social media platforms and the way their users think.
“Permission Marketing” by Seth Godin
In 2013, Seth Godin, the founder of Squidoo and Yoyodyne, was admitted into the Digital Marketing Hall of Fame. He’s the author of some of the best digital marketing books ever, many of which were translated into more than 35 languages.
While denouncing the concept of ‘Interruption Marketing’ that involves selling a product by being a sleazy salesperson, Godin’s ‘Permission Marketing’ is actually intended to help marketers get to their customers in accordance with their willingness.
According to Godin, the first step in customer acquisition is turning strangers into friends. The second step is turning those newly-acquired friends into customers. The book is full of practical strategies and case studies for attracting potential customers. In light of the recent GDPR happenings, the importance of customer permission has never been more relevant to digital marketers.
“Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World” by Rand Fishkin
Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz and one of the most acclaimed marketing experts of today, published his guide to the startup world. With the humorous approach the readers of his blog are well accustomed to, Fishkin reveals “how traditional Silicon Valley wisdom leads far too many startups astray”.
One of the things we like the best about Fishkin’s new book is his transparency to share things the way they are, good or bad – and all the lessons he learned from his own experience. It contains insights into numerous aspects of leading a startup business, including depression, layoffs, failure, why growth hacks fall flat, why pivoting sucks, and how much founders and employees actually earn.
Since this book is fresh out of the oven (published in 2018), we’re not going to spoil it for you – I’ll just say that this is not a typical startup success story you’ve probably got used to.
“Youtility” by Jay Baer
Throughout his career, Jay Baer, the founder of Convince & Convert, has provided consulting services for more than 700 brands, including numerous Fortune 500 companies.
His bestseller “Youtility” rejects the traditional notion of hype marketing and advises for better decisions in the long-run instead. Baer asserts that businesses need to adapt to the constantly evolving digital marketing environment by “building relationships with information”.
Using real-life examples, Baer shows you how to turn a one-time customer into a long-term client.
“Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads” by Luke Sullivan
The title of Sullivan’s book promises one thing – you’ll have tons of fun reading it. Not only does it deliver on this promise, but it can also teach you a lot about marketing and copywriting. A marketing book that’s both funny and educational? Yes, it’s possible.
Written by a copywriter, this book is one of the best marketing books on what makes a great ad and it perfectly demonstrates the power of (the right) words. It has inspired an entire generation of marketers, but the new generations of young marketers and copywriters now need guidance through the world of digital world.
This is where the new fourth edition of “Hey Whipple, Squeeze This” comes in. In addition to traditional ad forms, the updated edition teaches you how to take brand stories into the interactive online world of digital marketing.
“Ogilvy on Advertising” by David Ogilvy
“Brutally frank and witheringly opinionated, David Ogilvy became the most sought-after wizard in the advertising business” (Time Magazine)
A list like this just wouldn’t be complete without one of the most well-known Mad Men of our era. During his time as an advertising executive and copywriter, Ogilvy was the man behind some of the world’s most iconic campaigns, such as the legendary Man in the Hathaway Shirt, plus the campaigns for Rolls Royce, Schweppes, and the island of Puerto Rico.
“Ogilvy on Advertising” is a good example of how to think like an advertising executive with one sole purpose on their mind – to help brands increase their sales. Although published in 1985, this book is still actual. Plus, in our digital era full of analytics and optimization, it may be both fun and beneficial to read books like this one and reconsider advertising as a form of art.
“Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable” by Seth Godin
Another classic, Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow”, teaches us how to stand out from the crowd and break through the clutter of similar brands and businesses. The world is filled with brown, black, and white cows. That’s why you need to be the purple one – the one that stands out and the one everyone recognizes.
Okay, we get it that some people will always be too busy (or too lazy) to read a 300-page book. And that’s fine, as we’ve still got you covered. If you’re looking for some additional marketing wisdom, but in a slightly more condensed format, we have prepared a list of the top 10 digital marketing blogs or check out DesignWizard’s list of marketing books that can help you build successful marketing strategy.
For those super-lazy (or super-busy), we have prepared an even shorter format – feel free to check out our 127 powerful marketing quotes that are guaranteed to inspire your business and marketing efforts.