Being busy with amazing projects and awesome people seems to be my thing. I just can’t say no to those projects that I feel that bring real value to those around me and I can definitely never refuse meeting people that fuel me up with their enthusiasm and energy of making the world a better place. One of these projects is the Intensive Online Marketing Training I am teaching at DallesGO – it is an intensive 12-week program that takes attendees through all the online marketing channels and basic steps. We debate a lot, we share information, we look at online marketing case studies and we all enrich our digital marketing experience – both the attendees and me.
One of the questions I am asked often is to recommend some of the digital marketing books that I found most useful in my career. My answer is never about some technical online marketing books as the participants would expect, but more about some of the top books that shaped the way we perceive digital marketing and that radically helped me think better about digital marketing campaigns.
I’ve actually been giving this topic quite a lot of thought during the years as I got to meet more than 800 attendees in my online marketing trainings. And the top 10 books I would still recommend to anyone who wants to start or to move forward in their digital marketing carrer would be the ones below. I would say, with no further ado, that these 10 books are simply must-read!
1. The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott – I think the picture shows how much of a fan I am. I had the honour and pleasure of meeting David when he was a keynote speaker at GPeC SUMMIT in 2018. David Meerman Scott‘s books definitely inspired the beginning of my digital marketing career. David explains the main types of social media content that get engagement – “entertain me”, “help me” and “love me”. David gives a lot of actionable insights in this book that I am sure will shape anyone’s approach to social media. He explains why social media is not about selling directly but about building a community. He explains why you should always start by listening to what people are talking about in social media and then responding and only after this you should post a point of view. I will not give you more hints as it is very difficult to sum up a book that is so compelling and full of amazing practical insights. Must-read!
2. Advanced Google AdWords by Brad Geddes – I hope no one minds if I speak my thoughts. This is the Bible of Google Ads. I repeat. This is the Bible of Google Ads. I was surprised to find that Brad manages to explain Google Ads better than the Google Ads support materials and online trainings. He explains the concepts in a very compelling manner, the book is very hands-on and it walks you through all the basics and actually manages to shape your thinking so that no change in Google Ads will ever catch you off guard. I cannot even begin to explain how much value this book brought in my Google Ads career so far. I had the pleasure to meet Brad Geddes in person as well as he was one of the top speakers and trainers we invited at GPeC SUMMIT November 2018 and it was great for me to find out that he is an even more amazing person to talk to in real life. I would definitely recommend his Google Ads workshops and trainings, whether online or offline, to anyone who wants to get more into details about Google Ads.
3. Buyer Legends by Bryan Eisenberg – It is frankly impossible to stop at one book to recommend from one of the most amazing online marketers of our times – Bryan Eisenberg. Bryan has been contributing for years to the basics of Conversion Optimization and User Experience and has been doing consultancy work for giants such as Amazon. His books are awesome and full of know-how and manage to be entertaining at the same time. I chose Buyer Legends first over some of his other bestsellers because I love how he explains the concept of personalising your communication and landing page and customer journey for each type of buyer persona. I hope you will not get too jealous when I will tell you that I also got the change to meet Bryan Eisenberg in person as well and that he is a very loved friend of ours at GPeC. He was a speaker at GPeC SUMMIT twice and he was also one of the most popular speakers in all 14 years of GPeC.
4. How To Build Websites That Sell by Peep Laja – If you ever tried to find out more information on Conversion Optimization and User Experience, you must have gotten into some compelling articles and videos by the CXL Institute team. Peep Laja‘s books – both “How To Build Websites That Sell” and “Mastering The Essentials of Conversion Optimization” are very well written and easy to read and they cover the basic steps of thinking or rethinking your UX. Peep is also a very funny speaker. When he delivered a keynote at GPeC SUMMIT in 2018 he was definitely the most popular speaker of that particular edition.
5. Call To Action by Bryan Eisenberg – I cannot even start to think about a top 10 digital marketing books without mentioning the golden oldie “Call To Action” by the same amazing Bryan Eisenberg. The book covers the basics of UX for online shops, the basic steps for the process of website usability testing and the A to Z of conversion optimization and A/B testing. It is full of information and it is outstandingly updated. Must-read!
6. Real-Time Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott – Of course, another book by David Meerman Scott, which I already told you is one of my favorite marketers of all times. This book is much more about real-time marketing and newsjaking and how to actually take advantage of real-time marketing by building an entire organisational culture of speed. Another must-read and I will say no more.
7. Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug – Talk about golden oldies and we’ve gotten to another classic book about UX – Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think” which is also a must-read. It emphasizes the fact that the customer journey of a user on a website must be as frictionless as possible through some visual examples. It is great for marketers and web designers and web developers as well.
8. Designing Web Usability by Jakob Nielsen – You cannot actually talk about usability without mentioning the father of this discipline which is Jakon Nielsen. This is the Bible of UX and definitely the starting point of every UX and CRO wannabe specialist. Whatismore, together with Raluca Badiu, Jakob Nielsen published Mobile Usability which is adapted especially for these times when mobile traffic is so much higher than desktop traffic for most websites and especially for most online shops.
9. You Should Test That by Chris Goward – Chris Goward is another good friend of ours at GPeC. His book is a classic and compelling book about A/B testing and the basic steps of the process together with some best practices which I am sure you will find very useful.
10. Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik – I am sure Google Analytics experts will say that this is the Bible of Web Analytics. Avinash Kaushik wrote a lot of content on Analytics and his books are really an A to Z guide of Web Analytics and the reports that will give you amazing insights for your website. He is also an amazing speaker and I think you should follow all his work in order to keep up to date with Analytics and online marketing.
I feel like I need to emphasize that these 10 are just the top 10 books I would read if I were to start in online marketing. These are not my top 10 favorite marketing or business books, although some of them would definitely make it to this top 10. I will be back soon with even more book recommendations.
In the mean time, as always, I love sharing and exchanging recommendations. Can you name some of the books that you would recommend? I would love to hear some and maybe find some that I haven’t read yet.