Essential Book List: Marketing Advice for Small Business

Digital marketing evolves by the minute, and there’s always something new to learn. Keep your marketing strategies fresh and up-to-date with this list of some of the best marketing books for 2020.

Some of these books are straight from the marketing canon and others might be brand new to you. From influencer marketing to content writing tips, this list has the major marketing bases covered.

Title: The Social Organism: A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life

Authors: Oliver Luckett and Michael J. Casey

Helps with: Social media marketing

Who would have thought that social media marketing and biology could have so much in common? In The Social Organism, Luckett and Casey argue that social networks closely resemble the rules and functions of biological life.

Memes, for example, look completely different under Luckett and Casey’s microscope: “In sharing and replicating packets of information known as memes, the world’s social media users are facilitating an evolutionary process just like the transfer of genetic information in living things. Memes are the basic building blocks of our culture, our social DNA.”

This book will forever change your perspective on social media and open your eyes to new ways to harness its power in fruitful ways.

Title: Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content

Author: Ann Handley

Helps with: Content writing

Offering straightforward advice and actionable tips, Handley dispels the misconception that good writing can only be mastered by a select few who possess innate talent and skill. “I am a writer. You are a writer. Everybody writes,” argues Handley.

Book sections include:

● How to write better. (Or, for "adult-onset writers": How to hate writing less.)
● Easy grammar and usage rules tailored for business in a fun, memorable way. (Enough to keep you looking sharp, but not too much to overwhelm you.)
● Giving your audience the gift of your true story, told well. Empathy and humanity and inspiration are key here, so the book covers that, too.
● Best practices for creating credible, trustworthy content steeped in some time-honored rules of solid journalism. Because publishing content and talking directly to your customers is, at its heart, a privilege.
● "Things Marketers Write": The fundamentals of 17 specific kinds of content that marketers are often tasked with crafting.
● Content Tools: The sharpest tools you need to get the job done.

This book is a must-read that will leave you feeling confident in your ability to create great content that will boost your business.

Title: One Million Followers: How I Built a Massive Social Following in 30 Days

Author: Brendan Kane

Helps with: Digital strategy and influencer marketing

Making a splash in social media’s endless ocean is one thing, but anchoring your brand with a devoted following can be as elusive as the lost city of Atlantis.

In One Million Followers, Kane will teach you how to gain an authentic, dedicated, and diverse online following from scratch; create personal, unique, and valuable content that will engage your core audience; and build a multi-media brand through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and LinkedIn — all in 30 days or less.

Title: Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message so Customers Will Listen

Author: Donald Miller

Helps with: Brand positioning

Every great marketing strategy starts with an even better StoryBrand. Miller’s book breaks down the elements of a successful brand like they’re the building blocks of a great story. By describing the story points that all humans respond to, the rationale behind people’s purchasing decisions, and how to simplify your brand messaging, Miller will have you reimagining the story you tell about what you do or what you sell.

Building a StoryBrand focuses on seven key principles:

1. The customer is the hero, not your brand.
2. Companies tend to sell solutions to external problems, but customers buy solutions to internal problems.
3. Customers aren’t looking for another hero; they’re looking for a guide.
4. Customers trust a guide who has a plan.
5. Customers do not take action unless they are challenged to take action.
6. Every human being is trying to avoid a tragic ending.
7. Never assume people understand how your brand can change their lives. Tell them.

Title: Tap: Unlocking the Mobile Economy

Author: Anindya Ghose

Helps with: Mobile marketing

By tapping into the data trail mobile consumers leave behind, businesses can leverage smartphones into smarter companies. “When mobile advertising is done well, the smartphone plays the role of a personal concierge―a butler, not a stalker.”

Ghose’s international research has uncovered some fascinating insights into the wildly contradictory behaviour of consumers. “People seek spontaneity, but they are predictable; they find advertising annoying, but they fear missing out; they value their privacy, but they increasingly use personal data as currency,” Ghose argues.

By breaking down complex mobile consumer behaviour into approachable human insights, Ghose makes it easier for businesses to benefit in an increasingly mobile economy.

When well-executed, marketing tells your customers exactly how you stand out from the competition. The fast-changing world of marketing requires business owners to be forward-thinking, nimble, and well-read. Let this booklist be a launch point for your ongoing study of marketing strategy in all its forms.

More Articles