This list contains the best digital marketing books suitable for beginners as well as experienced professionals. You will find PDF, paperback and Kindle edition for all these books online. Books are among the most comprehensive and satiating resource for learning a new subject or delving deeper into a topic. To ensure that you get the most out of this list, I have arranged them in a logical sense that would allow you to learn about all aspects of digital marketing.
The first two books begin with setting up a digital marketing mindset that would allow you to grasp the world of possibilities that you have as a digital marketer to grow a business. Then the following books take you through the following components of digital marketing:
- Content marketing
- Social media marketing
- Psychology of viral content
- Search engine optimization
- Conversion optimization
- User interface and experience
- Web analytics
If you cover all the above topics via the books listed below, book which are among the most reviewed and read, it will help you set a very good foundation in digital marketing. Of course, there are options to reading blogs but books offer a better organized archive of data that you can access at your finger tips any time.
Best Digital Marketing Books
Here is a list of essential and best-selling digital marketing books that individuals across the world have found useful to learn the basics as well as advanced levels of online marketing to fast-track their career. These books are not just useful to a digital marketing manager, but also for business owners, CEOs, marketing managers and anyone who wants to grow their business or promote their organization in front of users (for example, NGO, Charity organizations).
Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday
This is the first title I would recommend in this list of digital marketing books that I would recommend. Ryan Holiday’s book on Growth Hacker Marketing is the mentality that you need to adopt as a digital marketing professional promoting your business on the internet. In his book, Ryan Holiday talks about how internet giants like Airbnb, Facebook and Gmail grew despite not adopting the traditional marketing practices of launch date, billboard banners and celebrity television commercials. The book calls the marketer to think beyond the push techniques applied in traditional marketing and utilize pull marketing through smart growth hacks. Some examples that I have personally been able to glean from the book are providing shopping credits to encourage user sign ups and employing on creative marketing tactics that indulge the user to engage with your app/site. He provides some great data which forces you to think of your users differently, “the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent, while to a new prospect it’s just 5 to 20 percent.” At the end of the book, you will be equipped with the essential learning that every digital marketer must possess and that is – track-ability and ROI are the game-changers to help your business thrive in the online world.
Youtility by Jay Baer
This book is important for a digital marketer because it teaches you about the customer that you are marketing to on the internet. For example, a key statement in the book is, “the number of sources required for a buying decision doubled from 2010 to 2011.” This is very true, consider yourself as an online buyer and you will see yourself going through a Google search, the company website, multiple user reviews and so on. The way this book teaches you to market is to become useful for the customer. In addition, the book also tells you that now a days when digital marketing is done, you are not just competing with other products in your industry; the user is inundated with viral videos, cat videos and friend updates. If you think about it, you will realize that an online ad is actually affected by this overall macro-environment. By understanding this, as a digital marketer you will be able to design and execute campaigns which are successful in standing out from this crowd. This really is the true value addition that Youtility provides among this list of digital marketing books.
Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi
Once you have achieved the digital marketing mindset with the books above, let us focus on the first aspect of digital marketing – the content. The content that you show on your website, blog, online advertisements, email newsletters etc. is your business’s pitch to the consumer. In broader terms, its called content marketing. This is why this book on content marketing is a must-read for all digital marketing professionals looking to be impactful. Joe Pulizzi, the author does a fantastic job of telling readers that content is the long-term strategy to being recognized as an industry expert and becoming useful to the consumers. An useful learning from the book is, “if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.” This book stand out from all the content marketing books in the market for the sheer volume of practical examples the Pulizzi has spent time organizing for you. This book guides you through the entire step-by-step road-map of creating a content marketing strategy that works.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
Second to content marketing, for me is Social Media Marketing. The author of this book, Gary Vaynerchuk inherited his father’s wine business and grew it from $3 Million to $50 Million. He got most popular from his wine blog which established him as a social media expert who knew how to get his content popular on the internet and drive business to his wine company. Today, he is an entrepreneur, consultant and motivational speaker. Considering this, I would be doing great injustice if Vaynerhchuk’s amazing read on Social media is missing from my recommendation of digital marketing books. At the end of this book, you will look at social media as it is seen by one of the smartest and most hardworking internet entrepreneurs on the scene today. He gives you a very good understanding of the social media landscape, the “vibes” off different social networking sites and what works on Facebook, does not work on Twitter or Instagram (a common mistake many digital marketers make). This book will give you a great understanding on how to leverage your social media strategy and to stand out from the all the noise and drive business. A thought provoking quote out of this book would be, “It took thirty-eight years before 50 million people gained access to radios. It took television thirteen years to earn an audience that size. It took Instagram a year and a half.” I would recommend this book for all digital marketing guys because it works for businesses of all sizes and covers a very important aspect of digital marketing sufficiently.
Viralnomics by Jonathan Goodman
This is an additional reading to the above mentioned social media marketing book. Viral stories are one of the fastest ways that businesses can grow. And what’s better is that viral coverage is free, done by users for you on all platforms. This is why generating viral content in the form of stories, videos and articles is such a priority for so many businesses. For a digital marketer, it means saving a lot of that online marketing budget because of all the free traffic that your business can potentially generate from viral content. Therefore, it is helpful to look at the psychology of the users who promote a content to make it viral. In addition, the understanding that Viralnomics gives you into the behavioral science behind viral content will allow you to structure your viral campaigns and content more effectively. The author Jonathan Goodman does a good job of providing usable tips and tricks that will seriously help you design your viral and buzz strategy better.
Smart Marketers Guide to Google Adwords by Noa Eshed
Among all the digital marketing books mentioned in the list I realize that there should be one book which allows you to learn the fundamentals of Pay-per-click (PPC). What better place to start learning the art of PPC other than the most popular digital marketing platform i.e. Google Adwords. This book is a simple and straightforward guide to creating, scaling and optimizing Google Adwords. By reading this book you will be on your way to mastering Search Engine Marketing, a pre-requisite skill for any digital marketer. The reason why I have only included Google Adwords guide as part of the books for PPC is that if you understand Google Adwords, all other advertising platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are a piece of cake. They all run with the same logic on different platforms with unique user targeting capabilities. You can read this article if you are interested in creating a Facebook ad. This is the only PPC book I would recommend, as it is up-to-date and easy to understand. It is suitable not only for beginners but also intermediate users of Google Adwords.
SEO 2016 by Adam Clarke
Once you understand the fundamentals of content marketing, social media marketing, PPC from the above book, another very important part of components of digital marketing is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the technique of ranking your website higher on Google search results. This is an important aspect of digital marketing to learn because driving traffic from Google search results is by far the most effective way to get sales on your site. It is free as you do not pay for any of the clicks, but the catch is that to rank on the first page of Google for search terms is by no means an easy task. That being said, it is not impossible. Therefore, it is important for you to spend time understanding the algorithms that Google uses to analyse where your site should be placed for a particular search. This book will give you in-depth information that can digested by beginners on how you can make your website Google-friendly and ensure that all the content that you publish is found by users searching for that topic on Google.
The Conversion Code by Chris Smith
Most lists that cover the topic of digital marketing books miss out on this very important topic of conversion optimization (suggested reading: What is Conversion), which means to ensure the maximum number of people visiting your website end up purchasing or performing an action that you desire. At the end of the day, the job of a digital marketer is to drive conversions. This book, The Conversion Code is a great resource to learn what trigger words and sales templates online have been statistically proven to convert better. It also teaches you the most important metrics that you must track and analyse to boost the conversions on your website. The job of a digital marketer does not end when you simply drive traffic to the website. If the users who visit your website are not converting, then this traffic is useless for your business and it is a huge waste of money. The author Chris Smith, gives his own data and experience on all of the tips that he suggests. In addition, you will find a great value addition in all the illustrations, exhibits and examples that Smith has included in the book.
Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited by Steve Krug
There will be days in the office of a digital marketer when you’ve done everything right in social media, content and PPC as well as perfecting your conversion funnel and yet the orders do not reach your expectations. My article on digital marketing books will be incomplete without the secret sauce. Web design (mobile and desktop) is the real secret behind making the best use of your traffic is to improve the user interface and experience (UI and UX). A poor UI and UX will also reflect if you are unable to generate a sufficient number of second conversions from the user at a later data. All of which impacts your KPI of conversion rate as a digital marketer. However, if you read this book, Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug will allow you to diagnose issues with the design of your website and give feedback to your developers on what they can improve to boost conversions on the website. It’s a quick, easy and highly entertaining read which will allow you to do some general house keeping and apply some smart design thinking that will help the business generate higher revenue. Going by the reader reviews, this book will completely change your views on web design.
Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik
The final building block of a great digital marketer is strong web analytics. The skill of knowing what data to look at and how to interpret this data into actionable insights which will help you achieve more sales at a lesser price from your digital marketing campaigns. There are many tools available which allow you to measure and analyze the performance of your online ad campaigns, one of the biggest is Google Analytics. In addition, what is the meaning of so many metrics that are used in the digital marketing world such as CPC, CTR and such. This book will help you answer all those questions and train you to become a good analyst for all your campaigns. This Web Analytics 2.0 is written by Avinash Kaushik, a person most seasoned professionals would be familiar with due to his popular digital marketing blog called Occam’s Razor. By utilizing his analytic framework, you can help your organization become more data-driven and achieve a higher ROI for your digital marketing campaigns.
Let me know if you would like to add to this list. I am aware that there are a few more really good digital marketing books out there, but I as an author I have to restrict myself to a list of the best ten books for the scope of this article. I personally prefer paperbacks but with Kindle devices available, it is so much easier and faster to get the books you need. The Amazon links provided below each book will take you right to their product page for purchase. I hope you find this list useful and please suggest any improvements that you would like to see.