Remember reading as a child?
You had nothing but time.
Those were the days…
Now, every minute counts.
Your time is a hot commodity and you have to measure the opportunity cost of everything you spend your time on.
So, when it comes to reading digital marketing books to hone your skills, you have to choose the ones that will give you the most ROI on your time investment.
Because let’s face it, there are literally 100s of books out there and some will help you more than others.
That’s why I put together this list of the best digital marketing books I’ve read over the last 5+ years.
Out of the 50+ I’ve read, these helped me the most:
(Note: this post contains affiliate links so we’ll get a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase one of these books through our link. But rest assured, we’d recommend them regardless.)
14 Must-Read Digital Marketing Books
1. Ask by Ryan Levesque
Named the #1 Must Read Marketing Book by Inc. Magazine, Ask teaches you how to understand your customer, generate predictable revenue, scale your business, and more.
Ryan Levesque calls his process The Ask Method and it’s something of magic.
In the book, Levesque explains the “counter-intuitive online method to discover exactly what your customers want to buy.”
He gives you tools to identify your customers’ desires and teaches you how to use them through a proven, survey-based sales process.
The Ask Method has been used to build multi-million dollar companies in 23 different industries—proving that the process can be applied in any market.
No matter the type of your online business, Ask will show you how to take control of your sales and take your business to the next level.
2. Dotcom Secrets by Russell Brunson
Dotcom Secrets isn’t about driving traffic to your website or increasing your conversions; however, it will help with both.
Russell Brunson has discovered a difficult-to-see but easy-to-fix issue with most business’ websites. And he reveals this in his book.
Dotcom Secrets has helped countless businesses skyrocket their online sales with his “secret formula.”
The book helps you:
- Identify your dream customers
- Figure out where to find them
- Figure out how to attract them to your site
- And create a process for selling them your products/services on autopilot
3. Influence by Robert Cialdini
Influence teaches you the psychology behind getting a “yes” from your customers.
Robert Cialdini is recognized as an expert in influence and persuasion.
In the book, he shares his 6 principles of persuasion (based research he’s collected over the last 35 years) and how to apply them:
This is a must-read for copywriters.
4. SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham
SPIN Selling teaches you the four types of questions that help you land a sale.
Rackham based his book on 12 years of sales call research, determining that buyers should be talking and salespeople should be asking questions.
SPIN is an acronym for Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-Payoff.
The SPIN Method is incredibly helpful when crafting copy or ad campaigns.
5. Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson
Challenger Sale gives a breakdown of the five main types of B2B salespeople.
At the beginning of the book, Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson identify the Challenger profile as the most effective salesperson of the five.
Then throughout the rest of the book, they show you how you can become a Challenger.
This is an absolute must-read for anyone who works with clients (either as a freelancer or agency owner).
I’ve used the principles in this book to secure 5-figure client contracts.
6. Predictably Irrational by Dan Airley
In this New York Times bestseller, Dan Airley explores the idea that we are all “predictably irrational” in the way we make decisions.
He describes several different ways our decision-making process is flawed, and how people use those flaws against us (for both good and bad).
This is a must-read for all marketers because it can help us better understand our customers and the things they’re thinking about when trying to decide whether they should buy our products.
7. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Thinking Fast and Slow teaches us about the two systems in our minds that direct how we think—fast and slow.
The fast system is intuitive and emotional.
The slow system is slow, deliberate, and logical.
By understanding the two systems of thinking and how they affect our judgment and decision-making, we can better understand how choices are made.
And inspiring others (customers) to make decisions is the name of the game when it comes to marketing.
(This pairs well with Predictably Irrational.)
8. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout
Positioning teaches you how to capture and retain your customers’ attention.
In the book, well-known advertising experts, Ries and Trout, share their best techniques on:
- Becoming a household name
- Building a marketing strategy based on your competition’s weak points
- Using your position in the market to your advantage
- And even choosing a names for your products
This book is perfect for copywriters, advertisers, and business owners who’re trying to figure out how to make their product standout and appeal to customers.
9. Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath
Ever wonder how to make your ideas “stick”?
In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath explore and explain the key traits of sticky ideas (based on their years of research).
This book will help you not only communicate benefits and features of your products effectively, but it will also help you make your customers actually remember them.
(This pairs really well with Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind.)
10. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink
Drive teaches us the secret to high-performance and satisfaction.
Based on the idea that performance is not directly related to reward, Daniel Pink changes the way we motivate at work and even in our personal lives.
The secret, he says, is that humans have a need to direct our own lives, to learn and create, and to do better.
With over four decades of research on motivation, Pink explains the disconnect between the science of motivation and how we attempt to motivate the people around us.
Through autonomy, mastery, and purpose, we can change the way we motivate those around us and understand what drives our customers to make decisions.
Notice the trend of books about making decisions? 🙂
11. Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
Don’t Make Me Think has been teaching web experts about usability for nearly 20 years. Steve Krug’s explanation of intuitive navigation and information design provides a different perspective on user experience.
Krug has even added a chapter on mobile use, keeping up with how usability is evolving over the years. This book has been referred to as “required reading” for web professionals because of its insightful advice and techniques.
12. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
The Power of Habit explores the psychology behind habits.
In the book, Charles Duhigg explains that by understanding habits, we can change the way we work and live.
Supported by real-life examples and actionable techniques, Duhigg’s methods are designed to modify behavior, making way for untapped potential.
This is a great book for product design (especially subscription services and apps).
13. Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy by Martin Lindstrom and Paco Underhill
Buyology explains the elements that influence our decision-making in a world where we’re bombarded with messaging.
In the book, Lindstrom and Underhill share and explore the results of a three-year neuromarketing study.
They sought to understand the thought processes of 2,000 test subjects as they were exposed to different types of advertisements.
Their results explore truths and myths about sales, including topics like “sex sells,” subliminal advertising, and basic instinct.
Understanding how humans respond to advertising gives us priceless insight into how to market our products to attract and retain the right customers.
14. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
Ogilvy on Advertising is an exploration of all things advertising by an expert.
In the book, David Ogilvy gives insight on how to get into advertising as a profession, how to choose an agency for a product, advertising secrets, successful copywriting, the miracles of research, and advertising for charities.
Referred to as a “wizard” in the advertising business by Time Magazine, Ogilvy is the advertiser’s go-to resource.
Reading has a fantastic return on investment. It costs so little to learn so much.
These books remove the roadblocks and provide you with the skills to reach the next level.
We’ve seen the results of these digital marketing books firsthand. We know the effect they’ve had on our business, and we recommend them every chance we get.
Which one will you choose for your next read?
Join us in reading at least one book—even if it’s not on this list—in the next 30 days. It’s a challenge. We know. But, you’ll quickly notice your perspective, and your business, changing for the better.