4 Great Marketing Books You Need on Your Bookshelf Immediately

small business marketing books

George R. R. Martin seems no closer to finishing The Winds of Winter so why not invest some of your limited free time in growing your business through better marketing?

Get ready to stuff your bookshelves with a few highly rated and expert-recommended small business marketing books.

A tip of the ol’ ballcap to the folks at BookAuthority, who combined Amazon star ratings with recommendations from 200 experts from Jeff Bezos to Warren Buffet to create some great reading lists.

Disclaimer: I discovered these small business marketing books through BookAuthority, but I haven’t read all of them… yet.  

1. “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die”

By Chip Heath and Dan Heath | 2007 | 4.75 stars

As a small business owner, you have an idea. It may be a product. Hopefully, it’s a brand promise.

Our first small business marketing book explores why some ideas die while others thrive and how you can improve your idea’s chance of landing in the latter group.

So, what makes an idea sticky? “Made to Stick” proposes that your idea must be the following:

  • Simple and focused on the core of your idea.
  • Unexpected so it grab people’s attention by surprising them.
  • Concrete so it can be grasped and remembered later.
  • Credible so potential buyers don’t shout FAKE NEWS at you.
  • Emotional to help build a connection with customers.
  • Stories, not just products, to tap into the emotional power of narrative.

Yes, that’s supposed to form an acronym for success… but the last s didn’t make the cut.

2. “Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help Not Hype”

By Jay Baer | 2013 | 4.75 stars

Jay Baer is a personal favorite of mine so I was glad to see one of his small business marketing books surface on this list.

In Youtility, Jay asks: What if you stopped trying to convince customers that you’re amazing, and just started being useful? In his mind, selling something makes a customer today but genuinely helping someone creates a customer for life.

What does he mean by useful? Your product and category knowledge is deep enough that you can add value for your customer through education. Interior design advice if you sell home decor. Holistic living tips if you sell bath and body products.

I’ve read a part of this book and heard Jay speak on the topic. What I love is the real-world examples of small business owners being useful in their marketing – and closing deals as a result.

3. “Do It! Marketing: 77 Instant-Action Ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits, and Crush Your Competition”

By David Newman | 2013 | 4.66 stars

I like a fluffy marketing philosophy as much as the next guy, but what I really like is a book packed with action items – especially when they’re tailored specifically for small business owners and solopreneurs.

“Do It! Marketing” is apparently full of actionable to-dos in the form of concrete strategies, tactics, templates, and tools for small business social media, email, blogging, and more.

And, because it’s written for small business owners, “Do It! Marketing” takes into account the fact that A) you’re probably only at a beginner or intermediate level of marketing expertise and B) you’re probably never going to have the time to become more than that.

Bite-sized marketing action items for the time-strapped solopreneur? Sign me up!

4. “Finding The Right Message: How to turn voice of customer research into irresistible website copy”

By Jennifer Havice | 2016 | 4.59 stars

One of the biggest problems I see with most small business marketing is a total failure to communicate.

As entrepreneurs, we’re not great at explaining how and why were great. And that can mean the difference between a quick website bounce or abandoned shopping cart and money in your pocket.

In “Finding the Right Message,” a professional copywriter walks you through the process of mining online reviews and conducting interviews and surveys to understand what your customers need. Then, she shares how to write copy that appeals to the need and how your product will address it.

As a former copywriter who constantly scratches his head at bad small business web copy, this book is giving me all the feels. Maybe I should buy it!

What are your favorite small business marketing books?

About the Author

Matt Simpson

Matt is a freelance writer for The DRIVE blog with expertise in digital marketing, social media, and copywriting. He's active in the #yesphx startup movement and has been recognized by AdWeek, Mashable, and more for digital innovation. Visit Matt's website or follow Matt on Twitter.


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