According to Statista, only 76 percent of American adults read a book in the last year. This number is one of the lowest totals in recent decades, which is a shame. There are more outstanding digital marketing agency books than ever sitting on bookshelves and in online stores.
Publishers release hundreds of books on digital marketing each year. There are titles covering everything from search engine optimization to email marketing to social media engagement. The bevy of options ensures something for everyone, regardless of their industry.
Sifting through all this knowledge would take years. That’s where we come in. Our team read and ranked the essential digital marketing books that serial entrepreneurs and business owners need to read. Here are our choices for the 12 marketing books every digital marketing agency should own.
The Top 12 Digital Marketing Books to Read in 2020
1. The Seven Figure Agency Roadmap: How to Build a Million Dollar Digital Marketing Agency by Josh Nelson (2019)
- 226 pages
- Amazon Rating: 4.9/5 (91 ratings), #19 in Business Mentoring & Coaching (Kindle Store)
“Everything that Josh does is first class and his latest book ‘The Seven Figure Agency Roadmap’ is no exception. Josh shares his personal story from struggle to success and then outlines a comprehensive plan to build a 7 figure agency. The case studies and proven methods shared all form a game plan for success. This is a must-read for anyone serious about growing their marketing agency.” – Christopher Yates, author
Author Josh Nelson is a well-established name in the digital marketing world. He’s earned a reputation for helping small agencies evolve into multi-million-dollar success stories. His no-frills approach provides a refreshing take for anyone trying to grow their business.
Nelson lays out a step-by-step plan in The Seven Figure Agency Roadmap to establish agency success. He covers an expanse of topics from finding your niche and landing clients to delivering products. Keep in mind that this is not a “get rich quick” book. Anyone willing to put the hard work into Nelson’s plan will reap the results.
Ready to read the book that Ryan Diess called “a must-have” for anyone in this field? You can have it for free. Visit the Seven Figure Agency website, get a complimentary copy, and build your agency today.
2. Top of Mind: Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter to You by John Hall (2017)
- 208 pages
- Amazon Rating: 4.7/5 (71 ratings), #156 in Market Research Business (Books)
“John’s got his finger on something here – something important. Anyone interested in communicating effectively through content would do well to embrace the audience-centric approach outlined in Top of Mind.” – Eric Hellweg, Managing Director at Harvard Business Review
John Hall doesn’t preach digital marketing. He lives it. He used cutting-edge digital marketing strategies to build Influence & Co, an organization that Forbes called one of “America’s Most Promising Companies.” Now, he is sharing his techniques with you.
Hall provides a step-by-step guide to establish a brand and build a meaningful relationship with the audience. He addresses many of the common problems facing modern marketing agencies. These ideas include shifting consumer demands, unique brand voices, and creating enriching social media content.
Business is about more than sales. Top of Mind emphasizes the humanity and relationships behind day-to-day operations. Purchase a copy of Top of Mind and start making those essential connections today.
3. Digital Sense: The Common Sense Approach to Effectively Blending Social Business Strategy, Marketing Technology, and Customer Experience by Travis Wright & Chris J. Snook (2017)
- 304 pages
- Amazon Rating: 4.5/5 (32 ratings), #308 in E-Commerce (Audible Books & Originals)
“Digital Sense is common sense for the digital world — but for most organizations, it’s not common yet. Travis and Chris do a terrific job of explaining how to successfully adapt your business to this new environment with a thoroughly engaging narrative. Two thumbs up!” – Scott Brinker, chair of the MarTech Conference
Authors Travis Wright and Chris Snook have lengthy pedigrees when it comes to transforming B2B and B2C companies. Digital Sense is their playbook on how to build a better business. The book is an indispensable read for any aspiring leader looking to improve sales, marketing, and productivity.
Digital Sense focuses on implementing and customizing company marketing operations. Wright and Snook include step-by-step instructions to optimize content marketing and gain an edge over industry competition. You can purchase a copy wherever books are sold.
4. The Road to Recognition: The A-to-Z Guide to Personal Branding for Accelerating Your Professional Success in The Age of Digital Media by Seth Price & Barry Feldman (2017)
- 275 pages
- Amazon Rating: 4.8/5 (108 ratings), #373 in Marketing for Small Businesses (Books)
“There are plenty of smart people and resources in this industry, but few think about the delivery and reader experience like Seth and Barry. If you’re a believer in books that are both nutritious AND delicious, you’re in luck.” – Jay Acunzo, Founder of Unthinkable.fm
Few digital marketing books offer the sharp insight of The Road to Recognition. Barry Feldman, the founder of Feldman Creative, and marketing expert Seth Price create a roadmap to more effective advertising and digital marketing strategies. Readers will see that the 26 lessons in this book provide keen, yet digestible advice for anyone working in a creative field.
The Road to Recognition highlights building relationships and garnering recognition in the online era. The book shows people how to establish a brand through concise and informative chapters gradually. Anyone that wants to make a name for themselves online should buy a copy immediately.
5. The End of Marketing: Humanizing Your Brand in the Age of Social Media and AI by Carlos Gil (2019)
- 240 pages
- Amazon Rating: 4.9/5 (48 ratings), #9 in Business Marketing
“Carlos Gil is relentless in his dedication to his craft. Don’t bother reading The End of Marketing if you aren’t ready to alter your stale marketing mindset.” – Leah Dorsey Harris, Digital Summit Series
Digital media is always changing. Bestselling author and award-winning digital storyteller Carlos Gil recognizes that. His book, The End of Marketing, offers digital marketing strategies so companies can keep up with the perpetually evolving medium.
Gil argues every marketing strategy should build trust with consumers. This hard-to-earn but otherwise invaluable connection lets companies navigate hurdles in the digital media sphere. The timeless advice makes The End of Marketing one of the best books on digital marketing strategy that you can buy.
6. The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, & Rick Delisi (2013)
- 256 pages
- Amazon Rating: 4.6/5 (184 ratings), #25 in Direct Marketing (Books)
“A must-have for any true customer experience leader’s library. Matt, Nick, and Rick are the ‘MythBusters’ of customer experience, dispelling many commonly held but inaccurate beliefs around the drivers of disloyalty and delight and what will really drive true value to your business.” – Lynn Holmgren, Frontier Communications
Bestselling author Matthew Dixon and his fellow marketing experts take an unconventional approach to search engine marketing. They question convention, opting to zig while others zag. The result is The Effortless Experience, an incisive guide showing clients how to create the best customer experience possible.
The premise argues that customers want a seamless interaction with a company, not the “dazzle factor.” Dixon shows readers precisely how to cultivate customer loyalty through his four pillars to low-effort customer experiences. Buying this book is a surefire way to provide marketing substance over style.
7. Digital Marketing for Dummies by Ryan Deiss & Russ Henneberry (2017)
- 368 pages
- Amazon Rating: 4.5/5 (142 ratings), #38 in Search Engine Optimization
“There’s no one more qualified to teach digital marketing than digital marketer themselves. Deiss successfully articulates the complicated process of digital marketing into a how-to manual that even most inexperienced person can understand.” – Digmarketing
New to digital marketing? Buy a copy of Digital Marketing for Dummies. DigitalMarketer’s Ryan Deiss and Modern Publisher’s Russ Henneberry distill decades of experience into one easy-to-use manual. The tome is an introductory guide for people starting in digital media or considering a career change.
Digital Marketing for Dummies is the most accessible digital marketing book on this list. Deiss and Henneberry have straightforward explanations for everything from SEO and SEM best practices to monetizing digital media channels. The comprehensive coverage makes it a handy starting place for industry newcomers.
8. Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success by Sean Ellis & Morgan Brown (2017)
- 320 pages
- Amazon Rating: 4.6/5 (218 ratings), #42 in Direct Marketing (Books)
“Two of the best marketers I know, Morgan Brown and Sean Ellis, have written a fun and accessible guidebook to growth hacking and marketing. If your mandate is to drive high leverage growth, then is book is your new best friend.” – Patrick Vlaskovits, Hustle and The Lean Entrepreneur
Companies like Facebook and Airbnb were once ambitious startups. Today, it can be quite a challenge to imagine a life without them. These titans used growth techniques to maximize their market share and digital footprint. Marketing veterans Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown show readers how to replicate that success and start growing their businesses.
Hacking Growth is a modern toolkit to increase audiences and market share. Ellis and Brown make it possible to create and execute successful marketing strategies, whether you are an entrepreneur, creative, or digital manager. The methods-based guide is a must-buy for any looking for the best digital marketing books.
9. Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster by Alistair Croll & Benjamin Yoskovitz (2013)
- 440 pages
- Amazon Rating: 4.5/5 (210 ratings), #30 in Business Statistics
“Lean Analytics is the missing piece of Lean Startup, with practical and detailed research, advice and guidance that can help you succeed faster in a startup or large organization.” – Dan Martell, CEO & Founder of Clarity
Successful digital marketing involves creating content and establishing a genuine connection with your audience. That reality is easier said than done. Entrepreneurs and authors Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz help you put your best foot forward with every digital campaign.
Lean Analytics shows marketers how to execute a campaign through proven steps. These steps include finding the target customers, measuring engagement, and adjusting tactics based on analytics. The book is a perfect complementary purchase to Lean Startup, Eric Reis’ 2011 book on innovation.
10. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy (1985)
- 224 pages
- Amazon Rating: 4.6/5 (539 ratings), #2 in Advertising Graphic Design
“The book of David’ as Madison Avenue called it, was judged ‘as fine a primer on advertising as has ever been written.’ John Caples said it was ‘the most exciting and instructive volume about advertising I have ever seen’ and ‘a must for every ambitious advertising man.’ In a peculiar comparison, The London Standard named Ogilvy ‘the Einstein of Advertising.” – Ken Roman, David Ogilvy biographer
No list of the best digital marketing books is complete without Ogilvy on Advertising. David Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising, offers timeless insight into marketing products and services. While Ogilvy wrote and released the book in 1985, it remains a must-read decades later.
The book focuses on optimizing campaign aesthetics and messaging. Ogilvy covers all angles from product positioning to competitor analysis to eye-catching headlines and illustrations. Any digital marketer worth their salt should have a copy of this modern classic.
11. Introduction to Programmatic Advertising by Dominik Kosorin (2016)
- 152 pages
- Amazon Rating: 4.4/5 (42 ratings), #118 in Search Engine Optimization
“Have been looking everywhere for a good explanation of everything that is happening in programmatic. Just finished your book and feel very informed now so thank you for writing.” – David Waring, FitSmallBusiness.com
Programmatic advertising is a new type of online advertising that automatically buys and sells ad space. If you don’t know much about this field, Czech author Dominik Kosorin can help. His book, Introduction to Programmatic Advertising, is a first-of-its-kind, breaking down the intricacies to succeed in programmatic advertising.
Kosorin divides the book into seven sections, starting with an introduction to the field and ending with new formats. The core covers different strategies to improve ad targeting, mobile cookies, and programmatic trading. The technical masterpiece ensures readers have an inside edge when optimizing their online advertising presence.
12. Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers by Jay Baer (2016)
- 223 pages
- Amazon Rating: 4.5/5 (191 ratings), #193 in Customer Relations (Kindle Store)
“This is a landmark book in the history of customer service.” – Guy Kawasaki, The Art of the Start 2.0
The plaid-loving author Jay Baer has made a name for himself with outstanding customer service. His book, Hug the Haters, shows companies how to win over customers and boost your online reputation. Beer also adds a healthy dose of humor and poignancy for an equally informative and entertaining read.
Hug the Haters is one of the best digital marketing books because it is not one-size-fits-all. Baer provides different marketing strategies based on various real-world situations. The insights ensure you always know the right thing to say online. You can purchase Hug the Haters online or at your local bookstore.
Start Reading Today
Digital marketing has never been more competitive. Digital marketing books offer advice for companies to best leverage their marketing skill and experience. Books provide that crucial push to put your marketing campaigns over the edge.
We assembled the best digital marketing books available, so you can’t go wrong when selecting any of these. A great starting place is the Seven Figure Agency Roadmap, with its easy to understand and actionable guidelines. Follow the link to grab your free copy today.
So what is the best digital marketing book?
There is no shortage of options for outstanding digital marketing books. If we had to pick one aside from The Seven Figure Agency Roadmap, it would be Digital Marketing for Dummies. Ryan Deiss and Russ Henneberry wrote the authoritative guide for improving content marketing strategies. The comprehensive book covers everything from SEO to SEM to social media and more.
What is the best book on the general topic of marketing?
While Vintage published it in 1985, Ogilvy on Advertising remains a must-read for anyone in marketing. The material holds up well, even though Ogilvy wrote it long before the internet, social media, or personal computers. The book’s popularity and influence are so widely regarded that it remains a top two seller in advertising graphic design decades after its release.
How can I become a better digital marketer?
Take courses. Create content. Test ideas. These are just a few ways to become a better digital marketer. While every marketing guru has their philosophies, the best way to improve is through reading and experience. Take the time to gain insight into the craft and then hone that knowledge through practice and experimentation.
How do you gain a deep understanding of digital marketing?
Digital marketing encompasses any marketing services related to electronic devices. Unless you are an anomaly, you cannot become an expert in the field overnight. That said, reading digital marketing books and practicing provides a sturdy foundation. Give yourself time to explore different areas within the industry so that you can maximize your potential as a digital marketer.
Josh is a big-time believer in the notion that Formal Education will get you a job, Self Education will make you wealthy. Over the years Josh Nelson has read (or listened to) many books on Sales, Marketing, Business & Self Development. Below is a list of his favorite books based on the impact they have had on him:
- Self Development / Mindset – Secrets of the millionaire Mind by T Harve Eker
- Sales / Business Development – Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port
- Sales / Business Development – The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes
- Online Marketing – Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan
- Self Development / Mindset – Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
- Business / Accounting – Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits by Greg Crabtree
- Time Management – Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy
- Business Management – The eMyth Revisited by Michael Gerber
- Time Management – Getting Things Done by David Allen
- Self Development / Mindset – How to craft a world-class life by Robin Sharma (Speach not a book)
Other great books::
- The Answer by John Assaraf
- All the NO BS Marketing books by Dan Kennedy
- Made to Stick by Chip Heath
- Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- How to Win Friends & Influence People
- Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play by Mahan Khalsa
- All the sales books by Jeffery Gitomer
- Customer satisfaction is worthless customer loyalty is priceless by Jeffery Gitomer
- The Psychology of Sales by Brian Tracy (anything by Brain Tracy is solid)
- SPIN Selling by Niel Rackham
- The Success Principals by Jack Canfield
If you’re not a great reader and prefer to listen to books, we recommend www.audible.com. It’s a website where you can download audiobooks and play them directly from your mobile phone. A commute can be turned into great learning time.
What books have had the biggest impact on you? Post your comments below.