A good friend of mine, Kelly Ruta of Fierce Chick Coaching, recently released a list of her favorite 10 Personal Growth Books that helped her learn how to manifest the life of her dreams. Kelly is doing amazing things and if you haven’t already, you should check out her wonderful list.
Kelly inspired me to offer my own list for aspiring DIY-ers or any woman entrepreneur who wants to just understand what makes marketing work for your small biz. Because I know you’re busy and already overworked so these are all books that are available in audio form as well as their traditional book form. They’re great for commutes to and from work, when you’re stuck in line at the store or anytime where a pair of ears could be taking in helpful marketing advice without inhibiting your already frantic schedule.
So now, here are my top 11 books for kick ass marketing.
(Why 11? Because I like to go one step further!)
Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch
If you’ve been looking for something that gave you the full spectrum of marketing techniques – both short and long term – then you’ve found it in this book. Just be prepared to either bookmark each ingenious idea that you love or to pause, pull over your car, and write down ideas in your handy dandy notebook. This is definitely a book that will call you to serious action.
Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann
A short, easy listen, this book delivers its message in a parable format. It teaches the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success, which apply both to marketing and to all parts of business. The reason it’s so important is it succinctly tackles mindset issues that may be hampering your ability to not just succeed, but THRIVE in your marketing. Fair warning ladies (and guys) I’ve not yet heard of anyone who by the end of this book didn’t want to read it again.
Tribes by Seth Godin
Seth Godin has a whole series of amazing books on marketing, but this beat out Purple Cow just by a little for its practicality and insight into the world of creating viral fandoms. If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to how to get a tribe, this won’t help you. What it does, however, is explain the thinking and reasons behind the creation of a Tribe, and gives you hints through examples of ways you can adapt that to your own business.
Content Rules by CC Capman and Ann Handley
One of the biggest problems my clients run into is “when and where in the world are we going to find time to write blogs, make videos, podcast, post of social media, etc?” This is almost always my favorite go-to book for them. (Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott is better if you’re having confidence issues, but doesn’t really tackle writing from a marketing aspect) What Content Rules does masterfully is give you multiple ideas for tackling content creation in all its forms. It also covers how to repurpose your content into bigger and smaller forms so your work lasts longer and gets more mileage. This is another one of those audio books you’re going to want a notebook for so you can write down your content ideas when this book inevitably inspires them.
The New Relationship Marketing by Mari Smith
Have you been wondering what to do with social media? If so this book is going to give you the answers. Written by renowned Social Media Guru, Mari Smith, this book offers some not-so-surprising insights into why and how social media works. There are tactics in there you’ll want to hold onto and write down, but a large portion of this book discusses cultivating relationships via social media, which is something that is ultimately why we like/bookmark/subscribe and keep coming back to businesses we love.
Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and John Townsend
You might be wondering why I would add a book in this list that talks about creating healthy boundaries. This is a marketing book list, right? Right! So let me ask you this: Do you have problems with prospects jerking you around? Do they have you running back and forth crazy all over the place and ultimately after wasting hours and hours of your time do they never even buy from you? Yeah… I’ve been there too. This book is a little clinical and a little Christian-centered, which may turn some listeners off, however I’ve yet to find another book that so beautifully explains and gives you the tools to set loving but firm boundaries that SERVE the people around you.
How to Stay Motivated: The Goals Program by Zig Ziglar
Celia, I hear you saying, again with the non-marketing titles? YES! Marketing requires goal setting: clear, concise and motivated goal setting. Ask any successful small business owner and they will tell you: the key to successfully drawing in prospects is consistent, regular, planning. I recently finished a workshop dedicated to this premise and every single attendee had huge breakthroughs as how setting goals actually made marketing seem easier – because the blocks from before were cleared up in the goal setting process!
The Referral of a Lifetime by Tim Templeton
Another easy, parable-style, read that delivers a powerful punch for creating a working marketing system. This takes some principles of previously suggested books and integrates the sales process as well. I find this to be very helpful since we often have a strange disconnect between our sales and our marketing strategies. If some of the more technical books aren’t fitting you, try this one. Just be ready with that notebook again, you’ll want it for when your ideas hit hard and fast! (Tip, follow along with the main character each time she’s given ‘homework’ for the best results.)
Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Levinson
There are many versions of this book, the edition I read was the 4th Edition. It is regularly updated to keep up with new working techniques and focuses primarily on small business marketing techniques. The step-by-step guides will guaranteed have your brain fixing and your hand blurring as you jot down ideas. Be aware this book can overwhelm because of how jam-packed it is with inspiration and steps you can take. Just accept that this is one of those books you’ll re-listen to every month or so and you’ll keep getting new ideas you forgot or missed the first go around.
Getting Things Done by David Allen
We’ve covered some strange but important foundational work for marketing like goal setting and boundaries. What I love about David Allen is his clients are us: the frantic, disorganized, stressed out women and men who are trying to do a thousand things at once. His systems for getting our stuff in order are both very doable and amazing in their results for both creativity, peace of mind and focus. (This is true in marketing and all of your business!) As a side note, I love my labeler now and wouldn’t ever have an office without one. (You’ll have to read the book to know why.)
All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin
This book covers how and why prospects engage with us, why they will pay more for things with us that are cheaper somewhere else, and why that’s not an evil thing. He goes into a bit about how marketing is powerful and what unethical marketing looks like, then shows us how to use marketing for good. (Kind of like the Force, but you know, fewer light sabers and space ships.) If you’ve ever felt that marketing felt ‘slimy’ then this is the book that will help debunk that and hone your ability to give your customer what they have been craving from you for a long time.