Between Pages: 8 Must-Read Marketing Books for Small Business Owners

You need to be a lifelong learner. This is an essential trait that will put you in good stead not only in your business but in just about every area of your life. Let’s focus on business. Before you became an entrepreneur, you probably had no idea how hard it’s actually going to be. You didn’t know about the many, many all-nighters you had to pull in, or the start-up capital you had to gather – money that meant living off of macaroni and cheese for weeks (or even months) on end. Amidst the odds stacked against your favor, you somehow did it, one excruciating step at a time, until you finally got your small business off the ground.   

But that’s just the beginning of your story.  

Being a small business owner means wearing many hats, and you that’s exactly what you found yourself doing. For instance, even if you’ve never conducted a job interview before, now you had to. You needed people on your team, after all, even if you could only afford to take on part-timers to begin with. Then there’s digital marketing. You couldn’t do away with it, since marketing is basically the lifeblood of any business. So in order to promote your company, you had to learn how to navigate on social media even if you’re a non-techie.

You also had to know your way in sales so you could close deals. Was it easy? Most likely not, especially if you’re not an extrovert and you’re naturally shy approaching people to get to buy your products or services. But you still did it. That’s the point. You didn’t know but you learned.  And because learning should be an ongoing process, you should always be on the lookout for opportunities to learn something new. Books are a great way to do that. Here are some of the most insightful and actionable marketing books for small business owners.

  1.    The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk! by Al Ries and Jack Trout

If you want a good foundation on your marketing skill, this book has got you covered. It’s distilled into different laws you can observe, from the Law of Leadership to the Law of the Mind, and offers valuable insights that can prove timeless.

  1.    Methods of Persuasion: How to Use Psychology to Influence Human Behavior by Nick Kolenda

Think marketing and psychology are two very different fields? You can’t be further from the truth. Psychology is more related to marketing than you can begin to imagine. And when you crack that code, you’ll be able to get more customers. This book will show you how.

  1.    The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell   

Who doesn’t want to be the name behind the next Facebook or Google? If you think you have a great idea, this book will break down the steps in a “magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” Read it and see if perhaps your idea has the making of hitting it big.

  1.    Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small   by Nick Westergaard   

Do you have a modest budget for your marketing? Most small business owners do. But you don’t have to let that stop you from getting the results you want. This book shows you how you can do effective digital marketing without breaking the bank.  

  1.    Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team, 4th edition by Alina Wheeler

Your company’s brand is its identity, and when you don’t have something that people can easily relate to and identify with, your business suffers. That’s why it’s so important to create a strong brand identity, even at the early stages of your company. This book is a handy toolkit for marketers, complete with processes and strategies needed to have a compelling brand identity, no matter what your business is about.

  1.    Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers  by Jay Baer

Few very people are receptive to negative feedback, and that’s understandable. But when you’re a start-up entrepreneur, you’ll soon realize that you need this kind of feedback. After all, there’s nothing like a customer complaint to tell you what’s wrong with your product, or what’s not working in your service. This book tells you how you can make the most out of customer complaints – literally.  

  1.    SEO 2018: No Bullshit Strategy  by Casey Leigh Henry

Are you a bit vague about SEO – or worse, still have no clue what it is? Get your act together with this book. It offers an updated step-by-step guide to help you get much better results in search engines. How do you know you need to improve your SEO? If your business is barely visible on Google, that’s a sure sign you need help.  

  1.    Non-Obvious 2018 Edition: How to Predict Trends and Win the Future  by Rohit Bhargava

If you don’t know where to start in familiarizing yourself with trends, or how to use these trends to help you with your business, this book may be a good read. It’s written by a Georgetown University professor and gives a clear outline on what you can fairly expect in the months and years to come.  

Check out which of these books pique your interest, grab a copy, and get started on reading. As an entrepreneur, how far your small business will go will depend on how intentional you are about learning new things, implementing what you learned, and trying to do things differently. You can’t move forward until you embrace change and be willing to adapt to it – not only in business, but in everything. It’s not going to be easy, but that’s how you make progress.

What marketing books have you read recently? What are your favorites and would recommend for small business owners? Share with us in the comments.