Small business growth is driven by attracting and converting new customers. But many businesses fall into a pattern of relying on a few familiar marketing strategies. So let’s explore the best small business marketing books that can help reignite growth.
Each of the books on this list will be relevant for most small businesses. They tackle common marketing challenges and opportunities. So I recommend that you carefully consider each book by reviewing the entire list before getting started.
If you’re new to business books, consider checking out my guide on how to start a reading habit. It can help you adjust your routine to enjoy the many benefits of daily reading. With that said, let’s dive into the best small business marketing books.
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1. Marketing Made Simple by Donald Miller
One of the most common marketing mistakes is focusing exclusively on attracting potential customers. The assumption is that reaching a larger audience will change everything. And that increased awareness or attention is all that matters.
Unfortunately, that is not always true. No amount of attention can make up for a weak or confusing sales process. And far too many businesses, new and old, lack a reliable system for converting new visitors into paying customers.
Marketing Made Simple can help you create an effective sales funnel. One that makes it easy for people to understand why they need your solution. The book explains how to build five critical marketing tools, including a one-liner, a website or landing page, a lead generator, an email nurture campaign, and an email sales campaign.
It’s a practical and actionable guide that I consider to be one of the very best marketing books for small businesses. So, I recommend that you start by reading it first.
2. Traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares
Once you’ve established a sales funnel, it’s time to start attracting potential customers. Another mistake many people make is assuming that what works for one business will work equally well for the next. So they select a marketing channel, like Facebook advertising, and just start spending their marketing budget.
Unfortunately, not all marketing channels are equal. Some will work exceptionally well for one business while resulting in complete failure for another. So going all-in on the wrong one can have a devastating impact on the future of your business.
Traction explores 19 proven marketing channels. But even more important than that, it introduces a simple four-step process for validating marketing opportunities. That way, you can quickly discover the options that are most relevant for your business.
It’s another great marketing book for small businesses. And it pairs well with Marketing Made Simple in that it addresses the other half of the ‘attract and convert’ equation.
3. Ultimate Guide To Google Ads by Perry Marshall and Mike Rhodes
People turn to Google when they need to solve a problem. As a result, it’s one of the best places to reach people that are looking to make a purchase. While getting listed in search engine results is free, Google Ads gives you the option to appear at the top of the listings for relevant keyword phrases.
I recommend you explore this marketing channel if your business relates to predictable search phrases. Particularly if those phrases include local terms or clear commercial intent like “Vancouver optometrist” or “cargo liner for Ford F150”.
The Ultimate Guide To Google Ads is an excellent resource for getting up to speed with this marketing channel. It can help you determine if it’s right for your business, and it covers best practices to help you get better results.
I’ve read through a previous edition of the book, but it does get updated every year or two, so be sure to get the most recent edition for the latest strategies and tactics.
4. Ultimate Guide To Facebook Advertising by Perry Marshall, Keith Krance, and Thomas Meloche
Facebook is one of the most effective ways to reach potential customers. You can target users based on age, location, gender, language, interests, and more. And, while it isn’t ideal for every business, it’s a robust marketing channel that is worth testing to see if it’s a fit for you.
It’s especially effective if there is a social element to your product or service. For example, if customers are likely to share or recommend things related to your business, this can magnify the effectiveness of your Facebook Ad campaigns.
The Ultimate Guide To Facebook Advertising can help you master this marketing channel. It covers the fundamentals of advertising and how to take advantage of Facebook’s ad platform.
As with the last book, I’ve read a previous edition of this book. Be sure to get the latest edition as it’s updated every year or two with new strategies and tactics.
5. Contagious by Jonah Berger
Word-of-mouth referral is arguably the most powerful marketing strategy. If existing customers actively share and recommend your solutions to other people, it can have a profound impact, especially for small brands that sell directly to consumers.
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs assume word-of-mouth referral comes down to luck. They set out to create a great product or service, but beyond that, they believe there is little they can do to impact whether or not people recommend their brand.
Contagious explores the science of word-of-mouth referral. It introduces six principles of contagiousness; factors that cause a product, service, or idea to spread through social transmission. It can help you engineer virality into your business or your brand making it more likely that people will spread the word about what you do.
While this approach can take more creativity than other options on this list, it can have a remarkable impact over time. And that’s why I consider it to be one of the best small business marketing books.
6. They Ask You Answer by Marcus Sheridan
Some businesses rely exclusively on paid advertising to attract customers. Their marketing strategy relies on paying for attention. And, while this can be effective, it depends on third parties that can change their policies and pricing at any time.
With this in mind, many businesses are turning to content marketing to strengthen their brand. They create articles, blog posts, videos, podcasts, and other media to attract potential customers and build trust and authority in their marketplace.
They Ask You Answer is a comprehensive guide to content marketing. It demystifies the approach and makes it easy for almost any business to take immediate advantage of this popular strategy. There are many excellent books on the subject, but in my opinion, this is the most practical and actionable guide for small businesses.