In this blog, Alicia Wilson, Marketing and Events Co-ordinator at The B2B Marketing Lab, looks at the top five marketing books that will help you succeed with Inbound Marketing and generate leads.
Inbound Marketing can be a tricky mindset to get used to. Predominantly, because it defies everything we’ve learnt about marketing from day one: shout about the good, tell everyone that you’re the best, and scoot the bad under the carpet- out of sight, out of mind.
But ask yourself… when was the last time you purchased an expensive item without shopping around first? Did you look at reviews? Ask your friend if they knew any reputable brands? Take a company’s word for bible when it said it was the best?
With a click of a button, information is now at the fingertips of anyone with a laptop, mobile or electronic device, which means for businesses, there is growing competition and little room for error. That tiny but important factor is why Inbound Marketing was coined by HubSpot founder Brian Halligan in 2005.
It’s a reminder that today, marketing should be about creating useful content that is specifically designed to attract and help your potential customers, and not interrupt them with brash, unrealistic messaging. Because:
a) Your audience are NOT idiots
b) Your product is NOT niche
c) You are only ONE click away from losing a potential sale
Get up to speed with the Inbound Marketing methodology here with our four minute guide.
To help you fully embrace the Inbound Marketing mindset, we have put together a list of the best marketing books of all time to help you grow your business and begin attracting customers, quickly and efficiently. (Disclaimer: most of the books will have you thinking, why are we not doing this already?).
1. THEY ASK, YOU ANSWER – MARCUS SHERIDAN - £16.50
Marcus Sheridan’s revolutionary approach to inbound sales and content marketing is why ‘They Ask You Answer’ is at the top of our list of the best marketing books of all time. It was the first Inbound Marketing book I had the pleasure to read and has since been read and embraced by every member of the team here at B2BML.
“The ultimate content strategy is listening” – Marcus Sheridan
If you’re looking for a book that is easy to read, simply written and doesn’t feel like a classroom textbook, then this is the Inbound Marketing book for you. With a mixture of relatable case studies, honest anecdotes, interviews with thought leaders and short digestible chapters explaining the Inbound methodology– Marcus Sheridan provides the penny drop moment every marketer needs.
But the reason this book sits comfortably at the top of the best marketing books of all time is because it’s NOT just a standard how-to guide. Instead, Sheridan weaves in the story of his experience working at River Pools and Spas – a pool company which took a significant monetary dip after the 2008 financial crash. Expect the good, the bad and the ugly of marketing as Sheridan details the turning point of his own marketing career. By embracing Inbound Marketing, Sheridan turned his struggling swimming pool business into a million-dollar business in one of the toughest economic times we’ve seen (selling $100,000+ pools before he even set foot in the customer’s house).
Want to know how? Then grab yourself a copy … read it from start to finish, then keep it on your desk to refer to whenever you need some inbound marketing inspiration.
You can also follow him on LinkedIn for nifty daily marketing insights.
2. THE TIPPING POINT – MALCOLM GLADWELL - £6.84
Household name and seasoned journalist for The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell, doesn’t disappoint avid fans with his thought-provoking book on the examination of the world around us, placing it second on our list of the best marketing books of all time.
Anyone who has fully embraced Inbound Marketing knows that results take time, and you shouldn’t expect results overnight. To achieve success with Inbound Marketing strategies, you must consistently produce content to educate your prospects, promote your business as the number one solution in the marketspace it occupies, engage with your leads and once they become paying customers, delight them!
This book by Gladwell will help you to get into this mindset. In his book, ‘The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference’, Gladwell explains that the ‘tipping point’ is that "magic moment when ideas, trends and social behaviour cross a threshold, tip and spread like wildfire".
Gladwell's book focuses on all the little things coming together to make a profound impact on society – just as Inbound Marketing operates by providing a mindset in which to apply to all areas of your marketing strategy. As you continue these series of carefully considered activities and refine them, your campaigns will start to deliver more and more return on investment.
‘The Tipping Point’ is the perfect read for any marketing professional looking to embrace the inbound mindset and improve the way they approach marketing campaigns.
3. PERMISSION MARKETING – SETH GODIN - £6.56
Author of marketing best-sellers ‘All Marketers are liars’ and ‘Survival is not enough’, Seth Godin is a man who needs no introduction. And his book ‘Permission Marketing’ is a fundamental when it comes to understanding the Inbound Marketing methodology, which places it third on our list of the best marketing books of all time.
Previously working as the vice-president of Marketing at Yahoo!, Godin’s book ‘Permission Marketing’ reflects on the changes marketing has seen over the years, moving from an interruptive based strategy to marketing that enables companies to build relationships with customers and help them (i.e. inbound marketing).
"The way people lived, shopped and bought fundamentally changed but companies were still marketing and selling to their customers the same way that they used to, and it just wasn't working".
- JD Sherman, Chief Operating Officer, HubSpot.
Just as we heard from JD Sherman, HubSpot’s Chief Operating Officer, at our November Grow with Inbound event, Godin’s book ‘Permission Marketing’ instructs readers that this form of “interruptive marketing” (which aims to snare our attention away from whatever we are doing), no longer works. His methodology is based on guiding companies to build relationships with customers who are already interested in their offering, to create trust, build brand awareness, and greatly improve the chances of making a sale.
Perfectly exemplifying an inbound marketing mindset, this book will guide you through how and why inbound marketing is necessary for business growth and competition in a digital world (where you can be muted or closed in a click of a button).
Want to know more about the cyclonic buyer journey – we explain it all here!
4. EPIC CONTENT MARKETING – JOE PULIZZI - £16.47
Placed at number four on our list of the best marketing books of all time, this book will teach you how to tell a different story, break through the clutter, and win more customers… ultimately by marketing less.
As more and more customers spend their time online, content should be at the core of every inbound marketing strategy. It is fundamental for building customer relationships and trust with prospective clients, and your content should always answer your audience's most burning questions and position your company as an industry thought leader.
So, who better to guide you through this than Joe Pulizzi, the founder of Content Marketing Institute, the leading content marketing educational resource for enterprise brands?
If you are looking to better engage with your customers and gain the competitive edge through high-quality content, make sure to purchase a copy of ‘Epic Content Marketing’ now.
Pulizzi’s book will walk you through how to curate the optimum inbound marketing strategy and reach more customers than ever before by producing targeted, relevant content. It will also teach you how to develop strategies and tailor your content for widespread distribution on social media, online and in the press.
Confirming that Pulizzi is a man we should all be learning from, his co-authored book ‘Get Content, Get Customers’ is another marketing book we just couldn’t leave off our list of the best marketing books of all time.
In at number five, this book has commonly been called THE handbook for content marketing (which hopefully by now you understand is fundamental to a successful inbound marketing strategy). As well as Pulizzi’s high status in the marketing landscape, his co-author Barrett is also the president of content marketing company, Content Marketing Strategies, so expect a huge amount of insight and marketing knowledge to unfold in this book.
This highly praised book will teach you how and why to create compelling content to drive your business forward. It will cover how to seamlessly deliver that content to customers, without disrupting their lives, just as Inbound Marketing teaches us to do.
Following suit from the books above, both Pulizzi and Newt refer to this form of inbound content marketing as a ‘new’ form of marketing which is now the only way to build a loyal and engaged customer base.
So, there you have it. Five of the best marketing books of all time to help guide you on your inbound marketing journey.
Delve in to begin understanding the fundamentals to building brand loyalty, attracting customers to your website and ultimately, growing your business.
At B2BML, we believe no one should have to approach their inbound marketing alone. So, if you're still hungry for guidance after reading all of these wonderful books and aren’t in a position to work with a consultancy agency, we've put together a really in-depth free guide on how to create content that helps you to generate leads. You can download it for free using the button below!