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26 Books To Read to Learn Startup Marketing

We’ve always heard about the importance of marketing and its wonders, dangers and deceits. But now there’s a new buzzword in town, it’s name is “Startup” and its changing the way business and marketing are done.

Startups consist of newly independently founded companies that are looking to create a mostly-new and innovative business models that can be rapidly scaled by leveraging technology to their favor, this makes their marketing needs very specific and changing for when they are starting and small, to when they are aggressively expanding.

To help you adapt better your skill to such changing environments, here’s a list of books on the topic of startup marketing.

#1 The SEO Battlefield by Anne Ahola Ward

This book describes everything an entrepreneur would need to know to maximize his or her business’s search engine optimization as well as the effectiveness of the business’s search engine advertising. Before starting Advancing Science Worldwide, I knew very little about SEO but this book was extremely easy to understand. Thus, I believe this book will be particularly useful to entrepreneurs, even those with little search engine experience or knowledge.

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Contributor: Rithvik Musuku from Advancing Science Worldwide

#2 The New Community Rules by Tamar Weinberg

This book teaches one a lot about social media marketing and even those without any experience in the field can easily understand it. I personally found this book very helpful when starting Advancing Science Worldwide. 

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Contributor: Rithvik Musuku from Advancing Science Worldwide

#3 Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday

Holiday dives into some growth marketing tips/strategies and also includes real-life examples of young companies that used these strategies to grow their business at incredible rates. For example, in Airbnb's early days they developed a small program that syndicated listing to Craiglist at scale. Each listing that was posted on Craiglist then redirected users back to Airbnb's website. This is a perfect example of lost cost growth marketing that is perfect for startups. 

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Contributor: Jason Martinez from Redefine Marketing Group

#4 Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore

This is a really great book for marketers who work small startups. It gives practical advice on how to get your first customers (early-adopters) and how to then market your product to a wider audience. In my experience, this is usually the biggest problem, as many marketers can't grow above first 100 customers and many startups fail because of this.

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Contributor: Pavel Gertsberg from Disciple Media

#5 Hacking Growth by Sean Ellis

With hundreds if not thousands of books written on growth hacking this is the only one that worth reading. Sean Ellis looks at growth hacking as a mindset rather a list of 'secret' strategies. It will help to get ideas on acquisition, data and retention. Probably a must-read for a marketer in a tech start-up.

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Contributor: Pavel Gertsberg from Disciple Media

#6 The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

The Bible of all startup books. It doesn't focus on marketing specifically, but it teaches you how to be agile and how to experiment. These are universal skills that marketers should use when they create campaigns, analyse the data and work with product teams.

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Contributor: Pavel Gertsberg from Disciple Media

#7 Radical Focus by Christina Wodtke

While this book is quite short, it can help decision-makers in marketing departments to understand what are Objective Key Results, how to choose right metrics in order to grow a company and how to focus teams on right goals.

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Contributor: Pavel Gertsberg from Disciple Media

#8 Alibaba’s World by Porter Erisman

Want something easy and fun to read? Then, Alibaba's World is the book. While it mainly tells the story of one of the first American employees in the Chinese behemoth company, it also teaches marketers about nuances of international marketing, that they won't learn at uni.

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Contributor: Pavel Gertsberg from Disciple Media

#9 The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries, Jack Trout

This book is a classic in the world of marketing and entrepreneurship because the 22 laws laid out are evergreen. While technologies and tactics change, these lessons will always be fundamentally useful due to their insightfulness and adaptability. The goal of this book is to teach entrepreneurs how to make their products a success in the international market, not just in their local area.

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Contributor: Ryne Higgins from Peacock Alley

#10 Influencer by Brittany Hennessy

Influencer is a detailed book on Social Media Marketing using testimonials and advice from working Influencers, Bloggers, and Youtubers. Brittany Hennessy teaches aspiring influencers how to build an audience, package your brand, and monetize your influence. As a business owner the information in this book was tremendously helpful for my endeavors in Influencer Marketing. Since reading this book, my approach to selecting influencers has drastically changed.

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Contributor: Kris Gabrielle from Ama D'Oro LLC

#11 Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller

This book walks marketers and business owners through the basics of building a brand, one step at a time. Miller uses a unique approach to thinking about your brand by comparing its creation to the plotline of a film: a hero who has a problem meets a guide who calls them to action and helps them reach success. Position your customers as the heroes and your company as the guide that can help them answer internal and external questions about themselves and address the problems they may be facing.

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Contributor: Keri Lindenmuth from KDG

#12 Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan

Written by the founders of HubSpot, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, this book does a great job of explaining how inbound marketing activities like social media, blogging and email amplification can drive business leads. It's a great primer for any startup marketer working with a shoe-string budget.

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Contributor: Laura Troyani from Plan Beyond

#14 Marketing: A Love Story by Bernadette Jiwa

This book shapes your view of modern marketing by showing the value of emotion. This book gives great examples of successful companies, and their use of emotion to drive sales. Any small-business should focus on their consumer. If they can create feelings of joy, familiarity, and nostalgia, they will have lifelong customers in any industry.

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Contributor: Cain Castor from Good People

#15 Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson

This book has stood the test of time and is a must-read for every small-business owner taking on their own marketing. Marketing is a science and an art, and to execute on the art you must be creative. This book shows you a number of free & cheap creative marketing ideas that gets you thinking on how you can creatively market your business.

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Contributor: Cain Castor from Good People

#16 Building Trust by Arthur Page Society

The book features 23 CEOs of the most respected Fortune 500 companies, such as IBM, General Motors and UPS. The CEOs tell how they and their companies maintain their reputation for integrity and keep intact the respect and admiration of their companies key stakeholders. Most startups need a respectable reputation for integrity and need to keep intact the respect and admiration of current and future stakeholders. This is a book where CEOs of the most respected Fortune 500 companies discuss how they practice marketing with insights on how startups should operate their marketing strategies.

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Contributor: Brian Gottesman from Fashion Update Communications

#17 Startup Guide to Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Levinson

This excellent publication outlines how to market a business at the lowest cost possible. It follows a step-by-step process detailing what to implement and when, from defining marketing as a tool, to creation of your marketing plan and calendar through to campaign launch and maintaining momentum. An excellent read for an ambitious beginner marketer intent on making their mark.

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Contributor: Ollie Smith from ExpertSure

#18 Blueprints for a SaaS Sales Organization by Fernando Pizarro

This book is filled to the brim with relevant information for the marketing function. It highlights in detail how an efficient marketing department encompasses the entire organization and glues everything together. I've found that the same practices outlined in this book also apply beyond SaaS.

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Contributor: Niklas Sluijter from HoxHunt

#19 Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross

Predictable Revenue takes a hard look at the old marketing tactics and wonders if they could be better. The idea behind the book is to evolve marketing strategies so that instead of being a gamble, they will become tried-and-true methods for increasing revenue. The book discusses such vital topics as fatal marketing mistakes to avoid, generating good response rates, and ways to foster a self-managing sales team.

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Contributor: Nate Masterson from Maple Holistics

#20 Hooked by Nir Eyal

Hooked is predicated on a theory that the nature of the product matters much more than the advertising. Eyal argues that the difference between a successful product and one that isn’t, has more to do with its ability to form a habit than anything else. In his book, he teaches how to grow an idea with use and habit in mind.

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Contributor: Nate Masterson from Maple Holistics

#21 Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan

Copywriting is a part of good advertising - it’s where you get to sell your potential customer on why they should buy from you. But copywriting can be tricky, especially seeing how you’re not directly in front of them so you need to make sure you can capture their attention and retain it for as long as possible to get them to say yes. And this is very true for today when you consider the number of ads a person seeing within a day and that number is growing. In this book Luke and Edward lead you through the process of creating masterful copy that stands out and grabs the reader’s attention and they do it in a humorous way

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Contributor: Mark Benjamin from Lasting Trend

#22 Breakthrough Copywriting by David Garfinkel

David Garfinkel says the purpose for writing this book “to get you from wherever you are now, to wherever you want to be, in regard to attracting business and closing sales with the written word.” He helps you bring out the best from your creativity and he explains the psychology underlying each concept he teaches you here. Writing strong copy is crucial to your success in selling a product or service online. If you can get some strong copy down early on, your branding and sales campaigns will be 10 times more efficient.

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Contributor: Alex Altuhov from Handy Kith

#23 The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen

This book is about companies and the trials they face to stay atop their market. Clayton proves that big companies can seem to and still lose their market share and he also shares how to avoid those mistakes. Clayton states one of the biggest reasons for why they fail would be failing to innovate and knowing when to abandon traditional business practices.

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Contributor: Vladamir Sobur from Moshes Law

#24 The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

The book is about how a small but precisely targeted push can cause a wildfire. In the case of this book, we’re talking about how you can understand the inflection point or the “tipping point” of a regular product or service and how it blows up so big (in a good way). Just like a single sick person can start an epidemic is the same way a well thought out and small but precise marketing push can cause a big movement.

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Contributor: Igor Gramyko from Highwater Standard

#25 Lost and Founder by Rand Fishkin

From demystifying some of the best-known myths around startups to building startup marketing success with values to enabling scalable growth through Rand’s marketing flywheel, this book is a refreshing view of the startup culture written with the brutally honest point of view of Rand Fishkin, founder of SEO software company MOZ, and one of the brightest minds on the current marketing scene.

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Contributor: Ying Lin from Dear Content

#26 The Lead Machine by Rich Brooks

If you are looking for a mentor who can help you to create the most effective digital marketing strategy for your startup entrepreneurship, then this book will end your search. In this amazing book, Rich Brooks taught us every detail of digital marketing and how to plan a promising digital marketing strategy according to your business needs. In addition to that, with the help of this book you can learn about digital marketing tools and how to use them best to reach your marketing targets.

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Contributor: Andrei Vasilescu from DontPayFull

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Written by Taegan Lion