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14 Best Marketing Books For Small Business Owners To Read In 2020

Small business owners can’t ignore the quality advice these authors are giving out

A small business often grows quicker than any other size of business. To cement your name with clients in the right way from the start, an understanding of marketing is important.

That’s why this reading list is a great starting point if you want to kickstart a fresh campaign this year. Learn from the biggest names who have made it easy to apply their advice and ideas to smaller enterprises. Names whose time you couldn’t buy, but who have written fantastic books better than any 1:1 meeting.

We truly believe that continuing to learn complements your experience in small business, so get reading!

This contribution was made by Benjamin Houy from Grow With Less

The Brain Audit by Sean D’Souza

Most marketing books tell you how to sell more but few explain the psychology behind a purchase. The Brain Audit is the perfect book if you not only want to sell more but also understand what turns your customers off and stops them from buying your products. After reading this book, your brain will be full of ideas for changes you can implement right away to make more sales.

This contribution was made by Ali Rizvi from Dream Superhero

Principle of Marketing by Philip Kotler

This book will help you to hone your marketing intelligence. Reading this book will give you help in the growth of your career. This book among the best I have read, and it is highly recommended.

This contribution was made by Osama from Outfitrs

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

This book literally changed my life. I own a small service business with around 15 employees. I had been struggling for years doing all managerial work myself so that it was done up to my standards. We did great work but at the expense of my sanity! Highly recommanded

This contribution was made by Dawna Boone from Valet Maids

The One Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib

This book provides actionable marketing advice that small business owners can use to grow their business. I have listened to this book multiple times and I am beginning to implement the techniques in my business.

This contribution was made by Brian Robben from Robben Media

Traction by Gabriel Weinberg

Small business owners don’t have a product problem. They have a distribution problem. At least that’s what Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares point out in their marketing book, Traction. When you’re always in need of new customers and don’t know where to find them, the conclusion is you haven’t tested enough new marketing methods. In Traction, a small business owner gets a list of different marketing tactics to try, with the pros and cons of each. Follow this book to a tee. Then watch your small business go from average to elite.

This contribution was made by Morgan Lathaen from Thumbprint

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

This book is a must read for small business owners wanting to market their business. It teaches business owners how to simplify and clarify their message so their customers will listen. Ultimately by positioning your customer as the hero in your story. If you are only going to read one book to help your business, this is that book!

This contribution was made by Ben from SmallBizPPC

The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib

This book is fantastic in enabling small business owners to determine the fundamental success behind marketing their business in an easy-to-read book. The author (Allan Dib) goes into detail about how to build a simple (yet effective) marketing plan that relates to your business goals and the target audience you wish to reach. The great thing about this book is that it includes diagrams and illustrations that small business owners can use when creating their very own business marketing plans.

This contribution was made by Wes Marsh from eRep CPQ

Creating Competitive Advantage by Jaynie L. Smith

We read this book across our leadership team and it has helped us to crystallize our marketing statements and our value proposition using true differentiating factors and statistics that we can back up. After implementing the strategies outlined in this book, we have seen a significant increase in our lead generation and closing rates with prospects. I would highly encourage other small business owners to not only read the book, but to share it with key members of your team.

This contribution was made by Simone Timen from JotForm

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Eric Ries’ book is aimed at startup success. He offers a way for entrepreneurs in companies of different sizes to constantly adapt and adjust. This continuous adaptation allows your business to develop agility using a tried and true scientific approach.

This contribution was made by Andrew Hatfield from Portworx

Purple Cow by Seth Godin

Renowned marketing leader Seth Godin clearly articulates how to stand out in a crowded marketplace so that you can become truly viral and hugely successful. With many practical examples, the reader is able to connect the ideas to their business to grow and scale.

This contribution was made by Stacy from AcneScar

Trust Me, I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday

Holiday includes incredible stories of his own experiences with creative viral, organic marketing strategies in the online world and then gives everyone reading a blueprint how they can achieve similar results. It’s a great blend of case studies and real life examples combined with practical how to advice and a must read for any business person or marketer looking to explode their growth online.

This contribution was made by Tim Bigknee from SightsAndInsights

Social Media Marketing Workbook by Jason McDonald

Individuals today are consuming the vast majority of their content via social media, for a small business to succeed they have to utilize social media marketing to the fullest extent. This book covers content marketing and the process to get your content on as many platforms successfully to ensure your company is getting the most out of it social media marketing.

This contribution was made by Melanie Musson from 4AutoInsuranceQuote

The Non-Obvious Guide To Small Business Marketing By Rohit Bhargava

This book is the guide every small business owner needs. Every word is practical, there’s no fluff, and it takes the reader step by step through the marketing process. Best of all, the advice in this book costs very little, and when you’re a small business, that’s a big deal..

This contribution was made by Vivek Nanda from easyDITA

Propaganda by Edward Bernays

Propaganda helped shape Edward Bernay as the father of modern PR. Bernays pulled the mask off propaganda and exposed it as a social, cultural, and political manipulation tool. In essence, the people in power would leverage it to influence how everyone else saw the society they were a part of. This is valuable because it’s among the first books of its kind to look at propaganda like this. Manipulation is a polarizing term, but, when we think about marketing, is there much of a difference between it and convincing people to buy your product? If we’re being honest, the difference isn’t very striking at all. Small businesses should use the gravity of the ideas in this book when solidifying exactly what it is they want to say to prospective customers. Your message is representative of your product and it’s the effectiveness of your messaging that makes or breaks the success of a marketing campaign.

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Written by Zak Parker

Journalist, writer, musician, professional procrastinator. I'll add more here later.

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