5 Must-Read Books for Marketing Agencies

It's summertime and that means most of you marketers will be heading out to the beach or the pool. For a distraction you could go watch World War Z in movie theaters, or maybe read the amazing Proof of Heaven (from the New York Times Bestsellers list). Better yet, why not take advantage of the downtime to hone your SEO skills and catch up on your marketing reading list? There are some great marketing books out there to help keep you entertained under the scorching sun, all of them written by knowledgeable and passionate authors. I have to admit that even though I made a mental note to pick up these books a while back, the reality is that between client work and staying on top of the latest SEO developments via blogs, there was very little downtime left to read a good book. Luckily, it's summertime and we can set aside some time to read without feeling guilty of neglecting our work! So grab your flip flops, a towel and your e-reader and head to the beach or pool - but not before picking up one or all of these 5 great marketing books:  

1. Convert!: Designing Web Sites to Increase Traffic and Conversion  

Convert!: Designing Web Sites to Increase Traffic and Conversion

Good for: Designing Better Websites Even though it was published some time ago, this book is still a must-read for any marketer. Author Ben Hunt covers many ways to improve website traffic - and most importantly - how to improve the conversion rate you get from that traffic. The book is split into two sections. The first part, "Designing for traffic," has some good information on how to get better SEO and relevant traffic. The second part, "Designing for conversion," covers how to design, set and optimize the website funnels - the path from your landing page to your goals. It also has some great case studies on how to keep a visitor's attention and set up your calls to action. What I liked best about this book is the presentation of the "Awareness Ladder," a very useful way of researching your outreach market. The Awareness Ladder allows your site to reach deeper markets by covering the "multiple stages of the same market, starting at Step 0" - where people have a problem but don't yet realize they have a need for the solution you are offering - and step 5 - "Convinced of your solution and ready to buy".  

2. Content Chemistry: An Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing

  Content Chemistry: An Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing

Good for: Content Strategies A book about content, beautifully illustrated so you can better visualize the impact for your online marketing efforts... What more could you possibly want in nerdy marketing summer reading? What I like about this book is that author Andy Crestodina goes beyond the "why" to show us the "how" of researching keyphrases, choosing headlines and promoting the content to help increase conversions. Andy's posts on Orbit Media Studios's blog are a great companion to this book, so I recommend adding it to your "marketing blogs to read" list (along with ours!).  

3. Ultimate Guide to Link Building: How to Build Backlinks, Authority and Credibility for Your Website, and Increase Click Traffic and Search Ranking

  Ultimate Guide to Link Building: How to Build Backlinks, Authority and Credibility for Your Website, and Increase Click Traffic and Search Ranking

Good for: Content and Linkbuilding Strategies We marketers are well aware that content matters. We also know that who links to a site and how they link to it is one of the most important factors that search engines rely on when ranking results. However, as marketers we also need the answer to one very important question: "how do we gather and pitch content that will get people to link back to our site?" I believe link building is an art. Like any other art, it needs examples of great works that can be studied. Authors Eric Ward and Garrett French share through personal sage and case studies little-known techniques for link building via social media platforms, blogs, partnerships, public relations and more. Reading this book will help you learn which link-building techniques will maximize the quality of links that point to your site - allowing you to charm both search engines and customers while also understanding which methods to avoid.  

4. Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics

  Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics

Good for: Making sense of Google Analytics Data & finding out if your content marketing efforts are paying off If you want to make sure that your design optimization, content marketing and link building strategies are paying off, this book is an essential read. When it comes to web analytics and, specifically Google Analytics, writer Brian Clifton knows what matters most to the bottom line and he shows you exactly how to find the information you need to better understand how you are doing. Even though the book is titled "advanced," you don't need to be an advanced user of Google Analytics to get a lot out of this book. It takes you from the very basics of how to get started with both web analytics and Google Analytics all the way to advanced topics and techniques. While the writing does tend to get a little bit technical, for marketers that's never a bad thing. Knowing a little bit more about your visitors will allow you to make more informed decisions and ultimately provide a better site to your visitors. Providing a better site will ultimately bring more revenue to your client, so everybody will be happy.  

5. The Fortune Cookie Principle: The 20 keys to a great brand story and why your business needs one

  The Fortune Cookie Principle: The 20 keys to a great brand story and why your business needs one

Good for: Understanding how to "bake" a better marketing cookie The "Fortune Cookie Principle" by author Bernadette Jiwa tackles a common problem: "Marketers spend most of their time selling the cookie when what they should really be selling is the fortune inside the cookie." As marketers, it can be easy to fall into the day-to-day routine of promoting our clients' products and services, to narrowly focus on the latest buzzwords or the newest industry developments. Sometimes it's good to take a step back and revisit the marketing basics that are the building blocks of what we do every day to help our clients succeed. Jiwa's book and blog are full of inspiring stories about entrepreneurs and businesses that were able to stand out in today's overcrowded marketplace by selling their own unique story. Go out and enjoy the summer, recharge your batteries and make sure you use sunscreen! When you get back from your beach going adventures please let me know what other great marketing books I should be adding to my reading list and how you enjoyed these ones.   Do you know any other great books that marketers should be reading over the summer? Let us know by tweeting us @BFMWeb or by leaving a comment below.