The colossal growth of digital marketing as the primary way businesses and brands communicate and attract audiences means that prospective digital marketing professionals and marketers transitioning from traditional approaches have thousands of courses, guides, and publications to choose from.
Digital Marketing Jobs Board has compiled this shortlist of our 20 most-recommended digital marketing books (in no particular order!), providing insights, knowledge, and real-world case studies that can add value at any career stage.
1. The New Rules of Marketing and PR – David Meerman Scott
How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly
This practical, no-nonsense book is ideal for businesses or digital marketers looking to pin down the right ways to grow a brand, expand their reach, and establish a space in a crowded digital marketing – particularly relevant to organizations who need to find the right way to leverage social media and online tools to keep pace with the competition.
Readers can learn how to implement a strategy by using all the mediums and channels available to engage directly with target demographics, and blend digital marketing with ongoing approaches, such as PR, to corner market share.
Although the style is rather academic, there is a reason The New Rules of Marketing and PR features on several business courses and is included in multiple university programs, with translations into no less than 29 languages – it’s a how-to guide to all things marketing and PR, based online.
- Release Date: June 1, 2007.
- Goodreads Rating: 3.84/5 stars based on 6,595 ratings.
- Amazon Rating: 4.4/5 stars based on 354 ratings.
2. Shoot the HiPPO – Tom Bowden and Tom Jepson
How to Be a Killer Digital Marketing Manager
As all digital marketers will know, HiPPO stands for ‘higher pay per optimization’ and is about achieving maximum investment returns. The book concentrates on methodical, data-backed decisions, using insights and metrics to make informed judgments about the right digital marketing tactics.
It presents HiPPO as a fundamental piece of information that should guide digital marketers and explains why so many brands fail to reach their targets or the success they aspire to by relying on outdated information, gut instincts, and knee-jerk reactions, rather than drilling down into their HiPPO to keep a cool, calm head under pressure.
The book is a great read, packed with stories and examples. It explains the technical capabilities digital marketers need across the scope of their roles, from Google Analytics to email marketing campaigns and SEO.
- Release Date: December 1, 2020.
- Goodreads Rating: 4.82/5 stars based on 11 ratings.
- Amazon Rating: 5/5 stars based on 24 ratings.
3. Brand Storytelling – Miri Rodriguez
Put Customers at the Heart of Your Brand Story
Due to be re-released on July 3, 2023, Brand Storytelling has received countless accolades and awards. It walks through how companies need to narrow down their brand mission and story, using engaging, relevant storytelling to inform and connect with their intended customers.
The book investigates how customers form relationships with brands and what makes them loyal to one over another, with fascinating case studies into some of the world’s best brands and how they utilize customer-centric storytelling; think Coca-Cola, Google, and Expedia.
As a how-to guide, Brand Storytelling navigates through a series of steps to show digital marketers how to make their customers the central focus of their marketing, creating emotive responses and showcasing authenticity based on the values and experiences of the audience.
- Release Date: 1st edition March 3, 2020, 2nd edition due for release on July 3, 2023.
- Goodreads Rating: 3.82/5 stars based on 55 ratings (1st edition).
- Amazon Rating: 4.4/5 stars based on 166 ratings.
4. Epic Content Marketing – Joe Pulizzi
How to Tell a Story, Break Through the Clutter and Win More Customers By Marketing Less
Another book centered around storytelling, Pulizzi’s publication is more concentrated on online content consumption and sharing, advising readers on how they can create attention-grabbing digital content that delivers outstanding results without investing too much time or over-doing it and flooding customers with more marketing content than they are likely to engage with.
This book also talks about loyalty but works through the common mistake of treating marketing like a sales pitch and creating annoyance by using high-pressure tactics to try and capture leads or generate sales.
One of the takeaways is how to create marketing stories and sequences that encourage customers or leads to respond, without necessarily using direct instructions or commands, in contrast to the general approach where marketers rely on CTA buttons and ‘FOMO’ strategies to incentivize customers to act.
- Release Date: January 1, 2013.
- Goodreads Rating: 3.98/5 stars based on 1,256 ratings.
- Amazon Rating: 4.6/5 stars based on 450 ratings.
5. Hit Makers – Derek Thompson
The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction
Thompson’s book is a well-known favorite in the digital marketing sector. It applies to any business in any industry or country, exploring the topics of culture and influence and creating a brand through digital marketing that customers want to do business with.
The style is personal and less technical than others, which makes it easier to digest for marketers who struggle with more academic writing, and the experiences shared lean toward the autobiographical with some excellent analyses of large-scale ad campaigns to unpick which have succeeded, which have failed, and why.
Marketers can learn about how Facebook became such a powerhouse in digital marketing and how the marketing behind the brand was instrumental in making social media a part of everyday communications and advertising networks.
- Release Date: February 7, 2017.
- Goodreads Rating: 3.9/5 stars based on 6,210 ratings.
- Amazon Rating: 4.7/5 stars based on 68 ratings.
6. Digital Marketing Strategy – Simon Kingsnorth
An Integrated Guide
This instructional book shows digital marketers and company owners how to use established techniques to create their marketing strategy, incorporating digital marketing models and looking at all the basics, such as the ‘7 P’s’.
As a follow-up edition to the original best-selling Digital Marketing Strategy and endorsed by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the framework presented is accessible and straightforward, as a manual that illustrates how brands can select, use, and manage their digital platforms to produce the best results.
The guide is comprehensive and showcases how all the moving parts of a digital marketing strategy work together, including automation, content marketing, SEO, socials, email marketing, and personalization – it also expands into some of the current high-interest areas such as data protection and privacy, and the role of AI.
- Release Date: 1st edition May 28, 2016, September 30, 2022, 2nd
- Goodreads Rating: 3.81/5 stars based on 216 ratings (1st edition).
- Amazon Rating: 4.3/5 stars based on 64 ratings (2nd edition).
7. Marketing Communications – PR Smith and Ze Zook
Integrating Online and Offline Customer Engagement and Digital Technologies
Written by two of the most respected marketers internationally and in understandable, simple English, Marketing Communications incorporates both offline and online marketing, explaining how brands and marketers communicate, and use that rapport to gain engagement and retain customers over the long term.
Each section examines a different area, such as ethics in marketing and AI integrations, social media opportunity vs. risk, and how to use whichever digital marketing tools you select to achieve optimal returns.
A third edition of the original book, published in 2019, is due for release in December 2023, with the same title but newly updated to reflect changes to the marketing initiatives the authors suggest, designed for both existing digital marketers and students.
- Release Date: December 31, 2019 (original) – third edition due for release in December 2023.
- Goodreads Rating: 4.17/5 stars based on 12 ratings.
- Amazon Rating: 4.6/5 stars based on 62 ratings.
8. Moving to Outcomes – Robert Glazer and Matt Wool
Why Partnerships Are the Future of Marketing
Released a year ago, Moving to Outcomes proposes a different approach to digital marketing, explaining how a modern hybrid of partnership marketing can improve demand, basing the suggestion of treating marketing strategies as investment portfolios and leveraging partnerships to boost outcomes.
Glazer has written other books about digital marketing, primarily focusing on partnership or affiliate marketing, and explains how this method is beneficial in direct-to-consumer marketing campaigns, particularly for brands with long-established strategies that need to be refreshed or updated.
The conclusion is that partnership marketing is underutilized and presents a significant opportunity for companies and marketers unable to achieve the metrics they expect through platforms with a large amount of competition and lays out a way to integrate different types of marketing into one larger plan.
- Release Date: March 22, 2022.
- Goodreads Rating: 3.89/5 stars based on 18 ratings.
- Amazon Rating: 4.6/5 stars based on 43 ratings.
9. Youtility – Jay Baer
Why Smart Marketing Is About Help Not Hype
This New York Times bestseller also achieved the number one spot on Amazon and has been dubbed the best contribution by Baer to the social media marketing world since his previous publication – it demonstrates why customer relations are the cornerstone of all marketing success and shows how marketers can establish trust.
Within the book, Baer examines over 700 different brands, explaining how they have overcome hurdles along the way as part of an instructional guide to help brands and marketers avoid typical pitfalls by concentrating on authenticity and evolving approaches.
Any marketer trying to establish a new brand in a saturated sector or manage digital marketing for companies that have experienced difficulties with reputation management, social proof, or maintaining customer loyalty stands to benefit.
- Release Date: June 27, 2013.
- Goodreads Rating: 4/5 stars based on 1,101 ratings.
- Amazon Rating: 4.5/5 stars based on 362 ratings.
10. Digital Marketing for Dummies – Ryan Deiss and Russ Henneberry
There are numerous ‘for dummies’ guides, and this one is a perfect starting point for trainee or junior digital marketers looking to nail down the basics or get to grips with terminology and approaches used throughout the digital marketing sector.
The book covers all the most-used concepts, explaining techniques and jargon in a straightforward way, with more in-depth coverage for those keen to expand their knowledge. Although Digital Marketing for Dummies was originally published in 2016, it was updated in 2020 and remains relevant and useful.
Aimed at those new to digital marketing or small businesses wishing to develop a strategy, the book is well-written, easy to read, and useful as a refresher course for any digital marketer embarking on a new career path or transitioning from one digital marketing role to another.
- Release Date: December 27, 2016 (1st edition), August 7, 2020 (2nd edition).
- Goodreads Rating: 3.99/5 stars based on 283 ratings.
- Amazon Rating: 4.4/5 stars based on 163 ratings.
11. Traffic Secrets – Russell Brunson
The Underground Playbook for Filling Your Website and Funnels With Your Dream Customers
Traffic Secrets, written by the CEO and co-founder of ClickFunnels, teaches readers how to establish a brand, create engagement and grow an audience from scratch, using quality click-throughs and prospects to generate effective sales funnels that foster customer loyalty.
The book presents different strategies to pick and choose from, starting with designing customer personas and then looking at ways to direct them into the sales funnel, working through each part of the process step by step.
In relevance to brands or digital marketers already seeing some level of success, Traffic Secrets also assesses how businesses can tweak their marketing approaches or make incremental changes to keep attracting the same levels of responsiveness while adapting to changing market conditions.
- Release Date: May 1, 2020.
- Goodreads Rating: 4.33/5 stars based on 941 ratings.
- Amazon Rating: 4.7/5 stars based on 2,263 ratings.
12. Digital Branding – Daniel Rowles
A Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Strategy, Tactics, Tools, and Measurement
This book is a good choice for readers either wanting to gain a basic understanding of digital marketing, or increase their know-how, with sections around planning, implementing, and optimizing a digital marketing strategy, written by the CEO of Target Internet.
The language and tone are straightforward, with informative content that explains various tools, how they work in real-world scenarios, and the different techniques marketers can use to improve their reach.
Digital Branding covers a broad scope, including more recent innovations such as virtual reality and virtual augmentation in digital marketing, mobile marketing, mobile device payment options, and using social media within ethical and data protection guidelines.
- Release Date: December 26, 2017.
- Goodreads Rating: 4.05/5 stars based on 21 ratings.
- Amazon Rating: 4.4/5 stars based on 38 ratings.
13. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook – Gary Vaynerchuk
How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World
While the title may be slightly left field, this book by the New York Times bestselling author is an interesting and enjoyable read, focused completely on social media marketing and how brands can interact and generate loyalty and a sense of community from their followers.
The targeted content is best suited to social media marketers and content managers. It presents a range of tactics with advice about how social media marketing differs from other promotional activities, suggesting ways to grow a larger audience and improve the brand position.
Any marketer keen to upskill, learn more about the specifics of adapting a digital marketing strategy to the social media world, or use their social media channels to enhance customer connections with their brand will learn some useful guidance and tools.
- Release Date: October 5, 2013.
- Goodreads Rating: 3.98/5 stars based on 8,673 ratings.
- Amazon Rating: 4.6/5 stars based on 3,333 ratings.
14. Stories That Stick – Kindra Hall
How Storytelling Can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences and Transform Your Business
As the title may suggest, Stories That Stick is all about how to use storytelling alongside marketing principles to grow a brand, including ways to attract customers currently loyal to a competitor, use stories as a backdrop to high-performance sales strategies, and address any issues with brand reputation.
The book investigates several different types of marketing storytelling, such as value stories that persuade a customer that they have a need the brand can meet and purpose stories that showcase the mission of the brand to align perceptions with customer interests.
This publication may be especially relevant to digital marketers who already know the power of storytelling but have yet to see the outcomes they expect, explaining why a combination of different types of marketing story form part of the overall picture.
- Release Date: September 24, 2019.
- Goodreads Rating: 4.27/5 stars based on 2,568 ratings.
- Amazon Rating: 4.7/5 stars based on 1,880 ratings.
15. What Customers Crave – Nicholas J. Webb
How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint
What Customers Crave reiterates the importance of understanding what customers want and using intelligent forecasting and trend prediction to spot future needs to ensure digital marketing is targeted to address those pain points.
This book helps marketers establish their audiences’ core likes and dislikes to ensure their marketing is precisely aligned with their demographic and delivers improved customer experiences to avoid higher bounce rates and drop-offs in followers.
Marketers can learn how discomfort is the primary reason customers disengage with a brand and how to use audience experience as a design to improve each touchpoint across their marketing campaigns and communication channels.
- Release Date: October 13, 2016.
- Goodreads Rating: 3.74/5 stars based on 253 ratings.
- Amazon Rating: 4.2/5 stars based on 150 ratings.
16. Permission Marketing – Seth Godin
Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers
Permission Marketing, written by Godin, a respected professional in the digital marketing space, explains how marketers can encourage new audiences to notice and remember their brand, with detailed case studies and explanations to provide full insights.
The book explains how brands can establish their presence before reaching out with more direct messaging and why this is proven to generate higher conversions and longer-term customer relationships than jumping straight to sales and marketing promotions.
As a concept, Permission Marketing focuses on brand messaging and prompting greater customer sharing of online content, with the book now available in over 35 languages and often cited as one of the best guides to modern digital marketing.
- Release Date: January 30, 2014 (1st publication date).
- Goodreads Rating: 3.91/5 stars based on 14,509 ratings.
- Amazon Rating: 4.8/5 stars based on 12 ratings.
17. Marketing 5.0P – hilip Kotler
Technology for Humanity
Marketing 5.0 explores the topics of consumer behaviors and how technology has transformed how marketers interact – and the knock-on effects on business modeling and customer interactions and expectations.
The book acts as a guide for marketers working in settings that are primarily digital and automated, showing how to make a company more focused on digital opportunities, using common sense, creativity, and tools to achieve success.
With readable, straightforward language, the book discusses how marketing may change in the future, what it will mean for the role of digital marketing, and how marketers can overcome common challenges to expand market reach.
- Release Date: February 3, 2021.
- Goodreads Rating: 4.09/5 stars based on 612 ratings.
- Amazon Rating: 4.6/5 stars based on 444 ratings.
18. Digital Marketing – Dave Chaffey and Fiona Ellis-Chadwick
Strategy, Implementation, and Practice
This book is now in its seventh edition. It was written by Ellis-Chadwick, a Loughborough University senior lecturer in Business and Economics, and Chaffey, the Smart Insights co-founder, and digital marketing consultant.
Digital marketers can learn how to achieve greater results through tech and digital media platforms and adapt marketing approaches to generate positive improvements using case studies, business models, and skills analyses.
The book includes guidance on the practicalities and different aspects of digital marketing, such as optimizing conversions, social media communications, search-engine paid marketing, and other elements of a comprehensive digital marketing approach, working through the stages of creating a strategy and then keeping it up to date.
- Release Date: January 1, 2012 (1st edition) – November 27, 2022 (7th edition).
- Goodreads Rating: 4.12/5 stars based on 178 ratings.
- Amazon Rating: 4.1/5 stars based on 21 ratings.
19. Duct Tape Marketing – John Jantsch
The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide
Duct tape marketing is a specific approach, which Jantsch advocates for based on years of coaching smaller companies and start-ups in ways to improve their digital marketing without a large budget to invest. Originally published in 2007, the book was revised and re-released in September 2011.
The guide is practical and relevant and provides a range of actionable suggestions, which can be applied equally to businesses at all lifecycle stages and sizes, based on low-cost, high-return digital marketing methods and easy ways to promote a business without an existing following.
Jantsch’s blog was awarded ‘best blog’ for small business and marketing by Forbes magazine, and the book is a bestseller backed by 20 years of experience in the digital marketing world, targeted towards SMEs who need to find the most accessible ways to promote their brands.
- Release Date: January 1, 2006 (1st edition), September 26, 2011 (2nd edition).
- Goodreads Rating:3.94/5 stars based on 2,841 ratings.
- Amazon Rating: 4.6/5 stars based on 223 ratings.
20. Influencne – Robert B. Cialdini, PhD
The Psychology of Persuasion
Written by Dr. Cialdini, Influence is often considered a classic, and despite the original being published in 1983, it has been revised and re-released multiple times since, explaining how psychology factors into the way customers respond to marketing. To date, over 5 million copies of the book have been sold.
The book includes evidence explaining why some techniques work and others don’t and explores trickier concepts such as morality and why tactics that attempt to persuade a customer to respond a certain way are unethical.
Marketers can discover the six ‘persuasion principles,’ updated in the later 2016 edition to include a new sector on unity, based on influencer marketing, and how this digital marketing technique required businesses to adapt based on shared identities between viewers and influencers.
- Release Date: May 4, 2021 (latest edition).
- Goodreads Rating: not available.
- Amazon Rating: 4.7/5 stars based on 3,762 ratings.
Digital Marketing Books By Marketing Masters
All the digital marketing books featured in this list provide valuable information, guidance, insight, and instruction for digital marketers, covering a huge array of topics, focuses, and areas of digital marketing, from exploring the fundamental concepts to creating highly specific strategies in certain marketing environments.
While some are more recent and look at digital marketing trends relevant now, such as AI and automation, there is a wealth of knowledge out there, all of which can help digital marketers improve their work and the outcomes they produce for their clients.
The best starting point is to decide what you hope to gain from consuming digital marketing literature and select the titles that most resonate with your current position, career stage, or aspirations, and use the extraordinary expertise available to your benefit.