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Ian Blair

15 Useful Digital Marketing Books Every Marketer Should Read

Smart digital marketers read every day.

How many books have you read in the past week? What about this first half of 2016, Is your business and life being impacted by books?

Maybe.

If you want to grow a thriving online business, you can’t afford to be an island. You need to dig into the minds of other experts.

Don’t conform to the way the uninformed marketer communicates. Get specialized knowledge through reading.

Reading makes you a better person. It makes you live the experience of other people. Interestingly, scientists have proven this to be so.

According to a Study by ScienceDaily, “When we read, the brain doesn’t make a real distinction between reading about an experience and actually living it.”

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One of the major ways to get in-depth digital marketing knowledge is through extensive book reading. It should become your lifestyle?

Without a doubt, there are influencers and leaders in your industry and niche. Find these people, and get into their minds. How they think, behave, and do business are usually laid out in books.

Most digital marketing influencers have been in the trenches long before your grandma bought you a Computer.

Not only are they better positioned to help you, but they can guide you to avoid certain mistakes they made while starting out.

No wonder, in a review of Reading History by Alberto Manguel, A.C. Grayling spoke of reading as taking a flight when he said, “To read is to fly: it’s to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience, and the fruits of many inquiries.’’

To a large extent, your effectiveness as a digital marketer is dependent on what you had read, what you’re currently reading, and would read in the future.

In turn, this would determine how valuable and premium your offers will be.

If you must stand out at digital marketing, here are 15 books that you need to read:

 

1. Email Marketing Demystified: Build a Massive Mailing List, Write Copy that Converts, and Generate More Sales

If your online business isn’t where you expected it to be. Don’t fret. There’s one aspect of running a successful digital marketing business that you must embrace.

Email list.

In reality, if you don’t have an email list, you don’t truly have a business.

Since email marketing is the process of reaching targeted email leads at the right time, with the most relevant content and offers, you can’t afford to joke with it.

Email Marketing Demystified is the book to read, if you’re looking to sustain your business through email marketing. The author, Matthew Paulson in this amazing book shows you how to build massive list using 15 of the most effective techniques – that have worked for several brands.

Trust me, email marketing is much more powerful than most folks think. In case you’re thinking, “well, people don’t like getting emails from businesses,” think again.

A research by ExactTarget showed that 77% of customers prefer getting information on brand’s products/services they use through emails.

This is truly a huge opportunity to reach out to targeted customers. It’s a relief from the incessant rush for organic traffic. Once you master email marketing, you may as well forget about Google. That’s because email marketing costs are inexpensive.

The ROI on email marketing is staggering. According to Adobe, a $1 investment in email marketing can yield up to $40 in ROI?

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Get your hands on Email Marketing Demystified if you want to see your site visitors in another light.

These people are not bots or blind folks who wandered and stumbled on your site. They’re real people with specific questions in their hearts.

Aside from learning how to build your email list faster, you also get firsthand knowledge that will help you set up your first funnel. This leads to higher profits.

 

2. The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly

Yes, the rules of marketing may have changed, but the concept hasn’t – and may never change.

You must never neglect publicity, if you want to grow your digital marketing company/brand.

David Meerman Scott in this book doesn’t just show you real-world examples of content marketing tactics that work, he goes even further to guide and equip you with the right marketing virtues that will help you gain massive publicity for your content, product, and brand.

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When it comes to PR, you may have a system that works for you already, but what if there’s an up-to-date system that guarantees a double output from smart moves that you take, would you be glad to know it?

Or, would you rather stick to the one you know?

I doubt.

As marketers, we’re always looking for that out-of-the-box strategy. Truth is, you would get it from the New Rules of Marketing and PR. This can be a free promotional strategy.

 

3. Go Pro: 7 Steps to Becoming a Network Marketing Professional

The rave created by this book was impressive.

Prior to the launch of Go Pro book, network marketing had a really bad reputation – both online and offline. On the other hand, Successful network marketers have several things in common, which help them thrive at those times:

They think alike, amongst other attributes.

In this book, the author Eric Worre shows you how to ‘glide through the wave’ of the internet, to build untold wealth through networking with the right people – even if you’re a newbie to digital marketing.

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There’s a better way to position your offers, and draw the attention of your prospects as well as those customers that may already be sold out to your competition.

When you read this book, you’ll master the art of networking. No, not in a pushy or annoying way, like some so-called network marketing professionals approach, but you’ll literally become the go-to-brand in your niche.

In reality, every business is in some form a network marketing model. For example, bloggers have to build a tribe. And the smart blogger inspires loyal readers to refer their friends, family members, colleagues, and fans. Isn’t this network marketing in practice?

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The digital marketing space is an industry worth multiple billions of dollars. As such, it offers such opportunity that even the dumbest of persons can reach out and earn a slice of it.

After hitting a benchmark in profit of $167 billion a couple of years ago, network marketing is set to get even bigger as more digital marketers embrace it.

You would agree that network marketing is now something worth the interest of entrepreneurs outside of the internet marketing space. And the number of people getting involved will increase.

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That said, remember that getting the most results from network marketing requires a lot more than reading books.

You also need to embrace social media, paid advertising, mobile app lead generation strategy, and using the right tools.

 

4. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

What makes some brands outstanding?

You may never be able to figure out what your competitors are doing better. But you don’t need to.

It’s all about positioning.

In Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, The duo of Nir Eyal and Ryan Hoover shows you how to position your product, so that people will naturally be drawn to it.

The knowledge that you’ll glean from this book, will set you apart and help you gain much traction in your niche.

Talking about habit-building products, you should understand there are patterns great brands have perfected, via their relationship with customers that you don’t know about.

Even such ignorance isn’t an excuse especially now that you’ve got the opportunity to read this book. It doesn’t get better than flipping a few pages – and seeing ideas that you never imagined.

Listen up: The way you offer your product ought to make your audience excited, persuaded, and confident about your business. When this begins to happen, you know that you’ve won loyal audience.

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Your core values define you. The products you create will either improve your core values or mar them. In turn, your values form your habits, and your habits determine the final outcome of your offer.

This amazing book stands alone, to help you form such new habits that will dazzle your audience for good.

 

5. Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing

Are you truly into modern marketing, or you’ve refused to leave the past methods of doing business behind?

Harry Beckwith wants to show you, more than you think you know, in Selling The Invisible that selling is a skill, which you must master if you want to thrive in this competitive age.

There’s no way around this one truth: Relationship is at the very core of sales in this time and age.

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Here’s what you should know: Selling isn’t limited to the products and services that you see. The real selling is not seen. Come to think of it, all the hard work associated with selling aren’t seen by the customers.

As you flip the pages of this book, you’ll master the art of selling the invisible, and integrating the modern marketing strategies, tactics, and checklists to get significant results.

 

6. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content

Do you know that great content is key to digital marketing?

Yes, it is.

Digital marketing influencer, pro blogger, and author of this book, Ann Handley exposes you to the mystery behind the process and strategy of content creation, production, and publishing.

And leads you at every step of the way – so that you can achieve amazing results with your content.

Without a doubt, words are the currency of the web. If you can write well, you could literally write your own paycheck.

You’ve got to know how to research, brainstorm with your team or client (as the case may be), and persuade people with your words.

Choosing your words appropriately, and style can be the difference between getting the client or losing out.

If you’re a freelance writer, read this book to get positioned for the big paying clients. Use the ideas to improve your blog content – and build an audience, if you’re taking on clients.

 

7. Marketing: A Love Story: How to Matter to Your Customers

One of the proven tactics that brands use to win customers over is to genuinely show their customers how much they care.

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Becoming vitally involved in your customer’s affair will ensure you matter to them. Before you can show how much you care, you’ve got to know your customers.

In this book, “Marketing: A Love Story: How To Matter to Your Customers,” the author Bernadette Jiwa shows you how to do a better work, so that you can matter to your customers without enforcing yourself on them.

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Customers don’t care how much you know, but how much you care about them. This isn’t just a lingua by marketers – but such that has become the motivation of many thriving brands.

You may not agree with this, but the marketing method that you know may not get you the results you seek. In such a case, it’s important to employ a new method.

Still on that thought, you’ve got to understand that doing the work is what makes the difference in any business.

It’s the difference between the Achievers and the Average marketers.

It’s then something you need to give serious thought, especially when you’re just starting your business as a digital marketer.

This digital marketing book is really well planned out, and promises to help you become a better marketer.

 

8. How I Sold 80,000 Books: Book Marketing for Authors ( Self Publishing through Amazon, and Other Retailers)

This is probably the best and most comprehensive guide for authors.

If you’re going to make a living from books, then knowing how, and where to sell your book is a big deal.

In this wonderful book, “How I Sold 80,000 Books, Book Marketing For Authors,” the author Alinka Rutkowska shows you how to reach and sell to your audience, without their knowing that they have been sold to.

This psychological book selling method is critical to your success as an author. Because, nobody wants to be sold to. We don’t like the sound of the word, ‘buy.’

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This is one of the reasons you need to learn from those that have a reputation for marketing products online, and have succeeded doing that continually.

Ever heard someone say, “experience is the best teacher.”

My question is, why wait to make those terrible mistakes, when you can easily “borrow a leaf” from someone that had been there.

Marketing your products through the digital space (on the web) is such a big deal, especially when you’re just starting out, or don’t huge budgets for traditional newspaper and TV advertising.

You may not sell up to 80,000 books like Rutkowska did, but you’ll learn proven tips that will put you at an advantage – before, during, and after your book goes live.

 

9. SEO 2016 Learn Search Engine Optimization With Smart Internet Marketing Strategies: Learn SEO with smart internet marketing strategies

What products are you selling?

Did you know there are tens of thousands of people who are desperately looking to hand you their money right now? These people are busy entering keywords into Google (search engine).

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It gets exciting because these are the people you want to reach. According to HubShout, 93% of online experiences begin with search engines.

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While you would like to sell your products to several people, remember that “people don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.”

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Here’s what you need to know:

People who come to Google to enter keywords (search terms) are ready to either or both of these:

  • Buy the product that you sell
  • Learn more about your business.

These are the ideal customers you need to pay attention to.

That’s why in this book, “SEO 2016 Learn Search Engine Optimization With Smart Internet Marketing Strategies,” the author Adam Clark walks you through the essential factors that affect search rankings. The book is updated for 2016, so you’re assured of up-to-date information.

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Adam Clarke shows you via this book, the step by step approach you need to pick the right keywords, do on-page SEO, and create content for users.

 

10. Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should

Self-publishing has grown faster than we expected. Take a look at the market share for ebook unit sales:

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You should self-publish a book, it’s worth it.

But how do you begin?

Do you think that nobody will read your book? Ditch such demeaning thoughts of failure.

Of course, information may be everywhere, but you have a unique approach to that topic that people are hungry and thirsty for. Don’t hold back your knowledge, get started today.

In this classic book, “Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should,” not only is the author, David Gaughran set to reveal to you, the ‘gold mine’ hid in the self-publishing industry, but to debunk some myths that aren’t known about this industry.

One stands out in particular, ‘‘You won’t make any money from self-publishing.’’

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Gaughran shows you how to shift your focus and position yourself as an expert. It’s no longer enough to just write a book, and pray.

As great as that is, you need to promote it, so that the right people find and read it. That’s the goal.

A lot of processes used to be involved, from finding a representative, to presenting a proposal, writing an inquiry letter, and so on.

The workload associated with traditional publishing are well enough to discourage you – before you even begin.

However, the story is different now. All you have to do now is get insights from the Let’s Get Digital Book.

 

11. The Invisible Selling Machine: 5 Steps To Creating an Automated, Evergreen Email Campaign That Literally Makes Sales While You Sleep

If you don’t know Ryan Deiss, then I can beat my chest and say that you’re new in the block.

Ryan Deiss is the founder of DigitalMarketer.com, one of the leading authority websites on paid traffic generation, conversion rate optimization, and building web assets.

The Invisible Selling Machine, amongst other things is a revolutionary book. Before I came across this book, I was totally lost when it comes to building sales funnels.

At some point, I thought that it’s a difficult task, left only for the experts. But how wrong I was.

The Invisible Selling Machine does exactly what the title says: It positions you as an expert in your niche, such that people will gladly opt-in to your email list, open your emails, and respond to your offers.

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And the striking thing is that all of these conversations happen at the backend. If you’re a web developer, you know what a backend means. Anyways, let me illustrate:

There are two important sides to every website.

The backend is where all the html, CSS, php, and other codes are stored. Users don’t see this. On the flip side, the frontend is what users see. Because, it’s beautiful.

I gave you this excerpt to explain how this Invisible Selling Machine works.

Though it’s a book, but you should see it as a system.

In the world of digital marketing, landing pages are popular. Generally, it’s advisable to create a new landing page for a new campaign.

In fact, according to MarketingExperiments, “Of B2B companies that use landing pages, 62% of B2B companies have six or more landing pages.”

More so, data from HubSpot found that both B2B and B2C companies have benefitted immensely from building and using high-converting landing pages.

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Insider tip: What makes a landing page high-converting is the backend funnel. That is, after people have opted in to your list, what happens next that other people don’t see is what matters most.

There must be a systematic approach to following up, communicating, and building trust with your leads.

When you read Ryan Deiss’ Invisible Selling Machine, you’ll learn firsthand how to craft an automated sales machine that’s evergreen (works in every niche possible), and profitable.

But that’s not all.

Deiss also shares some credible case studies from their own campaigns – and how the invisible sales system has helped the company evolve and thrive, even in the midst of intense competition.

Just as there are 5 stages in the customer buying cycle that you must cater for, you’ll equally learn the 5 phases of invisible selling that builds your authority, and how to automate it. This digital marketing book is like no other.

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If you’re a niche marketer, blogger, freelance writer, consultant, website developer, programmer or you run an offline business that you want to bring online, I encourage you to read Ryan’s book.

As expected, you’ll learn firsthand how to invisibly convert strangers into friends, friends into customers, and customers into raving fans.

What more can you ask for?

 

12. Crush It! Why Now Is The Right Time To Cash In On Your Passion

Crust It, is Gary Vaynerchuk’s first bestseller. If you’ve followed Gary for a while, you’ll agree with me that he’s such a tough guy. He doesn’t believe in entrepreneurs who run away in the face of competition.

With this attitude to work, he’s successfully built a handful multimillion dollar businesses.

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In one of his videos, where he talked about getting clients, one of the things that he emphasized most was “taking action.”

Yes, you might be rejected. So what?

Does it really matter how many times you’re rejected? You should learn to take the word “NO” as a “YES” in your head. Once you’re in this state of mind, you’re ready to Crust It!

I must confess: I haven’t gone through this book. But a few of my friends who actually recommended that I include it here have become tough, just like Gary – after reading it.

If you’re still confused and looking for a helping hand on how to use Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr to develop a personal brand online, you should give this book a serious read.

Yes, I’m going to finally read it. Because, I’ve made up my mind to only review books and products that I’ve used.

Of course, maybe after reading “Crush It: Why Now Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion,” and I don’t benefit from it with all the hype, trust me, I’ll get rid of it from this list.

For over a decade, this bestselling book is still relevant to modern-day system of doing internet marketing. Regardless of all the technologies and digital platforms available today, every principle in this book still holds true.

Interestingly, content marketing became a buzz about 6 years ago, but the principles in this book points to the power of great content. There’s a whole chapter dedicated to creating great content.

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No matter what you do in life, especially when there is a hobby, ideal, or passion that you believe in, and would gladly turn steps to turn it into a meaningful business, remember these words:

  • Passion is Everything
  • Success is in your DNA
  • It’s a Whole New World
  • Keep It Real… Very Real

When you dig into the book, you’ll read extensively on each of the above. These are actually individual chapters – with lessons, tips, and life changing stories for you.

 

13. The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

Imagine this…

You have this awesome idea that you so much believe in. You’re passionate about it, but after several weeks and months go by, you’ve nothing to show for it.

Do you stick to it or quit?

According to Rosabeth Moss Kanter from the Harvard Business Review, “When you’re getting something new going, the difference between success and failure is often a matter of time: how long you give it before you give up.”

Whether it’s a job, a business, a cause, is it time to…?

It’s a challenging situation. Truth be told, there is no one-size fits all answer to that question.

But does it mean that you’re at a loss?

Of course, no.

Seth Godin has been a bestselling author, digital marketing influencer, and a thought leader.

I can’t think of any digital marketer that’s as knowledgeable as Seth. Seriously…

His ideas are stellar – and would dazzle you if you dare to execute them.

In a bid to answer the question of when to quit or stick to an idea, Seth decided to write “The Dip.”

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As the author of 18 bestselling books, you’ll agree with me that there times when pulling the seat and getting the ideas for a book out would be boring, yes, for Seth.

Even as a blogger, I find it difficult to write blog posts sometimes. Come on, I’m not the only one.

I say this to help you see from the same lens that Seth saw when he wrote The Dip book.

As a digital marketer, it doesn’t matter how powerful or unique your ideas, passion, ideal, or strategy may be, there may be a necessity to quit. And don’t equate success entirely to making money.

It’s important to understand this, because you may be generating income from your passion, but if you’re not meeting the ultimate goal of imparting lives, then sooner or later – you’ll ruin your business.

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Come to think of it, most marketers promote crappy affiliate offers to their email subscribers.

Of course, they can generate sales from uninformed subscribers, but the moment these people find out the real truth, they might unsubscribe, or spread negative reviews about the marketer.

Last year when I read “Let Go: My Unexpected Path To Profit and Purpose,” by Pat Flynn, I saw a similar mindset shift when compared to The Dip.

Although this section isn’t about Pat, but do you see his thinking pattern – how, that his tactics depends on validating your idea first. Thus, you’ll know when to quit or stick to that idea.

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14. Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business

Look around. What do you see?

Okay, here’s what I noticed…

Successful businesses and brands don’t require the supervision of the founder or CEO.

Funny enough, majority of the staff members don’t know the founder(s) face to face (of course, they must have seen him on TV or newspaper)

In today’s marketing world, you need more freedom to be at your highest level of creativity.

And make no mistakes about it, virtual freedom doesn’t fall on a platter. You need to learn how to find, hire, and work with virtual staff. This way, you can buy more time, become more productive, and build your dream business.

That’s the purpose of the Virtual Freedom book. The author was strategic in this book. With over 700 customer reviews, you can understand how desperate people from all walks of life have desired to create more freedom in their businesses.

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Chris Ducker: The Virtual CEO. You should know him.

Anyways, He’s the founder of ChrisDucker.com and the host of YouPreneur, an exhilarating and podcast where he interviews content marketing experts who want to be more productive with their work.

According to the author, Chris, “Entrepreneurs often suffer from “superhero syndrome”—the misconception that to be successful, they must do everything themselves.

But that’s not true.

Think of Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, and Daymond John, founder of FUBU, and a celebrated pioneer in the fashion industry – these wealthy entrepreneurs have mastered the art of leveraging other people’s skills and experiences.

You should do likewise.

If you’re being exhausted by the never-ending list of tasks that have bottlenecked on your to-do list, Virtual Freedom shows you the practical steps to build a virtual team that does virtually everything for you.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Find out if the book truly delivers – Get it on Amazon.

 

15. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

“You can’t grow a thriving business on wishes and dreams.”

  • Todd Henry, author of The Accidental Creative

There are so many digital marketers who wish to increase their income, get more traffic to their blogs, and build their brands faster.

The truth is, you can’t get ahead by wishing.

You’ve got to take action on what you believe. For example, if you believe that creating engaging content can help you get more traffic, go and do it.

Don’t just feel great about your knowledge, put it to work.

And talking about creating a future in your business, you need an internal inspiration. It can come from the $100 Startup book, by Chris Guillebeau. The central purpose of the book is to help you break out of every 9-5 framework and corporate slog.

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Back in 2014, this was actually the book that changed my perspective about work. Yes, we all believe that everyone should work, but the ultimate question is: “which work should you do?”

The $100 Startup book virtually went viral, just like the Four Hour Work Week book by Tim Ferriss.

The book is unique. It doesn’t give the generic advice about turning your passion into profit. There’s a total transformation of what you already know about passion and work.

Chris Guillebeau is one of the online entrepreneurs who have been in the trenches for a long time.

If you flash your mind back to the World Domination Summit, an event where Chris and several renowned digital entrepreneurs who are making lasting impact, shows you step by step how to live a life – devoid of conformity.

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The $100 Startup is an integral part of the WDS. Because, the focus is on you, not the economic circumstances, family background, race, or financial status, but on your personality.

After going through the book (although I didn’t quite finish the last chapter), I had a dramatic mindset shift.

I always thought that working hard was the ultimate step that I must take. But Chris helped me redirect my focus – so that instead of simply working hard to achieve set goals, I can work smarter to multiply my results.

Isn’t that wonderful?

Here’s the summary of the $100 Startup book:

  • Learn simple instructions on cloning yourself for fun and profit
  • Become as big as you want to be (and no bigger)
  • How to succeed even if your roof caves in on you
  • Understand that advertising is like sex: Only losers pay for it
  • How to create a killer offer that captivates your audience

There is nothing as powerful as having a roadmap of where you’re going, even before you step out. In your comfort zone, you don’t know that opportunities are out there.

But when you take the bold step to step out, or as Chris Guillebeau puts it, “Take a trip to Hollywood from your living room or corner coffee shop,” you’ll be amazed at the life out there.

Truly, there’s no better time to start and grow a successful online business. Nothing can successfully hold you back, not even the competition. And funny enough, you don’t need to invest more than $100 to get “that” business from off the ground.

Open your mind and let this book instruct you.

 

Conclusion

You need to move beyond being a digital marketer, and become a thought leader. Thought leaders dictate the pace for others to follow.

But the harsh reality is this: If you’re not a reader, you can’t lead.

Everyday, you have been mandated to put smiles in the faces of people, and make this world better than you met it. You can sail smoothly in this digital marketing sea without getting drowned.

Read everything. You can learn a lot from non internet marketing books, blogs, events, and causes.

I dare say that thought leadership is the future of digital marketing. Yes, since it’s easy to start up a new business online, it’s equally easy to get overwhelmed by too much information.

And you know what? Thought leaders don’t necessarily have too much information to share, but they do have the “right” information for the right people. And that’s what makes the difference.

Which of these books have you read from cover to cover? Share your lessons, tips, tricks, or advice.

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Ian Blair

BuildFire Co-Founder. I'm a digital marketer by trade and an entrepreneur at heart. I'm here to help businesses go mobile and build apps more efficiently than before.