The Top 10 Digital Marketing Books for Graduates

10 books budding marketer read

It’s safe to say that the marketing landscape has changed significantly in recent times. As a marketer, it’s very important to make sure you stay on top of trends, which becomes increasingly difficult due to how quickly marketing changes.

Though these days we get most of our information in blog posts, videos and on social media it’s good to occasionally sit down with a good book and learn something new in this dynamic field. 

Here’s the top 10 digital marketing books for graduates that I believe every budding marketer should read…


Digital Marketing Books For Graduates


DotCom Secrets: the underground playbook for growing your company online by Russell Brunson

If you are having trouble getting a lot of people to visit your website or converting traffic into sales, the actual problem could be very different from what you think. According to Russell Brunson, who has great experience in working with huge online businesses, low traffic and weak conversion numbers are just signs of a more significant problem. Although this problem is not easily noticed, fixing it is quite simple.

DotCom Secrets allows you to acquire new leads in any business by providing you with all the sales scripts and marketing funnels you need.


Key takeaways

  • To attract a large following, you need to have an exciting and vibrant character. Even though you may have fantastic products and services, being dull will undoubtedly make a lot of people unwilling to associate with your brand.
  • Ensure your language is adapted to your audience


Best quote from the book

“’s problem wasn’t a traffic or conversion problem. It rarely is. More often than not, it’s a FUNNEL problem.” – Russell Brunson, DotCom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online


Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers by Seth Godin

For years the only way marketers thought about how to go about marketing was to force your brand message down consumers throats (Interruption Marketing). Seth Godin then came in and turned this marketing concept on its head with this book by pointing out that people have an endless amount of choices to pick from these days and they’re going to choose which messages they’d like to hear. This was the first book that stressed a new approach from the old – giving people the content they actually want to consume. Nobody pays any attention to TV ads and leaflets anymore, and this book shows you how you can start a conversation with you ideal potential customers, build relationships and then sell to them in a cost-effective manner.


Key takeaways

  • The internet enables permission marketing to be incredibly easy.
  • ‘Interruption Marketing’ is dead.
  • When people willingly give you their attention you get a more targeted group of potential customers.


Best quote from the book

“Frequency led to awareness, awareness to familiarity, and familiarity to trust. And trust, almost without exception, leads to profit.” – Seth Godin, Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers


Top of Mind: Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter To You by John Hall

Have you ever wondered what successful businesses and leaders have in common? Well, people trust them on a profound level and often think of their names first before evaluating their particular industries because they have something special. They can focus and engage with their audience, deliver value, and foster meaningful relationships. John Hall used this winning approach to form content marketing agency influence & Co., which was ranked among America’s most promising companies according to Forbes. In his book, he explains how to use content to ensure essential decision makers pay attention to your brand.


Key takeaways

  • Building trust and being helpful to others is not only good life advice, but also good business practice.
  • Helping others is surprisingly a way of helping yourself too.


Best quote from the book

“Business is always about relationships.” – John Hall, Top of Mind: Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter to You


Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday

Trust Me I’m Lying is a fantastic book about how modern media is operated and how the system is able to be manipulated. Author Ryan Holiday shows how he was able to manipulate the media himself by bribing bloggers, writing stories, and vandalising his own advertisements so that the media would write stories that he wanted.


Key takeaways

  • Always think of a blog as a business.
  • Bloggers will publish anything as long as it generates readers (and revenue).
  • Blogging is now the stage for public witch hunts.


Best quote from the book

“You cannot have your news instantly and have it done well. You cannot have your news reduced to 140 characters or less without losing large parts of it. You cannot manipulate the news but not expect it to be manipulated against you. You cannot have your news for free; you can only obscure the costs. If as a culture we can learn this lesson, and if we can learn to love the hard work, we will save ourselves much trouble and collateral damage. We must remember: There is no easy way.” – Ryan Holiday, Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator


The Choice Factory: 25 Behavioural Biases That Influence What We Buy by Richard Shotton

What influences our decisions? To answer this question, we need to know what drives our decision making. Richard Shotton helps us know and understand how our behavior is shaped psychologically. By investigating a typical day of decision-making, we can determine our marketing potential and know precisely what we want. Shotton’s evidence is based on his own research and many large advertisement campaigns that he has been behind.


Key takeaways

  • Behavioral science is an evaluation tool that brands and marketers ought to use more often.


Best quote from the book

“Failures happen once, while successes live on.” – Richard Shotton, The Choice Factory: 25 Behavioural Biases That Influence What We Buy


Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

Everybody Writes is a guide to creating content that will supercharge your business and make it thrive. This book will show you how to attract new customers and retain existing customers via online communication and content.


Now you might be thinking – who writes anymore? In an age where media is dominated by snappy click-bait headlines, Instagram feeds and Twitch streams, doesn’t it seem a bit silly to focus on writing?


Actually, no. Writing matters now more than ever. Our online words tell our customers who we are.


Key takeaways

  • The key to getting better at writing is to write every day.
  • Place your most important ideas (and words) at the beginning of every sentence.
  • The content you should create has to be useful, solve customer’s problems and enrich their lives.
  • Make your content about your customer, not you.


Best quote from the book

“The truth is this: writing well is part habit, part knowledge of some fundamental rules, and part giving a damn.” – Ann Handley, Everybody Writes


Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

It is a fact that people talk about some products and ideas more than others. The reason why some YouTube videos go viral is because a lot of people talked about them, sent them in emails to friends and shared them on social media.


Jonah Berger, Wharton’s marketing professor, has proved through his research that word of mouth and social transmission shapes our behavior in almost everything we do. In his book, he studied why New York Times articles are so popular, why some products get a lot of traction via word of mouth, and how social interaction affects our choice of the car we drive, the decoration we choose for our homes and the names we give our children.


Key takeaways

  • Content marketers should keep in mind that people are likely to share information that makes them appear smart.
  • Emotions are the key to making a content appeal; they invoke actions in people.
  • Content should strive to have a practical value that makes the information useful. People will always share information that helps save time, energy, and resources.


Best quote from the book

“Making things more observable makes them easier to imitate, which makes them more likely to become popular.” – Jonah Berger, Contagious: Why Things Catch On


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

It’s hard to believe that this modern business classic (like all of Cialdini’s work) is over 30 years old. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion outlines 6 fundamental principles that change the way we make decisions. Cialdini calls these shortcuts, which make us jump to conclusions faster when triggered.


Key takeaways

  • Persuasion is both a science and an art.
  • If you are presented with two options and one is significantly different to the other, you’ll likely exaggerate the difference to yourself.
  • People learn from observing others.
  • Scarcity acts as an incentive.


Best quote from the book

“A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.” – Robert B. Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion


Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller

In his book, Donald Miller challenges readers to improve the way that they connect with their customers by using the seven universal elements of compelling stories.


He reveals to readers how they can help their customers understand that their products, services, or ideas are of absolute benefit to them. Ensuring the brand message is simple, understandable, and communicating effectively on websites, social media, and a brochure, for example, gives the reader the ultimate competitive advantage.


Key takeaways

  • Clarify your message, and people will listen
  • Think of your customer as a hero who requires your guidance.


Best quote from the book

“Here is nearly every story you see or hear in a nutshell: A CHARACTER who wants something encounters a PROBLEM before they can get it. At the peak of their despair, a GUIDE steps into their lives, gives them a PLAN, and CALLS THEM TO ACTION. That action helps them avoid FAILURE and ends in a SUCCESS.” – Donald Miller, Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen


The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk! By Al Ries & Jack Trout

There are laws of marketing just as there are laws of nature. This is according to Jack Trout and Al Ries, who noted that the laws of physics such as gravity must be followed to get a plane to fly. Similarly, they give a set of rules that ought to be followed for a business to be successful and stay successful. Succeeding in the international marketplace depends on how well you observe The Law of the Category, The Law of Leadership and The Law of The Mind.


Key takeaways

  • Compete to build strong perceptions of your products.
  • In marketing, it is more powerful to own a word in the mind of prospects.
  • Success could lead to arrogance, after which, failure is inescapable.


Best quote from the book

“Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products.” – Al Ries & Jack Trout, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk!



Though this list contains just 10 books, I’m incredibly confident that the material in each one of these books will change the way you look at marketing and also give you new tactics and insights into the field.

Apply what’s in these books in your day-to-day work and you’ll continue to grow in your role.

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About post author

Craig Griffiths the founder of SearchUp, a digital marketing agency. With just over 9 years experience in search marketing, he has been trusted to deliver campaigns for some of the biggest brands in the world.
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