The 10 Best Books On Online Marketing for Small
to Mid-Size Business

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I’ll admit that my list of the 10 best books on online marketing is not based on scientific studies, surveys of the top “gurus” or Amazon sales. I compiled this list from my extensive reading, years of experience and, frankly, my bookshelf. I own all the books on this list. And for darned good reasons.

There are thousands of books on marketing. Too many of them are full of theory or esoteric nonsense only a college marketing professor would care about. I just care about what worked for who and what got measurable results.

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I’m also only interested in Online Marketing because that’s what I do. And I only do it for small to mid-size businesses. I know what works and what doesn’t (from hard-won experience) and the 10 books I list here are filled with advice, information and how-to tools that I use to propel my clients to the top of Google, Bing and Yahoo.

So, let’s get to book one…

SUBLIMINAL PERSUASION – Influence & Marketing Secrets They Don’t Want You To Know

Okay, that’s a pretty cheesey title. But it got my attention. Actually, ‘subliminal persuasion’ is what got my attention because most marketing is ‘hit you over the head’ obvious and mostly annoys people. Which is why they invented the mute button for TVs and the fast forward button for DVRs. People won’t tolerate the ‘business as usual’ advertising any more.

This is the best book I’ve ever read about the idea that marketing presented as and couched within a ‘story’ that appeals to our universal archetypes will sell every time. Direct marketers have known this for years. And they have labored in relative obscurity making millions for the companies smart enough to use them.

If you read no other book on this list; read this one. It will open your eyes to a whole new world of what truly effective marketing is all about. You’ll also read a sinister and detailed explanation as to why the US has become such a consumption-focused society.

Subliminal Persuasion: Influence & Marketing Secrets They Don't Want You To KnowBook link


This book is a great companion to SUBLIMINAL PERSUASION. This one was written by a professional corporate pitchman. In other words, he’s a hired gun used by corporations to get killer results at their trade shows or presentations.

If you ever go to a trade show and every booth has one or two visitors while one is crowded with people, you can be pretty sure Joel Bauer is either the guy at the booth or it’s someone who uses the same tricks Joel does.

Essentially, Joel has studied carneys, gamblers, hypnotist, magicians, speakers, successful politicians and all the other great persuaders of society to develop his own brand of subliminal persuasion. And his methods can be adapted for almost any type of sales. I use his tricks when I’m writing copy, articles or blog posts for clients. I also use them to create my online marketing and link-building campaigns. Don’t miss out on this book.

You should read these first two books before you read any of the others. The background and basics they give you will multiply the effects of every other one of the books recommended on this page.

How to Persuade People Who Don't Want to be Persuaded: Get What You Want-Every Time!Book link

GETTING EVERYTHING YOU CAN OUT OF ALL YOU’VE GOT – 21 Ways You Can Out-Think, Out-Perform, and Out-Earn the Competition.

If you’ve never heard of Jay Abraham, you’ve missed out on one the premier marketing geniuses of our time. Here’s what Harvey Mackay has to say about this book: “This is a take-home value like I’ve never seen – real, applicable action steps that can’t miss. Jay is America’s #1 Marketing Wizard.” And we all know Harvey ‘ain’t no slouch’ in the marketing field.

Jay Abraham charges major corporations $5,000 per hour to consult with them. This is the ultimate ‘get the most bang for your marketing buck’ book. And everything in this book can be used by any business regardless of whether you’re a massage therapist working out of your home or a $50,000,000 a year industrial manufacturing corporation.

Getting Everything You Can Out of All You've Got: 21 Ways You Can Out-Think, Out-Perform, and Out-Earn the CompetitionBook link

THE IRRESISTIBLE OFFER – How to Sell Your Product or Service in 3 Seconds or Less

Another cheesy title. However, the author, Mark Joyner has a point. When someone arrives at your website, you have approximately 3 seconds to convince them you understand their problem and have the right solution.

People like me get paid a lot of money to come up with taglines, headlines, or with companies smart enough to know just how important and integrated their marketing needs to be, an Irresistible Offer.

Mark Joyner is ex-Military Intelligence. He brought the discipline of propaganda into the marketing field. And it influences everything he teaches. Some of the ideas he espouses are downright scary. Primarily because they work and work really well.

Propaganda is the art of winning a war without firing a shot. In the slightly less blood-thirsty field of marketing, this is the advantage you want on your side when you go to was in the marketplace. I highly recommend this book.

The Irresistible Offer: How to Sell Your Product or Service in 3 Seconds or LessBook link

WEB COPY THAT SELLS – The Revolutionary Formula for Creating Killer Copy Every Time

There’s a very good reason I’m following up Mark Joyner’s book with this one from Maria Veloso. Maria worked for Mark Joyner for years. When Maria first started working for Mark, she was an accomplished off-line copywriter.

Under Mark’s tutelage, she became an online copywriting wizard. To the point that she wrote a six-page website sales letter that pulled in $18,000 in two days. I can tell you right now, I memorized this book. If you’re smart, you will too.

Web Copy That Sells: The Revolutionary Formula for Creating Killer Copy Every TimeBook link

WEB DESIGN FOR ROI – Turning Browsers into Buyers & Prospects into Leads

This is a marvelous book to read BEFORE you start a website design or re-design of an existing website. It covers every aspect of creating a website totally focused on creating sales or sales leads.

There is no fluff in this book. It is a non-stop mélange of powerful ‘how-to’ chapters covering everything from creating ‘personas’ (fictitious characters that represent each of your buyer types) to creating 'landing pages,’ ‘category pages,’ and ‘detail pages.’ If you don’t know what these are, you seriously need to get this book.

There are also plenty of case studies and images of existing websites so you can see exactly what they are talking about and visualize how to do the things they recommend to get the results you want. If you have a website, and you want it to convert more people into buyers or leads, you should have this book.

Web Design for ROI: Turning Browsers into Buyers & Prospects into LeadsBook link

MULTIPLE STREAMS OF INTERNET INCOME – How Ordinary People Make Extraordinary Money Online

This book is a real eye-opener for business people. Many of the business owners I’ve turned on to this book were flabbergasted when they realized how many ways there are to make money on the Internet.

Too many business people just try to apply off-line sales and marketing ideas to the Internet. And then they are frustrated when their websites are utter failures at bringing in sales or sales leads. This book by Robert Allen (of Multiple Streams of Income fame and No Money Down fame) isn’t a detailed ‘how-to.’ Rather, it just shows you how many different ways there are to make money on the Internet and leverage your products, services and knowledge into more streams of income. The book was a revelation the first time I read it.

Multiple Streams of Internet Income: How Ordinary People Make Extraordinary Money Online, 2nd EditionBook link

How to Use the Internet to Advertise, Promote and Market Your Business or Website with Little or No Money

I've pulled more tricks out of this book than a magician has rabbits. There's a bout 45 tabs in this book where I've earmarked pages full of highlighted tools.

There are chapters on Automating Your Website, Getting Business With Ezines and Newsletters, How to Use An Autoresponder, Search engine Optimization, Business Directories, Pay Per Click Advertising, Affiliate Programs, Ebay and case studies to help you see the actual application of some of these methods.

This isn't the end-all-do-all book on online marketing but it sure is loaded with enough goodies to keep you busy for the next year trying to implement everything.

How to Use the Internet to Advertise, Promote and Market Your Business or Website with Little or No MoneyBook link

THE NON-DESIGNER’S DESIGN BOOK – Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice

You can always tell website pages or flyers or documents or brochures designed by amateurs. They ‘feel’ out-of-balance or crowded or they don’t flow properly or they are so confusing your eyes don’t know where to go first. Or they’re just plain ugly.

I’m not a visual person. I’m a writer. When I went back to college to get a degree in Technical Communication, this book was required reading. It is the perfect book for those of us who aren’t graphic designers and don’t have the eye.

It is simple to read, easy to understand, and Robin Williams gives wonderful examples showing how flyers, brochures, business cards and more should be laid out. I would be lost without this book. It has sat next to me for years and will continue to be within easy reach for many years more. My copy is a First Edition. It's ragged, worn, torn and filled with ‘sticky note’ tabs with notes scribbled on them. And the only way you’ll get my copy is from my cold, dead fingers.

Non-Designer's Design Book, The (3rd Edition)Book link

BRAG! – The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It

Peggy Klaus bills herself as a Fortune 500 Communication Coach. And she’s absolutely amazing. This book taught me the finer points of creating an ‘elevator pitch’ that sells without sounding like I’m selling.

I’ve belonged to several networking groups and visited hundreds more over the years. If there was ever a book that was desperately needed by most small business people, it’s this one. Too many people simply don’t ‘get’ the concept of selling yourself. They tend to be either too brash or too wimpy. Either way, they can get some serious help from this book.

This book teaches self-promotion in all its varied forms from the quick pitch to voice mail and email. She also shatters a lot of myths related to self-promotion and teaches you the art of subtlety when selling yourself.

Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing ItBook link

Related articles:

I have a free Unique Selling Proposition worksheet on my website that only readers of this newsletter have access to. It will take you through a step-by-step process to develop a potent USP for any small business.

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Internet Marketing expert WordsmithBob helps small to mid-size businesses DOMINATE the Net! WordsmithBob combines organic search engine optimization, strategic link building, social media marketing and pay per click advertising to double or triple your business. Download our FREE 38 page Online Marketing Primer to learn about the most effective online marketing methods available today.


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