1. Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz. Schwartz, known as one of the greats in copywriting, wasn’t a “writer.” Instead, he understood that the copywriter’s true job is to understand the interplay between your audience’s desire and the market forces that shape that desire. He lays out the stages of a market and why certain messages work one year, bomb the next.
  2. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy. Published in 1985, this is a classic that shows clever, effective examples of ad copy, captions and sales letters that utilize timeless principles.
  3. Permission Marketing by Seth Godin. Along with everything else in our culture, marketing has been transformed by digital media. Godin provides wise insights into the empowered consumer, the move away from one-way broadcast messaging and toward two-way conversations that require trust-building, relationship-strengthening content.
  4. Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout. These two experts explain the idea of setting yourself apart and being unique in your market—or defining a new market category—in order to stand out from the crowd. This is true now more than ever.
  5. Influence by Robert Cialdini. Cialdini points out how to persuade your audience by explaining a variety of different studies that tap into the our human psychology.
  6. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel Pink. Whether we’re employees pitching colleagues on a new idea, entrepreneurs enticing funders to invest, or parents and teachers cajoling children to study, we spend our days trying to persuade others. Pink describes the six successors to the elevator pitch, the three rules for understanding another’s perspective, the five frames that can make your message clearer and more persuasive, and much more.
  7. Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath. Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? The brothers take a deep dive into the history of trend to show us the vital principles of winning ideas–and tell us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.
  8. The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman. Great copy is the heart and soul of the advertising business. Legendary copywriter Joe Sugarman provides proven guidelines and expert advice on what it takes to write copy that will entice, motivate, and move customers to buy. It’s great for immediate, practical help.

Marketing online can be lucrative but is also becoming more challenging as audiences grow more sophisticated. If you find you’re not getting the traffic or sales that you want from your marketing efforts, this list of books can really help.

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