Collection of best online marketing books

Dave Shrein


Best Online Marketing Books for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

Are you ready to get serious about your marketing? Looking for the best online marketing books and recommended reads?

There are plenty to choose from.

Before you make any purchase, there are 5 things you need to know before selecting, reading, and applying what you learn from online marketing books.

This Online Marketing Strategy Will Work… If You Will…

I have spent over $20,000 on online marketing education resources… books, courses, events, etc.

Because marketing revolves around predictable human behavior and established mental triggers, it is safe to say that nearly any training resource you take the time to evaluate and learn from will give you a system that works.

But will it work for you?

Only if you’re willing to put in the work.

There is no silver bullet. There is no complete ‘done-for-you’ system. Every strategy and blueprint will require you to do the work — or find someone to pay to do it for you.

If you are willing to consume the material, put in the effort to relate it to your context, and complete your marketing campaign initiatives, there is a very good chance that nearly any system you put into action will work.

Of course, there are nuances that may apply to the author or teacher that do not apply to your context and likewise, nuances that you will discover about your launch needs that won’t be covered in a blueprint you adopt.

But make no mistake… you are the one in the driver’s seat and if you’re willing to put in the work, the system you use will work for you.

Be Prepared to Fail and Try Again

The successful marketers, entrepreneurs, and business owners behind any system are (presumably) sharing with you something that took them years to perfect.

And it’s not just the system they’ve perfected — it’s everything in between the starting and finishing lines.

Chip and Joanna Gaines have a process for recovering and renovating homes that just flat out works. I’ve never renovated a home but I’ve seen enough of Chip and Joanna to know that rarely does any project fall right into place with their system. There is a constant need to stop, evaluate, reassess, and come up with a new solution.

What Chip and Joanna Gaines have that you and I won’t have in the beginning is experience.

When you adopt a system (whether it be a course, book, or franchise) you’re getting the blueprint but you still need to source the materials and assemble all of the pieces together. And that’s going to take some trial and error.

Just because your initial effort to apply what you’ve learned doesn’t go as planned doesn’t mean it was a failure. And it certainly doesn’t mean you are a failure. It simply means your best shot the first time around isn’t good enough and your second try will be more informed and more accurate.

Do not expect a blueprint to ensure success… it increases your odds at achieving your goal, and it certainly doesn’t hurt… but this is the first time you’ve built anything using that blueprint and the second time around you’ll do even better than the first time around.

Stop Learning About Online Marketing and Actually Start to Market Online

In 2018 I stopped reading marketing books, marketing attending conferences, and signing up for marketing courses.


Because I had spent 2014 buying every one of the best online marketing books that had been recommended to me, traveled all over the US attending events, and invested thousands of dollars learning to market.


One of my greatest weaknesses is wanting something for someone more than they want it for themselves. In many of my relationships I encounter individuals who have read every book, spent thousands of dollars learning from gurus, and they know every answer to every question.

But they have never actually successfully launched their business.

There is always ‘something’ they are waiting on.

If I’m being completely honest, I fall into this trap as well.

In 2021 I took some real time to evaluate why I had not fulfilled many of the plans I had made over the prior 24 months. What I decided is that the potential of success was outweighed by the fear of failure. It received more joy and pleasure from fantasizing about results and was hesitant to trade that fantasy in for something that I might fail at.

Don’t be like me and don’t be like the millions of people who never apply what they learn — they just take, take, take, and never give back.

Launch into a season of learning with the commitment to begin applying after so much time has passed. Learning something 25% and running is far better than understanding it 100% and never doing anything with it.

Become the beneficiary of your own brilliance.

Avoid Discounting and Dismissing What You Learn As “I’ve Already Tried That”

This lesson comes from Jeff Walker, author of Launch: An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula to Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live the Life Of Your Dreams.

In 2014, after I was fired unceremoniously from a job I loved, was good at, and had no intention of leaving, I attended my first marketing conference: Jeff Walker’s PLF Live in Scottsdale, Arizona.

During Jeff’s first session he explained that over the coming days he would walk everyone in attendance, step-by-step, through the building of their online marketing launch strategy.

There was one idea he shared that stuck with me: don’t dismiss anything I am about to teach you.

“As we go through there is going to be a temptation for you to think, ‘oh, I’ve already done that’ or ‘yeah, that didn’t work for me,’ — don’t do that. There are some things that we’re going to do and some nuances that you’re not aware of and I promise you, you need to do it like I tell you and do it fully.”

Dave Shrein at Jeff Walker's Product Launch Formula Live Event
The first online marketing event I ever attended was Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula in Scottsdale, Arizona.

These aren’t his words verbatim but they capture the essence of what he wanted to communicate.

Arrogance is your worst enemy in creating your online marketing plan. You will never be able to fully understand online marketing until you are willing to admin that everything you’ve ever learned about online marketing could be wrong.

(That last bit is from Dr. Eugene Chow. He has some amazing thoughts on neuroscience and why we are the way we are.)

As you learn and accumulate information, do not dismiss any of it. Jeff is 100% right — there are nuances that you probably didn’t get the first time around and bypassing them the second time around will ensure you don’t ever get the benefit of the strategy.

Do Not Become A Clone. Do Not Become Confused.

Do you ever read something on social media, think, “Yeah, this makes so much sense,” and then months later try and go back and find that thing you read?

I had to do that for this one.

One of my colleagues, Michael Lukaszewski, shared an idea that I had believed and adopted but never heard articulated.

As I was writing this article I tried on my own to recall exactly what he had said and finally I gave up and text him.

He said:

“Listen to only one person and you’ll become a clone. Listen to 1000 people and you’ll become confused.”

He is 100% right.

If you have followed Gary Vaynerchuk for any period of time longer than six-months you really don’t need to ask him any questions. You already know what he is going to say… and it will probably include the f-word.

Gary is such a larger than life character who talks a lot that it becomes pretty easy to hear his voice in your head and allow it to influence your decision. Which can be a good thing.

What’s not so good is allowing it to be the only voice in your head influencing you — why? Because you’re not Gary Vee.

Listening to only one voice brings so many benefits that it’s often difficult to spot the most dangerous downfall and that is becoming a clone of someone else and losing yourself in their personality.

The solution would then be to listen to a collection of voices, right?


Spend any time searching for the right online marketing mentor and you’ll discover that each educational approach pretty much mirrors the next one and includes some branding and messaging nuance to differentiate it from everything else.

In other words — you don’t need to learn the same thing from 15 different sources because it’s all the same thing and you’ll get lost in between the nuance.

The solution is to surround yourself with a few strong voices from a wide-range of industries, backgrounds, and life-stories. Find one marketing strategy that really makes sense to you and find a collection of voices that speak into different areas of your life such as your relationships, finances, business, etc.

The end-game should be to become a well-rounded individual who can use life experience to inform business expectations.

Don’t become a clone. Don’t become confused. Find the sweet spot in the middle and become a consistent version of yourself.

Best Online Marketing Books and Business Reading Recommendations

All of that said — I do have some books (and other resources) that I strongly recommend. These are book that have shaped me, informed me, educated me, corrected me, and encouraged me along my entrepreneurial journey.

Mind you, I never set out to become an entrepreneur… it just sort of happened.

Internet marketers became my college professors and their books and courses became my university. Without these titles below, the journey would have been (and would be) a lot different — probably for the worse.

I encourage you to select a few titles, consume them, and then put what you learn into practice.

Each of these online marketing book recommendations have something amazing to offer — and so do you! Use what you learn to reach the people who desperately need you!

  • Launch (Updated & Expanded Edition): How to Sell Almost Anything Online, Build a Business You Love, and Live the Life of Your Dreams by Jeff Walker (Amazon)
  • Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt (Amazon)
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (Amazon)
  • Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job by Jon Acuff (Amazon)
  • Start.: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters by Jon Acuff (Amazon)
  • Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff (Amazon)
  • Do Over: Make Today the First Day of Your New Career by Jon Acuff (Amazon)
  • Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking by Jon Acuff (Amazon)
  • Yes, I’m a Jon Acuff fan.
  • You Are The Brand: The 8-Step Blueprint to Showcase Your Unique Expertise and Build a Highly Profitable, Personally Fulfilling Business by Mike Kim (Amazon)
  • The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream by Paulo Coelho (Amazon)
  • How to Write Copy That Sells: The Step-By-Step System For More Sales, to More Customers, More Often by Ray Edwards (Amazon)
  • Entreleadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches by Dave Ramsey (Amazon)
  • Expert Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Converting Your Online Visitors into Lifelong Customers by Russell Brunson (Amazon)
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni (Amazon)
  • Advertising Headlines That Make You Rich: Create Winning Ads, Web Pages, Sales Letters and More by David Garfinkel (Amazon)
  • Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk (Amazon)
  • I Will Teach You to Be Rich, Second Edition: No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS. Just a 6-Week Program That Works by Ramit Sethi (Amazon)
  • Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller (Amazon)
  • Ask: The Counterintuitive Online Formula to Discover Exactly What Your Customers Want to Buy…Create a Mass of Raving Fans…and Take Any Business to the Next Level by Ryan Levesque (Amazon)
  • Fascinate, Revised and Updated: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist by Sally Hogshead (Amazon)
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie & Associates (Amazon)
  • Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek (Amazon)
  • To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink (Amazon)
  • Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell (Amazon)
  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell (Amazon)
  • Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell (Amazon)
  • David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell (Amazon)

Launch by Jeff Walker

You have accumulated knowledge and experience over the years and the only thing that holds you back from making true impact is your inability to scale your influence. In Jeff Walker’s books, Launch, any man or woman with the entrepreneur spirit will discover how to take their experience and transform it into an online classroom, earning passive income and changing the lives of those who are desperate for your message.


Quitter by Jon Acuff

You’ve started and left various jobs and perhaps your current job will be next on your list to leave. Though you may not realize it, every job you’ve had has been preparing you and allowing you to develop skills that you will one day need. Jon Acuff’s, Quitter, leads you on a discovery of what it is to use your current reality as a spring board for your destiny. This book is about the journey of learning from life’s experiences in order to prepare you for what you were always meant to become.


Platform by Michael Hyatt

If you’re the type of person who needs a straightforward checklist, Platform by Michael Hyatt is perfect for you. Quite honestly, much of what I’ve learned and implementing in communication and marketing is mentioned somewhere throughout the pages of this book. You can read this over and over and never be done with it.


Start by Jon Acuff

Have you dreamed of doing something great. Jon Acuff describes it as being awesome. Many of us are stuck in what it is to be average, and average never challenged anyone. For those of us with dreams of what it looks like to be extraordinary, the second we decide to Start we begin hearing voices that we never knew were there. Jon Acuff’s book, Start, is exactly what dreamers need to hear as they strive to move from average to awesome, punching fear in the face all along the way!


Good to Great by Jim Collins

What separates a good business from a great business? Though it may not sound like a big difference, there is a clear difference when you get down into the realities of what makes one over another. Good to Great by Jim Collins is an in depth study at what separates good companies from great companies. If you think it’s simply a particular leader, product or service, you’re wrong.

If you consider yourself a leader or influencer this is a must read.


The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

Are you still trying to get clear on what your dream is? Do have an idea of what you want to do but aren’t sure if there would be a market for it? Chris Guillebeau’s The $100 Startup is the perfect companion for those dreamers who are just looking for an excuse to get started in the pursuit of working their dream job. In this entrepreneurial must-read you will discover dozens of individuals who’s stories mirror those of every day people, like you and me.

Get the book, get inspired!


*The links provided on this page are affiliates and as an affiliate I will receive a small commission based upon final sale price. There is no added cost to you, the purchaser.

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