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Nothing beats a good book if you’re hungry to learn. Those that are well written, by someone that either has bags of experience in the subject area or has carried out extensive research (or both), essentially serve as short-cuts to improvement in your own skills and performance. You don’t have to go through all of the trials and tribulations that the author went through, and can just skip to the good stuff.
And if your thirst for knowledge centers around email marketing, this is the article for you. We asked some of the world’s leading email marketers for their recommendations on the best email marketing books that have been written, and we’ve compiled a hit-list of books that anyone involved with this marketing channel would be well advised to devour.
When we started putting this together, our intention was to only focus on books that are specifically written about email marketing. But we quickly realized that there are many, many amazing books that contain concepts that can be truly game-changing when applied to email marketing. So rather than being a standard list of “The 10 Best Email Marketing Books” this article serves as a list of books that every email marketer should read.
Top Picks: Best Books to Read on Email Marketing
There were a lot of different books recommended by the email marketers we reached out to, but there were a handful that really stood out as they were mentioned multiple times. They also all happen to be specific to email marketing, so if you’re looking for the “best email marketing books to read,” this might be a good place to start.
1. E-Telligence: Email Marketing Isn’t Dead, the Way You’re Using It Is
If your email marketing efforts aren’t bearing any fruit and you can’t figure out why, this is a must-read. Kate Barrett uses her years of industry experience to take you on a journey from “this doesn’t work” to “email marketing rocks!”, walking you through auditing, optimizing and improving your email program, as well as advising you on the key areas of list growth and email deliverability.
2. Email Marketing Rules
Written by industry veteran, Chad White, “Email Marketing Rules” is suitable for anyone from the complete novice to experienced pro, and is ram-packed full of best practices based on years of real-world, in the trenches research, all nicely organized into well-structured, easy to digest sections.
3. Hillstrom’s Email Marketing Excellence
Not been paying enough attention to the data? Then you’re committing the most fatal of sins (in the realm of email marketing at least), and this book will help to put you on the right path. Hillstrom’s Email Marketing Excellence takes a forensic approach to helping you understand subscriber behavior and measure the success of your email campaigns.
4. The New Inbox
In this book, Simms Jenkins helps you to understand how email marketing fits into the modern marketing world. Having been at the helm of one of the world’s leading email marketing agencies for years, this read is full of practical advice on what works, and comes complete with case studies and real-world examples to help you succeed.
5. Deliverability Inferno
If you want to hone in on email deliverability, then this is a great resource to read. Written by Chris Arrendale, “Deliverability Inferno” helps to break down the complex nature of this often misunderstood aspect of email marketing, helping you to understand the different factors that influence it and how you can take control and increase the chances of your campaigns reaching the inbox.
Other Books Recommended for Email Marketers By Email Marketers
In this section we’re going to show you a quick overview of the rest of the recommendations that were put forward, which we’ve sorted into some rough categories for you.
Specific to Email Marketing
Relationships + Audiences
New Releases Worth Checking Out:
Read What The Experts Said
Below we’ve published exactly what each expert had to say when we asked them for their recommendations on the books they deem to be “must reads” for anyone involved with email marketing. If you want to see what was said about a particular book, use the filters to jump right to the relevant content.
- Email Marketing Rules
- Hillstrom's Email Marketing Excellence
- The New Inbox
- Deliverability Inferno
- The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing
- Email Persuasion
- 300 Email Marketing Tips
- Total E-mail Marketing
- Email Marketing Demystified
- Everybody Writes
- Keys to Great Writing
- Nonviolent Communication
- Back of the Napkin
- Made to Stick
- Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion
- Predictably Irrational
- Thinking - Fast and Slow
- You Should Test That
- Drilling Down
- Microsoft PowerPivot for Excel 2010
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
- We Are All Weird
- The Jobs To Be Done Handbook
- The One to One Future
- The Power of Moments
- Great at Work
- The One Thing
- The Effective Executive
- The Art of War
- Taking Down Goliath
- Bullshit Jobs
- Generation Ageless
- Agile for Everybody
- Digital Marketing
- On Emotional Intelligence
- E-Telligence: Email Marketing Isn’t Dead, the Way You’re Using It Is – “If you are looking for a detailed book on how to audit, optimize and increase the sophistication of your email marketing program, you should read Kate Barrett’s book, “E-Telligence: Email Marketing Isn’t Dead, the Way You’re Using It Is”. It’s one of the most comprehensive and newest reads on how to effectively manage the complexities required to resonate with email subscribers today. If you follow Barrett’s prescriptive advice and framework, you will see improvement in your email programs fairly quickly. It’s a brilliant read!”
- The New Inbox: Why Email Marketing is the Digital Marketing Hub in a Social & Mobile World – “I recommend this book because it helps put email marketing into the broader context of digital marketing — specifically mobile and social media. Jenkins shares proof points of email and cross-channel success through case study examples. It’s a must read for any email marketer seeking to think of email in a broader context of how it can have an impact on other channels.”
- Everybody Writes – “Not specific to email, but great copywriting is essential — no matter your job title. What I love about “Everybody Writes” is its refreshing take on connecting with your audience vs. writing just to sound smart. Hint: Talking “smart” usually makes you more difficult to understand, and brevity is especially key in email. So this book can help you make your email marketing more impactful. Plus, it’s a fun and quick read!”
- E-telligence: Email marketing isn’t dead, the way you’re using it is – “Seriously, how many times have we been told that email marketing is dead? This relatively new book is a practical, easy-to-follow guide on how to give your email marketing strategy the oomph it needs. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, there are great tips for everyone! I especially like how it touches on the operational and technical sides of email, too, so you get a more 360-degree view of everything email.”
Total E-mail Marketing – “A solid book for beginners. Easy to read with examples throughout.
It delivers a solid foundation of all elements that are needed for successful email marketing. Including list growth, creative and targeting.
It was published a few years ago so doesn’t cover current advanced topics for email marketing. However, as a beginner those are not the topics you need.
You’ll find the core principles covered are a great guide, as you continue to expand email marketing knowledge with practice experience.”
Keys to Great Writing – “Email is naturally conversational. Many people make the error of worrying more about the artistic design of the email than the words. That’s a mistake.
Whilst this book it not dedicated to email marketing it is hugely relevant. To subject lines, calls to action and body copy.
An excellent guide to powerful copy, how to structure sentences, how to use punctuation, how to add emphasis. Simply how to make your point.
An easy read with examples illustrating how small changes make a big difference to copy.
You’ll find the book a double win. Not only does it make your marketing copy better, but also anything you’re writing. Such as emails to your work colleagues – give them impact and get the results you desire.”
Microsoft PowerPivot for Excel 2010: Give Your Data Meaning – “Don’t worry about the 2010 title, this book is just as relevant to Excel today as Excel 2010 version.
PowerPivot is a hidden jewel of Excel. If you don’t have a data analyst on your team or business intelligence department then PowerPivot is the most accessible tool for doing advanced data analysis.
Email marketing is underpinned by getting insight from your data. PowerPivot is my tool of choice for this.
If you are a data geek who is already comfortable with Pivot tables and complex Excel formulae then upscale to PowerPivot.
PowerPivot is an advanced skill, not for the faint hearted. The book is suitable for PowerPivot beginners and intermediates.
Before reading this book I’d played with PowerPivot but felt I was missing out on getting the best from this powerful tool. Only after reading did I realise how much I was missing out.”
Traction – “You’ve got vision for your email marketing but are struggling to get traction and make it happen. Sound familiar?
You’re not alone. Very often complete businesses suffer the same problem. Vision goes unrealized due to lack of traction.
The book Traction, by Gino Wickman, explains a simple set of tools known as the Entrepreneurial Operating System® or EOS for short. A set of tools and disciplines that help entrepreneurial businesses become better businesses. Ultimately achieving their vision.
I’ve used EOS in its purest form, day in, day out, whilst running a marketing team. The business grew 54% to $10m in the last 3 years. I can say first-hand EOS works. In fact, 1000’s of business have adopted EOS.
Whilst EOS addresses the whole business, you’ll find the 90 day planning method, priority setting, score carding and methods to drive accountability effective in a marketing team.
It’s well written and easy to read. If you’re short on time then for marketing read Chapters 3, 5 and 8 as a minimum. If you’re a team lead or manager in marketing add to that Chapter 4.
Start with Chapter 1 which gives an overview of EOS and the book contents. Get Chapter 1 from this free download.”
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions – “I first heard Dan speak at an email marketing conference years ago. This book was given out to attendees. I found it a great read with lots of useful information about how humans make or don’t make decisions. Specifically about purchases and what drives those decisions/indecisions. It’s a great look at the human psyche to understand the decision process to which all purchase decisions are driven.
While not covered in the book, if I remember correctly, he said if you offer someone 2 products, let’s say 2 dresses, one costs $40 and the other $350, 75-80% will not make a decision to buy as in our heads we think, I don’t want the cheap one but I also don’t want to pay $350. But by adding a third option say, a dress at $125-$150, now 60% will make a decision to buy as they get a middle choice. (All based on the target audience.)”
- Email Marketing Rules – “Chad has been a fixture in email marketing for many years. He has a great pulse on what is foundational to email and what is cutting edge as well. In this book, which is best for beginners to intermediate email marketers, he covers many of the topics you’ll need to build a strong foundation and covers many “Best Practices” though I’m not a fan of calling anything a best practice, as what may be a best practice for one company may not be for another. Nevertheless, there is a ton of great info for the start-up, beginner and intermediate email marketer. A good read.”
- 300 Email Marketing Tips – “This is another very good book for those starting and even those with a few years under their belt with email marketing experience. There are some great tips and tests to try and execute. She covers many topics throughout email both B2B and B2C. Easy to read and it has real value in her tips.”
- Email Persuasion – “This book is a must for email marketing newbies, as it presents fundamental knowledge of the field. The author shares his quick tips and cases studies, so you can use them from the very start.”
- Drilling Down. Turning Customer Data into Profits with a Spreadsheet – “I really appreciate this book. It’s all about basic analytics. It’s very comprehensive and quite simple to understand even for novices. After reading it, even if you have no analytics tools, you can start to make data-driven decisions, using spreadsheets, and improve your communication with customers – growing their loyalty and achieving bigger revenue numbers.”
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – “It’s the classic book on persuasion, explaining the psychology of why people say “yes” — and how to apply these understandings. I’m totally convinced that the principles of social proof, authority, affinity, consistency, reciprocity, and deficit work great in email marketing. It’s worth reading and implementing.”
- The Art of War – “While knowing Email at Einstein levels is very necessary, understanding how to navigate the corporate environment is typically where most Email Marketers tend to fail. The Art of War is a great read in helping one understand the priorities of your approach as a general would at war. These same principals when applied to business will enable you to pursue your goals with more focus and confidence.”
- The Effective Executive – “Another one I highly recommend. This is a book that I would classify as “old school business”. Essentially, the book provides the definitive principals of the how and the why as to what makes a great executive. As a leader, it is imperative that you understand what your priorities are in terms of handling your personnel as well as yourself. This book provides excellent foundational values.”
The One to One Future – “This book is often heralded to have revolutionised marketing. It also inspired me to build a career in the industry. It is a book that pioneered and prophesied the need for brands to move away from mass marketing to having a customer-centric approach. When originally written, the internet was not yet ubiquitous and technology had not advanced. But yet Don Peppers and Martha Rogers were able to predict the rise of the customer and that those businesses that focused on taking the product to relevant customer segments would be the ones to succeed. It is even rumoured that Jeff Bezos built Amazon off the concepts within this book. After all their mission is “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company…”
It is one of the best foundation marketing books that every email marketer should read, and whilst the examples may be dated, the concepts are ever more important to know now than they were then. However, what is really exciting for marketers today is that now the concept of true one-to-one marketing can be a reality. Marketing automation technology has advanced enough to enable marketers to deliver relevant and personalised customer experiences at scale. So to read this book and to understand the importance of the concepts is not only crucial for you to drive business success, but also for you to drive your career success.”
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – “One of the best books on human behaviour, an essential understanding for any marketer. Why do people say “Yes” and how can you influence others to say “Yes” too! Psychological understanding and application is often forgotten by many marketers especially in digital marketing. In this book, Cialdini outlines the 6 “Principles of Persuasion”, and by applying many of the principles to marketing copy and tactics, it can help you drive the objectives your business needs. Peppered with tons of great examples, it is a great marketing reference book for those at any level.”
Chad S. White
- Deliverability Inferno – “Email deliverability is a complex and difficult aspect of email marketing to understand. “Deliverability Inferno” by Chris Arrendale does a great job of breaking down all of the elements that contribute to inbox placement so that marketers can focus on each one in turn. At a little over 100 pages, it’s a quick read and fantastic primer on what brands need to understand if they want to stay in the good graces of inbox providers and their subscribers.”
“Seems that everyone has a book these days. Some of them are not worth the paper they’re written on (or screen they’re displayed on) but yet, some of them are amazing resources for building your knowledge base. In the email space, it’s critical to take the time to read and research.
Online publications, books, webinars – they all take us out of the tactical execution of our day-to-day jobs and help us provide more complexity and relevancy to our programs. Add to that, the average email marketer is one for about 2 years before they move on. This constant refresh on our industry means that with the time we have, we maximize our effectiveness.
After about 20 years of working in the email industry, I can tell you my three book choices are solid investments of time. They not only give practical examples of programs, approaches, strategies and tactics, but they’re easy to read. Nope, they’re not like a college professor lecturing you until you fall asleep, but they’re insightful and valuable from the first page. Enjoy!”
- Email Marketing Rules – “Chad White is a legend in the email industry and this book is so well needed in the industry. Think about it, we all have questions and struggles in our job and knowing the best way to proceed. This book is as much a reference as it is leading you to better program development and learning from Chad’s vast experience on the front lines of email. Chad has done an incredible amount of research over the years, so know that what you’re reading is based in not only fact, but proven methods. It’s not the be all and end all (but damn close), and everything you consider should be tested, but I will say that Chad is a leader and award winner for a reason.”
- The New Inbox – “Simms, one of the most successful people in this industry is the CEO of Brightwave, and Ansira Company and has been leading marketers to success for nearly 2 decades. This is Simms’s second book and in it, he reminds us all of where we’ve been as an industry and the evolution of the space that fits within the customer expectations and mindset. It consolidates a lot of the common discussions and strategies that we talk about at conferences, articles and in clients’ offices. Throughout the book, Simms paints a picture through real world examples on how to do the things he’s talking about. It’s an amazing resource as Simms has a keen eye on not only what works, but what a client/marketer can handle. This is a must read for every email marketer!”
- Taking Down Goliath – “Picture this. You’re an email marketer and you’ve got little budget, big demands and emails flying around the earth at light speed. Well, when you’re in that position (or many others in your career) you’re going to be up against someone bigger than you. My friend Kevin Ryan along with Rob Graham wrote “Taking Down Goliath” and talk through strategies to beat companies 100x your size. Now, while this is not an email marketing book per se, what it does is set a mindset. You have to be not only scrappy, but innovative in the email (or any) space. You have to think bigger, move faster and crush it and that only comes with a clear path forward that starts inside that noggin of yours and with clear and proven strategies. This book walks through digital strategies and gets you in the zone. Where you need to be to survive.”
- Deliverability Inferno – “This is my first recommendation of a book that every email marketer should read. Chris does a fantastic job in breaking down what Email Deliverability is, why it’s “a thing” and how marketers are in control of their own inbox placement. Email is not an easy channel to use and there’s a lot that goes into preparing an email campaign for deployment. It doesn’t help that spammers make it more difficult for legitimate email to arrive into a subscriber’s inbox. By following Chris’s guidance, your email campaigns will most certainly have better engagement and drive a bigger return on the investment.”
- Email Marketing Demystified – “This book does a great job of explaining Email Marketing in clear, precise language and also includes real world examples. It’s not just about theory and best practices. Matthew provides several actionable takeaways that can be implemented the very next day. It’s great for beginners and intermediate email marketers in that it blends technical pieces, but does it in a way that is easy for the reader to understand. I highly recommend this read to anyone that is involved with Email Marketing.”
- How to Win Friends and Influence People – “I’m going old school here. Books come and go and without a doubt, one of the seminal business books that’s truly stood the test of time is “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Written over 80 years ago – and way before the first email was ever sent – Carnegie lays out a masterpiece for how to cultivate relationships. As an email marketer, this is what I’m striving for with my subscribers, albeit on a different medium, so learning how to be personable and develop customer trust is of paramount importance. As Carnegie wrote, “The rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage.” Try adding a bit of that into your email marketing campaigns and watch how customers respond.”
- E-telligence: Email marketing isn’t dead, the way you’re using it is – “It’s periodically said that email is dead, but it somehow keeps coming back to life. In my opinion, email as a digital channel is very much alive and well, but the way many use it is broken. Kate’s book is a fantastic look at how to make email a critical and valuable element in marketing strategy. Email truly underpins most other marketing efforts, and serves as a wonderful foundation for lifecycle marketing and relationship building. Get advice from an expert on how to make it work for you in this read.”
- The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing – “This is a hands-on guide to making your email efforts work for your organization, even when you’re not confident it will. This book is a great reference for any level of email marketer, and speaks well to the way we use email: as professionals, as consumers, as brands, and as humans. Learn heaps of great tips on the opportunities email gives us, and especially learn how to break the rules and the things we previously knew about this valuable channel.”
- Audience: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans & Followers – “All brands and organisations need audiences: it’s where we find new customers, nurture relationships, and foster communication. Yet, many treat their audiences, even developed one, as silos and as afterthoughts. In Jeff’s book, he helps us to see our audiences as valuable pieces of our business and teaches us important lessons on how to build and maintain lasting, strong relationships with these communities. This advice is applicable across any organization, for any professional, and for any channel.”
“There are three books that have had a profound impact on how I see the market, the consumer and applied technology. All email marketers need to understand email is a really impersonal commercial channel, regardless of how personalized it is. While this list is not a “how to be a better email marker” they are life long references to fundamentals that I believe new marketing professionals need to have a strong foundation in in order to grasp the next generation of marketing where machines and decisioning technologies will outpace human’s ability to moderate experiences.
Email marketing is not just a medium; it facilitates functional needs for consumers. Critical to understanding timing, channel bias, location, context, and the fleeting changes that are affected by life-stage milestones (graduation, buying a first home, having children, etc.) and external macro considerations, is to understand how and why humans do what they do, not just observing what they have done. This base is so fundamental to anyone in email marketing that wants to have more impact on Customer Experience, vs. licking stamps.”
- Habit – “This book is a fascinating view of the mind in the context of buying, shopping, learning and explores the subtleties of how consumers make decisions through the unconscious and conscious mind. All marketers should understand the psychology of how habits are formed and how purchase decisions are influenced by where, when and how you are exposed to brand stimuli.”
- Generation Ageless – “I’m mesmerized by the differences in how active living generations operate and the influence on society. While there is a great deal published on Millennials, Boomers, Gen X/Y, this book is a great primer to level set on the Boomers which are a highly influential generation, yet aging population, but still has the most impact on financial markets, consumer buying, and wealth distribution.”
- Back of the Napkin – “In an ever-increasing distributed workforce, communication is so vital to sustaining a culture that can articulate ideas without writing novels. Back of the Napkin is a must-have resource for any marketer starting out, as it provides constructs for how to draw ideas in ways that communicate ideas and bring people together. It’s a lost art, with web conferencing, yet has a dramatic effect on how people share ideas, how ideas travel and simplifying complex thinking. Marketing is getting complex, how you communicate shouldn’t. In my interviews with potential candidates, I always end the interview with an exercise, whereby the candidate will have to visualize their life and career goals on a whiteboard without “words”.. it forces you to think of things very abstractly and to communicate a clear thought.”
“These are three books you will reference over and over in your career, as they are timeless!”
Agile for Everybody: Creating Fast, Flexible, and Customer-First Organizations – “The book I recommend is a great read for marketers challenged to adapt to constant change. Email is always evolving, always, but many email marketers are of the understanding that email best practices are a list of rules that doesn’t change and that’s simply not true. What is changing the most now for email marketers is drilling down to the 1-to-1 communications that subscribers, members and customers want in order to stay engaged. Putting the audience into predefined buckets, personas, segments based on what cohorts most likely have in common and writing messaging to that level, won’t be good enough in 2020.
A.I. will have a huge impact on being able to craft messaging to the individual level at scale and email marketers will need to embrace that as well as know the tech behind the curtain. An agile marketer always keeps customer experience top of mind and this book is a great playbook on how to do that.”
- We Are All Weird: The Rise of Tribes and the End of Normal – “A friend recommended this author, and his seminal book Permission Marketing, to me. Whilst Permission Marketing is still a fascinating piece of work, the book I’m reading is more up-to-date and covers an area that I’ve been particularly involved with in recent years; targeting the individual. Organising our audiences into tribes can be helpful, but remembering that we’re all a bit weird can be the most important lesson to learn.”
- Digital Marketing – “If you want to be a student of marketing then this book should most definitely be on your reading list. Even if you’ve been in this business for many years there are some real gems contained in this text, including some great case studies. We should never stop learning!”
“There are 3 books that I buy for every member of the Email Marketing Mastery Incubator, mostly because I think they’re the 3 most invaluable books for any email marketer to read…”
- Email Marketing Rules – “Does this book need any further explanation? Chad knows email inside and out (he was the head of research at Litmus, after all) and his book lays out the basics and then some. Everyone can learn from this book: from seasoned email marketers all the way to the very brand new beginner. It’s a regular reference point for me and a must-read for my students.”
- The Jobs To Be Done Handbook – “Knowing how to craft emails is one thing, knowing the why behind those emails is another. And the only way to get to the why is through the very people who will be reading them. Enter Jobs to be Done: a framework for surveys and interviews you can run with your customers to find out exactly why they “hired” your product in the first place. Once you know that, writing emails is easy! There are a lot of resources out there about JTBD but this book is written by the creators of the method so I prefer to go straight to the source.”
- Nonviolent Communication – “Not often considered a business book, NVC is circulated amongst small but smart business owners who understand that communication is everything. 90% of working with clients (whether you’re in-house or freelance) is communicating with people and Nonviolent Communication will teach you how to be effective with your words. I use this book every day!”
Email Marketing Rules – “I have read many books about digital marketing over my career, but there is only one that I continue to reference regularly and recommended to marketers and industry colleagues alike…that book is Chad S. White’s “Email Marketing Rules”.
Email Marketing Rules is an exceptional resource for new and experienced email marketers alike. The book is in its third edition, and is filled with a wealth of knowledge on all things email marketing from best practices, tips, and the fundamentals of an effective email marketing program. The book is organized in concise easy-to-follow sections, and includes illustrations and key takeaways that help marketers understand the complex topic that is email marketing strategies. Best of all, Chad’s writing style is structured, easy to follow, and conversational in tone.
This book is an amazing asset to reference and I have learned A LOT over the years from Chad. I highly recommended this book for anyone in email marketing, novices and veterans alike!”
Hillstrom’s Email Marketing Excellence – “There are lots of books that cover email marketing generally (I like to think mine is the best, but there are plenty to choose from). So I’m going to nominate Hillstrom’s Email Marketing Excellence by Kevin Hillstrom which is a very specialised book.
It’s a short book that focuses entirely on email marketing metrics and forensics. It goes way beyond the simplistic use of open and click rates to build a model for understanding the effectiveness of your emails. It also covers more advanced measurement and testing systems such as doing mail/holdout tests.
If you’ve already read plenty on setting up email systems, getting subscribers and writing emails, a great next step is to read this book to see how to properly measure and test the effectiveness of your emails. It’ll make everything else you learn and do so much more effective.”
- You Should Test That – “This is a great book for learning and understanding the ‘why’ and ‘how’ you should be conducting tests. Whilst it’s not specifically addressing how to test in email, the insights can be brought over and implemented within the email channel. It’s incredibly insightful and a must-read for any email marketer who wants to improve their email programs.”
- Hillstrom’s Email Marketing Excellence – “I’ve had the pleasure of speaking at a conference in Sweden alongside of Kevin, and have been an avid follower and admirer ever since. He brings unique insights into email marketing and questions what we currently do – all based on data.”
- Thinking, Fast and Slow – “I believe it’s essential for we as marketers to understand as much of human behaviour as we can. Nobel Memorial Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, reveals insights into why we do what we do, enabling you to then carry this information over to help you to better understand your customer’s decision-making processes.”
“The Heath Brothers’ books are a great resource for experienced and beginner marketers. They’re packed with great practical examples of how people think and what motivates them.”
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die – “If you’re going to be a successful marketer, you need to know how to be memorable. Favorite concept: The Curse of Knowledge.”
- Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard – “All about making a desired action happen. Favorite concept: Tweak the Environment.”
- The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact – “his one is for the marketer who really wants to make a lasting impact to surprise & delight. Favorite concept: Break the Script”
- The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results – “Like it or not, email is a highly visible channel. When everyone sees your work, everyone has feedback for how it can be better. It can be really tough to prioritize making big, impactful changes when you’re being pulled in a thousand different directions. “The One Thing” is one of my favorite books because it gives you a framework for prioritizing the things that matter both at work and at home. When you’re able to focus on making an impact, you get better results. Better results make for happier work. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.”
- On Emotional Intelligence (HBR’s 10 Best Reads) – “Email marketers are often working with developers, designers, data teams, sales, you name it. When you’re working with so many different individuals who all have their own set of priorities, you have to get really good at managing expectations and emotions or you’ll end up really frustrated with your work. (In that same vein, “Email Takes Resilience” from the wonderful Jason Rodriguez is the single most relatable piece of writing I think most email marketers will read on the challenges of working in email) This collection of articles from HBR is an awesome guide for not only improving your own EQ but also fostering a culture of openness, communication, and alignment within your organization.”
- E-telligence: Email marketing isn’t dead, the way you’re using it is – “Kate is that rarest of things in the world of email – a natural storyteller, who is a jack of all trades AND master of all. In this book, she’s managed to squeeze her wealth of knowledge into just under 300 highly readable pages. For email marketers who are looking to up their game, it’s an essential read that covers all the key topics: acquistion; list growth; creative; segmentation; automation; testing; program strategy; measurement and reporting; technology and deliverability – all in one great book! Kate is naturally passionate about email, and after reading her book it’s hard not to feel a little of that passion yourself!”
- Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better and Achieve More – “This one is for managers of email teams. In the DMA’s 2019 Marketer Email Tracker report, the second biggest challenge to effective email marketing is “limited internal resource” (40% of respondents, and beaten only by “limited budget” – which has a direct impact on resource anyway!). This book’s central mantra is “do less, then obsess” and it explores 8 core principles to achieve this. i.e. scale back all the extraneous stuff, focus on what’s most important, and do it really, really well. Challenge all the unnecessary meetings, make sure every piece of work adds real value, etc. I got my team to implement the 3 they felt made most sense, and we’ve seen a major uplift in capacity since doing so – and they’re happier too!”
- Bullshit Jobs: The Rise of Pointless Work and What We Can Do About It – “At a recent email council meeting we were remarking on how few people in our industry actually trained for a career in email marketing. Many opportunistically find their way into email, and some even do so by complete accident! As a result, there is often an element of imposter syndrome – “is this a real job?” The good news is email marketing does not get referenced in this book (“a bullshit job is a form of paid employment that is so completely pointless, unnecessary or pernicious that even the employee cannot justify its existence!”) which comes as a huge relief! However, many in email will probably recognise the “duct tapers” sub-category – employees whose jobs exist because of glitches or faults in their organisations, and who are there to fix problems that ought not to exist in the first place (did I hear someone say “deliverability”?)”
Audience: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans and Followers – “This was one of the first books I read that truly focused on the core concept of an “audience” and how to build them, market to them, and engage with them. The primary goal of the book is to challenge marketers to go beyond using paid media and marketing strategies for short term sales or conversions, and identify ways to build long term solutions to increase the size, engagement, and monetization of their existing users and customers.
The book is divided into three parts; identifying and building the audience, utilizing a strategic plan to incorporate marketing efforts through multiple channels, and finally, delivering measurable results. Each channel has a dedicated chapter, and the chapter on email (“The Bedrock Audience”) is very well written and provides a comprehensive overview of strategy, practical applications, and execution.
I especially liked the clever use of ALL CAPS for referring to “specific, proprietary audiences” that are discussed throughout the book, making it easy to follow and highlight key audiences readers might be interested in throughout the book.
With the growth of cross-channel marketing and customer journeys as the prevailing strategy for B2B and B2C businesses, “Audience: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans and Followers” serves as an excellent starting point for any member of a marketing team, whether starting from scratch or looking to take things to the next level.”