If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the fast-paced changes occurring in digital marketing, you’re not alone. But you don’t have to enroll in a two-year program or a certificate course just to keep your head above water. There are dozens of marketing experts who are eager to share their knowledge with you – for free.
We’ve compiled a list of our seven favorite ebooks that everyone working in the digital marketing space should read. They range from four page whitepapers to 20+page guides, and they all offer valuable insights from some of the top leaders in the industry.
You’ll notice three particular trends in these ebooks –They emphasize customers, data and content. And that’s no accident – these are the three trends shaping the future of digital marketing.
In no particular order, here are our picks for the top seven ebooks every digital marketer should read:
- The Definitive Guide to Social Marketing by Marketo
If you’re looking for a solid “how to” ebook about implementing all aspects of social media marketing, this is it. Marketo covers the basics of how to develop a social media marketing plan, build out an internal team, create the right content, encourage word-of-mouth sharing, and outlines specific tools and tactics for each major social network.
Although this ebook is explicitly targeted to B2B companies, the advice is comprehensive enough to apply to B2C as well. It is a fantastic introduction to digital marketing, and many of the concepts it touches on are explored in more depth in the other ebooks in this list.
- The State of Content Marketing 2015 by Contently
We might be over halfway done 2015, but that doesn’t make this ebook any less relevant. It reveals the content marketing techniques that do and do not work today, as well as some predictions for where we’re headed.
According to Contently, branded content is going to becoming increasingly important, especially “owned” content – the content that brands themselves create and have control over, and can use to build direct relationships with customers. This type of content will be augmented by social, email and other distribution methods. And what’s particularly interesting about this ebook is the description of the types of tactics that don’t work anymore, from Twitterjacking to syndicated content.
The 500 million tweets, 4.5 billion likes and 55 million Instagram photos shared each day are not just mind-boggling statistics: they represent data that can be harnessed by your organization to better improve your understanding of the consumers doing the sharing.
This ebook covers three stages of social media intelligence: listening, engaging and intelligence. You’ll learn why each of these stages is essential for smarter, more effective uses of data across an organization, and how adopting them will help create a customer-centric organization that reaches the right social audience.
- Data-Driven Content Marketing by Uberflip
You know data is an essential component of your marketing strategy. And you may even have reams of it at your disposal. But how efficient is your process, from collecting the right data to analyzing it to iterating based on the results?
This ebook from Uberflip is an in-depth guide to baking data into your content strategy. It shows you how to create a data-driven approach to your content marketing that will identify what’s working at four levels: content ideation, distribution, optimizing the experience and measuring performance. This is a great resource for content marketers who want to make better use of their data.
- The Content Marketer’s Guide to Influencer Marketing by HubSpot and Traackr
HubSpot has plenty of fantastic ebooks and blog posts offering practical, data-driven advice about inbound marketing, but this ebook stands out. It reveals how content marketing and influencer marketing overlap.
Identifying influencers to share your brand’s content is key to shifting from “stealth mode” and becoming a hit. After all, only 3 percent of individuals generate 90 percent of the impact online.
This guide will teach you how to start thinking about influencer marketing as you develop your content, and how to identify and reach out to the right influencers.
- Digital Marketing Forecast 2015-2016: Accelerate Your Marketing Strategy with Customer Engagement & Data by offerpop
It’s the age of the consumer. How are you adapting?
Read this short ebook if you’re interested in learning how the empowered consumer is changing the marketing landscape. In just four pages, you’ll learn about the critical data that marketers need to capture and act on in order to engage their customers. Using industry statistics and salient examples, offerpop shows marketers how the game is changing, and how they can stay ahead of the curve.
- The Connected Consumer and the New Decision-Making Cycle by Brian Solis and IBM
This ebook explores Generation C – the generation that is always connected, always “on,” always sharing. It is no longer enough to know basic demographic data about your customers (after all, as you’ll read on page 4, Ozzy Osbourne and Prince Charles look identical on paper). Marketers have to go deeper into personal insights and interests to understand how their customers make buying decisions.
If you’re looking for a method of optimizing your customer funnel, earning customer attention and understanding the new buyer’s journey (which is no longer linear), this ebook will be your guide.
These are our picks for the best ebooks for digital marketers – what are yours?