Reading a great book is like borrowing the brain of the author. If it’s a good one, you get a condensed collection of their lessons and strategies.
And in the best case, the book is a shortcut and helps you save some time.
In 2021, anyone willing to do the work can build and scale an online business. Thousands of courses, articles, podcasts, and books can teach you how to escape the rat race and build a digital business around content creation.
The problem is that most people don’t like the idea of educating themselves and starting from scratch.
But the reality is that you don’t need to start from scratch and make lots of mistakes. You can rely on the expertise of people who’ve been there and done that.
My major in marketing taught me nothing about online marketing in the 21st century.
We studied concepts like AIDA and did some experiments on traditional customer behavior, but I didn’t learn a single strategy that’s relevant to today's fast-moving marketing world.
The following books, however, helped me build a 6-figure online business within a year:
“Contagious” by Jonah Berger
Jonah Berger is a marketing professor and world-renowned expert on word of mouth marketing, consumer behavior, and virality.
In Contagious, he shares why certain products, campaigns, and articles catch on and go viral while others don’t.
The book presents a 6-step framework to create brands and messages that are worth sharing.
He answers widely discussed questions like:
- What makes products and brands popular?
- Why do people talk about certain things more than others?
- Why do some articles get shared by millions of people on the web and go viral?
- And how can we duplicate widely successful campaigns and content in our own marketing?
“We need to design products and ideas that are frequently triggered by the environment and create new triggers by linking our products and ideas to prevalent cues in that environment. Top of mind leads to tip of tongue.”
“Launch” by Jeff Walker
Jeff Walker is the launch expert of our time. He discovered how to sell digital products via email back in 1996. Ever since he shared his formula with millions of online creators and entrepreneurs around the globe.
His Product Launch Formula is the foundation of online sales and is used by all the big players in the industry.
Launch is a step-by-step blueprint to creating an irresistible offer and making sure people actually buy your products—a must-read for anyone preparing to sell a digital product.
Jeff Walker doesn’t only share what you need to do but also why. That might sound redundant, but the why will make sure you apply the right strategies over and over again.
“The world has changed, and the only true security is your ability to create value and get paid for that value.”
“Superfans” by Pat Flynn
Pat Flynn is another veteran of the creator economy who’s been selling products online since 2008.
His Smart Passive Income podcast was downloaded more than 60 million times and helped tens of thousands of creators build their own thing.
In Superfans, Flynn shares his proven path to turning a casual audience into raving fans.
The book is packed with actionable advice and exercises on gaining trust, activating your audience, and building a movement around your business.
“Instead of spending money on ads, spend more time on people. Instead of worrying about the latest growth hacks and strategies, worry about identifying and addressing the biggest pains and problems in your target audience. Instead of figuring out how to optimize your conversion rates, figure out the rate at which you’re able to connect authentically with your audience and make them feel special.”
“Copywriting Secrets” by Jim Edwards
Copywriting Sectres is not a book on how to write better sales copy; it’s the book that will help you go from zero to hero in copywriting.
It’s a playbook for writing great sales copy without the blah-blah and straight to the point with actionable advice.
Your ability to sell products online is directly proportional to your ability to write sales copy. This includes product descriptions, sales emails, sales scripts, website copy, and so much more.
Jim Edwards spent the past decades mastering and teaching copywriting.
In Copywriting Secrets, he presents all the insights and formulas you need. You’ll learn how to write better copy and understand why people buy (or don’t buy) products online.
“The better you understand the people in your niche market, the more money you’ll make and the happier they’re going to be because you can communicate better with them.”
“Dotcom Secrets” by Russell Brunson
Russell Brunson is the co-founder of Clickfunnels, an online tool that helps digital entrepreneurs build high-converting funnels and sales pages.
In Dotcom Secrets, Brunson shares pretty much anything you need to know about building and scaling an online business.
Most digital entrepreneurs think that they need more traffic to scale their business. Dotcom Secrets reveals why traffic is not the real problem and how you can effectively structure and organize your sales process.
“When you implement these secrets, you will transform your website from a flat, two-dimensional company into a three-dimensional sales and marketing machine that allows you to outspend your competitors, acquire an almost unlimited number of new customers, make (and keep) more money, and most importantly, serve more people.”
“Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon
According to Kleon, creative minds shouldn’t worry about reinventing the wheel. Instead, you should use existing ideas as a springboard until you find your unique voice and style.
By trying to be creative and unique, we often stand in our own way and prevent progress.
The most effective way to grow as a creative mind and content creator is by doing more of what’s proven to work, experimenting along the way, and allowing yourself to find out who you are deep inside.
“Nobody is born with a style or a voice. We don’t come out of the womb knowing who we are. In the beginning, we learn by pretending to be our heroes. We learn by copying.”