Summer is well and truly here. Sunny afternoons sitting in the park on your lunchbreak, and long days laying on a sun lounger poolside on holiday. What could possibly be better? Well, add in a good book of course. And luckily there are plenty of new books to get your teeth into this summer.
Working in the marketing and technology sectors, the summer months offer the opportunity to take a step back from the coalface, and take a broader perspective on the trends driving the future of our industry.
The eager beaver that I am, I’ve mapped out some of the books you should have on your reading list this summer. Dab on the sun cream and devour away!
(1) Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success – Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown
Growth hacking…what’s that?
It’s been some years since Andrew Chen (currently head of growth at Uber) declared in his seminal essay that the growth hacker is the new VP of marketing. The concept of growth hacking – achieving rapid business growth through meticulous and calculated marketing experimentation – has long evolved from a Silicon Valley buzz phrase to an integral part of modern marketing. Growth hacking methodologies are now utilised by businesses ranging from the hottest startups to blue chips like IBM, Walmart and Microsoft
And few people are more qualified to write on the topic than the guy who invented the term, Sean Ellis, founder of GrowthHackers.com. He’s co-written this book with his former Qualaroo colleague Morgan Brown to explore how fast-growing businesses are using deep data analysis, technical expertise, and marketing savvy to create the businesses of tomorrow.
If you aspire to create the next Dropbox , Pinterest, or AirBnB, then this is your playbook for creating and executing your own custom-made growth hacking strategy.
I’d like to find out a bit more about growth hacking first. Where should I go?
You can join Sean’s 200k-strong Growth Hacker community for a host of articles, videos, discussions and educational materials from many of the leading experts in the field, including Eric Ries, Hiten Shah, and Steve Blank.
(2) Angel – Jason Calacanis
Are we getting religious now?
Only if you’re religious about startup investing. The subtitle is How to Invest in Technology Startups—Timeless Advice from an Angel Investor Who Turned $100,000 into $100,000,000. This is the new book by San Francisco-based serial angel investor Jason Calacanis on the rules you should apply for building a portfolio of startup businesses.
And why should I listen to what he has to say?
Well Jason has invested in more than 150 successful startups, including being an early investor in Uber, Evernote, Robinhood, and Tumblr, so he knows his stuff.
He got lucky, you mean…
To an extent (most investments involve a degree of luck), but with several successful startups of his own (including Weblogs, which he sold to AOL), more than a decade of investing in and advising emerging businesses, and more than 700 episodes of his popular This Week in Startups podcast, then you or I could sure use a bit of his ‘luck’.
So what’s he going to teach me?
In his inimitable no-BS style, he’ll take you step by step through the process for evaluating new ventures, calculating the risks and rewards, and leveraging relationships with angel investors for best results. Not every investment will be a winner, but it only takes one unicorn for you to be able to order that yacht.
(3) Give – Nicholas Kusmich
Ah, so now we’re into charity?
Not in the traditional sense. This one is the Ultimate Guide To Using Facebook Advertising to Generate More Leads, More Clients, and Massive ROI, so it’s about applying the rule of reciprocity to get better results for your business with Facebook ads.
Facebook ads? Someone said I should learn about that.
You most certainly should. Facebook’s advertising platform is the single most sophisticated and targeted ways to reach a large audience for your product or service in the Internet age. The days of free traffic through organic reach on social media are long gone, so if you want new leads you better be prepared to give…Mark Zuckerberg lots of money.
And it’s not just for B2C brands, B2B companies can use Facebook custom audiences to drive traffic and nurture leads in their marketing funnels to great effect.
So what makes this Nicholas fella an expert?
Well, his story’s an interesting one. He’s a former pastor that started a Facebook Ads agency in 2014. He’s since grown into one of the world’s foremost experts, achieving exemplary results for notable individuals such Tony Robbins, Joe Polish, and Jay Abraham, as well as fast growing businesses like SamCart.
What will I learn?
In the book, he’ll take you through a four-step process to pinpoint your market, master your message, create a magnet, and build a mechanism for collecting, retaining and developing those relationships. Heed his advice, and you’ll be a self-styled Facebook guru in no time.
(4) Expert Secrets – Russell Brunson
Russell Brunson…that name sounds familiar. Is he a big deal online?
He most certainly is. He’s killing it right now. He’s the founder of Click Funnels, a $360 million SaaS business he built from scratch without any VC funding. He’s also developed a number of successful business training programmes, and is host of both the Marketing Secrets podcast and the FunnelHackerTV ‘behind the scenes’ online TV show.
Building on the massive success of his first book, DotCom Secrets, in which he distils the process for building sales funnels for epic business growth, he’s taken a step back in his latest offering to show how businesses can best position themselves for success in their market or niche.
Tell me more…
Subtitled The Underground Playbook for Finding Your Message, Building a Tribe, and Changing the World, Russell looks at how you can find the right messaging to propel your business success.
The book explores the necessary elements of building a mass movement – your 1000 true fans, as Kevin Kelly might say – including becoming a charismatic leader, identifying a cause that unites your tribe, and creating a vision for a new opportunity that will drive change.
You can buy it from most leading booksellers, or get it free from Russell’s website.
Free? He clearly doesn’t understand business then!
Not true. Russell’s astute enough to know that once he’s got you in his sales funnel he’ll be able to upsell you to one of a number of his business products, not least his Click Funnels software. From his last book (which he also gave away free), he worked out he was making $25 for every book he gave away. There aren’t many businesses that instantly profit on every new lead they receive.
He sounds like a fascinating character. Where can I find out more about him and his business?
Forbes did a great feature on him recently that gets under the skin of his business. You can read it here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertadams/2017/05/16/this-entrepreneur-built-a-360-million-dollar-saas-business-and-it-was-entirely-self-funded/#655fef2abed3
He also documents his journey at www.russellbrunson.com.
(5) Killing Marketing – Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose
Pulizzi and Rose…Weren’t they an 80’s synth pop band?
Perhaps in an alternative universe, but in this world they’re the head honchos at the Content Marketing Institute, arguably the most authoritative news and education source on the content marketing.
So they’ve written a book?
They’ve written a tonne of books actually. Most notably Managing Content Marketing (together), Epic Content Marketing (Pulizzi), Content Inc (Pulizzi), and Experiences (Rose). This latest offering looks at how innovative businesses are turning marketing cost into profit, and what lessons your business can apply for similar results.
Hey, hold on a second. You said summer books, but this one isn’t out until September?
Correct. They’re timing the release with their centrepiece annual event, Content Marketing World. I’m just really excited about it.
So what am I meant to do in the meantime for my content marketing fill?
Well, you could listen to P’n’R’s brilliant weekly podcast This Old Marketing, which pulls together the top news in the marketing and tech space, and digs out examples of exceptional content marketing.
Does it contain any synth pop?
It actually does. The intro music is awesome.