Marketing communication has undergone a paradigm shift. It’s no longer enough to talk at your customers; you need to be actively building relationships with them. Tools such as search engines, blogs, and social media are making it easier to foster those connections. Here are five must-read books to help get you started.
1. The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott — For a crash course in the changing marketing landscape, you can do no better than this best-seller. Scott explains the shift from outbound to inbound marketing, gives overviews of the many communications channels through which businesses can now reach their customers, and provides tools and techniques for thriving in the new reality.
2. The Social Customer: How Brands Can Use Social CRM to Acquire, Monetize, and Retain Fans, Friends, and Followers by Adam Metz — Small companies have typically relied on word of mouth to grow their businesses, but now many of those conversations take place on the social web. Metz shows entrepreneurs how to harness the power of social media to compel customers to spread the word about products, services, and brands.
3. Engagement Marketing: How Small Business Wins in a Socially Connected World by Gail F. Goodman — If you’re still skeptical about “this social media thing,” Goodman — CEO of online marketing company Constant Contact — has your number. Her primer for small businesses explains why social media is critical to a company’s success and provides steps for successfully engaging customers online. Her tips on how to prioritize your social media activities are particularly helpful for time-strapped small-business owners.
4. Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman — It’s quite a leap from recognizing the need for content and knowing how to create it. Content Rules bridges that gap. The authors outline the “rules” for crafting compelling content and offer a “how to” section for using a variety of formats, from blogs to webinars. They also provide a series of real-world success stories, complete with ideas that you may duplicate for your own business.
5. Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing by Lee Odden — Although many content marketing evangelists take an “if you write it, they will come” approach to engaging audiences, Odden maintains that failing to integrate your content with search and social media is as good as hiding it. In this tome, he gives you both the rationale and the process to “optimize and socialize” your content marketing strategy.