Top 11 Marketing Books For Small Business

There are a million books are marketing out there.  Some of them are great, some aren’t.  Here are my top 11 picks for marketing books that every small business owner should read.

What you’ll notice here is that although some of these books get into the tactical a bit, the reason every business owner should read these books is to inspire their mind with IDEAS.

The more you can explore creative ideas for how to get your product in front of your target audience, the more you’ll find success.

So, here you go.  The top 11 marketing books for small business:


This book isn't actually intended to be a "marketing book". It's focused on why certain things catch on and why others don't. But understanding that is key to the psychology of marketing. Tons of great ideas in this book.

The Ultimate Marketing Plan

This book is a classic. Dan Kennedy is an absolute legend in the marketing world. If you haven't yet established the basic foundation of your marketing which consists of defining your market, clarifying your message, and using the right media to get in front of your market, this is where to start.

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

Al Ries and Jack Trout are the only authors that are listed twice in my top 11 list. These guys get it and they break it down into small, easily understandable "laws". This book should be required reading for all small business owners.


Joe Sugarman is one of the most influential marketers of recent decades. In his book "Triggers", he shares 30 secrets to influencing and persuading your audience. He's used those successfully in massive ad campaigns, including the BluBlocker Sunglasses campaigns that have sold over 20 million pairs.

Guerrilla Marketing

This book is chock-full of fun and interesting ways to market your products or services on a shoe-string budget. In fact, many of the ideas in this book don't cost anything at all, but they get the job done. Every business owner should read this book once per year to keap from getting sucked into dumping money into ineffective advertising platforms.

Outrageous Advertising That's Outrageously Successful

Bill Glazer partnered with Dan Kenney (listed above) for many years and has established himself as an advertising icon. A big part of marketing (especially now) is just getting attention. Bill's ideas are outrageous, but effective.


Jeff Walker's Product Launch Formula has become the gold standard for launching new products or services online. He's got it down to a science and he teaches the details in this book. Even if you don't think your business works on a "launch model", it's worth reading this book. You may discover creative ways to use launches in your business afterall.

Tested Advertising Methods

This book is full of a bunch of extremely successful ads from a bygone era. Yes, it's outdated. You're probably not looking at sending mail order ads or advertising in your local newspaper. But, read this book to be inspired by the clever copywriting, learn how to write good hooks, and better understand the psychology behind good messaging.

Invisible Selling Machine

Ryan Deiss understands follow up marketing better than just about anyone. This book will introduce you to the world of automated follow up in a clear and concise way. Much of the language used today by most internet marketers when discussing how their automated funnels work is derived from this book.

Building A StoryBrand

Messaging and Positioning can get really complex. Donald Miller cuts through all that to provide a simple and easy-to-follow framework for creating a powerful story to build your brand. This book has been game-changing for those who have followed his framework and implemented it.

Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind

Positioning is one of the most important concepts to understand. Al Ries and Jack Trout nail it in this book. No where else will you find such simple and powerful instructions for how to dominate in the battle for your customers' minds.

Top 11 Marketing Books For Small Business

  1. Contagious, by Jonah Berger
  2. The Ultimate Marketing Plan, by Dan Kennedy
  3. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, by Al Ries and Jack Trout
  4. Triggers, by Joe Sugarman
  5. Guerrilla Marketing, by Jay Conrad Levinson
  6. Outrageous Advertising That’s Outrageously Successful, by Bill Glazer
  7. Launch, by Jeff Walker
  8. Tested Advertising Methods, by John Caples
  9. Invisible Selling Machine, by Ryan Deiss
  10. Building A StoryBrand, by Donald Miller
  11. Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind, by Al Ries and Jack Trout 

I’d love to hear what books you think are the best marketing books out there.  Comment below and let me know what you think about my list and add to it.  

About Tyler Garns

Tyler Garns is best known for his work as the Director and VP of Marketing at Infusionsoft, where he led the marketing efforts that produced massive results between 2007 and 2012. But he’s also been the “go-to” Infusionsoft guy for many of the top marketers and Infusionsoft users out there. His combination of technical skill, Infusionsoft expertise, and marketing experience make him one of the most reliable sources of business breakthroughs for Infusionsoft customers.

7 thoughts on “Top 11 Marketing Books For Small Business”

  1. Great list Tyler I was just looking for a few books to add to my list, so this is great timing!

    A few on my list include:
    1. Influence (Robert Cialdini)
    2. One Page Marketing Plan (Allan Dib)
    3. This is marketing (Seth Godin)

    1. Yes @Brett! Cialdini is awesome. I didnt’ love One Page Marketing Plan. A lot of regurgitation of what everyone else has already said, just simplified to fit on one page. Other than creating the page, not that actionable. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Tyler, these are all interesting… recognize most of the titles, but have only read one!
    My addition to your list is “The Challenger Customer”. Thought-provoking work for those of us in the B2B space. I sense it may be less applicable for B2C marketers & sellers. Thanks for sharing your list.

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