Inbound marketing books are plentiful but most of them are nothing more than bloated advertisements for the author’s services. The three books I present here are the exceptions.
Having said that, none of these books offer a complete and effective method for the marketing of all types of service and neither should they profess to do so, because such a book would resemble more of an encyclopedia.
Instead, each book offers an effective treatment of inbound marketing for their intended market. Which is exactly what you’d expect from smart marketers: a tailoring of their material to their intended market. As one of the authors says: “always start with the market in mind”.
The book that you buy will therefore depend on the type of products or services you want to market. In my comments below I provide a brief overview of each book together with a recommendation of who will benefit most from each one. Hopefully this will save you the hundreds of hours that you would otherwise need to invest in order to find the right book for you.
INBOUND MARKETING: ATTRACT, ENGAGE AND DELIGHT CUSTOMERS ONLINE BY BRIAN HALLIGAN AND DHARMESH SHAH
OVERVIEW: Don’t be fooled by the fact that this book was written by the founders of Hubsot Marketing. It’s not simply an advertisement for their website because it’s packed with valuable concepts and ideas. If you’re prepared to throw some serious time, energy and money into your marketing and you are OK with the idea of split-testing, measuring everything twice and then rinse and repeating, this is the book for you. It is an easy and interesting read, despite it’s thorough treatment of the subject.
BEST FOR: INTERNET MARKETERS including those who want to create a buzz through SOCIAL MEDIA to drive traffic to their website and convert that traffic into buyers without any personal interaction.
NOT SO GREAT FOR: anyone who does not have serious bucks to throw at their marketing including small businesses. Not so great either for retailers and manufacturers with physical products to sell and should definitely be avoided by anyone who does not possess a brain that lights up at a page full of numbers.
INBOUND MARKETING BOOK BY TOM POLAND
OVERVIEW: The author is clearly an expert but in a very narrow field. If you happen to fit into the “BEST FOR” description below then this is THE book for you; If not then don’t bother.
Interestingly, this is the only book I found that clearly defines “inbound marketing”. Others talk around the subject and offer metaphors to shed light on the subject but this is the only book the sets out to define the scope of the book and definition of the subject, right from the get go.
The uniqueness of Inbound Marketing Book is summed up in the author’s assertion that inbound marketing is “more like proposing marriage than selling a washing machine” Sure, lots of books mention the importance of establishing a relationship with the prospect but this is the only book that goes into specific detail of the best medium for that and precisely how to do it. But those very specifics are what makes this book so narrow in its focus: if your business offers service or advice, then this book gives you a very precise, simple and proven effective method for generating inbound leads but if you have a physical product you want to market then the next book is the one for you.
This book is also the only book that offers an instant download of the first part (valuable) outside of Amazon Kindle. Pop your email address to access.
BEST FOR: small business professionals such as B2B coaches and trainers, management consultants, as well as financial planners, plus those who deliver value through programs, customized software (Saas) or personal interaction.
NOT SO GREAT FOR: retailers, multi-level marketers, manufacturers, digital marketing specialists.
INBOUND MARKETING FOR DUMMIES BY SCOTT MILLER
OVERVIEW: This book does the best of any in attempting to cover inbound marketing for all products and services but it falls short just like Inbound Marketing Book (see above) for exactly the opposite reason. The latter is very narrow in its scope and is super great for B2B professionals and financial planners but lousy for many other groups. By contrast, this book offers sound advice for everyone, but nothing great for anyone in particular, other than larger businesses with a lot of marketing resource.
Having said that, if you want one book that covers a very wide scope, then this is the book for you. The only caveat I’d add is that the book assumes that you have a “team” at your disposal, as is clearly stated on the cover.
BEST FOR: marketing managers with teams including retailers, multi-level marketers, franchise groups, manufacturers.
NOT SO GREAT FOR: anyone who can only commit part time resource to their marketing including small business, B2B professionals.