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Inbound marketing changes fast, doesn't it? To keep up, we need to keep learning. I've spent years in this field, and I can tell you, a good book can make a world of difference. I've read so many books, each one adding to what I know, helping me to fine-tune my inbound marketing strategy. Now, if you're like me, you're always hunting for fresh ideas, better tactics, and how to stay ahead. 

That's why I've put together a list of the best inbound marketing books that have really helped me. These aren't just books—they're your toolkit for making the most of your marketing. Ready to dig in?

14 Best Inbound Marketing Books

I've curated the top inbound marketing books to address your challenges. The links below are Amazon affiliate links, which means if you decide to click on these links and purchase the books, The CMO will earn a small commission that we invest into making more helpful articles for marketing pros.

  1. Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs by Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah
  2. Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers by Seth Godin
  3. Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype by Jay Baer
  4. The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization by Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer, & Jessie Stricchiola
  5. The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott
  6. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley
  7. Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less by Joe Pulizzi
  8. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
  9. Pre-Suasion: Channeling Attention for Change by Robert Cialdini
  10. The Content Code: Six essential strategies to ignite your content, your marketing, and your business by Mark W. Schaefer
  11. Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
  12. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
  13. Forget the Funnel: A Customer-Led Approach for Driving Predictable, Recurring Revenue by Claire Suellentrop & Georgiana Laudi
  14. AI Marketing Playbook: Mastering the Game of Customer Acquisition and Engagement with Artificial Intelligence by Mark W Lamplugh Jr


Overviews Of The 14 Best Inbound Marketing Books

Here’s a quick summary of each book, what you’ll learn and why you should read it, plus a quote I like from the book. I added the author’s LinkedIn and other places to connect with them online.

1. Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs by Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah

Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs

Summary: This book offers a comprehensive view of how to use the internet to find high-quality prospects, turn them into leads, and then convert them into customers.

What You'll Learn: You'll gain insights into blogging, SEO, social media, lead conversion, lead nurturing, and measurement metrics.

Why You Should Read It: It's one of the first books to offer a full perspective of inbound marketing, written by masters of content strategy and online marketing. If you're a beginner or intermediate marketer, it's a valuable starting point.

Quote from the Book: “Publishing is the new marketing. Marketing is not about your agency winning awards. It’s about your organization winning business.”

About the Authors:

Brian Halligan is CEO & co-founder of HubSpot. He has co-authored two books on marketing. Follow him on Twitter.

Dharmesh Shah is a software engineer, co-founder and CTO of HubSpot. He also blogs regularly on the OnStartups blog.

2. Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers by Seth Godin

Summary: This seminal work introduces the idea of permission marketing, arguing for respect for the customer's time and attention through providing valuable content.

What You'll Learn: You'll learn how to attract prospects willingly and then nurture them until they become customers by providing them with something of value.

Why You Should Read It: This book provides a marketing framework that is ethical, customer-centric, and incredibly effective.

Quote from the Book: “Anticipated, personal, and relevant advertising always does better than unsolicited junk.”

About the Author:

Seth Godin is an author, entrepreneur and most of all, a teacher. He's authored 19 best-selling books on marketing and leadership. Follow him on Twitter or his personal blog.

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3. Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype by Jay Baer

Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype

Summary: In this book, Baer argues that the key to cutting through marketing clutter isn't hype, but help.

What You'll Learn: You'll learn how to create marketing that people genuinely want and need by providing value.

Why You Should Read It: This book is for those who want to make a meaningful difference with their marketing efforts.

Quote from the Book: “If you sell something, you make a customer today, but if you genuinely help someone, you create a customer for life.”

About the Author:

Jay Baer is a marketing consultant, speaker, and the author of five books. He runs the social media and content marketing consultancy Convince & Convert. You can follow him on Twitter and check out his website.

4. The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization by Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer & Jessie Stricchiola

The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization

Summary: This comprehensive guidebook presents complex SEO concepts in an understandable way, providing practical guidelines and techniques.

What You'll Learn: This book covers everything from keyword research to link building and even the intricacies of mobile, local, and international SEO.

Why You Should Read It: If you want to understand SEO and how it impacts inbound marketing, this is the book to read.

Quote from the Book: "SEO isn’t about gaming the system anymore; it’s about learning how to play by the rules."

About the Authors:

Eric Enge is general manager of Perficient Digital, a full-service, award-winning digital agency.

Stephan Spencer is an SEO author, speaker, and strategist.

Jessie Stricchiola is founder and CEO of Alchemist Media Inc., a San Francisco-based SEO consultancy.

5. The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott

The New Rules of Marketing and PR inbound marketing book

Summary: This book is a pioneering guide to the future of marketing, offering a step-by-step action plan for harnessing the power of modern marketing and PR.

What You'll Learn: How to effectively reach buyers directly using blogs, social media, viral marketing, and other digital tools.

Why You Should Read It: The book's updated fifth edition provides the newest trends and success stories that illustrate how online communication strategies can change your business landscape.

Quote from the Book: "Marketing is not about your agency winning awards. It's about your organization winning business."

About the Author:

David Meerman Scott is an acclaimed marketing and leadership speaker, bestselling author, and advisor to emerging companies. Follow him on Twitter or visit his website.

6. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

Everybody Writes- Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content inbound marketing books cover

Summary: This book is a guide to attracting and retaining customers through stellar online communication, because in our content-driven world, every one of us is, in fact, a writer. Content creation is a practice that anyone can learn how to succeed in.

What You'll Learn: How to improve your writing skills for the digital age and what it takes to produce valuable content that engages readers.

Why You Should Read It: This bestseller offers practical tips and insights to improve your writing skills, making it a must-read for anyone who writes online content.

Quote from the Book: "In an online world, our online words are our emissaries; they tell the world who we are."

About the Author:

Ann Handley is a veteran of creating and managing digital content to build relationships for organizations and individuals. You can follow her on Twitter or visit her website.

7. Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less by Joe Pulizzi

Epic Content Marketing- How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less inbound marketing books

Summary: This book reveals how to draw prospects and customers in by creating information and content they actually want to engage with.

What You'll Learn: Discover the secrets to creating content that cuts through the clutter and reaches your audience.

Why You Should Read It: This is a comprehensive guide to leveraging content marketing for business benefits. It’s written by a figurehead of the creator economy who has years of experience teaching and speaking about digital marketing and what it takes to be a successful, profitable creator.

Quote from the Book: "Your customers don't care about you, your products, your services... they care about themselves, their wants and their needs."

About the Author:

Joe Pulizzi is the founder of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), the leading education and training organization for content marketing. Follow him on Twitter or visit his website.

8. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Made to Stick- Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die inbound marketing books

Summary: This book explores why certain ideas become popular, while others wither and die.

What You'll Learn: The six principles of making ideas "sticky" (simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and story-based) and how to apply them to your marketing. This isn’t so much a book on marketing methodology, but it provides a fundamental understanding of why some ideas are sticky, and others aren’t.

Why You Should Read It: If you struggle with creating memorable content, this book is an invaluable resource.

Quote from the Book: "The most basic way to get someone's attention is this: Break a pattern."

About the Authors:

Chip Heath is a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, teaching courses on business strategy and organizations.

Dan Heath is a senior fellow at Duke University's CASE center, which supports social entrepreneurs. Follow them on Twitter or visit their website.

9. Pre-Suasion: Channeling Attention for Change by Robert Cialdini

Pre-Suasion- Channeling Attention for Change inbound marketer books.jpeg

Summary: This book explains the concept of "pre-suasion," the process of arranging for recipients to be receptive to a message before they encounter it.

What You'll Learn: You'll discover how to better prepare your audience for your marketing campaigns and messages, making them more likely to be persuaded.

Why You Should Read It: This book offers insightful new findings about the science of influence and persuasion.

Quote from the Book: "The best persuaders become the best through pre-suasion — the process of arranging for recipients to be receptive to a message before they encounter it."

About the Author:

Robert Cialdini is a world-renowned psychologist and expert in the fields of persuasion, compliance, and negotiation. Follow him on Twitter or visit his website.

10. The Content Code: Six essential strategies to ignite your content, your marketing, and your business by Mark W. Schaefer

The Content Code- Six essential strategies to ignite your content, your marketing, and your business inbound marketing books

Summary: This book provides a step-by-step plan for marketers to navigate the increasingly competitive environment of web content.

What You'll Learn: Discover the six essential strategies to ignite your content, your marketing, and your business.

Why You Should Read It: It's one of the best inbound marketing books for any marketer who's struggling to make their content stand out.

Quote from the Book: "Content is no longer the finish line. It is the starting line."

About the Author:

Mark W. Schaefer is a globally-recognized author, speaker, podcaster, and business consultant. Follow him on Twitter or visit his website.

11. Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

Contagious- Why Things Catch On inbound marketing book

Summary: This book reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission.

What You'll Learn: Discover how six basic principles drive all sorts of things to become popular.

Why You Should Read It: If you want to understand how things go viral in the digital world, this book is a great resource.

Quote from the Book: "Virality isn’t born, it’s made."

About the Author:

Jonah Berger is a marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an internationally bestselling author. Follow him on Twitter or visit his website.

12. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

Influence- The Psychology of Persuasion

Summary: This book explains the psychology of why people say "yes"—and how to apply these understandings.

What You'll Learn: You'll understand the six universal principles of influence and how to use them to become a skilled persuader.

Why You Should Read It: This book not only helps in marketing but also in understanding how to influence people in everyday situations.

Quote from the Book: "People's ability to understand the factors that affect their behavior is surprisingly poor."

About the Author:

Robert B. Cialdini is Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University. He's also the president of Influence At Work. Follow him on Twitter or visit his website.


13. Forget the Funnel: A Customer-Led Approach for Driving Predictable, Recurring Revenue by Claire Suellentrop & Georgiana Laudi

Forget the Funnel- A Customer-Led Approach for Driving Predictable, Recurring Revenue inbound marketing book

Summary: This book illustrates how to leverage customer insight to foster growth and generate predictable revenue, with improving customer relationships.

What You'll Learn: Strategies for customer acquisition, retention, and creating a customer-centric culture.

Why You Should Read It: It goes beyond the traditional funnel approach, focusing on customer-led growth which is vital in today's marketplace.

Quote From The Book: "Your best source of growth is your customers: their behaviors, their needs, and their feedback."

About The Author:

Claire Suellentrop and Georgiana Laudi are seasoned marketers specializing in SaaS and growth marketing. Follow Claire on Twitter and Georgiana on Twitter.

14. AI Marketing Playbook: Mastering the Game of Customer Acquisition and Engagement with Artificial Intelligence by Mark W Lamplugh

AI Marketing Playbook- Mastering the Game of Customer Acquisition and Engagement with Artificial Intelligence

Summary: This book delves into the world of artificial intelligence and its potential in revolutionizing marketing, and how it can both dismantle and build upon the foundations of traditional marketing.

What You'll Learn: How to effectively implement AI in your marketing strategies to enhance customer acquisition and engagement.

Why You Should Read It: It offers a glimpse into the future of marketing, making it a must-read for forward-thinking marketers.

Quote From The Book: "AI is not just a tool, it's a new era in marketing."

About The Author:

Mark W Lamplugh is a global marketing leader with expertise in AI and digital transformation. Follow him on Twitter.

Which Inbound Marketing Books Do You Recommend?

I hope this list aids your journey in mastering inbound marketing. To refine your skills even further, you may also be interested in reading our list of The 8 Best Inbound Marketing Certification Courses.

Have you come across any other remarkable inbound marketing books in this domain that haven't made it to this list? I invite you to share your favorites! 

Let's continue to expand our knowledge together, keeping this resource vibrant and fresh with diverse insights—subscribe to The CMO for the latest marketing articles, interviews, and hot takes from top marketers in the field.

Sarah Tolle
By Sarah Tolle

Sarah Tolle is the Content Director, Operations at Black & White Zebra, a media-tech company headquartered in Vancouver, BC. She oversees the strategy and operations of the media team producing a portfolio of influential digital publications earning 10M+ visits per year.