Although there weren’t too many books about search engine optimization, social media marketing, and e-commerce at the time, Amazon got its start as a bookstore. These days, many people who want to start businesses of their own go through the e-commerce staple to purchase books for inspiration and guidance. Those who have had success in e-commerce like to share advice with up-and-comers, and some just like to brag; either way, the pages they write are overflowing with insight based on real experiences.
From tips on general marketing and SEO strategies to the personal histories of today’s industry leaders, the top books are filled cover to cover with content that can help you as you build your e-commerce business. Refresh yourself on the basics, learn about what the big names do, and find inspiration from the people who have been through it all. If you want to up your game as an e-commerce seller, here are seven books that should be on your shelf.
What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest by Denise Lee Yohn
The massive brands that make up our market each started from an idea, just like every other business, online or offline. In her book What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest, veteran marketing consultant Denise Lee Yohn looks at what successful brands have done to establish their names. Brands like Apple didn’t get to where they are by accident, and Yohn analyzes the branding strategies and steps they took along their path to the big leagues.
Effective branding gets people to think of your brand positively and frequently. Sticking to your brand identity is necessary for keeping the trust of your following. Growing a brand is also different from building it out of nothing, and there are different factors to keep in mind at every stage of development. The best in the business know how to brand themselves for success, and What Great Brands Do dives into what that entails.
SEO 2018 by Adam Clarke
Trial and error is a natural part of search engine optimization, but you’ll need a healthy understanding of how it all works if you want your pages to be seen. If you don’t know the first thing about SEO, then you’re going to have a tough time moving your listings up the ranks. SEO 2018 by Adam Clarke goes over the fundamental principles of optimizing your content and maximizing your visibility to search engines. If you can’t seem to choose the right keywords or keep up with the ever-changing algorithms, this book will help catch you up to speed.
SEO trends naturally change, but you can use those changes to your advantage if you pay attention. SEO 2018 is the latest edition, but the book is updated every year so the information stays relevant.
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
There are some people who were seemingly born to be in the spotlight, and Elon Musk is one of them. He’s a free-thinker, one of the world’s top entrepreneurs, and evidence that it’s best not to get too comfortable with “normal”. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future is the result of Ashlee Vance’s time with Musk and his family, friends, and colleagues, and it offers an exclusive insight into the innovator’s life.
Unlike the others on the list so far, this book doesn’t explicitly break down SEO rules, marketing guidelines, or branding principles. Instead, it provides a glimpse into the mind of a man who has experienced soaring highs and plummeting lows and lived to send his car to space. The book is proof that innovation comes in all forms, and it tells how Musk has revitalized himself after facing adversity from all angles—a story that might stick in the back of a struggling entrepreneur’s mind when times are tough.
The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss captures your attention right off the bat with his book entitled The 4 Hour Workweek. This is a strong candidate for anyone who has begun toying with the idea of starting an online business. As the title suggests, it’s meant to get people thinking about the possibilities that e-commerce holds for young entrepreneurs: namely, the promise of a short work week and plenty of time to live your life how you want.
Working fewer hours and spending more time with your family or on the beach sounds like a dream, and Tim Ferriss discusses how to make “retirement” a regular occurrence rather than a light at the end of the tunnel. The book looks at his transformation and how he shrunk his hours while maximizing his income. The author does a masterful job of explaining how anyone else can do the same.
This is an exciting read and a great motivator for young entrepreneurs and startups. However, newcomers should beware that they won’t get to a four-hour work week just by reading the book. The 4 Hour Workweek serves as a nice introduction to the “be your own boss” mindset and encourages people to create more time for themselves.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
Boxing isn’t all about the knockouts; it’s about the subtlety, the finesse, and putting your target in the position you want. The same goes for marketing, as Gary Vaynerchuk illustrates in “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.” This is the book to turn to if you’re looking for social media inspiration.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are constant forces in our everyday lives. There is naturally there’s an intense amount of competition for attention on these platforms. The way you use your social media presence could mean the difference between really taking off and failing to launch entirely. In this book, Vaynerchuk teaches you how to effectively jab, jab, jab, and right hook your way to social media success.
Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk
Speaking of Gary Vaynerchuk, he’s also responsible for the book Crushing It!, so you might say he’s crushing it himself. His goal for this book is to teach readers about the importance of cultivating a personal brand. Too many entrepreneurs fail to reach their potential because they don’t leverage their personal brand in their business. Crushing It! reminds you not to overlook this crucial aspect of your business, and it even looks at success stories its own strategies have spawned.
Convert! by Ben Hunt
Website design is often a determining factor in whether or not someone clicks through your website and makes a purchase, and even subtle differences can make a noticeable impact. If you get plenty of traffic to your site but you don’t get the conversions you’ve been expecting, pick up Convert! by Ben Hunt for some tips on reeling in the window shoppers.
The book helps you optimize your website so your customers have a more enjoyable browsing experience and are more likely to make a purchase. Best of all, you don’t have to be a pro to use most of the tactics offered in the book. If you use the tactics right, you could see some serious spiking in your conversions.
It’s important to stay up to date on your literature to remain ahead in any field. Keep your eyes on the prize and in the right book to ensure your knowledge base remains current and up-to-date.