With two new Attacats being sworn in shortly, I’m ordering up more copies of the books that are considered essential reading as part of the rigorous Attacat curriculum. Reading these books gives our new starts an immediate and solid foundation for much of the work we do.
In recommended order.
(Disclaimer: We do get a kick-back if you buy through these links. We promise to drink every single penny of it – thank you!)
Winning Results with Google AdWords
Andrew Goodman: Winning Results with Google AdWords, Second Edition
An e-book by Andrew Goodman was one of my greatest “how to” influences in the early days of Google AdWords. This book is a more comprehensive and more up to date version of that original 50 page ebook. Whilst the pace of change at Google AdWords continues unabated, the book sets out the sound principals and philosophies that will continue to have value for many years to come.PPC marketing, and therefore AdWords, remains at the heart of Attacat’s services. Working with AdWords encourages disciplines and ways of thinking that have use way beyond just PPC. As such it continues to be a first port of call for our trainees.
Don’t Make Me Think!
Possibly the easiest academic book to read ever! This is Usability 101 and a must read for anybody who has influence over their company’s web presence (yes even CEOs). It serves two primary purposes for our trainees:
- Helps them get into the head of website users – a skill that is required at all times in internet marketing
- Gives them the ability to explain why something doesn’t work as intended in a way that is convincing and inoffensive (in addition to coming up with the solutions)
Always be Testing
Bryan Eisenberg & John Quatro-vonTivadar: Always be Testing: The Complete Guide to Google Website Optimizer
This book marries together the AdWords and usability basics gleaned so far with a focus on improving the sales process of websites (part of what we call web site thinking).
Whilst the book has a focus on testing, it also distils the best of the authors thoughts on how to improve a website’s ability to turn visitors into sales (As expanded upon in their highly influential books Call to Action and Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?).
When you pay on a per visitor basis, you quickly learn to make money on a per visitor basis so this “conversion science” has always been central to the Attacat skill set.
The Art Of SEO
Enge, Fishkin, Spencer & Stricchiola: The Art of SEO (Theory in Practice))
So much of what we do has a potential impact on search engine rankings. A solid grounding in search engine optimisation is key for all Attacat team members, as pretty much everything we do benefits from SEO knowledge. This book more than ticks that box.
The one limitation it has is that it often uses technical terms without having provided explanation (e.g. anchor text is a term any experienced SEO will be very familiar with but not to someone who is new to SEO). This is in part why we don’t give out this book on day one and let our trainees absorb the language in the Attacat environment first (I’m not talking about the %*@* that may occasionally pepper the air). On the plus side even experienced SEOs will learn from reading this book.
What about Social Media?
Internet marketing and even search engine marketing is nothing without the paradigm shift that has more recently become known as social media. As such, even if our trainee is heading for a PPC specialism, she will still need to have a grasp of it.
The jury is still out on the best basic social media book so if you have recommendations please let me know. As with most sub disciplines of Internet Marketing the subtleties of Social Media are changing at an incredible rate. However the philosophy is evolving much more slowly. As such, even books I read in the 90s have some relevance (The 1997 Philip and Alex’s Guide to Web Publishing springs to mind). A more recent classic is The New Rules of Marketing and PR and it’s been updated this year so I’m going to re-read it to see if it fits the bill for our Social Media 101 book. Engage is also vying for the glory!
And after that?
There’s many other contenders on our bookshelf but these tend to get doled out on a more specific basis. If a trainee shows a leaning to Analytics, there’s books for that. If PPC there’s more. If Social Media, I pity them (due to the volume of books!). However the bulk of the external learning has to move to online resources where it is much about keeping abreast of change as it about developing the fundamentals. Occasional conferences, seminars and workshops, internal “expert sessions” and exam-focused online learning complete the mix.
How about You?
Which books have shaped your internet marketing mindset? What books should be on the Attacat shelves?