The Ultimate List of the Best Growth Marketing Books for Startups

“The most important lesson I can share about brand marketing is this: you definitely, certainly, and surely don’t have enough time and money to build a brand for everyone. You can’t. Don’t try. Be specific. Be very specific.”

This one quote from the book, “This is marketing” by Seth Godin, provides a crucial marketing lesson – be specific, don’t sell to all.

And just like this book, several marketing geniuses have compiled their knowledge into the best growth marketing books.

But of course, you can’t read them all. So we looked into our read list and created a list of the best growth marketing books you can start with.

Best growth marketing books for startups

We all learn from experiences. But nobody said they could be yours. These 25 books below contain the experiences of renowned marketers who share their strategies with you. Find your favorite book to kickstart marketing for your startup.

1. Building a Storybrand: Clarify your message so customers will listen

Author: Dolland Miller

Building a story brand is about finding the right story behind your brand and communicating that to customers. The book provides a framework to develop and simplify your business messaging so that your target audience relates to your business. It covers website design, email marketing, and customer service – powerful business tools. What’s more? The book is filled with case studies to back up its claims. Lessons and proof in one place – it’s one of the best growth marketing books for startups.

2. Product-led growth – How to build a product that sells itself

Author: Wes Bush

As the name suggests, Product-led growth teaches you to bring your product into the driving seat. It’s a business and marketing book about product-led growth strategy. The aim is to use the product to drive customer acquisition and retention. You learn to create a product so potent that customers become its chief marketers. Additionally, the book teaches how to use data and analytics to monitor customer feedback. You learn how to improve your product by implementing feedback one day at a time. It’s one of the best books for growth marketing.

3. Traction – How any startup can achieve explosive customer growth

Author: Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

Do you want to skyrocket your customer acquisition? Traction might be for you. It’s a business and marketing book that explains the importance of gaining ‘traction’ in the early stages of a startup. The book presents 19 marketing channels, like content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and public revelations. You learn about the “Bullseye framework” – identifying and testing the most effective marketing channels. The book also teaches you how to measure and track your startup’s success, build a marketing team, and develop a marketing plan – a complete package if you ask us.

4. The Lean Startup: How do today’s entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses?

Author: Eric Reis

The book introduces the “Lean Startup” method, a semantic approach to building products that solve customers’ needs. The book proposes the approach of rapid prototyping and experimentation to validate business ideas. It teaches you to constantly implement data-driven decision-making to improve your products and services. The book preaches the ideas to create an innovation culture within the company. It has real-life examples of startups that’ve successfully implemented this framework and have become successful.

5. Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers

Author: Geoffrey A. Moore

Crossing the Chasm proposes the idea of a “chasm.” The concept is like the gap between new startups and their mainstream customers. The book teaches you how to cross the chasm by identifying and addressing the needs of mainstream customers. Then, you create a product to match their needs and become a hit in the market. You learn how to develop a positioning statement that communicates your product’s value. It also teaches you how to create a marketing budget and plans.

6. Influence: The psychology of persuasion

Author: Robert Cialdini

The book teaches you how to apply the art of persuasion in your business. It provides an elaborate take on why people say “yes” to specific requests. The book covers six fundamental principles of influence: reciprocation, consistency, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity. It teaches how to use these six principles to create copies for your business and influence customers to buy from you.

7. Contagious: How to build word of mouth in a digital stage

Author: Jonah Berger

‘Contagious’ is a business and marketing book that teaches ways to create content people want to share and discuss. As per the book, there are six ways that you can make products, ideas, and services contagious. They are social currency, emotions, triggers, shared, practical values, and stories. By the end, you would’ve learned to implement all these steps and create content worth remembering. It’s one of the few books on growth marketing that provide a data-driven approach to achieving word of mouth.

8. Growth Hacker Marketing: A primer on the future of PR, marketing and advertising

Author: Ryan Holiday

‘Growth Hacking’ – as per the book – combines marketing, engineering, and data analytics. With growth hacking, you can find the most effective channels for marketing your product. The analytics help you unlock the gaps in the market and find opportunities for customer acquisition and retention. You learn how to use viral marketing to create a buzz about your product and promote your brand more on social media. The book concludes with monitoring and tracking your success rate as a startup.

9. Hooked

Author: Nir Eyal

In his book ‘Hooked,’ Nir Eyal shared the concept of ‘behavioral engineering’. He teaches startup owners to hook users so that they use the product repeatedly without giving it a second thought. Nir divides the process into four categories – Trigger, Action, Reward, and Investment. It’s one of the rare books on growth hacking that talks about the psychology of product usage. You first learn why a user uses a product. Then, you know to implement the same psychology to create your products, so users get ‘Hooked’ on them.

10. Blitzscaling

Author: Reid Hoffman, Chris Yeh

Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, compiles groundbreaking strategies for business growth. He uses companies like Amazon, Google, and Airbnb, who’ve achieved massive growth. It covers various topics around work culture – creating a company environment that fosters growth. The book suggests that founders develop a culture of experimentation, fostering innovation and creating a vision that inspires and motivates employees.

11. This is marketing: You can be seen until you learn to see

Author: Seth Godin

Seth Godin is one the most famous marketers out there. The book teaches you the basics of marketing, such as building relationships with customers and leveraging the power of storytelling. The book discards traditional styles of marketing which were bland and salesy. It encourages you to think out of the box to create original ideas to market a product.

12. The Paper Plane Plan

Author: Ross Davies

Ross Davies uses his marketing agency as an example to explain how B2B service providers can market their services. As the name suggests, the book provides a basic step-by-step plan for growth hackers and marketers. It talks about basic concepts such as developing a Unique Selling Point (USP), creating a content marketing plan, and measuring the success rate of your marketing efforts.

13. 100 days of growth

Author: Sujan Patel

Sujan Patel has compiled 100 practical examples of growth marketing. He believes that rather than reading one growth marketing blog daily, startup founders should implement a practical sketch for their business. The book includes real-life case studies that help startup founders achieve their goals in 100 days.

14. The BAMF Bible

Author: Josh Fechter

The BAMF Bible is one of the most practical books for growth hacking that covers essential marketing topics. It discusses creating value for customers and marketing it, building customer relationships, and connecting with your target audience. The book aims to show how startup founders can achieve success by playing by simple rules and applying basic strategies.

15. Viral Loop

Author: Adam L. Penenberg

Viral Loop is about the concept of viral marketing. It talks about how virality can bring more eyes to your product, thus attracting more revenue. The book discusses various elements of virality, such as viral triggers and incentives. It shares practical tips and examples of companies that have achieved virality and become successful.

16. Growth marketing handbook

Author: Jon Yongfook

Jon Yongfook, in one of his blogs, said that the Growth Marketing Handbook is an ‘anti-marketing’ book. It covers 100 strategies used by multiple successful startups over the years. The book disregards generic marketing methods such as virality and shares proven tips only. Topics include ‘the Twitter bio hack,’ the ‘omnipotence hack,’ and ‘the Name Drop Hack.’

17. Growth Hacking: Silicon Valley’s Best-Kept Secret

Author: Raymond Fong and Chad Ridderson

Growth Hacking revealed the secrets of Silicon Valley’s most successful startups. It discusses how they achieved phenomenal growth through innovative and unconventional marketing techniques. The book includes case studies, interviews, and real-world examples of companies like Dropbox, Amazon, and Airbnb.

18. Don’t Make Me Think

Author: Steve Krug

“Don’t Make Me Think” is based on the influence of UI on the audience’s mind. The writer believes that the developer has done something wrong if a website visitor has to think before taking any step within the website. This is one of the rare books about growth hacking that touches base on UI.

19. Explosive Growth

Author: Cliff Lerner

Cliff Lerner, the Founder and CEO of the dating app, ‘Saturday,’ shares his journey from 0 to 100k followers in the app. He shared his marketing techniques to generate buzz around his product on social media. The book also covers the Facebook ecosystem from where he got many customers.

20. Growing Happy Clients

Author: Daphne Tideman and Ward van Gasteren

The book shares five principles you must follow to create an effective customer relationship. This is one of the best books on growth marketing that would be helpful for marketers, managers, and startup founders alike. You learn from the author’s experiences, who spent ten years in the Growth Hacking industry.

21. One Million Followers, Updated Edition: How I Built a Massive Social Following in 30 days

Author: Brendan Kane

This is one of the rare books about growth hacking in the social media space. As the name suggests, the author talks about her magnificent achievement – gaining 1 million followers in 30 days. The book teaches various components of social media growth hacking, such as creating engaging content, connecting with your target audience, and experimenting in your niche. The book also contains tips and tricks from renowned marketers and popular influencers.

22. Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success

Author: Shane Snow

Shane Snow urges startup founders to take risks and try growth hacking techniques to create explosive expansion. The book shares creative ways to solve problems through unexpected methods. The book covers stories of entrepreneurs who “hacked” the market’s secret and achieved exponential growth.

23. The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, and Stand Out From the Crowd

Author: Allan Dib

The book focuses on the importance of creating a simple strategy that can be compiled into one page. It provides a step-by-step guide to identifying target customers and creating a compelling offer for them. The book also includes case studies of many businesses that implemented 1-page marketing plans.

24. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Author: Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell shares ideologies that make any idea contagious. It uses Sesame Street and Hush Puppies Shoes as an example to demonstrate what concepts make products hard to forget. As per the book, creating a sensational product can either be intentional or come out of a well-thought-out strategy.

25. Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers

Author: Seth Godin

Permission marketing by Seth Godin discusses the concept of permission marketing – sending marketing materials to people with their consent. The book argues against traditional marketing methods that involve interrupting people with unsolicited messages. The book promotes the idea of using customers’ consent in exchange for fair value, so they admire your brand rather than cursing it for disturbance.

Choose the Perfect Growth Marketing Book for Yourself

All these books open doors to untapped marketing opportunities for your startup. Learn from the experiences of renowned marketers to implement their strategies and avoid mistakes.

We’ll keep updating this list as we read more books. Till then, share your favorite book from the list. Subscribe to the Kanagawa blog for more such compilations!

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