34 Must-have books for landing page designers and digital marketers (including lesser-known books)

You - as a marketer, designer or business owner - are probably always looking for ways to improve your skills: copywriting, design, psychology, marketing, conversion rate optimization and possibly running an agency.

 

A great way to master all the essential skills is reading. How many books do you read a year? If you're just like me: not enough :)

 

A few of the books we have at our office. 

Bill Gates reads 50 books per year(!).

 

And Mark Zuckerberg reads one book every two weeks.

 

Why? Because they credit reading and learning new things as one of their secrets to success. Here's what Mark said in 2015:

 

"Books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today," he wrote. "I'm looking forward to shifting more of my media diet towards reading books."

 

We've collected the best (and some less-known) books for landing page designers in this post. Do you have a suggestion, let us know here!

 

About design and usability:

 

The Design Of Everyday Things

Published in 1988, it's probably not the first book you'd think about when working in modern web design. But it's a classic and earned its stripes. Even the smartest among us can feel stupid as we fail to figure out which light switch or oven burner to turn on, or whether to push, pull, or slide a door. The book The Design of Everyday Things shows that good, usable design is possible when you follow a few simple rules - you can even apply online :)

Buy on Amazon

 

Lean UX 

An awesome user experience is becoming more and more important these days. People can literally cancel their account if they're frustrated by a one single button that doesn't work. With this book you'll learn the principles on how to test, validate and improve your user experience - quickly. It contains a lot of elements from the Lean Startup methodology and is a great book for designers and starting UX specialists.

Buy on Amazon

 

Change by Design

This book is about Design Thinking and written by the CEO of the innovation firm IDEO (If you never heard about this company, check this out!). Sometimes new ideas and innovations randomly pop up in your mind, but most of the times new ideas occur when you follow a solid process: Design Thinking helps you with this. A fantastic book and has halped us design better websites.

Buy on Amazon

 

Don't Make Me Think

This is probably the best introduction to UX and usability, and much of its philosophy is applicable to design and communication generally. This book helps you (business owners, designers, and marketers) think like a consumer. Learn how you can improve your customer experience and create an easy to use site or app.

Buy on Amazon

 

The Non-Designers Design Book

If you're not a designer - and want to design better sites - read this book. The book focuses on design as a means an effective communication rather than just a way to make pretty things, The examples are very clear, and the iterative improvements from one design to the next are so clear that everyone can tell that they look better (and understand why). The writing is effective and easy to read.

Buy on Amazon

 

Evil By Design

Approaching design from the dark side, this book will show you how well-known companies are influencing you. Learn how to make customers feel good about doing what you want them to do, by using the seven deadly sins outlined in the book. It's entertaining to read and comprehensive analysis of how people are manipulated, often by seemingly minor factors.

Buy on Amazon

 

 

 

About persuasion and psychology:

Hooked

Why is Facebook so addictive and why do you check your phone a hundred times per day? Well, it's because you're hooked. In this book Nir Eyal shows you how to build habit-forming products with the hook model.  It's one of the best-rated books on Product Hunt, Goodreads and has 5 stars on Amazon. A must have if you're building a new app and want to succeed!

Buy on Amazon

 

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Haven't heard about the famous Dr. Robert Cialdini before? You have sure been influenced by his principles :) Written in 1984, the book Influence has sold over three million copies and has been translated into thirty languages. And it's still very powerful today. This classic book on persuasion and psychology shows you can get people to say 'Yes', based on scientific research. Learn how to improve your landing page with the widely used Six Principles of Influence: social proof, reciprocation, authority, liking, scarcity and consistency.

Buy on Amazon

Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade

You should read the latest (2018) book by Cialdini: it's is a perfect follow-up on his first book, Influence (the one above). It's about how you can influence someone even before you see them or ask your question. This effect is called Priming and Cialdini does an excellent job explaining how it works, how others use it and how you could benefit from this.

Buy on Amazon

 

How To Win Friends And Influence People

Even though it isn't directly related to digital marketing and design, the book How To Win Friends & Influence People is a fantastic read you'll benefit from the rest of your life. It's full of  'aha' moments and down to earth examples on how to be better around people. You can apply the insights in your design and websites - but also when talking to colleagues at work, friends and family. Rated with 4.7 stars on Amazon.

Buy on Amazon

 

Neuro Web Design

Why do people decide to buy a product online? Download your app? Trust the information you provide? Neuro Web Design applies the research on motivation, decision making, and neuroscience to the design of Web sites. Read it and you will learn the unconscious reasons for people’s actions, how emotions affect decisions, and how to encourage users to click.

Buy on Amazon

 

Predictably Irrational

Why are we trying to save a few bucks on a flight by comparing tens of different flight options  - but as soon as we're on the airport we don't mind paying 8 dollars for a coffee? When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we're making smart, rational choices. But we're not. It's easy to read and full of (funny) examples.

Buy on Amazon

 

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and Slow is an international bestseller written by Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Take a groundbreaking tour of the mind and learn how the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. It contains lots of great insights you can apply to your designs.

Buy on Amazon

 

 

 

About conversion rate optimization:

Landing Page Optimization

Written by the conversion optimization guru Tim Ash, this book is a great resource on how landing pages play an important role in converting traffic into business goals. Covers acquisition, conversion, and retention.

Buy on Amazon

 

 

Hacking Growth

A fantastic book packed with tangible ideas and methods to growth hack your business. It will teach you tactics used by Dropbox, Airbnb and other booming tech companies. I've read the book twice and my yellow highlighter is almost empty - so much great insights and tips. It's written by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown who coined the term 'growth hacking'.

Buy on Amazon

 

Making Websites Win

The book Making Websites Win is just out and it's a great read. Written by the founders of the world-leading CRO agency, Conversion Rate Experts who kind of invented conversion rate optimization. You will learn how to use scientific methods to boost your traffic conversion. It gives you step-by-step directions to turn an average website into a high performer. Everyone working with websites and making them convert should read this book.

Buy on Amazon

 

How To Build Websites That Sell

You've probably visited the blog ConversionXL many times. The founder of ConversionXL, Peep Laja, wrote a fantastic book about conversion rate optimization and making your website sell (more). Compiling the best articles from his blog - plus new content - the book describes the processes he uses with his clients. Read it and you'll know the most important stuff about CRO there is to know.

Buy on Amazon

 

You Should Test That

A pixel-perfect designed landing page doesn't do any good if it doesn't convert visitors into leads. In this book, Chris Goward from the CRO agency Widerfunnel shares his methodology and conversion rate optimization tactics. This book is full of case studies and examples, read it and you'll learn how to boost your conversion rates.

Buy on Amazon

 

A/B Testing

Written by the founders of Optimizely (A/B test software) about A/B testing and CRO. Dan Siroker (author) was part of Obama' marketing team and helped secure a lot of funding - through a/b testing Obama' landing pages. An excellent read if you new to A/B testing and want to learn the basics of a/b testing.

Buy on Amazon

 

 

 

About copywriting

Everybody Writes

If you hate writing or want to improve your skills this will be your go-to book. Stop designing pages with Lorem Ipsum and improve your copywriting skills. This book was an eye-opener for me. It's a very insightful, informative and humorous read that inspired me to write better (and more). It's full of how-to tips and great examples.

Buy on Amazon

 

Headline Formulas That Work

The headline of your site is super important in grabbing your visitors attention. But it's hard to come up with a good headline. Ever had that moment where you stare at your screen: trying to think of a great headline for your mail, website or product - but nothing happens? Well, we wrote a book containing 200+ high converting headline formulas that will double your conversion rates. Grab a formula, fill in the blanks and you're done!

Buy now

 

Contagious

Why does content go viral? Or why do some products get more word of mouth than others? Word of mouth makes products, ideas, and behaviors catch on. It's more influential than advertising and far more effective. Can you create word of mouth for your product or idea? According to Berger, you can. Learn how to prepare your content so it has the potential to go viral!

Buy on Amazon

 

All Marketers Tell Stories

You know you should sell the benefits - and not the features - of a product. You don't want a nail (feature), but you need a nail to hang a painting (benefit) on your wall. But, talking in benefits doesn't do the job anymore. In this book, Seth Godin shows you how to tell stories instead of benefits. Why do we believe wine tastes better in a more expensive glass than a simple cup?

Buy on Amazon

 

Made to Stick

This book, Made to Stick, will transform the way you communicate and teach you how to write better content. Learn the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the human scale principle, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating curiosity gaps.

Buy on Amazon

 

Pitch Anything

You pitch more than you think. Whether you're selling your designs, pitching a client for new business, or even negotiating for a higher salary, Pitch Anything will change the way you position your ideas. There are some great tricks in this book that will improve your pitching skills in real-life but you can also apply them online.

Buy on Amazon

 

Advertising Headlines That Make You Rich

This book will show you how to come up with headlines for your site, letters, ads, and emails. You'll learn the essential elements of great copy and why they continue to work today in a format that is simple, unpretentious and easy to digest.

Buy on Amazon

 

 

 

About marketing

Creativity Inc.

Are you ever stuck at brainstorm sessions? This book will teach you how to be more creative and innovative. Learn from the best: this book is written by the co-founder of Pixar animation studio. “Just might be the best business book ever written.”—Forbes

Buy on Amazon

 

 

 

The Purple Cow

Many marketplaces and businesses are overcrowded, and companies are competing like hell. How do you get your audience attention, when they are overwhelmed with ads and (screaming for attention) other brands? This book will teach you how to think differently and how to stand out from your competition in a creative way. This book will inspire you to be a purple cow in the herd.

Buy on Amazon

 

Ogilvy On Advertising

David Ogilvy is one of the most famous advertising giants. His book provides timeless insights into the business and psychology of the advertising business. Covering print, TV, radio and direct marketing, the book - though now 30 years old, still resonates. The element emphasized by Ogilvy that allows it to maintain his relevance was a quote he took from Bill Bernbach - human nature hasn't changed over the years, and won't. Full of color and black & white ads and examples, the book also gives t21st-century reader a nostalgic look at 20th-century advertising. Interesting and worth reading.

Buy on Amazon

 

Value Proposition Design

Value Proposition Design is for anyone who has been frustrated by new product meetings based on hunches and intuitions; it’s for anyone who has watched an expensive new product launch fail in the market. The book will help you understand the patterns of great value propositions, get closer to customers, and avoid wasting time with ideas that won’t work. You’ll learn the simple process of designing and testing value propositions, that perfectly match customers’ needs and desires.

Buy on Amazon

 

Start With Why

The author, Simon Sinek, starts with a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over? Because they start with the 'why'. A must-read book for everyone.
Buy on Amazon

 

 

About running an agency

Agency - Starting A Creative Firm

A must read if you're thinking about starting a (design) agency. Do you want to scale up your freelancer work, or start an agency? If you said yes - read this (brilliant) book. Rick Webb shares his experience about starting, running and selling his agency in a very to-the-point manner. I love this book and it forms the basis of our conversion rate optimization agency, Optimizers.

Buy on Amazon

 

ReWork

Seth Godin says that this book will make you uncomfortable. Because it will make you rethink all the stuff most people think is 'normal' at work. It's a great book with a strong story and it will show you principles the author, Jason Fried, uses to build his company, Basecamp.

Buy on Amazon

 

It Doesn't Have To Be Crazy at Work

Another book by the founders of Basecamp. It's not out yet but you can pre-order it. In this book, the authors of the New York Times bestseller Rework broadly reject the prevailing notion that long hours, aggressive hustle, and "whatever it takes" are required to run a successful business today. They build on their message with a bold, iconoclastic strategy for creating the ideal company culture—what they call "the calm company."

Buy on Amazon

 

Just so you know, the links above are affiliate links meant to support Landingfolio' running costs. If you buy a book through one of these links you will support Landingfolio so we could continue finding design inspiration for you!