20 Free Marketing eBooks You Need to Download Right Now

Sssshhh!I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit of a sucker for free downloadable PDF eBooks and White Papers. Because they are usually organized into chapter form, they tend to be meatier and contain more valuable content than blog posts and articles. I’ve obtained an impressive collection of eBooks over the years and will often whip one out to share with a client or a Search Engine College student who might be struggling to understand a particular marketing or SEO concept.

So I thought I’d share with you my favorite free eBooks and White Papers, categorized by theme. Where possible, I’ve linked to the jump page from where you can access the PDF file, rather than linking to the PDF itself.

Top 5 Free Marketing Related eBooks

1) Definitive Guide to Marketing, Metrics and Analytics by Marketo – This chunky, 70 page eBook is a methodical guide for how to implement effective marketing measurement practices across your organization – big or small. It deals with that tricky subject of determining how your various marketing programs impact your revenue and profit so that you can decide which ones to focus on going forward.

2) The Email Marketing Showcase by Pollen Marketing – A recent discovery, this ROI-Driven email marketing guide by Natalie Giddings includes 50 published email examples compiled by experienced Internet marketers. It showcases stunning newsletter design elements, clever use of graphics and color and highly converting calls-to-action so you can learn from and implement them in your own email marketing programs. I read this in one sitting and then spent the weekend completely re-writing my follow up email series. I was so impressed, I contacted Natalie and offered her a tutor role at Search Engine College! (more about that soon).

3) A Guide to Marketing in 2014 by Vocus – How will you make the right choices for your 2014 digital marketing mix? This comprehensive guide will light the way for you. Written with a team of digital marketing’s foremost technologists and innovators, the guide explains 2014′s key marketing trends, what they will mean for you, and how to make them work with your brand’s strategy.

4) Take Your Business Online in 5 Hours for $26 by AWeber – You might be aware that I use AWeber for nearly all my online marketing activities. This includes email marketing campaigns, newsletter distribution and subscriber management needs. They just make it SO easy. So it makes sense for a company serving small and medium sized businesses to create a PDF guide to getting a biz online, fast. As they say in this guide, you can take your business online with just a basic website, an email series and some social network profiles. This step-by-step guide shows how to create an online presence for your business in only five hours for just $26.

5) The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Internet Marketing by HubSpot – I just love Hubspot. They are very clever marketers and always seem to come up with a relevant eBook, right when I’m researching a particular marketing topic. This was one of the first eBooks I ever downloaded from Hubspot and I refer to it all the time. Whether you’re just getting started with internet marketing or you want to brush up on the basics, this ebook can serve as your essential guide to setting up and implementing a successful internet marketing strategy, step by step. Be sure to check out their free MS Excel-based Editorial Calendar as well.

Top 5 Free SEO Related eBooks

1) SEO Starter Guide by Google – First published in 2008, Google has recently updated their SEO Starter Guide and translated it into 40 different languages. The Guide was written in response to Google staff being inundated with the same question in various formats over many years: “What are some simple ways that I can improve my website’s performance in Google?” The result is a compact guide that lists best practices that webmasters can follow to improve their sites’ crawlability and indexing. The Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide covers a range of common site design and coding aspects that webmasters need to optimize, such as improving title and description meta tags, URL structure, site navigation, content creation, anchor text, and more. If you want to improve your rank in Google, downloading this eBook is a no-brainer.

2) Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Moz – Following on from Google’s SEO Guide, this Beginner’s Guide from Moz will fill in any gaps you may have in your SEO knowledge. Beautifully designed and divided into clear, logical sections, this Guide is an ideal starting point for webmasters who want to educate themselves about what makes a search compatible site. It’s viewable online or via downloadable PDF and because it is written in such an approachable format and regularly updated by the Moz team, I recommend this eBook to all my SEO students.

3) 17 SEO Myths You Should Leave Behind by Hubspot – You’ll see Hubspot mentioned a few times in this article, for good reason. Their content is always timely and intuitive. Hubspot produced this eBook shortly after Google rolled out their confusing Panda algorithm update and webmasters were clambouring for some kind of guidance about how it would impact their SEO strategy. In the eBook, Hubspot debunk some of the most common SEO myths that still persist. After Google let loose their shiny new Hummingbird algorithm update, Hubspot cleverly updated this eBook to keep the advice fresh and relevant for the latest SEO methodologies.

4) The Web Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet by Moz – When I first started optimizing web sites for clients back in 1996, I actually wrote a similar Cheat Sheet of my own to give to web development staff to ensure they wouldn’t make any major SEO blunders and undo all my hard work. But Moz have taken the SEO Cheat Sheet concept to a whole new, beautiful level. Recently updated, all the geektastic SEO tips and shortcuts you’ll ever need while coding are in here, including metadata, sitemaps, pagination, authorship, user agents, robot syntax, canonicalization and much more. This one is permanently pinned to my office wall.

5) Microsoft Excel for SEOs by Distilled – This Guide is so much more than an eBook. Produced by London-based digital creative agency Distilled, Microsoft Excel for SEOs started life as a White Paper written up to help SEO professionals retrieve meaningful information from mountains of data, using MS Excel. It is now less of a White Paper and more of an extremely comprehensive mini course in how to use Microsoft Excel to revolutionize traditionally time-consuming Search Engine Optimization tasks. If your job involves data analysis of the marketing kind, give this Guide a look. It’s viewable online or via downloadable PDF and comes with an XLS Example Workbook to help cement your knowledge with practical examples.

Top 5 Free Social Media Related eBooks

1) The Marketer’s Guide to Social Media by Vocus – This guide is written for marketers to help them come to terms with where they should invest their time and money and what social media tactics will help them achieve the greatest ROI. The guide includes insights from social media butterflies Ekaterina Walter, Jason Falls and Michael Stelzner that will take you through the most pivotal social media marketing trends and show you how to leverage them to deploy winning campaigns.

2) The Definitive Guide to Social Marketing by Marketo – If you are looking for a comprehensive understanding of Social Media for business in under 100 pages, this visually splendid eBook won’t disappoint. Written from a strong business ROI perspective, this guide is the one eBook I recommend most often to all my Social Media Marketing workshop attendees.

3) How to Get 1000+ Followers on Twitter by Hubspot – If you’re a Twitter junkie like me, this snappy eBook will make light work of the problem of not having enough Twitter followers. The advice includes how to optimize your Twitter profile, how and when to follow people, how to use hash tags and what to retweet.

4) Do It Yourself Social Media Audit by JanetFous.com – Did you know that you should conduct a social media audit quarterly? Well apparently you should. According to Social Media expert Janet Fouts, it’s a good idea to conduct a social media audit every so often to step back and take a benchmark of your performance. This allows you to see yourself as others might see you and judge if you are delivering the message you think you’re sending. It’s also a good way to evaluate what networks are working for you, which aren’t and if you are using social media efficiently. This eBook shows you what you need to do in order to audit your own Social Media activities and set a benchmark for the future.

5) Building a Killer Content Strategy by Hubspot – Everyone knows that great content is the foundation of highly trafficked sites. But how do you define *great*? How should you implement a content creation and publication strategy? This guide will teach you how to do all these things by giving you actionable advice, including how to understand your audience, map content to the buying cycle and build an editorial calendar.

Top 5 Free Advertising Related eBooks

1) AdWords Step by Step by Google – It’s amazing the number of marketers who abandon AdWords as a channel following a string of failed campaigns. The truth is that AdWords is a complex and tricky beast and you really need to educate yourself in campaign set up and planning before any of your ads go live. This free eBook by Google is a great starting point for both new advertisers and experienced marketers.

2) Google AdWords: A Brave New World by Google – Andrew Goodman wrote the first eBook on AdWords, over 10 years ago now. As Andrew states in his book, the world of AdWords changes frequently, even though many of the fundamental principles do not. Andrew’s original eBook eventually morphed into a 400 page published book that quickly became everyone’s favorite AdWords reference and has been updated several times. This pocket guide is a 40-page mini version of Andrew’s book, that offers a faster read for marketers in a hurry to understand the complexity lurking in Google’s advertising system.

3) Open the Black Box – Maximizing Success in Bid Automation by OptiMine – Bid automation software is essential for companies with complex paid-search programs. However, when using bid automation software it’s hard to determine the “why” behind their paid-search performance. This whitepaper looks at why companies need to use bid automation software that gives them transparency and control of their paid-search programs.

4) Conversion Secrets of a Million Dollar Landing Page by Conversion Rate Experts – This case study really put Conversation Rate Experts on the map. During the process of building a highly converting landing page for SEOMoz.com (now re-branded as Moz.com), CRE obtained such phenomenal results, that they set a new conversion benchmark for the industry. This online case study (downloadable as a PDF) is another resource I refer my students to frequently. It contains invaluable advice on boosting your ad and landing page response rates and highlights all the key features of high-converting content.

and finally…

5) From Abandon to Conversion: Why Shoppers Abandon Carts and What Merchants Can Do About It by Bronto – Shopping cart abandonment is a major problem for online retailers, with rates averaging between 60-70 percent. Departing shoppers represent a significant amount of lost revenue and to reverse that trend, you need to understand customer motivations and reasons for abandonment. For this white paper, Bronto staff examined the carting experience and follow-up email strategies of 100 retailers to discover the reasons for abandonment and the top strategies for bringing those shoppers back.

Happy reading!

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Fast Five in Search – Week 27, 2014

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Greetings and salutations! It’s been a pretty cruisy week in the office, which has given me more time to research some juicy Fast Five links for you. It’s another mixed bag, a couple of Google stories, a couple of Facebook stories and a curve ball article about Infographics.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Why Google Places is Now Google My Business by Warren Knight. This month, Google has quietly re-branded Google Places, by combining it with Google Local and calling it the very uninspired Google My Business. In this article, Warren looks at the upgrade in more detail and gives a big thumbs up to the new streamlined version.

2) Google+ At 3 Years Old: Not a Ghost Town, But a Social Referral Graveyard by Martin Beck. There’s an old joke amongst us online marketers that goes:“Google Plus has millions of users! They all just happen to be Google employees”. But all jokes aside, despite having millions of users, Google’s own social platform is suffering from a chasm of referral traffic. Martin Beck takes a look at the depressing stats and possible reasons for the lack-lustre performance.

3) The Best Infographics of 2014 by Lindsay Kolowich. Bit of a sucker for a good infographic? Yeah, me too. Lucky for us, one of the clever crew over at HubSpot has compiled a list of this year’s most interesting and useful infographics. I feel some serious yak shaving coming on via that link.

4) Facebook and the Ethics of User Manipulation by Alex Wilhelm. So my reader has been lighting up for the past week with stories about *that* Facebook experiment, where staff at the social mammoth supposedly manipulated our newsfeeds to test our psychological reactions. With the true nature of the testing exposed, industry reaction has been overwhelmingly negative, with Huffington Post hysterically comparing the experiment to lab rat testing. This TechCrunch article from Alex Wilhelm is one of the more measured and thoughtful pieces about the entire incident.

and finally…

5) Facebook Responds to Negative Reactions to Its Experiment on Users by Adario Strange. And because it is such a hot topic, here’s another article on the whole Facebook Experiment debacle. This one by Adario Strange of Mashable includes feedback from Facebook both about the experiment and the vitriolic reaction it received from the public.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 20, 2014

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I’ve got a bit of a mixed bag for you this week. We have articles about Google Analytics, link building, Facebook, SEO and Twitter. Let’s get stuck in…

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Integrate Your SEO Data into Universal Analytics – by Bhoomika Joshi. This post talks you through how to create Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics that will help you gain more insights into your SEO data.

2) 10 SEO Myths Reviewed - by Duane Forrester. In this post, Bing’s Senior Product Manager debunks some of the most common SEO myths and legends, including my all time paranoid favorite: “Buying ads helps my rankings”.

3) Facebook Audience Insights Tool Gives You More Info About Those You’re Trying to Reach – by Chris Crum. A good introduction to Facebook’s new Audience Insights tool, which lets marketers learn more about their target audiences, such as aggregate information about geography, demographics and purchase behavior.

4) Link Building Does Not Equal Content Marketing, But Here’s How They Fit Together – by Erin Everhart. At last, somebody said it. Link building and content marketing are not the same thing. This article explains why and how you can focus on both.

and finally…

5) Twitter for Small Businesses: Five Universal Tips to Get the Right Perspective – by Andrew Smith. In this post, Andrew gives small businesses some tips for how to use Twitter for their social media marketing purposes.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 17, 2014

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Last week I treated you to five of my favorite Social Media Marketing News Sources. This week I share the remaining five that wouldn’t fit on last week’s list.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five – Top Social Media News Sources (continued):

1) Social Media Today – This site claims to pull together “the world’s best thinkers on social media”. While that statement is always going to be relative, I can vouch for the consistent freshness of their content. Be sure to check out their infographics channel while you’re there.

2) Social Fresh – Themed in a happy orange, this blog provides exactly what it says on the label – a collection of fresh updates about social media. What makes Social Fresh unique is their angle toward social media education. Their goal is to inspire people to create better businesses through social media via social media conferences and online training programs.

3) Expanded Ramblings Social Channel – As a reminder, Expanded Ramblings have an extensive library of Internet statistics and Infographics. Much of their content is dedicated to social media and this link will take you straight to that good stuff. If you need to find recent social media usage statistics or related stats, you’re bound to find something here.

4) TechCrunch Social Media Channel – As I’ve blogged about in the past, the TechCrunch network reaches over 12 million unique visitors and draw more than 37 million page views per month, with more than 2 million friends and followers on the various social media channels. This is their exclusive news channel for all things social media.

and finally…

5) Social Times – A recent discovery, this site is dedicated exclusively to social media news and is published by Media Bistro – a long time provider of jobs, news, education, events, and research for the media industry.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 16, 2014

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After posting my list of Top Digital Marketing News Sources a few weeks ago, some of you asked me if I could recommend some sources that focus exclusively on social media and social marketing news. I’m happy to oblige with this week’s Fast Five. There’s more than five, but let’s stick to the format and reveal five at a time (more next week).

Here’s this week’s Fast Five – Top Social Media News Sources:

1) SiteProNews Social Media News – SiteProNews is probably the largest single source of daily social media news that I visit in my morning rounds. Because their article feed is collated by author tags, the stories can be filed under several categories, including social media (linked above), social media marketing and social networking articles, so be sure to check each category for the latest stories.

2) Social Media Examiner – Pitching as the world’s largest online social media magazine, Social Media Examiner was founded by well known copywriter Michael Stelzner. With a flock of well known self-help gurus as guest bloggers, Social Media Examiner helps businesses discover how to best use social media, blogs and podcasts to connect with customers, drive traffic, generate awareness and increase sales. Technorati ranks Social Media Examiner as one of the world’s Top 5 business blogs.

3) Social Media Explorer – Headed up by social butterflies Nichole Kelly and Jason Falls, Social Media Explorer is a strategic services agency focusing on both social media marketing and digital marketing. As well as articles about social media marketing and search engine marketing, this site also provides an extensive selection of articles about public relations, media and journalism.

4) VentureBeat Social Media News – A little bit Huff Post, a little bit Mashable, this quirky site aims to “provide deep context to help executives, entrepreneurs, and tech enthusiasts make smart decisions”. With 11 million monthly pageviews, the site is growing in popularity and seems to source more unique social media news than some of the bigger players. A handy bookmark if you’re looking for a new perspective on social.

and finally…

5) MarketingLand Social Media Channel – MarketingLand.com was developed as an offshoot of the successful SearchEngineLand run by Danny Sullivan and his team. Given the constant morphing of search engine marketing and social media marketing, it made sense to expand topics across separate sites under more relevant category headings and domains. This is the new and improved social media newsfeed now hosted on MarketingLand.com, but you can see older social media archives over on SearchEngineLand.com.

I’ll complete the list with my five remaining Top Social Media News Sources next week.

Happy news hunting!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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