In my last several columns, I've reviewed some basics of conversion optimization. "The Sciences and Disciplines of Web Site Optimization" covered some of the science and professional disciplines needed when doing conversion analysis. That got us talking around the company water cooler, and someone suggested creating a list of the best books and resources that a conversion analyst can not do without.
So we debated, scoured our bookshelves, debated, and finally came up with a list of several team favorites and grouped them into a few categories. The resulting list, below, is in no particular order and is far from comprehensive. It includes books and a few other resources that we know to be unavoidable if you want to talk shop and play like a real conversion analysis.
Usability and Information Architecture
Direct Marketing Techniques
Psychology, Human Behavior, and Persuasion
There is a lot of science and rigor in the area of testing and statistics. And while marketing is becoming more accountable, we aren't quite ready for the amount of rigor possible in this critical area. But we will be, and when we are there will be a few more books that make this subject palatable for the average marketer and conversion analyst. Until then these are two solid choices to devour and have more than enough info to get you started testing and testing well:
Marketing, Branding, Selling
No doubt this is the hardest category because there are plenty of fine marketing, traditional advertising, and branding gurus. What we wanted to identify some books that will influence a lot of the great books still to come. Every one of these books is still relevant to marketing and the challenges we face online. You simply can't go wrong reading anything on this list:
SEO, SEM, Social Media
When it comes to search marketing and other dynamic markets, most of the treasured resources are blogs or sites like this. Search Engine Watch and ClickZ are a must (like Mike Grehan who writes about SEO (define); he's a friend and a fave). Here are a couple recent books worth mentioning:
As you can see, we likely left a few out. But every resource we listed will move you well on your way to understanding the ins and outs of how to be a great conversion analyst. Many of these books are required reading for our analysts, and they should be for yours.
Did we leave out one of your must-reads? List it in the comments section below.
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Bryan Eisenberg is coauthor of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times bestselling books "Call to Action," "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?," and "Always Be Testing." Bryan is a professional marketing speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as SES, Shop.org, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, SEM Konferansen Norway, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others. In 2010, Bryan was named a winner of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation's Rising Stars Awards, which recognizes the most talented professionals 40 years of age or younger in the field of direct/interactive marketing. He is also cofounder and chairman emeritus of the Web Analytics Association. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of SES Conference & Expo, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and several venture capital backed companies. He works with his coauthor and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at BryanEisenberg.com.
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