The best way to stay on top of your marketing game is to learn from the experts who have done it all before. They’ve made the mistakes and seen the successes and literally written the books on it.
So, how do you become as good as them?
Read their books.
Where do you start?
I’ve put together my top 28 book recommendations that every apartment marketer should consider reading.
What it’s about: David Ogilvy was the most sought after advertising wizard in the business. The campaigns he worked on – Rolls Royce, Schweppes and Hathaway Shirts are still instant classics today. This book shares his secrets.
Why I recommend it: It’s brutally candid, and an easy-to-digest timeless read. Plus, it has pictures. It’s the kind of book you don’t want to put down.
Favorite Insight from the Book: On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. (Think about that the next time you’re crafting your marketing message.)
What it’s about: How to create successful advertising – including how to layout an ad, write enticing headlines, and capture your audience’s attention. Caples is another advertising great, whose experience and ideas remain relevant today.
Why I recommend it: Professional copywriter or not, you should know how to write copy that appeals to the right buying emotions. This book teaches that and more.
Favorite Insight from the Book: The success of an entire advertising campaign may stand or fall on what is said in the headlines of the individual advertisements. (This again drives home how important that headline is.
What it’s about: Get the tools and systems you need to manage your busy workload, like a five-step process to master your workflow.
Why I recommend it: In our industry, it’s easy to get bogged down by to-dos. This book gives a very simple framework to help you become more productive – and better yet, stress free.
Favorite Insight from the Book: The key to managing all your stuff, is managing your actions.
What it’s about: Get three practical secrets to effective leadership, including one-minute goals, one-minute redirects, and one-minute praises.
Why I recommend it: It’s a quick and easy read, but you get a lot out of it. We apply these principles daily to get the best out of our employees.
Favorite Insight from the Book: The goal is to not tear people down, but to build them up.
What it’s about: Running a company? This is basically your how-to manual. Wickman introduces a practical method for achieving business success – the Entrepreneurial Operating System – that you can’t miss out on.
Why I recommend it: It’s super straightforward and uncomplicated. It covers all the obstacles you come across as a business leader and gives you easy-to-digest answers and solutions.
Favorite insight from the book: Make every person in your company accountable for a number.
What it’s about: This book teaches you how to write a good sales letter – including crafting that super-important headline and how to incorporate graphics into your letter.
Why I recommend it: Sales copy in general is critical to making sure our apartment marketing campaigns are effective. Dan Kennedy is one of the top copywriters in the world. So, anytime he talks about writing a sales letter, it’s good to listen.
Favorite insight from the book: Drop caps – an enlarged, initial cap draws the reader’s eye to the beginning of your letter. Studies show this simple technique increases readership.
What it’s about: This book essentially unlocks the secrets to getting people (like potential clients or residents, for example) to say yes. If you are going to read one book on persuading people, this is definitely it.
Why I recommend it: Simple but powerful strategies that can be incorporated into every aspect of your apartment marketing efforts.
Favorite insight from the book: Often we don’t realize that our attitude toward something has been influenced by the number of times we have been exposed to it in the past.
What it’s about: Gives you a great overview on web usability principles, so you can make sure your website is clean and easy to navigate.
Why I recommend it: As technology changes, so does the way we view websites. Tons of useful advice even for non-techie people like myself.
Favorite insight from the book: Know the main things that people want to do on your site, and make them obvious and easy.
What it’s about: Get a simple, proven process for making your apartment marketing stand out from the competition and be memorable for potential residents.
Why I recommend it: It gives you step by step actions and frameworks for creating unique, one of a kind taglines.
Favorite insight from the book: Put your slogan in a beat that’s easy to repeat.
What it’s about: Get tips for effective and persuasive copywriting for different marketing mediums, like direct mail, commercials, web, email, sales letters, etc.
Why I recommend it: Want to become a better writer? This is your book. Do you approve or review copy? This is your book, too. Understand what it takes to sell your brand through the right messaging.
Favorite insight from the book: When writing headlines, use the four U’s: urgent, unique, ultra-specific, and useful.
What it’s about: Create the success you want – personal or professional – with the step-by-step strategies found in this book. Learn how to win, find find your motivation, fix bad habits, gain momentum, and achieve your goals.
Why I recommend it: If you need a personal coach on success habits, Darren’s book is a fast, easy read that delivers. Each chapter ends with action steps.
Favorite insight from the book: Identify three new habits you need to develop to put you on track toward your most important goal.
What it’s about: Learn to cut through the clutter and focus on a less is more approach. Have the best of both worlds – less to-dos and more productivity.
Why I recommend it: Taking a simple approach to focus and do more is something everyone can benefit from. This book has won tons of awards and there’s a reason for it. Life-changing.
Favorite insight from the book: Your most important priority is the ONE Thing you can do right now that will help you achieve what matters most to you.
What it’s about: Want to enjoy a top income, power, and status? Dan Kennedy, also known as the “millionaire maker” will show you the way in this book.
Why I recommend it: Super-useful, classic and revolutionary advice, like the 6-Step No BS Sales Process and the 6 Ways Sales Professionals Sabotage Themselves.
Favorite insight from the book: Somewhere, right now, outside your business and its industry and industry norms, in an apparently unrelated business, lies the moveable idea that could revolutionize your profits.
What it’s about: Just as the title suggests, this book gives you 12 strategies for remaining hyper-focused in the things that matter most to your business. It covers time management, hiring the right employees, becoming a strategist, and more.
Why I recommend it: Simple. Classic. And offers a wealth of invaluable information to boost your company and how you operate it.
Favorite insight from the book: The first thing you need to think about and plan is who the ideal person would be in your audience.
What it’s about: Ries and Trout break down the key principles of good marketing. If ever there was a how-to manual for marketing and a set of rules to never break, this is it right here.
Why I recommend it: Quick and easy-to-read stories and advice that should be remembered for every marketing asset you put out there.
Favorite insight from the book: Don’t try to beat the leader—try to be different from them. Turn their strength into a weakness.
What it’s about: Just like the #15 book on our list, this book breaks down the 22 key principles of branding. If you want to build an apartment brand that people remember and trust, read this book.
Why I recommend it: Clear-cut breakdown of what it takes to develop a world-class brand. This also provides lots of examples from big brands, like Volvo or Rolex.
Favorite insight from the book: What should a brand leader advertise? Brand leadership, of course. Leadership is the single most important motivating factor in consumer behavior.
What it’s about: Dive into the power of storytelling for apartment marketing and learn the SB7 Framework, which is basically the essential elements of speaking about your brand so people respond. Find out what makes people take action and how to craft a simplified brand message that people understand.
Why I recommend it: Straightforward and compelling advice on how to talk about your brand – advice we can all use no matter what business we’re in.
Favorite insight from the book: Never assume people understand how your brand can change their lives. Tell them.
What it’s about: In an overly saturated market, this book teaches you how to stand out and be remembered – the same way a purple cow would.
Why I recommend it: Tried and true tips for creating marketing that breaks through all the clutter. Any Seth Godin book is a great read.
Favorite insight from the book: In your career, even more than for a brand, being safe is risky. The path to lifetime job security is to be remarkable.
What it’s about: You may have heard of this book for boosting your social life, but these principles can all be carried over to your business and marketing. It’s a really good reminder of the basic rules of being a good person in order to win people (or clients or colleagues) over.
Why I recommend it: Bottom line: it’s advice that works. You can essentially benefit from these skills throughout every aspect of your life.
Favorite insight from the book: The only way I can get you to do anything is by giving you what you want.
What it’s about: Learn the formula for delivering the perfect pitch and explore the science behind how the brain makes decisions and responds to pitches. Position your ideas to get the best result.
Why I recommend it: Whether you know it or not, we’re all pitching ourselves everyday with the different interactions that happen. This book gives you the framework for making it successful
Favorite insight from the book: Turn yourself into the prize, instead of chasing your target.
What it’s about: Your road map for social media strategy. Beyond developing high-quality content, this book shows you how to develop content tailored to each social media platform – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. and why that matters so much.
Why I recommend it: Any book that gives solid advice on connecting with customers is a winner. Social media is super important into today’s world, and it’s equally important for marketers to get it right.
Favorite insight from the book: A story is at its best when it’s not intrusive, when it brings value to a platform’s consumers, and when it fits in as a natural step along the customer’s path to making a purchase.
What it’s about: Through intriguing storytelling, this book perfectly reveals the key to success: giving. Sometimes, in business we become too focused on the getting. In reality, adding value to others’ lives is when you reap the rewards.
Why I recommend it: An entertaining novel with an important reminder – to give.
Favorite insight from the book: Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.
What it’s about: It’s hard to stay motivated and productive day in and day out. This book gives you the tools to keep up the momentum, especially in those times you need a boost.
Why I recommend it: Timeless messages and good, honest advice on pushing through to your goals. A short, light read with plenty of examples and stories.
Favorite insight from the book: The reality is that in order to win in life, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and then and only then can you expect to win.
What it’s about: How to advertise in a way that’s totally outside of the box. You already know cutting through the clutter is necessary – but this book goes beyond that with proven techniques for getting the attention your brand needs to get the results you want.
Why I recommend it: Takes the guesswork out of advertising. Straight to the point, no-nonsense advice that you can start using right away.
Favorite insight from the book: The definition of insanity is doing the same things as your competitors and expecting to beat them.
What it’s about: Gives the reader an inside look at the inner workings of the minds of two busy executives to prove the point that it is possible to be successful, even with an overwhelming amount of work to do.
Why I recommend it: Written from an interesting perspective and makes you more self-aware on how you manage your day-to-day interactions.
Favorite insight from the book: Sometimes reducing a problem to one short sentence can be enough to bring about insight on its own.
What it’s about: This book gives you a great overview on apartment marketing and includes strategies on the three pillars – traffic, conversion, and service.
Why I recommend it: I wrote this book to help you get the most out of your apartment marketing. Plus, there were no other Apartment Marketing books on Amazon. It’s a quick, easy read. A good guide to refer back to time and time again.
Favorite insight from the book: Remember your best customer is the one you already have – your existing residents. Any marketing plan you put in place, make sure it involves them as they can be your best sales force.
What it’s about: Learn from one of the greats how to create work you’re proud of and how to really focus on solving the clients’ needs before your own company’s. Use tactics, like empathy and connection over the over-the-top salesy, attention-seeking ads.
Why I recommend it: Inspires you to change your way of thinking. Not overly technical, but more philosophical and insightful approach to marketing. Quick, easy to read, and accessible. Lots of great examples to support main points.
Favorite insight from the book: 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.
What it’s about: Follows the career of famous showman P.T. Barnum and shares his business wisdom and tactics for success.
Why I recommend it: Learn from one of the best businessmen, PT himself. Easily applicable tactics for any business and very inspirational. This book is not only informational, but also fun and entertaining to read.
Favorite insight from the book: You have to be like the businessman who hung from a towel that was tied to a flying helicopter to show his towels would not tear.
Treat this list as your go-to guide for whenever you need to improve a marketing skill. Start by choosing one thing you want to get better at, and then find the book for it on this list. Want to be a better copywriter? Manager? Apartment marketer? Person? It’s all here. And I get it, you’re busy – but, you owe it to yourself to be the best you can be.
Josh Grillo is a #1 Best Selling Author, Speaker and Co-Founder of Resident360.