Affiliate marketing has become a popular choice for people looking to create an online business!
In fact, the number of affiliates is climbing because today, 8 out of 10 brands have an affiliate marketing program. Unfortunately, beginners often struggle to grasp the complexities of this industry and fail to create effective strategies that actually work!
The good news is, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel – other people know what works, and they’ll tell you for less than the cost of a nice dinner out.
In this post, I’m sharing 15 of the best affiliate marketing books with you, so you have a chance to grow the knowledge that matters. (And we also have this list of the best affiliate marketing courses you can look through!)
Join more than 117,000 affiliate marketers!
Get expert affiliate marketing insights delivered right to your inbox. Plus, subscribe now for a step-by-step guide to getting started on ClickBank!
5 General Marketing Books You Must Read
The number one step to understanding affiliate marketing is to learn more about the marketing channels where it happens!
In the age of the internet, most affiliate marketing takes place online. This simply means that to become a good affiliate marketer, you first need to be a good online marketer!
In fact, I tend to think of affiliate marketing as using online marketing principles and tactics to promote other people’s products and services!
So, these first 5 books in our list will help you understand foundational marketing concepts that are both universal and niche-specific, which you can then leverage to skyrocket your affiliate business!
1) The Secrets Trilogy by Russell Brunson
Think of The Secrets Trilogy as one “mega-book” full of insights, written by our friend and ClickFunnels founder, Russell Brunson. This trilogy set includes all 3 of Russell’s books from the ‘Secrets’ series, including DotCom Secrets, Expert Secrets, and Traffic Secrets. This trilogy reveals affiliate marketing secrets used by Russell to go from $0 to 100 mil in less than 4 years, without any venture capital or bank loans.
This one is a great read to better understand online marketing, funnel building, and generating quality traffic for your affiliate business.
If you buy the box set, you also get a FREE workbook to go through and apply everything in a step by step manner! We recommend you get the box set so that you can simultaneously test and track which ideas work for your business.
Verified Review of The Secrets Trilogy:
“Russell makes it so clear and easy to understand the basic marketing processes that will get your message out to the world. His series of books should be required reading for anyone trying to build a tribe and/or sell a product online. I will be returning to this book again and again.”
2) $100M Offers by Alex Hormozi
Even if you’re focused on being an affiliate, it helps a TON to understand what the best offers look like. After all, you have to pick quality offers to promote if you want to make decent commissions. This book helps you to better understand the importance of good copy, how to craft an offer, understanding customer psychology, and much more!
Apart from that, the book also sheds light on various online marketing and sales principles and strategies, along with exercises for readers to engage in, making it highly actionable! So, if you’re a beginner, this book will save you tons of time. You get distilled information that works as a launchpad for business success!
Verified Review of $100M Offers:
“Completely changed my view on pricing and building offers. This book and the advice in it are absolute gold. Recommend highly!”
3) From Nothing by Ian Pribyl
“From Nothing” is one of the most beginner-friendly affiliate marketing books out there! This book details basic concepts for a clear, realistic understanding of online marketing. The book gives you an easy, actionable step by step approach to make your affiliate marketing business a success.
More importantly, this book is all the rage because it lists inexpensive ways to set up your online business. At the same time, it does not make any outlandish claims. So, affiliate marketers – especially beginners – can expect realistic results from their affiliate campaigns.
The only downside with this book is that some of the tactics can be a little outdated, as tends to happen with print books in a highly digital world. Focus on the principles with this one.
Verified Review of From Nothing:
“Life-changing. This book is just incredible and goes with Ian’s online course. It has a range of topics – how to register a domain, host a website, make a website, keyword research, how to write high-quality content, and more. No experience needed. An essential item for any online business.”
4) Purple Cow by Seth Godin
Yeah, it’s a little old school, but “Purple Cow” is also a classic!
This Business Week and Wall Street Journal bestselling book is a must-have for all marketers. One of the OG marketing books for a modern age, this classic teaches you how to stand out from the crowd.
In this book, Seth Godin teaches you a counter-intuitive approach to marketing, and changes your entire outlook on business building! As the name suggests, this book helps you create a ‘purple cow’ in a world full of brown ones. It is filled with real-life examples that support all his ideas.
This book is a buy for marketers who want to take a courageous approach, learn, and make money online through their affiliate business!
Verified Review of Purple Cow:
“I liked the sheer number of examples covered by Seth. He supported every thought with a real-life instance. I completely connected with his views on how established companies have become boringly safe. The traditional Ps of marketing should be looked at through the lens of this new remarkable P. A must-read for everyone. It will make you question the marketeer inside you.”
5) The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib
Allan Dib, a serial entrepreneur and rebellious marketer, has laid down simple, actionable steps to leverage the underlying potential of a well-designed marketing plan. This book is primarily aimed at small business owners, so it’s a perfect read for anyone trying to take it to the next level.
Allan has tackled one of the biggest challenges of a small entrepreneur: how to market without being stretched too thin. He has emphasized must-have skills like copywriting, and has taken a consumer-centric approach to devise a simple marketing plan that works!
Not only that, the book also forces marketers and business owners to answer important questions that steadily clarify each step in 5h3i4 journey. It also sheds light on the importance of specialization, email marketing vs. social media marketing, and a whole lot more!
Verified Review of The 1-Page Marketing Plan:
“Do not let the low cost of this book fool you into taking it lightly. If you really, really want to grow your business without wasting time and scarce money on marketing, buy this book and complete the exercises inside. You will not be disappointed.”
Our Top Picks for the 5 Types of Affiliate Marketers (2 Per Category!)
Once you’ve gotten a good overview of marketing, you’ll have to decide which TYPE of affiliate you want to be!
So, we’ve written our next picks based on the 5 most common types of affiliates we see in the direct response space. If you’re aspiring to build a thriving affiliate marketing business, understanding the direction you want to go will help you decide which books you should read!
Here are the book suggestions for each affiliate type below. Enjoy!
1) Content Publisher
The content publisher is primarily an SEO blogger, whose job is building an affiliate website that can point readers to a third-party company’s product or service in exchange for a commission.
Many content publishers sign up with an affiliate network – such as Amazon Associates or ClickBank – and add their unique tracking links to their blog posts to grow an affiliate income.
If you want to sell by blogging, the following two books are a MUST-READ for you!
SEO 2022 by Adam Clarke
SEO 2022 is a gold standard book on SEO, updated yearly and taking latest SEO trends and tactics into consideration.
In this book, Adam Clarke outlines the white-hat SEO practices that can help maximize your blog earnings! He also talks about the shady practices that may get your website banned from Google.
SEO 2022 offers plenty of value to beginners AND to advanced content publisher affiliates.
Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi
As an entrepreneur interested in affiliate marketing, you’ll want to learn how to build a massive online audience via your blog.
Joe Pulizzi pens down actionable strategies that affiliate business owners can use to do so, despite limited resources. For bloggers, Content Inc. is a necessity!
2) PPC/Media Buyer
A PPC affiliate is a media buyer on platforms like Facebook Ads, YouTube Ads, native ads, and more. (See our full list of paid traffic sources here.)
The area of expertise for a PPC buyer is understanding advertising platforms and analyzing data on these different paid traffic sources. Here are a few marketing books you need to read, to get your paid advertising dialed in.
Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising by Perry Marshall, et al
“Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising” is one of the few books that holds up to its bold promise. The third and latest edition of this book is updated with new chapters that share insights on Facebook’s latest new apps and services.
It teaches advertisers how to best leverage them to target the platform’s 1.7 billion active users. If you’re targeting Facebook as a traffic source, this book needs to make it to your shelf right away!
Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz
Eugene Schwartz originally designed this book back in the 1960s in a way that could bring value to copywriters, advertisers, business owners, and sales professionals at the same time. With that being said, it is a must-read, especially for PPC/ media buyer affiliates.
Why? It’s because this guide breaks down all of the essentials elements of ad copywriting and helps you master the art of making a killer ad that captures attention. It’s a total game-changer.
3) Email Marketer
Email marketers grow massive email lists of specific targeted audiences or niche, such as a list of women over the age of 50 or a list of woodworking enthusiasts. These affiliates have the power to promote their affiliate links in all kinds of niches and make money in commissions!
But readers’ attention spans are lower than ever, so to truly succeed as an email affiliate, you need to master the art of copywriting.
These resources can help you step up your game!
Copywriting Secrets by Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards is one of the most famous examples of an author who writes his own copy to sell his own stuff. He is the perfect person to guide you in your copywriting journey.
His “Copywriting Secrets” book details the various features of copywriting and helps you understand the degree of influence that words can have over a sale’s success!
Confessions of a Persuasion Hitman by Ian Stanley
When a serial marketer shares his ways, we should stop and listen! This book is one financial investment you won’t ever regret. Ian shares knowledge he uses himself to sell more than $100 million worth of products online.
In “Confessions of a Persuasion Hitman,” the author dives deep into tactics that can help you effectively persuade your buyers.
NOTE: Ian is a featured email marketing expert with a course called “Dominate the Inbox” inside ClickBank’s official affiliate marketing education platform, Spark by ClickBank.
4) Social Influencer
Social influencers are similar to affiliate marketers in a lot of ways, but the main difference is that they have to build an audience to make money.
Social influencers post on popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, SnapChat, or even Medium or Quora to build their following. You can read more on influencer marketing vs affiliate marketing here to better understand the difference.
While affiliates and influencers aren’t exactly the same, it IS possible to promote ClickBank products to an audience you’ve built on social media. Here are some books to explore!
How to Be Internet Famous by Brendan A. Cox
“How to Be Internet Famous” is a great read for affiliate marketers who want to grow their online business through social media.
You will learn all things social media, including building a brand, curating viral content, and monetizing your brand effectively.
YouTube Secrets by Sean Cannell & Benji Travis
This ultimate guide teaches you how to grow your viewership on YouTube and make money as a video influencer.
The book will give you decades’ worth of insights, not only from the authors, but also from the 100 top creators on YouTube. You can use the step by step approach in “YouTube Secrets” to find your own YouTube success!
5) Community Manager
A lot of the best affiliate marketers are turning to communities to grow their business now. Marketers can directly meet potential customers where they are by building communities on popular platforms, which can be more cost effective than trying to build a massive following elsewhere.
These kinds of communities can be grown on Slack, Facebook Groups, Discord servers, subreddits, website forums, etc. You might also include group threads in messaging apps like WhatsApp, membership sites with included Zoom calls, and much more.
If you want to leverage a community to promote products as an affiliate, then these must-reads are for you.
The Business of Belonging by David Spinks
“The Business of Belonging” is a definitive guide that helps you grasp the money making potential of communities, how to unleash such potential, and how to maximize it.
David Spinks also shares a step by step approach to building out your own community strategy, aligning it with business goals, managing a community, and much more in this insightful read.
Build Your Community by Richard Millington
A unique approach to building community, “Build Your Community” helps the reader understand the role of psychology, user experience, and design thinking, in better customer service and retention.
This one also helps you learn through research-backed insights that are well supported by real-life examples of community building and business success.
Affiliate Marketing Books vs Affiliate Marketing Courses
So far, we’ve talked about affiliate marketing books you should be checking out. And in a lot of ways, these serve you well as an overview of different topics.
But often, if you’re looking for actionable and up-to-date tactics to follow, you should consider affiliate marketing courses instead.
Books can sometimes provide outdated information that may be irrelevant by the time you get your hands on them. Quality courses, however, are regularly updated and give learners lifetime access to the material as it changes.
This allows you to stay updated with new industry trends, news and software/platform updates, and remain ahead of the curve at all times.
Not only that, courses can be much more focused, actionable, and step by step for building a successful affiliate marketing business, including over the shoulder tutorials and desktop screen shares that help you understand exactly what you need to do!
Interested in must-watch courses on copywriting, email marketing, paid ads, and more? Want insights that will fast-track your success with affiliate marketing?
Best Affiliate Marketing Books Wrap-up and Next Steps
These books are a fantastic way to learn at your own pace and discover ideas that can transform your business. Hopefully, our list of 5 general marketing books (plus 2 additional books for your chosen affiliate type) will give you a ton of value moving forward!
But what if you want to skip straight to the action steps you NEED to succeed as an affiliate?
Check out Spark by ClickBank, an affiliate e-learning platform developed by the experts here at ClickBank! Through Spark, you’ll gain access to more than 10 full video courses created by top-tier marketers – both at ClickBank and around the world. Armed with cutting-edge knowledge of what’s actually working, you can implement the best tactics to make your affiliate business a huge success.
In fact, when you join Spark, you’ll ALSO gain access to dozens of affiliate experts and thousands of ClickBank community members who have already successfully sold hundreds of products and generated money in the form of commissions.
Ultimately, whatever your path forward looks like, we hope you’ve found some great new marketing resources to learn from for your affiliate education. More than anything, the biggest successes in our space are the ones who never stop learning!