The Lead Machine | Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing {Book Review}

Posted March 18th @ 2:14 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Review of Rich Brook's The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital MarketingIf you’re a small business owner looking for a practical 4-step guide to digital marketing, check out Rich Brook’s The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing: Everything Entrepreneurs Need to Know About SEO, Social Media, Email Marketing, and Generating Leads Online.

I’m impressed!

I review marketing books for the Content Marketing Institute, I’ve interviewed hundreds of nonfiction authors during the past decade, and I’ve written over 40 marketing and design books for business and marketing.

The Lead Machine stands out because of its unique balance of information, opinions, organization, and clear, concise, conversational writing.

Unlike many marketing books, The Lead Machine was written for busy business owners by a busy business owner.

The Lead Machine provides a high-level, 4-step view of the digital marketing landscape, combined with enough detail to guide you through the steps involved in digital marketing. Its the perfect book to take with you on your commute, your next business trip, or to keep next to your bed.

It’s also an ideal training guide for your digital marketing team.

Meet Rich Brooks, The Lead Machine’s author

As the founder of Flyte New Media, located in Portland, Maine, Rich Brooks has been working with small and medium businesses for over 20 years.

His focus has always been on helping businesses generate more leads online.

He’s familiar with the entrepreneur’s need for simple, actionable digital marketing information delivered as concisely as possible.

As a result, he’s avoided many of the problems associated with many existing digital marketing books. Typical problems include:

  • Missing context. Digital marketing books designed for newcomers often fail to provide a balanced, step-by-step guide that covers all of the bases. They may help you establish an online presence, but typically don’t provide enough information about creating a process to convert online traffic into sales, and sales into referrals into repeat customers.
  • Information overkill. On the other hand, many digital marketing books are so niche-oriented, written from a specialist’s perspective, that they deliver more information than the typical small business owner needs to know.

Rich is the host of his popular weekly Agents of Change Podcast. He is also the founder of the Agents of Change Conference, held in Portland, ME, each September. This year, the conference takes place on Friday, September 15th. Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert, will be one of the featured speakers.

The Lead Machine and the Bare Essentials of digital marketing

The key to The Lead Machine’s ability to provide an actionable, balanced approach to digital marketing is the way Rich Brooks has organized the contents into 4 main sections, each containing multiple chapters. The four sections provide a structure for demystifying digital marketing and sharing the tools needed to develop your own digital marketing strategy.

  1. B stands for Build. The purpose of this section is to help you build or rebuild a more successful website. One that will covert traffic into action at a higher rate. Rich emphasizes that success requires a process. The process begins by understanding Who buys from you?, Why do they buy from you? , and Why do they choose you or your competition? Understanding how you want to represent your business online. The book actually comes with a free companion workbook based on the tools that flyte, Rich’s agency, uses when working with a new client.
  2. A is for Attract. The second section discusses the three ways to drive qualified traffic to your site: search, social, and digital ads. Rich shows how to run your own keyword research to brainstorm, test, and implement your best keywords. You’ll also learn how to use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner and Google Trends. Rich also introduces you to local search engine optimization and the right ways to attract inbound links. Social media is addressed as two separate tools, platforms and networks. The networking section contained advice about building an irresistible profile, engaging with your audience, and driving traffic to your site was particularly helpful.
  3. R is for Retain. No matter how strong your website is, chances are, most traffic will leave without making a purchase. That’s where email marketing comes in. You’ll learn how to get people to opt-into your email list, what techniques work the best, and which tools to use. You’ll see how to get your emails delivered, opened, and acted upon. Rich also shares his perspective on social media, i.e., getting your tribe to follow, fan, or friend you.
  4. E is for Evaluate. This section introduces a dose of real world practicality. It will help you identify what’s working, and what’s not working. As Rich expressed it, “There is no point in spending time, money, and resources on your digital marketing if you’re not tracking what’s working and what’s not working.” You’ll learn how to set up and use Google Analytics on your site, and how to harvest more information from the reports. You’ll also learn how the URL Builder will help you track exactly which email, Facebook post, or Tweet helped you obtain your latest customer.

The Lead Machine at a glance

Although each of the four Bare Essentials covers a lot of ground, The Lead Machine is an easy book to read.

This is because the chapters within each sections focus on specific topics.

Rich always begins by discussing the relevance (or benefits) of the tool or technique, followed by examples of how to use it. His “voice” comes through as he shares his experiences and lessons learned.

Each chapter is only as long as it has to be. Chapters range in length from 3 to 9 pages. This “content granularity” allows you to quickly gain a balanced perspective of the Bare Essentials of digital marketing, combined with familiarity with the tools and best practices involved at each step.

Have you read Rich Brook’s The Lead Machine?

After you’ve read The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing, please share your impressions as comments, below. I’m especially interested in your opinion if you’ve read other books written about digital marketing for small businesses. How do you feel The Lead Machine compares to other titles?

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