Monday, September 26, 2016

The Marketing Mix that Sells Books

I never tell clients to do anything I am not willing to do. When I encourage my clients to market, market, market and never stop marketing, it's because I don't let my own promotion wane. Whether it's a book you're trying to make a best seller or a product or service that you're trying to sell, you have to continually market it. Few businesses enjoy momentum without pressure. Once in a while a company can't keep up with its growth. They cut down on marketing because they can't keep up with demand. And while that sounds like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it can also cause a slow death. You have to find a middle ground to handle business growth. You have to find a scale-able business model that works when things are growing fast, and it doesn't kill your company if things slow down.
 
When it comes to independent book publishing I've noticed an interesting business model that seems to work effectively for self-help books. Having been through a divorce and end of a 22-year marriage followed by a couple of botched relationships, I began to read up on how to have a successful relationship. I subscribed to Christian Carters thrice-weekly newsletter. I really admire Carter's business model. He has a catalog of relationship-related books, videos and workshops. I read his newsletter religiously and enjoy it. While I don't always agree with him, I like his "style".
 
Carter has developed his own cottage industry of relationship books. He also publishes two senior psychologists' book and another one written by a woman named Rori. In either case, he mixes up their newsletters with his own under his brand. The senior writers don't interest me. Rori at times kind of interests me, but overall it's Carter who steals the show. It's his brand. What seems to be working for him are the nonstop articles he posts on his website on relationships, the consistent and outgoing newsletters, and his videos. I personally don't like his videos. They are too infomerical-like.
 
Carter though has set the standard and created an industry that works for him. I have purchased one of his books. His main strategy is using (much like I do with this newsletter) education-based marketing. He is extremely generous in the information he sends each week. He doesn't give you a skimpy "tease" to lure you into buying his products. He really shares a chunk of information. Because he shares so much, you really learn a lot from him. He takes the point-of-view that I have adopted:
 
Give away as much information as possible. Lure them in with your expertise. Understand the average person cannot do what you do. They will appreciate and admire your expertise and somewhere down the road invest in you.
 
Information-based marketing is an excellent brand-building technique. Carter uses it. It's obvious he's been successful doing it. He's not afraid to really share with his audience. More concerned authors would protect their "intellectual capital" and not share so readily. This limited thinking prescribes to the idea that people will just use this information and not do business with you. It's simply not the case, especially in an area that is not someone's expertise. And even if they never invest a nickel in your company, chances are they will refer a friend.
 
Now for you authors out there, apply this to your fiction or nonfiction books. Many authors (including the guy who wrote The Martian) got their start doing "fan fiction". They published their books first on their blogs, which anyone could read for free. As their "fans" became their followers the book became popular and eventually got published and made into a movie. He initially gave away his book. This giveaway didn't stop people from eventually buying the book. The book 50 Shades of Grey got its start this way too.
 
Don't be afraid to give away free books or post free chapters. You will build interest - even if you giveaway the entire book, people will still want to actually buy the whole thing.
 
Now I have to go back to my "slice of bed" and give my beautiful big man some loving and tenderness. Did you know touch is a very important part of healing? Yes, it's true. I cracked up because we were "canoodling" when the nurse came in and turned on the light. I don't know what she thought since we weren't doing anything I wouldn't do in public, but it cracked me up. She literally "giggled," covered her mouth, and said, "Excuse me." LOL Okay...

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