Regardless of who your ideal book reader may be and the modifications you make in your book’s marketing message, and regardless of the marketing mix you use to deliver the presentation of your book’s marketing message, there are some key ideas to keep in mind about making the right presentation for marketing your book.
The Battle to Communicate Your Book’s Marketing Message
Do any of you remember Stew Leonard, super-supermarket marketing genius? If not, that’s ok…I’m going tell you his story.
At Stew’s supermarket, he was bringing in fresh fish every day, carefully packaging it, and displaying it in their freezer, clearly and proudly labeled as FRESH FISH.
As you can see, they had the right message for the right kind of prospect – people who like fish really like fresh fish. But even though it doesn’t seem like much, here is the BIG idea. At the time, few other supermarkets went to the trouble and expense of bringing in a lot of fresh fish, so the simple marketing message – FRESH FISH – was a viable USP.
They also applied what I told you in the last chapter by delivering the right message to the right market. You see, most of Stew’s customers were upscale consumers with the money to buy fresh fish. The even had the time necessary to prepare a meal with it, and an appreciation for it.
However, still something was wrong. His fresh fish marketing campaign wasn’t working. The fresh fish weren’t flying off the display and into customer’s kitchens. Why? It turned out to be a presentation problem.
I am sure you have heard before, that in the food industry it is all about presentation (Well, the same goes for the publishing industry).
One of Stew’s customers told him that she wished he had real fresh fish, like the fish at the dock markets. Of course, Stew’s did, but it didn’t look like it. It wasn’t presented in the same way as at the docks. The fresh fish dockside markets were lying their unpackaged fresh fish on slabs of ice.
So Stew got his people to divide the fresh fish that came in each day and present the same fish in two different ways (an A/B split test): one, as they had been, cleaned up and nicely packaged; two, unpackaged, on a slab of ice, in a little display unit topped with a sign reading Fresh Fish Market.
Guess what? Their sales of fresh fish more than doubled.
Here is another story about how important presentation is to your books marketing message. Copywriting legend Dan Kennedy, back in 1983, used to coach chiropractors on marketing their practices effectively. While he was reviewing and assessing the way a few different chiropractors where marketing their services in the past he discovered that the ones that wore white doctor coats and stethoscopes hanging around their necks (despite the fact that chiropractors have no use for them) and put their staffs in medical-looking uniforms were significantly more successful in marketing their practices than those that dressed in jacket and tie only or even more casually, and permitted staff to dress as they pleased.
Dan measured their success by assessing their rate at converting prospective patients to paid patients, the size and growth of the practice, the number of referrals, their fee levels, and their total income.
In all these years, Dan has not wavered on the point of “packaging” professionals in the most reassuring way possible, considering people’s expectations. In advertising to chiropractor clients, Dan will never use a photo of a doctor not dressed as a doctor.
When it comes to marketing your book, presentation is everything. Now, when it comes to readers buying your book from sources that our outside of your control such as directly from your publisher, or from some distribution channel such as Amazon or Barnes and Nobel there is not much you can do about how your book is packaged and presented to your new reader, but what you do have control over is how your book cover will look and how the layout will be inside.
Plus, as a self-published author or indie-author, I highly recommend that you become the main distribution channel where you book is purchased from and who delivers it. Why do I say that? Because when you are the main one marketing your book, processing orders, and delivering it to buyers you have all the “packaging power” in your hands.
Look at it this way: You have marketed your book like a pro and someone has ordered a copy (or 2 or 3 or 5) from your personal website. Well, whatever you do, do not ship your book out in a plain brown box with a plain-Jane, black-and-white label; and don’t pay for the cheapest mail delivery possible.
Instead, get the most impressive looking box possible, use three-day Federal Express for shipping, use more elegant interior packaging (and every time you can make this personalized the better), and finally, add a personalized letter and DVD that resells the virtues of the book. Plus, every copy of your book should be personally signed.
Do this and I can guarantee you an increase in your net sales by 30%.
If there is nothing more you take from this chapter, take this: There are many more places that poor presentation can hurt you and the life of your book. In the advance of the first sale, in your advertising and marketing, at the point of the sale, in your store (online or off), or in your or your salespersons dress, or after the sale in the reinforcement and reassurance to your customer or buyer.
Understand that there are three main marketing presentation experiences that your potential reader and book buyer is going to go through: before the sale/purchase, during the sale/purchase, and after the sale/purchase. In this chapter we are going to cover everything leading up to the sale, but you should carefully consider and watch over all three.
How to Be Clearly Understood
One of the worst presentation mistakes is confusion. That’s what happens when what seems clear to you isn’t clear to others. It wasn’t clear to Stew’s supermarket shoppers that the fresh fish was really fresh. Stew thought that saying so made it so, but learned real fast that that is not the case.
It wasn’t clear to the lady that the high-priced personal care product was of elite, luxury quality and its ingredients superior to all others because it didn’t look right based on her preconceived idea of how such a product should be presented. Many self-published indie-authors advertising campaigns and marketing materials, and even face-to-face selling err in the same way. They fail to clearly communicate. Don’t let that be you!
Promotion and Presentation Key #1: Get Organized
Your potential reader/buyer has to be led up five steps to a buying or action decision. These five steps are the same for any and every product or service, and for any marketing message (I got this from Dan Kennedy):
Sometimes you have to start your marketing presentation at step 1; other times you get to start at step 2. A company selling dog food, for example, gets to start on step 2; a company selling dog vitamins has to start on step 1. This decision of where to start your marketing presentation is what is vitally important.
Go back to the Yellow Pages and again turn to the ads in the section of the marketplace your book will be presented to (or visit the websites within your genre and market) and, of course, examine your own marketing materials. Ask yourself whether or not, from the headline on down, the ads present their message according to the organized structure above.
I think you’ll agree with me that most do not. In fact, this is where most indie authors fall short. Believe me, this is a big mistake. Every presentation of a marketing message via any and every medium should adhere to a safe, proven, and effective structure.
Let me give you a couple of great examples of this structure in action.
I do a considerable amount of consulting work for self-published indie authors, helping them to learn how to market their books effectively. I consider the members of this profession my friends.
Everything I know about the writing and publishing industry I’ve learned from such authors as Michael Hyatt, Jeff Goins, and many others. Most of everything I know about selling I learned from Grant Cardone, Zig Zigglar, and Brain Tracy. Everything I know about copywriting (salesmanship in print) and marketing I’ve learned from Dan Kennedy, Dave Dee, Ryan Deiss (CEO and Co-Founder of Digital Marketer), Kim Walsh-Phillips, and many others.
However, I must tell you that the majority of my indie author consulting clients sometimes still remain stubborn. And those that are still trying to do-it themselves are constantly remaining lousy in their marketing efforts.
I know that I’m not the only one that has seen some of those horrible book marketing ads on Facebook. Most of these indie authors that are trying to do-it themselves are deviating from this organized structure in most of the media (we will talk more about media in the next chapter) they use.
I am persuaded that every marketer needs to follow these five steps as precisely as possible or their marketing efforts will fail every time.
For self-published indie authors, step 1 is where to start every time. In step 1 an indie author has to create awareness of the need or the desire that their book will meet or fulfill. Essentially reminding people/readers that they suffer from a particular problem and their book has the answer they are looking for, and that deep down inside they desire the outcome or result that your book or ideas will deliver.
Self-published indie authors cannot afford to assume that the public is instantly, automatically interested in their book.
How to Carefully Eliminate All Assumptions
Step 2, then, and only then, is to present your book as a viable, effective, accepted, credible, and safe solution to your reader’s problems or concerns. Step 3, only after completing steps 1 and 2, is you (the author) presenting your irresistible USP – the go-to marketing message and offer.
Many self-published indie authors book marketing and advertising sabotages itself by beginning with step 3.
Let say that you are in the financial advisors’ market. If so, it is vitally important that you start your marketing presentation at step 1, which would be getting the potential reader/buyer and potential client to step forward and ask (i.e. grant permission) for you to begin discussing about their personal financial affairs and financial needs.
This means that you must first (step 1) make them aware (and anxious about) hazards and potential losses he or she may face because of information he/she does not know and is not being given by the government or his/her regular accountant.
“Shocking” and upsetting facts are used to create this awareness. Here are a few samples of bulleted point marketing messages used by these kinds of advisors when offering a free seminar or a free book.
Most advisors in this space who advertise, offer seminars, or use direct-mail to lock in appointments skip to step 2 or, worse, step 3. They begin by talking all about their financial products and/or services or, even worse, about themselves – but in doing so, their messages are often falling among deaf ears, because their prospects are not aware there’s anything to be worried about with the way they have their financial affairs arranged now or think they’ve “heard all this before”.
What you have to understand is that these kinds of prospects are flooded with insurance salespeople, financial planners, investment advisors, bankers, etc., trying to sell them insurance, annuities, living trust, and estate plans. If you are in this kind of niche or marketplace and continue to do the same thing as others in this space are doing, then your marketing messages are just going to be thrown into your prospects clutter pile of junk mail.
With the financial advising indie authors that I develop marketing material for and coach, I back them up to step 1 each and every time they advertise, market, promote, present, or sell their books.
How Creating Alarm or Need Produces Wonders in Your Marketing
“What is alarm? The sight of blood. A phone call in the middle of the night. Shooting chest pains. Losing sight of your child in a crowd… alarm has a unique ability to compel people to do things they otherwise don’t care to do, in order to avoid consequences … the more clearly a message points to consequences, the more urgently people focus on the message” – Sally Hogshead, author, Fascinate (AFF).
Promotion and Presentation Key #2: Ignite Interest
I don’t care what kind of book you are selling or marketing. Regardless of how dull, ordinary, or mundane you or your prospect may think it is, all that is trivial to me. There is a way and you must find it, to present that message in a truly interesting and irresistible way.
The Number One Sin of Book Marketing is Being Boring
Repurposing the example I gave above about the financial advisor author, to be completely honest with you, there really is nothing exciting and interesting about financial planning. In fact, it is quite boring information.
However, it is still vitally important to ignite interest in a potential reader’s mind and heart, intellectually and emotionally. Here is an example of a giveaway booklet with a very provocative title that a financial planning, advisor author could use to draw leads:
How to Take Back Your Financial Rewards and Benefits Right From Under the Governments Nose! A Senior’s Guide to Getting What Rightfully Belongs to YOU
Believe me, if a boomer or senior investor sees this booklet in stores his or her interest will be ignited. He or she will eagerly and passionately want to know what this book has to say.
Bonus Tip: The Power of Secrets
The word “secret” evokes a powerful emotional response in most people. It instantly pushes our curiosity buttons. For some reason, just as cats are curiously bothered by what can be behind closed doors, we are driven nuts by secrets. We want to know what we don’t know and what we believe we need to know. You can ignite interest easily if you have secrets to divulge within your industry.
Consider this: Would you be interested, or do you know somebody who would be interested, in knowing a literary agent’s secrets to the publishing industry? If I told you that this literary agent’s secrets have been tested and proven for over a 1,000 self-published indie authors, would that make it even more interesting to you? What if this secret had, up until now, been kept for only the elite authors themselves and privileged authors like celebrities and politicians, but finally, someone was going public with this incredible discovery? By now, you can see the power of secrets, can’t you?
Use Every Book Marketing Opportunity as a Way to Provide a Dramatic Presentation
Let’s say your book is a murder mystery (one of my favorites, by the way). When it comes to these kinds of fiction books, you are going to have a real villain with true confessions to reveal. In these cases, you will almost always have an opportunity for a dramatic marketing presentation.
However, if your book is some boring non-fiction book about science… or better yet… some kind of text book. You should still wrack your brain for the exact nick or tick that can be embellished for a dramatic angel into the marketing presentation.
For instance, I find many of my clients have great assets about their “boring” books that they do not consider important. This is especially true for memoir writers/authors. Perhaps you are writing a memoir for your grandfather who was a bona fide World War II hero – perhaps he was a fighter pilot shot down, but escaped from behind enemy lines. But your writing this memoir from the female perspective or point-of-view.
And you are trying to market this book to both the male and female demographic, but you are finding it difficult to write marketing messages about your grandfather’s story in a dramatic way. You find your grandfathers story interesting but you don’t think others will see it the same way you do. And, being a female, you are finding it difficult to present your grandfather’s story in a “manly” way that shows his courageousness and heroic behavior during his time in the war.
Look! If at all possible you really should find ways to add drama to your book marketing presentations. For example, take the infomercial business. Have you ever seen that infomercial where the salesperson was selling car polish? What they did to “dramatize” their marketing message was by setting fire to the hood of the car and poured acid on it. Or what about the vacuum cleaner with suction so strong it could pick up a bowling ball?
Look! When writing a memoir about your war vet grandfather who is still alive, being able to make him the star of your marketing presentations is a huge advantage.
You can make the presentation for your marketing messages more interesting in many different ways, some depending on the medium being used, including:
Promotion and Presentation Key #3: