Author Strategies

Effective Marketing for Small Business Owners

For many small business owners, marketing is the biggest obstacle to growing their business. The business owner may be an expert in the service or product sold by the business, but marketing that service or product is not within their expertise. Further, there are so many different ways to market one’s business that it can be confusing and overwhelming to figure out which ones to do. Yet, without good marketing, a business can’t succeed, as not many people will know of the availability of the service or product being sold.

In the October SkillBites Show, I interviewed Cece Smith, President and Owner of Toolbox Studios, an award-winning marketing and design firm. Cece shared several valuable tips for small business owners on the right tools to market their business.

The first step is to decide on a marketing strategy. What are you seeking to achieve? To determine this, think about the following questions:
● What is your most profitable service / product you offer?
● What part of your business do you want to grow?
● What need does your product / service satisfy?
● What attribute (s) does your target audience have that makes them a desirable client?

This last question is particularly critical. You should identify the demographics of your target audience, such as their size, industry, and location. Once you determine that, you need to determine how that audience prefers to get information. Do they read trade journals? Listen to podcasts? Watch videos? That will help inform you of the best ways to market to them.

Initially, you will make your best guess, choosing 4 or 5 marketing tools, and then you can test which ones get the best response. You’ll probably also want to test a few messages with each tool, to make sure the level of response is valid for the tool, and not for the message.

The key is to think of marketing as a long-term, on-going effort that requires consistency. If you don’t have much budget, then do a few low cost promotions, such as posting on social media and going to networking events. As you grow, you can add more tools to your marketing arsenal.

Every time you meet someone, try to capture their information. How did you meet? What are their needs? Is there someone you know who could help them? Could they be a channel partner for you? A channel partner is someone who serves the same audience you do but in a different way. For instance, an IT firm might serve the same customers as a marketing firm, and thus each could recommend the other to clients who need those services. Seeking channel partners is easier than seeking customers, and yet can open up great possibilities.

Cece distinguishes between foundational marketing tools and on-going tools. One foundational tool, for example, is a website. Virtually everybody checks out a company’s website before doing business with the company. If the website isn’t polished, up to date, easy to navigate, well maintained and mobile-friendly, the prospect probably won’t do business with that company. Other foundational tools include branding, content marketing and marketing materials such as business cards. On-going tools would include social media, blog, SEO and direct marketing.

One of the questions Cece frequently gets is how much should a small business spend on marketing. She suggests considering the value of a new client. If a new client typically results in a profit of, say, $2500, then spending $5000 per month on marketing is a good amount if the marketing will lead to at least 2 new clients per month.

The tools that are most effective today, providing the biggest bang for the buck, in Cece’s experience, are:
● Social media, in particular Instagram, Facebook (for younger clientele and B2C) and LinkedIn (for B2B);
● Geofencing, which is targeting people by demographics such as age, sex or location and sending an ad to them; and
● Direct mail, which is read by millennials in particular, and which gets a higher response rate than other marketing tools IF the database is good. Cece has seen response rates as high as 68% on direct mail pieces.

The primary take-aways that Cece identified for effective marketing are:
1. Understand who your customer and the actual consumer or end user are;
2. Understand what they need; and
3. Determine how best to craft your 30-second message using their language.

Cece offered to talk to anyone who has questions or wants more information. She can be reached by email at cs@toolboxstudios.com or on her cell phone at 210-871-9542. Her website, toolboxstudios.com also has resources that can be downloaded.

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Helping Non-Fiction Authors Market Their Books

Guest post by Joseph Mercado

When it comes to being a non-fiction author, there is a lot that goes into the process of reaching your goals and being successful. There is a sequence to stick to and a set regimen to getting things done in the time that you set for yourself for getting your book done.

On September 24, 2019 I had the privilege to be interviewed by Judy Weintraub from SkillBites. The podcast interview was about how non-fiction authors can create their book, market it, and self-publish it when they have a completed manuscript.

In the interview, we also went over a variety of tips and methods as to how you can achieve success with writing your book. When it comes to writing, formatting, editing, copyrights, printing, marketing, advertising, branding, and publishing, you want to be sure you are equipped with the right angles and avenues as to how to get it done with ease and have a headache free experience as much as possible. And yes, there are curve balls along the way, but the point in having a book mentor like SkillBites is to alleviate as many curve balls thrown at you as possible.

This way you don’t overspend your hard-earned money and you avoid being misled by other publishing houses, agents, and companies who look to take advantage of non-fiction authors. It happens quite often. 

A lot of time and long days and nights go into getting a book done. This is why Judy Weintraub of SkillBites takes the time to conduct great quality podcast interviews so non-fiction authors like you can become acquainted with the right tools for success.

With nuggets of wisdom from years of experience, you can find it easier to write your book and get the assistance you need for getting it published from publishers such as SkillBites and for leveraging your book with platforms like MasterMind University.   You can also learn how to utilize the traffic within social media to get your message out and start revealing your story. Your book could help thousands, if not millions of people based on the fact your book could be the flashlight to someone else’s darkness.

Tune in to the podcast and learn how to get your book noticed and circulated within the industry it is related to. Thank you, Judy Weintraub, for taking the time to interview me about content development and Master Mind University.

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Neighborhood BookDrop

This article appeared in a neighborhood newsletter, MainLineNeighbors.com on 4/11/19.  I thought it was a great idea, so I am passing it one.

Late last fall we planted a Little Free Library in our front yard.  Have you seen the boxes around town?  It’s a wonderful book-sharing program.

We ordered one unfinished: my daughters painted it their favorite blue.  We invited the neighborhood kids to come add colorful thumbprints, so everybody could feel a part of the action.  And then the weather got cold.

Recently, like the splashes of daffodils, little people in bike helmets have been popping up in our yard, the youngest of them crawling up on the rickety bench (need to fix that!), to peek into the box and see what treasures are inside.  I love it.

I read like a fiend as a child.  I remember a time, though, when homework took over and pleasure reading took a backseat.  I feel like I’ve been making my way back to reading-for-fun ever since.  As an old(ish) person, if it’s too late at night, after kitchen cleaning and helping with homework, sometimes even page-turners can’t keep me awake.

My middle-school-aged daughters are about to enter some rigorous required reading years.  I want them to keep books in their lives, but homework is already loading up.

One night last week, my family agreed to get up from the dinner table, ignore dirty dishes and math worksheets, and grab a book each.  We sat quietly together in the living room, reading for 30 minutes.  The girls insist they want to do that again.

Fingers crossed for little reading seeds to sprout up everywhere.

Grab a book!
Katie L.

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Tips for Getting Massive Book Sales

In 2011, Derek Doepker was a broke rock musician, working as a valet at a restaurant, and had to sell his keyboard to pay his rent.  Fast forward to today, he is now a 7 time bestselling author who has sold over 50,000 copies of his books. Derek learned a system for massive book sales that he shared in this month’s SkillBites Show.  To listen to the show, click here.

As Derek is the first to admit, he had no special talent or knack for marketing.  His first book sold 3 copies, one of which was to his mom. He learned from his failure and from others who were successful.  His second book skyrocketed to #1 bestseller on Amazon, making $6000 in its first 11 days. How did he do that?

Derek identified several keys to his success, which are elements of the system he created to be able to replicate that success.  First, it wasn’t enough just to write a great book. He promoted his book heavily so people knew about it. Second, even with powerful marketing, a book isn’t going to go very far unless there are people who want the information.  He made sure there was high demand for the topic of his book. Third, he didn’t skimp on the book cover, and chose a title and subtitle that would grab the reader. Books need to have an attractive cover and a title and subtitle that express who the book is for and why they should read it.  Fourth, he chose a narrow niche for his book. Books that fit a narrow niche tend to do better than books in broad categories. For example, a book on raising kids on a raw food diet will do better than one on raising kids to eat healthy. Fifth, he found other people with large networks of the target readership for his book to promote his book, which gave it much greater credibility and visibility.

Derek also shared his 3 C’s for book sales success:

     ●  Collect intelligence. Research what other books are out there on the market on the same subject.  Identify the ones that are selling the best and review their covers, titles, descriptions, etc. to get a sense as to why they are doing well.  Also, get on people’s mailing lists to get their emails. Which ones grab your attention? You should build an email list and then create email campaigns that incorporate the elements from others’ emails that attracted you.  Essentially, you should imitate what is working well for others.

     ●  Create your big idea.  One of Derek’s big ideas, for instance, was to develop a system that enables people to change bad habits in just 5 minutes per day.  Identify your unique spin; what do you do differently, or what do you offer that’s different from what else is out there?

     ●  Collaborate with others.  When you collaborate with influencers, websites that promote books, book reviewers, etc., your book will get in front of many more people and consequently do better.

Derek offered the SkillBites audience a free copy of his eBook, Why Authors Fail.  Go to his website, www.bestsellersecrets.com to download that.

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Book Marketing FAQs

This is the 3rd blog post in a sequence, and it is on book marketing FAQs.  The prior 2 were on book writing FAQs and book publishing FAQs.

1. How do you run a book launch?

Answer:  There are many different types of book launches.  Some people have small cocktail parties, some have large events, some have book signings, some launch their books through social media and blogs, and some do discounted or free book campaigns with joint venture partners contributing free products and services to anyone who buys your book on the launch date.  What kind of launch you should have depends on your objective for the launch, the preferences of your target audience, how much effort you want to put into it and how much money you want to spend on it. It’s a good idea to plan a launch about 3 months after you expect your book to be published. That way, if there are any snafus with the publishing, you won’t have to postpone the launch.  

2. How much time should I plan to spend promoting my book?  

Answer:  The more you promote your book, the better the results will be from it.  If you spend only a few hours promoting it, you won’t get much in the way of results.  If you don’t have the time to spend promoting your book yourself, you may want to hire someone to promote it for you.  Plan on spending at least 40 hours during the months leading up to your launch sending emails, posting on social media, preparing press releases, sending your book to reviewers, getting your book on your website, planning your book launch and other marketing tactics.  Then figure on spending at least 10 hours/month after your book is published.

3. What are some of the best ways to market my book?

Answer:  There are many book marketing tactics.  In fact, there’s a book called 1001 Ways to Market Your Book, by John Kremer. You can conduct an email campaign, a social media campaign, a blog tour, a PR campaign, a free book campaign and a bestseller campaign, to name just a few.  Some are free and relatively easy to do yourself, such as the first 3 listed, while others take more time and require more expertise to do right, and can cost a lot of money.

4. With so many different ways to market my book, how do I decide what actions to take?  

Answer:  Three keys to determining what actions to take when marketing your book are (1) know your objective – what do you want to achieve from your book? (2) Know where your audience is likely to be — are they on social media frequently?  Do they read trade journals? Do they listen to certain radio stations, or follow particular blogs? And (3) identify tactics that align with keys (1) and (2) and fit your available resources.

5. Why would I want to run a free book campaign?

Answer:  If your aim for your book is to get more people to appreciate your expertise, then running a free book campaign will get your book in front of more people.  It also tends to create momentum that leads to book sales once the campaign is over. In addition, people who receive a free book tend to write more reviews.  Getting good reviews can also help your book sales after the free book campaign is over. You can run a free eBook campaign through Amazon’s Kindle Select program if your book is exclusively on Amazon.  You can run a free print book campaign on Goodreads.com.

6. How do I get book reviews?

Answer:  This is a good question, as books that have a large number of good reviews do much better than books that have few reviews.  Amazon has started denying the reviews of anyone they think might be in the author’s family or network. Still, start with your friends, family and colleagues and ask them to post reviews.  Here are a few more tactics:

     ✔️ Include a sentence in your book requesting that the reader provide a review for you.

     ✔️ Do a search on Amazon for books like yours and try to reach out to anyone who reviewed those other books to see if they will review yours.  Sometimes their contact information is available.

     ✔️ Try a free book campaign, which can lead to more reviews.

Do you have questions on book marketing that you want answered?  Email me at judy@skillbites.net and I’ll get back to you with my answer.

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