As a Life and Business Coach for well over a decade I have experienced some major success stories in helping my clients generate more revenue by doing nothing more than assessing exactly what it is that they can or will do differently and better than the competition. I have used the same process in which I engage my clients – to better position myself in HOW I serve clients and design appealing, sales converting marketing. Since most of my clients are busy Entrepreneurs seeking to generate passive revenue, leverage their wisdom, and claim expert status in their industry – by producing information products as successfully published authors, my intention with this article (which is primarily about book marketing strategies) is to reveal how this same “process” works for an author. You will constantly hear me claim that, “Your book IS a business,” and as such the type of competitive assessment I am asking you to do today is essential. Fortunately, it can also be interesting, fun, inspiring and creative!
The Wisdom of Earl Nightingale
The action I ask clients to take was actually inspired long ago by Earl Nightingale, who was considered one of the world’s foremost experts on what makes people successful. Long a proponent of personal development his messages were, of course, some of my earliest reading. He offered some “better than good” advice for Entrepreneurs who want to market their businesses. Nightingale wrote that if you want to learn a new skill in business, and you have no mentor or guide you can trust, the best approach is to figure out what everyone else is doing and then do the opposite - the majority being, at best, average. Think about this for a moment when you consider designing your next information product. It will make a significant difference not only in what you write about and how you write it, but in how you design the marketing message to present it to the world.
Set Aside That “Follow-The-Pack Mentality”
Agree to set aside that “follow-the-pack mentality.” Nightingale probably would have advised you to pick up the Yellow Pages directory for your area and peruse the ads of companies who do what you do. I now have my clients complete a Google search for keywords potential clients would type in to find what they want or need to resolve a particular problem. Your “competition” will instantly appear before you on your screen, and thanks to technology – you will most likely have many thousands of examples to look through. The assessment you will make should include:
► WHAT is your competition doing that you are confident you can do better? If so – HOW will you do it better or differently enough to appear really unique – to stand out in the crowd? Keep in mind that not all of your competition will be authors; that alone can be an edge you provide!
► WHAT are they NOT doing that you are confident you have the skills and ability to provide and market in a compelling manner? In other words, what serious un-met need are your competitors missing? As you are writing, is there some manner in which you can better “engage” your readers that they come away with much more than a good read? You can add great stories, analogies, action steps… all of which better anchor your message in the hearts and minds of your readers.
► WHAT SPECIFIC GROUP of people are your competitors appealing to that you absolutely NEVER want to serve; alternatively, which groups are they serving that you want to serve?
► HOW does the marketing language make it very evident the message is intended for a particular market? If you find yourself responding to it – ask why – what was there about it that made you respond. How differently do you feel the language needs to be structured to enhance the value of the delivery of your message in book form?
► Are there any COMPELLING MESSAGES that would convince even YOU to respond to a call to action? If so, how would you morph those messages to fit what your book provides?
► Are there any really NASTY MESSAGES that, now that you see them, that would really turn you off as a potential buyer? If so make sure to make note that nothing of that nature becomes part of your own marketing collateral.
Ask the “Why Me?” Question
Now, that one BIG question we all have to ask: If potential buyers are going through the same exercise you are, hoping to find a solution to their problem and your name and your book are in the top ten they see, what would your message say that would convince them YOUR BOOK is the one solution to their problem? Become your potential buyer; read that message from their perspective need to resolve a big problem or perhaps become better at something – not from your need to SELL your book to best seller status!
Please! Take a few minutes and work on this. I can teach the theory all day long and send out the most compelling messages intended to plant seeds of wisdom in your mind. However… until or unless YOU take the time to engage in the action – your life will not be transformed – you will not REALLY know the answers and ultimately, your book will not be as successful as it can be!
Make the Assessment
If you really want to “research” marketing, just think about how much advertising is little more than an attempt to shout louder than the competition! Larger font size, larger ad size, long-tail copy and a BIG call to action in large letters and bold color! Then, ask yourself if these statements below, which are commonly used in marketing messages, would make any significant difference in your purchase decision:
► If you need a [fill in the blank], call us!
► We are fast!
► We will [do whatever it is] right!
► We have been in business for 30 years!
Ok. So this line of marketing isn’t working for most potential buyers; sales are just not happening. No surprise here - none of the above statements really addresses "the problem" for which people are searching for the answer! But, you know what typically happens next? The advertising department thinks they can fix the problem by adding graphics. Seriously now, are YOU really going to buy because you know what the owner looks like? Or because you can see his impressive large building or some ‘mascot’ the company has?
At the end of the day – how much money you have to outspend the competition is not what will fix the sales conversions for your book – it IS going to be the result of marketing messages created after you have taken the time to assess and communicate why YOUR BOOK is the perfect choice as the solution to someone’s really big problem. By doing your work up front - you will find little need to "fix" a sales conversion problem!
Tomorrow I am going to follow up this article with six additional tips on how to structure the copywriting you create for marketing your book because they go hand-in-hand, but for today – I want to encourage you to spend a couple of hours making that competitive assessment! Please note that your comments and questions are welcome in the comments box provided here for your benefit.
- Attract attention.
- Motivate people to contact you.
- Stop their search until you have a chance to communicate with them.
- Prove that you are the right choice.
- Create a sense of urgency.
- Filter out potential customers or clients that do not meet your selection criteria.
Happy assessing… May your perspective on what your book offers, who you offer it to, and how you will offer it be forever changed!
If you are still struggling with the big WHY ME... remember my "open door" policy ... a quick email with WHY ME in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org will get you a response.