When I work on a marketing plan with a business owner (including authors), the income goal numbers I hear expressed most often are $100,000 per year or about $8,800 a month. (And a million dollars in the bank, of course.) Amazingly, this goal is not limited to Americans; it travels well. I’ve talked to business owners from Australia to England to Thailand and back, and the numbers, no matter what the currency, bear out.
The people who expect to go from $0.00 in revenue to $100,000 in a year, or even $50,000 to $100,000 in a year make me wonder if they know how the world works. Can you go from $0.00 to $100,000 in one year? Some people do. They usually have business experience, a strong network, funding of some sort, a brilliant idea or offer, and a heavy push from Lady Luck. They also have a business that has the capacity to make that kind of money. It’s a lot easier to hit $100,000 in revenues when you are selling $7,500 (or $20,000) whizzle-whammers than when you’re selling $6.99 pies. That’s just basic math.
The sales cycle (the time it takes from first introducing your product or services to a potential client to the time they actually stroke the check) will be much longer for a $20,000 item than a $7.00 item. It’s going to have a smaller target market. It will probably only appeal to or be needed by a certain type whereas just about everybody is down with pie.
That is why I teach people to market their business with their book, not to market their book. If the royalty on a self-published $15.00 book is around $7.00, it’s going to take a lot of book sales to make $100,000. (14,286 or so. Of course, I’ve done the math!) But if your book helps you sell a $5,000 coaching package, you only need 20 sales to hit that $100,000 payday. If one out of 20 people you gave your book to bought your services, you’d only have to give out 400 books a year. Or sell, if you’re so inclined.
But how do you sell or even give away 400 books? Stand on a street corner? Those people you’re handing your book to might not need your services. Stick the book on Amazon and hope for the best? Give it to members of your business networking group? (Not a bad idea, by the way, but not the best or only.)
Let’s take the 400 books as an example. (Just because I’m feeling feisty this morning.) It’s not a huge number of books, but it’s more than the 250 copies that the average book sells in its lifetime.
How are we going to do it?
We work our marketing plan backwards from the goal.
Our goal: $100,000
Sell (20) $5,000 coaching packages. (Adjust the numbers to fit your business.)
How do we sell 20 coaching packages? Sell or give away 400 copies of our book to our target market.
That’s 1.67 coaching packages per month so let’s aim for two packages per month. I like a little extra in the bank account, how about you?
To get those two sales a month, if our numbers hold true, you would need to give out or sell 40 books per month. Let me say right here that you will probably NOT get two coaching sales (or whatever your service is) from your first 40 books. A $5,000 coaching package has a longer sales cycle (it takes more time) than a $97 mini-course. So maybe you have to give out or sell 100 books before you get your first sale or two. We are looking at averages over time. (And for that reason, I like to double my efforts the first few months to get the pipeline primed and flowing.)
How do you find 40 people who are in your target market, people who might actually need and use your services?
You work damn hard at it, that’s how.
A Few Marketing Plan Strategies:
Speak: Find networking meetings whose members fit your target demographic; contact event organizers and offer to do a talk, a breakout session or be a panelist.
Blog: Write on your topic. And, if you don’t have any traffic to your website, guest blog on other people’s sites; get in front of their audience. One caveat: If you want to guest blog, you need to have at least half a dozen well-written blog posts up on your own blog so people can check you out to see if your writing style and information will fit with their audience. (More is better.)
Guest Podcast: Become an interviewee on podcasts. Offer a downloadable version of your book for free (if you are good with that) to build your list or offer something else of value for free (a stand-alone chapter of your book, checklist, mind map, white paper). You want to be a GOOD interviewee—provide value for the host’s audience, speak coherently, give good sound bites, be entertaining. Need help with that? Check out Karen Cordaway’s podcast guest booking services.
Webinars and Workshops: These are an extra step but are hugely successful in finding clients because of the teaching component involved. You’re providing information, giving people value, furthering your positioning as an expert. A webinar or workshop based off your book gives people more than a taste of what you have to offer and opens the door for them to hire you.
Traditional Media: A press release is just the start of leveraging media. Work the local angle—make sure the local newspapers, radio, and TV programs know you have a book coming out. Local TV stations have morning talk shows that need to fill time. Find out who the segment producer is and send them a copy of your book. Look at local (and broader) talk radio for shows that would appeal to your future clients. (Fair Warning: Some of them will want sponsorship dollars in return.)
These just touch on how to go about marketing your business with your book. I haven’t mentioned social media, online and offline ads, joint ventures…
And you do these things every month. Consistently.
Side note: A lot of these methods work for small business people even if they don’t have a book (yet or ever).
Consistency is the Key to Successful Marketing
In the nonfiction niche I work in, a book is a marketing tool for your business. Small businesses tend to advertise unevenly and sporadically because they don’t have a comprehensive marketing plan. In order to create a pipeline of leads generating a consistent income, your marketing must be consistent, too.
How does the small business person or solopreneur get it all done? They need a plan. And then they need to work their plan. Consistently.
Do you need a marketing plan for your book or your business? I can help. We can work together to create a practical, step-by-step plan to get you in front of your ideal prospects consistently and without spending a fortune on advertising. Find out more here: Marketing Plan.