I refer to books as the Swiss Army Knife of marketing because they truly function as so many different tools. There are as many different uses for a book as there are reasons for writing them. Let’s focus on just a few marketing uses.
Positioning and Building Your Platform
First of all, a book is a solid building block of your platform. Just as everyone in business once needed a business card, then a website, you now need a book; it is that next step. Does that mean that everyone will have a book and will that cheapen the value of writing a book? No. Nine out of 10 people who start writing a book don’t finish. While anyone can order business cards, not everyone can write a book. And, like any major project, if you start without a plan and some expert guidance, your book probably won’t happen.
While Amazon Kindle and print on demand publishing has made it easy for anyone (and seemingly everyone) to put out a book these days, quality counts. Most of the books popping up on Kindle are barely books—under 20,000 words, unorganized, and filled with errors. It’s the difference between handing someone a professionally designed, embossed business card, printed on heavy card stock as opposed to handing them a flimsy card with “Business cards are free at vistaprint.com” on the back. (Sidenote: Handing someone a free or home-printed business card tells them that you don’t have enough faith in yourself or your abilities to invest $20 in your business. Or worse, that you don’t have $20 to put into your business. Pay for a decent card. Please.)
Think of your book as a solidly placed concrete block. When you stand on it, you are raised above other people, as if on a platform. (Hence the marketing expression, building your platform.)
That is why a book is a magnificent positioning tool. First, it positions you as an authority—a book is tangible proof that you are an expert in your field. (It’s no mistake that the first part of authority is “author.”)
Stake Your Claim
It’s also a way of staking out your territory. Your book documents your ideas and methods. It is proof that you developed your own materials, whether it is a revolutionary new technique or tweaks to an established system. Sometimes you are the person who combines two or more known entities into an incredibly brilliant, new discovery. Your book, showing your thought process, validates your ownership of your intellectual property.
It also provides credibility. Credibility can start with your author bio listing out your formal and informal education, awards, honors, and accomplishments. The book should deepen your readers’ belief in your expertise. Again, this leads back to where most self-published books fail: Lack of professionalism in the actual writing can destroy your credibility. Spelling and grammar count. People judge. Professional editing can be pricey, but it is worth every cent when it comes to maintaining your reputation. There are typos in every book, even those printed by the biggest publishing houses where the book has been professionally vetted by a minimum of 20 people. But those errors are few and far between. A book riddled with typos, punctuation errors, and bad grammar is worse than no book at all. It’s a reputation killer.
A book is, in many cases a lead generator, the start of your sales funnel. It can be a low or no cost way for people to get to know you and feel comfortable spending more money with you. If you’re selling your book on Amazon and brick and mortar stores, you need to have a way to collect your readers’ names and contact information. You can do this in several ways. The most common way is to offer downloadable worksheets or other tools on your site. Put a link in the book that sends people to a landing page where they have to enter their name and email address to gain access to the information.
You’ve probably heard the adage, “The money is in the list.” It’s true. You need a way to generate leads and stay in touch with your prospects—your list. A book should include multiple ways for people to contact you as well as for you to capture their contact information.
Just as a book can be a lead generator for prospects, it can also be a foot in the door for speaking engagements. The book, as already noted, gives you authority and credibility. This stature is taken into consideration when event coordinators are looking for speakers and expert panelists. Given a choice between two candidates, one with a book and one without, the person with the book is much more likely to get the gig. Why?
First of all, the event planner can skim through your book and make sure you know your subject matter. That will increase their trust and comfort level in hiring you. Second, it is more impressive to the audience that the speaker has written a book. The event planner gets both reassurance and more bang for their buck.
Don’t forget that you book can be a teaching tool for your clients. If you’re a coach or consultant, your book can lay down the baseline, introductory information that you can then build on when you are working together. It also helps your ideal client “self-select” to work with you. Result: More clients that fit your parameters of who you enjoy working with and fewer clients who are not, shall we say, quite as fun.
The Ultimate Marketing Game Changer
There are many, many uses for a book in addition to those mentioned here. But here’s the most important one: The decision to write and publish your book is a game changer, in your attitude, your self-esteem, your vision, your business, your field. Writing a book is you announcing that you’re ready to step up, rise above everyone else in your field, and become a leader.
If that thought excites you, then it’s time to write your book.
Need some help with that? I have a free, 3 video training course to help you get started: FREE TRAINING
or send me an email: Barbara@BarbaraGrassey.com