Perhaps the simplest and most effective of direct response marketing strategies to give your business a dramatic boost is… write a book about it.
Now, most business owners scream in horror and start to run in little circles, all a-gibber when I tell them this, immediately, irrationally and incorrectly convinced of two things:
- They have nothing of interest to say; and
- They “can’t do it”.
Let’s take these two points one at a time.
First, no matter what business you’re in, compared to your customers and clients… you’re an expert. Thus almost anything you have to say they won’t yet know – and that, by definition, makes you an expert (after all, no-one knows all there is to know about anything, so expertise must needs always be relative). I once had a client who’d been a Civil Engineer for 40 years… and he didn’t believe me when I told him he was an expert. And, remember effective direct response marketing is about educating and informing people, not just selling to them.
And secondly, it’s easier than you think. Look, no one is expecting Tolstoy, Shakespeare or Jane Austen. If you can talk sensibly about your business and you can record it and get it transcribed (yes, there are some excellent and very affordable transcription services out there which take your spoken words and turn them into 95% “there” transcriptions which are virtually good enough to use for a book or other product, as is), then you can write a book.
Or perhaps you think it’s too complicated, and you need some kind of publisher or editor.
Nonsense. This is a direct response marketing exercise, not a literary one.
There are several excellent on-demand publishing houses you can find online who’ll do you 1 copy or 1000 copies for as little as $4 or $5 apiece. As for artwork and whatnot, there are gazillions of highly skilled graphic designers available on Elance and similar sites who’ll do you an excellent cover and even internal layout for a very modest fee. Hell, if you think you’re a real duffer when it comes to writing, get a ghostwriter to write it for you.
So really, it’s simple, easy and very affordable for anyone to write a book.
Why Would You Want to Do It?
Most authors don’t make much money from their books. In fact, a great many of them are practically penniless.
But the point of writing a book for and about your business isn’t to make money selling the book. Yes, it’s always possible it’ll become a runaway bestseller, in which case you’re laughing all the way to the bank.
Although that’s just gravy, icing on the cake, and a nice bonus.
No, the real benefit to writing the book is the expert positioning it gives you and the direct response marketing boost it gives your business.
Here are just a three ways having a book about your business generates heaps of cash for you:
- You can give it to people as a direct response marketing lead generation premium. Forget boring old business cards and special reports. At just a few groats apiece a book is an exceedingly affordable freebie to give away which has incredible perceived value. Business cards, flyers, and other bumf get thrown away and often never read ‘twixt your prospect’s hand and the bin; but a book? Almost no one throws a book away – and many will read it.
- It is an incredibly powerful “hook” to throw out to all the local media. It makes it a cinch to drum up interviews from local newspapers, radio stations and even television. If you’re smart, savvy and just a bit lucky, you can get national coverage, too.
- This leads to… instant expert status. After all, these experts the BBC and so on roll out to pontificate about diet, exercise, business and whatnot… they often know no more than I do about the subject. The difference is, they are on the goggle-box, and I’m not. If you’ve written a book about something you are an expert on it. Even the phrase “he wrote the book on it” has entered the common lexicon (years ago when I was a computer programmer, I contributed to a book on programming. I thereafter used to annoy my colleagues to the point of rabid insanity by saying in technical discussion, “well, I actually wrote the book on this, and I think…”. Childish, I know… but highly entertaining).
Don’t underestimate the power of this.
Is a Book Legitimate Direct Response Marketing?
Yes, of course it is. While your book is going to be received better if you don’t write it as one long and blatant sales pitch, there’s no doubt you can make it an extremely effective direct response marketing tool.
Many of the big names in direct response marketing do this all the time – to wit, Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer (the latter very sensible included several of my pieces in his book, alas, only one of them is under my name – the rest was all client-work. But watch the video on the right, and I’ll tell you a little more about it and why you might actually care – or go here and get some direct response marketing freebies, first).
I also wrote a review of Bill’s Book here, and I go into a little more detail about how it works for him in this particular case.
But I Still Don’t Know What to Write!
I don’t care how boring and mundane you think your business is, you must have thought there was some appeal to it else you’d never have gone into it.
In any case, it’s like I said before: you have a lot of information there in your noggin other people don’t.
For example, say you’re a hairdresser: I’m sure there are dozens (if not hundreds ) of little tips and techniques you could share with your readers about hair-care (not to mention amusing anecdotes about any hair-raising mistakes and calamities you’ve experienced of heard of in the past).
Or maybe you’re a plumber, electrician or other tradesman. Well, no disrespect to the stalwart members of all those trades, but let’s not pretend the reputation of these industries as a whole is squeaky clean. Truth is, everyone know someone with a sad and sorry tale of woe to tell about how they got ripped off by some fast-talking cowboy.
Same’s true of solicitors (lawyers to my American friends), estate-agents (Realtors) and car-mechanics.
The point is all of these professions have a lot of room for a book which focuses on how to avoid being ripped off by unscrupulous members of your profession as well as how to do a lot of the stuff yourself.
And all that was right off the top of my head – I didn’t have to think about it.
Direct Response Marketing is NOT Hard!
It just takes a little thought.
So what might you come up with for your business if you, say, got up an hour early every morning for a week and sat down with an extra-strong cup of coffee, took your notepad and a pen, and started writing down some ideas?
The trouble is, virtually no one reading this will do it.
But therein is the opportunity for you to do it and become the instant expert in your industry, no matter what or where it is.
Like I said: direct response marketing with a book or otherwise is not hard and just takes some time and effort.
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