Today’s post is from our friends at Book in a Box. We are happy to share Zach Obront’s thoughts with you on how a book can help your business.
When a business owner comes to us to get help writing their a book, our conversation always starts with the same question: What exactly are you hoping to achieve with your book?
Many authors have trouble answering this question. They know books have helped people similar to them, and they think a book will help them, but they aren’t exactly sure how.
The answer is pretty simple. The most successful authors we work with understand this: The book isn’t an end in itself, it’s a multi-purpose marketing tool that can be used to grow their business.
If you look at the book as the product itself, then you’re stuck marketing a $10-20 product that people only buy once, and that 50% of Americans don’t buy at all. That’s the book marketing business, and it’s not the business you want to be in.
But if you see the book as a tool to grow your existing business by generating attention, building credibility, and developing trust with your audience, the possibilities being much more appealing.
Here are four of the most common ways successful business owners use their books:
Create Media Opportunities
Almost all business owners are looking to get more media attention, but the unfortunate reality is that most businesses aren’t media worthy. There’s nothing that makes them stand out, at least in the eyes of the media.
But stop and think about this: When a media outlet wants to write about a business or wants a comment on a story, who do they go to? The expert, right?
And how do they know someone is an expert? Because they wrote the book.
That’s the #1 signal of authority and credibility to the media.
A great example of this is Deb Gabor. As the founder of Sol Marketing, she was always looking for ways to get in with the press to discuss branding, but she struggled to stand out from the thousands of other branding experts and break into the mainstream.
After her book, Branding Is Sex, all that changed. She became the media’s go-to expert on all things branding, and was quoted in The Washington Post, USA Today, The New York Times, on NPR, and Fortune when they needed an expert’s opinion (you can read how she did it here).
Network At Scale
If you could spend one-on-one time with thousands of people in your industry, how would that change your business?
For most business owners, hundreds of doors would open leading to to new clients and partnerships. The challenge, of course, is that spending quality time with thousands of people is exhausting and time consuming, if not impossible.
A book allows you to, in effect, replicate yourself. Once it is written, it can be consumed by thousands or millions of people without any additional effort from you. And that at the very least starts the process of building a relationship with these thousands of readers.
Everyone who reads your book will understand your ideas and see you as an expert in the field (which is great for word of mouth). But, even better, the ones who see real potential to work together will reach out to you with these opportunities.
Our most successful authors think of their book like a business development rep on their team — going out 24 hours a day, forging relationships, and bringing opportunities back to them.
We recently ended up on the other side of this situation. When we started Book In A Box, we realized we had a rocket ship that we didn’t know how to drive. We needed to learn how to scale our company.
So what did we do? We went to Amazon to find books on the subject.
After speaking to friends and browsing Amazon for books, my business partner bought a book called Double Double by Cameron Herold. We both read it and immediately knew that Cameron was the guy to help us scale the business.
A few years later, Cameron has now coached our full executive team, earned tens of thousands of dollars from us, and even owns a piece of our company.
He didn’t need to spend his marketing budget to find us. We found him, because he’d created a great book to network and teach on his behalf, and it was there waiting for us when we went looking for it.
Generate More Leads
All of the attention and relationships built in the above sections is great, but as business owners, we need to see an ROI. A book can’t just be an ego play. It has to lead to business.
Fortunately, everything we talked about above leads to attention, which leads to clients, which leads to revenue.
By getting media placements, becoming known by thousands of readers, and having a tool to encourage word of mouth, the prospective clients who are looking for your services are far more likely to find you.
The best part? When they do find you, they don’t see you the same way they see most business owners. You aren’t just another company. You’re the one who literally wrote the book on the topic.
As you can imagine, these leads are better qualified and more likely to pay a premium than someone who found you through a Facebook Ad.
My favorite example of this is our first client, a woman named Melissa Gonzalez, who wrote a book called The Pop Up Paradigm.
Obviously, not many people care about books on retail, and even fewer care about pop-up retail, so focusing on selling copies was a losing strategy from the start. There just wasn’t a large audience for that topic.
Instead, she focused on reaching the decision-makers in the retail space — the types of people who would hire her as a consultant. She did this by focusing her book on how the new techniques she pioneered in pop-up retail could help retail businesses.
She shared her knowledge and expertise freely, and because her book was the first one that deeply explored this topic, she got a ton of media attention around the topic and became the recognized expert in this niche field.
Which led to all the decision makers in retail — the exact people she wanted as clients — to come to her when they needed support.
Within six months, her book tripled the inbound leads to her consulting business, and she signed a multi-million dollar contract with one of the largest mall companies in America after the CEO read her book (see her full story here).
Improve Your Sales Conversions
While some business owners are fortunate enough to have prospective customers land on their website and buy immediately, most of us have a longer sales process than that.
For some, that involves calls, consultations and meetings. For others, it involves an automated email sequence. But regardless of what your sales cycle looks like, a book can improve it.
Ultimately, the sales cycle is about building trust with your prospective customer. It’s a time to get to know each other and show them that your product or service is valuable and that you are the right person to deliver it to them.
No piece of media accomplishes this better than a book.
Some of the most common ways we see business owners use books in their sales cycle:
Josh Schoenly (author of Attract) uses his book as an initial lead magnet to get prospective customers to give him their email addresses.
Josh Harcus (author of A Closing Culture) sends his book to all prospective Hüify customers after their sales calls.
Karl Scheible (author of Succeed the Sandler Way) brings two copies of his book to all client meetings to establish credibility, share his ideas, and encourage prospective clients to give one away to a friend.
In each of these cases, the book is serving as a credibility and information tool that continues the hard work of your sales process while you focus on other things.
A lot of people like to say that a book is the new business card.
But that isn’t right. Everyone has a business card. You can go to Office Depot and get business cards. You can’t go to Office Depot and author a book.
What sets a book apart is that it’s a piece of you. You aren’t just promoting your company, you’re sharing your thoughts, beliefs, and ideas with the world. This can be scary, but it’s also the thing that makes books work.
In a world where marketers are learning to fake more and more, successful business owners are focusing on the things that can’t be faked.
One of the few things that can’t be faked is great ideas.
When we encourage authors to think of a book as a marketing tool, that doesn’t mean that the book shouldn’t be valuable. Just the opposite.
To succeed as a marketing tool, your book needs to entice the media, compel readers to share it, impress prospective clients, and demonstrate your credibility. None of that can happen without a quality product.
Fortunately, if you have great ideas, creating a quality product isn’t as difficult as you think.
Click here to download a free copy of our bestselling book, The Book In A Box Method, which walks you through the step-by-step process to go from idea to professionally published book.
Alternatively, if you’re interested in working with a team to support you through this journey, click here to learn about our process and schedule a free consultation to discuss your book idea.