Article at a glance:
- Have a marketing plan before you need it.
- Consider your options, resources and budget.
- If you don’t have an audience, start building now.
I hear it almost every day from all sorts of prospective clients, including some very savvy business professionals:
“I’ve written my book (or developed my product) and I need your help with marketing it.”
So, I ask, “What’s your plan? How much have you budgeted for it?”
Plan? Budget? They’ve been so immersed in pouring heart and soul into their dream, they’ve given no thought to how they’ll share it with the world when it’s done. The best time to start thinking about marketing is long before the book is written or the “fibbajiwijit” is built.
If I’ve just described you, don’t worry, you can start now. But, as you’ll see from the tips below, you’d already be off to a running start if you’d been thinking about marketing months ago.
If you’re still writing, designing and dreaming, consider these a few more things to squeeze into your weeks. Then, when you’re ready to launch, all systems will be set for takeoff.
- Consider your market. Who will your book or product appeal to? On the surface, your how-to for new college grads on writing resumes might also have great suggestions for laid-off professionals looking for work for the first time in decades. Conversely, an inexpensive time-saving gadget for busy parents may be the perfect tool for college kids on a budget. Get creative! Solicit ideas from friends, too.
- Now that you know your market, how can you best promote your book or product? Will you buy advertising, look for speaking engagements, try to whip up interest from the media? You might hire a publicist or contract with your publisher to handle PR, or go old school and put together a promotional tour. Research the options that appeal to you and find out how effective they are in terms of meeting your goals. If you’re considering contracting with professionals to help you, get references from people who’ve had successful marketing experiences.
- Identify your resources. All of the above cost money; some options are less, others more. Look into the ones that interest you and get an idea of their price. How much can you afford to spend? Should you start setting aside money now? Is there an organization or business that would benefit from sponsoring you? A physician, for instance, might get financial help from a pharmaceutical company in exchange for standing behind a product. A gardener might find an ally in the local landscapers association.
- Build a following. Do you have a database of people already interested in what you have to say? If not, turn to social media and start building it now. The more of a following you have, the more potential audience you’ve created for your marketing message. Big numbers will also turn heads when you try to get speaking engagements or guest spots on radio and TV talk shows. Having a following is everything. The organizations and media that book you for an interview are also hoping all those followers will either buy tickets or stop by their website.
Marketing is too important to be an afterthought, so think about it long before it’s time to get started. Yes, I understand the effort that goes into writing a book or creating a product. I know it’s hard to think about anything else! But if you’re pouring years into that baby, you probably want to share it with the world. And that takes planning.
Marsha Friedman launched EMS Incorporated in 1990. Her firm represents corporations and experts in a wide array of fields such as business, health, food, lifestyle, politics, finance, law, sports and entertainment. She consults individuals and businesses on a daily basis and is frequently asked to speak at conferences about how to harness the power of publicity. Outside of the office, she is also the founder of a non-profit organization called the Cherish the Children Foundation. In 1996 the White House recognized her charity which sets out to raise awareness of the plight of underprivileged and foster children.