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How To Make Soulful Selling The Passionate Heart Of Your Marketing

I talk about the concept of soulful selling a lot, but I haven’t actually explained the term. This week I’m diving into the concept of soulful selling, and how you can use Soulful Selling to create a fabulous business that has your passion at its heart. This is the key to finally figuring out how to make your passion your paycheck, and you will be amazed by the transformative power soulful selling can have in your business.

The Hard Sell…

We’ve all been the victims or the hard sell at some point in our lives. You walk into a shop, quite content to browse a few things that you’re interested in, and you’re immediately accosted by a random stranger, who’s decided that you’re going to buy a specific product they are trying to sell. They proceed to shove that product down your throat. You likely have no interest in this item and, even if you did have an interest when you walked in the shop, you suddenly lose interest the second the sales rep start talking.

How about the cold calls that we all get? Out of the blue, on our personal mobiles, at peculiar times, from people expecting us to just hand over our money to a company we’ve never heard of before, and for a product or service, we know nothing about.

Even in the world of online marketing, we still get the hard sell. Random advertisements pop up for products that you’ve never expressed an interest in. You get emails from people you’ve never heard of before, never interacted with, and never seen. People who have scraped your email address off your website and randomly sent you a sales pitch. All of this is hard selling.

Courtship In Marketing…

Yes, we’re talking about the age-old concept of courtship.

Courtship really is the heart and soul of marketing. If you want people to buy from you, to hand over their hard-earned cash, you need to have a relationship with them first. It’s very rare for people to buy things from a person or company they don’t know, or to purchase a product or service they have literally only just heard about at the point of purchase.

Your customers need to get to know, like and trust you before they will willingly part with their money and buy from you. That applies to products, services, low-cost items, high-cost items – it applies to everything. In the world of online marketing, it’s really easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that all you need to do is build a website, set up an advert to drive people to your landing page, and the sales will come rolling in.

It’s not that simple.

The problem with that method is that it is a hard sell. Unless you are only targeting an audience that already knows you with your adverts, the people looking at your adverts, clicking through and seeing your landing page, are doing so without ever having experienced you and what you can do before.

They don’t know you.

They might like your advert, but they don’t know you well enough to like you (or your company/product/service) yet. They certainly won’t trust you. Their entire opinion of you is based on one advert and one landing page. Even if you have the best landing page in the world, if you haven’t taken the time to build a relationship with the people you’re trying to sell to, you’re not going to get very far.

Soulful Selling…

If you haven’t taken the time to introduce yourself and your business to your audience, and explain to them the value of what you’re asking them to pay for, you’re going to find it very, very difficult to sell to them. Soulful selling is the opposite of the hard sell. It doesn’t rely on you drawing in random people, who have never heard of you before and pitching a product or service to them. Instead, you take the time to create a place that your ideal clients are naturally drawn to.

You produce high quality, valuable content, completely free, targeted at a very specific audience – the people who you most want to work with. You grow an audience made up entirely of your ideal clients. Over time they get to know, like and trust you, through reading or watching your content. You have the opportunity to explain to them who you are, what you do, and why your products or services are valuable to them.

They come to understand the value your offerings will bring to their lives.

If you’re selling a particular product, explain to them what this product will do to transform their lives. Paint a vivid picture.If you’re selling them a service, especially a business service, you want to sell them on exactly what your service can do to transform their business, to earn them more money, to make their lives easier. These are all things that you cannot do on a hard sell. Once you get the hang of soulful selling, it actually becomes a very easy process, a very natural process. Your audience grows quite organically. You have to put a lot of effort into it, in the content creation. And in getting your content out there so the people know that it exists.

If you’re selling them a service, especially a business service, show them exactly what your service can do to transform their business, earn them more money, or make their lives easier. These are all things that you cannot do on a hard sell. Once you get the hang of soulful selling, it actually becomes a very easy process, a very natural process. Your audience grows quite organically. You have to put a lot of effort into it, in the content creation. And in getting your content out there so the people know that it exists.

It’s very difficult to create a vibrant, detailed, and believable picture when all you have to work with is a hard sales pitch.

How To Make Soulful Selling The Passionate Heart Of Your Business…

Once you get the hang of soulful selling, it becomes a very easy, very natural process. Your audience grows quite organically. Content creation requires a lot of energy, passion, creativity and time. Soulful selling is by no means the easy route. It’s also not enough to simply create fabulous content. You have to get your content out there, so people know that it exists.

But, once you start that ball rolling, you’ll find it snowballs quite quickly.

Compare the benefits of soulful selling to the spray and pray method of marketing. On the one hand, you have an ever-increasing tribe of ideal clients who know, like, and trust you and understand your value and the benefits of your products and services. They’re happy to hear your sales pitches when you make them, because the rest of the time you give them so much valuable content. On the other hand, your marketing rests on literally blasting out your message to everybody, and hoping that some of the people you reach are going to like you, even though they don’t know you.

By making soulful selling the passionate heart of your marketing, you can change your marketing message.

The hard sell is slightly cringe-worthy. It’s a random advert that might get clicked but is generally ignored, or quickly abandoned, because people don’t know you enough to care, or trust that you can deliver what you’re promising.

Soulful selling allows you to create a message that truly reflects your abilities and the benefits of your products and services. It’s a message your tribe anticipates and eagerly click on to learn more.

Make Your Passion Your Paycheck…

Soulful selling is the perfect way to infuse your marketing efforts with your own passion for your business. Your passion for your niche, for the one thing that you do, that nobody else can do quite like you do it. That, my friend, is what sells.

When people can see how invested you are in a particular subject, a particular area, a particular ‘thing’. Whatever your ‘thing’ is, let people can see how passionate you are about it, how much you love it, the depth of your understanding of it, and how invested you are in ensuring your business, products and services are the best they can possibly be. Let them see how invested you are in making sure that the members of your tribe have better lives as a result of your work.

Nothing compares to content marketing when it comes to achieving this.

Creating free content may at first seem like a bit of an oxymoron. Why would you give away your knowledge and expertise for free? It seems like you’re wasting your time, money, and resources, and spending and an awful lot of energy creating something that’s not really going to achieve anything for you. A lot of people think, “I can just run a Facebook ad. I can just run an email marketing campaign. I can just post some Tweets, and it will have exactly the same effect.”

But there’s a huge difference between creating a place that your ideal clients naturally come to, wanting more from you, and a sales pitch that you blast out and pray someone responds.

Now there’s more to soulful selling than just content marketing. There are concepts that run to the way you run your business, your ethos, your standards, your ways of delivering and ensuring that you’re always putting your customer first. But where marketing is concerned, when it comes to soulful selling, content marketing is the key to ensuring your marketing efforts are thoroughly soulful.

Soulful selling is the way you will propel your business forward and completely transform your marketing from spray and pray, hard sell, to a place that people just love to be, where they can’t get enough of you.

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How To Use Corporate Storytelling To Empower And Skyrocket Your Blog

This week I’m going to be talking about exactly how to use corporate storytelling to empower your business and skyrocket your blog.

Last week was National Storytelling Week, and I did a special video about stories and why they are so awesome and amazing. I promised you I would be back with more details on exactly how to use corporate storytelling to build a phenomenally powerful brand, and create a marketing powerhouse in the form of your blog. 

There are loads of ways to use stories to build your brand and market your business; I would literally be here all day if I tried to go through all of them. So this post will focus on five, and I will be back later to explain some of the rest….

 

How To Use Corporate Storytelling: The Emotional Punch

One of the most vital ways to use stories to empower your business is through the emotional impact they have; stories pack a real emotional punch.

There is a false perception in the business world that marketing has to be very logical, very clinical, very unemotional. The theory goes, “There is no feeling in business”.

Sorry, I’m calling bullshit, that’s a load of crap; there are loads of feelings in business.

People are really emotional beings – thoughts, actions, and most importantly, decisions all turn on emotion, and stories carry some of the strongest emotions going.

Science tells us that LOGIC + EMOTIONS = DECISIONS.

Most of us have the logical part of marketing down. Most of us understand that if we explain, in a way people can comprehend, what their problem is and how we can fix it, they are going to buy from us; that’s the logical course to take in marketing.

The problem with this approach though is that it completely lacks emotion. It also often completely lacks anything even vaguely interesting. It’s a very clinical, very sterile way to try to convince people that your brand is right for them, your products and services are right for them, and that they really want to get on board and work with you and nobody else.

That kind of decision takes emotion, that kind of decision takes a connection on an emotional level between you and your potential clients.

Through the use of corporate storytelling you can learn how to craft stories that speak to people on a really deep, emotional, primal level. Stories that compel them to not only buy your products and services, and love your brand, but also become lifelong customers.

Stories can get people invested in you and your brand a hell of a lot quicker than anything else. And because of that emotional connection, people are going to move to action faster. Stories trigger people to action far quicker than anything else because they talk to their emotions as well as the logical parts of their brain; they tap into both at once.

There is a logical narrative to a story that can explain something in an easily understood, logical manner. But there is also an emotional narrative that’s going on at the same time, which makes you feel a certain way.

And what is it that all marketing does? It tries to get people to act on a call to action.

Marketing is built on calls to action.

We put them in everything – blog post, sales pitches, web copy, newsletters; everything. Calls to action get us paid; stories make people act. 

How To Use Corporate Storytelling: The Memories

Another great way stories empower your business is that they are truly memorable. How many times have you listened to a seriously dull sales pitch? You hung up the phone, logged off your email, switched off the Telly, or just walked away and started talking to somebody else, and within five seconds you have completely forgotten that pitch. You may have a vague recollection of it if somebody mentions it, but you won’t remember the specifics, you won’t remember the main points that all the marketing behind that pitch were trying to get across to you.

There’s a simple reason for that: the majority of marketing is just not memorable.

If you want your points to stick, if you want people to retain the information you’re so painstakingly telling them, you need to craft a message that is truly, truly memorable.

A memorable message consists of your key points, very clearly articulated and nothing else

Stories are a way to quickly and easily make your points in a compelling manner that people actually remember, without having to go into a load of detail that they don’t care about and don’t need to know, that’s just going to put them off and drown your real message.

Stories trigger emotional responses in us, and those emotional responses translate to memories.

When somebody tells you a story and it affects you in any way, good or bad, if it has an emotional effect on you, you’re going to remember it. Whether it makes you feel happy, sad, uplifted, empowered, or simply makes you laugh, it doesn’t matter, you’re going to remember it.

That is an astonishingly powerful tool to use in your marketing. You can tell a story, and use it to put across your marketing message, your pitch, and the points that you have to drive home. But because it’s a story you have done it in such a way that it’s not only entertaining or empowering or uplifting or funny, it’s memorable, people will remember it.

Another tenet of marketing is that it takes a lot of touching to get people to buy into your brand.

I’m not being dodgy. I mean you have to connect with people multiple times before they will actually get on board and buy what you are selling. They might read a tweet, an email, or a blog post, see a video, get your newsletter; it doesn’t matter what the form of contact is. You need to be talking to people, touching them, and connecting with them multiple times before they will actually relate to you enough, and be invested in you enough to part with their money.

If you combine the power of video and stories (because video is the most powerful media there is available), you have an astonishingly powerful marketing tool at your disposal.

People remember stories and the messages they carry much more quickly than they do everything else. There is a reason that adverts on telly often tell stories.  Which adverts do you prefer? Which adverts do you actually pay attention to? Which adverts do you remember? They are the ones that tell a story, the ones that make you feel something, those are the only ones you remember.

You can’t buy a brand if you can’t remember what the brand is.

How To Use Corporate Storytelling: The Distinct Brand

So, now that you know that stories are emotionally powerful and extremely memorable, let’s talk branding.

Specifically, how to use stories to make your brand more powerful.

The answer is really simple: archetypes.

Archetypes are stories that have been and will be around forever. They crop up in every single culture across the world in one form or another, same story, different characters, different details; these are archetypes. There are archetypal plots, and archetypal characters; you can use both in your branding. They are really simple and very effective ways of crafting a stupendously powerful brand that is also very distinct. 

The thing with branding is you need to be able to create a really memorable brand; a brand that is very distinct, that does something, says something, supplies something that only you can do.

That’s the only way to create a strong brand.

If your brand wishy-washy and unclear on what it represents, if it’s just, ‘Same old, same old, everybody else does this, what’s new? I don’t care!’, then nobody is going to pay any attention. A brand needs something distinct that sets it apart, something that differentiates it from the competition. 

Stories are the perfect way of putting across your ideas, your principles, your methods, your products in such a way that they simultaneously talk to people on an instinctual, primal level, which they intuitively recognize and respond to, and at the same time create a brand that’s very different.

This is the magic of archetypes.

Archetypes give you the blueprint. You are the dressing, the details: your personal experiences, your philosophies, your education, your background, your aspirations, your passions, your goals. These elements of you are the characters and details you are going to infuse that archetype with, and craft a story everybody already knows, but make it yours.

You create a brand that is universally understood, completely different, and entirely your own, all at the same time.

That is one of the strongest ways that stories can empower your business: giving you a distinct brand.

But stories can also be used in this way to empower your blogging. Filter all of your blogging efforts through the archetype system, when you use archetypes – archetypal plots, archetypal characters – to tell your story, to explain to people what you are doing, who you are, what you have, and how it will make their lives better. Suddenly you go from being a ‘Same old, same old’ to a ‘Oh my God, I want more! Oh my God! I must have that’.

The way to get people to have that gut reaction, that visceral ‘I must have that now!’ response is to make yourself stand out. To make yourself so unique, so interesting that people just want more. 

Want more on archetypes? Check out How To Use Archetypes To Revamp Your Vision Into An Irresistible Brand…

How To Use Corporate Storytelling: The Imaginative Spark

Stories capture the imagination, they are inherently interesting.

Stories are what we turn to when we’re bored.

How often have you been bored to tears at work, come home, slumped on the sofa and switched on the telly?

Why?

You’re looking for something interesting, something fun, something to take your mind off all that mind-numbing work you have done all day.

You are looking for stories.

And they are supplied in the most insane numbers these days, they are everywhere. Gone are the days when the only forms of stories were told around the campfire. We have bookshops, websites, and e-readers that are full of them. And if we haven’t got enough stories from our books, we can switch on the telly or go to the cinema and there are a million more.

TV is nothing but stories.

It doesn’t matter what channel you’re on – the news is stories, TV shows are stories, films are stories, every single thing you watch on television, including the adverts, are stories. 

So if the we turn to stories for fun, why on earth don’t we use stories in our business to make our business less boring?

How many times have you tried to pitch to somebody and you felt that you were losing them?

How many times have they looked like they were about to fall asleep on you?

How many times have they started checking their phone, their email or just walking the other way when you are talking to them?

You’re not holding their interest. And that is nothing to be ashamed of; it’s really difficult to hold people’s attention these days. Our attention spans are getting increasingly shorter, but the amount of information that we need to convey is getting increasingly more complicated. Marketing is getting so much harder every year, because the things we have to explain to people, the things we have to convince them of, are getting more and more complex. And yet, they are not able to pay attention as long as they used to be. It’s getting to the point where people need to get your message in the space of seconds or you’ll lose them.

When you only have a few minutes, or even just a few seconds to capture somebody’s attention, you need something that will capture their imagination rather than boring them to tears. 

Stories are the way you keep people’s interest; they are inherently interesting. If you tell them right, they are not only interesting, they are incredibly entertaining. You want your audience to be informed and entertained at the same time. 

How To Use Corporate Storytelling: The Motivation

Stories also have a massive motivational impact on us. If you have gone to all the effort of connecting with people on an emotional level, if you have managed to explain your methods to them in a way that they can understand and relate to, if you have made it memorable, if you have differentiated yourself from the competition and really stood out from the crowd, and if you have kept them entertained in the process, you are almost home.

There is only one more thing that you have to do, but it’s vital.

You have to motivate them. You have to get them to actually take action.

As I said earlier, marketing is all about getting people to act upon a call to action.

What exactly does that mean? And how exactly do you get people to act? How do you motivate them to take the specific action you want them to take?

All good stories have a moral at their core. You know the expression, “The moral of the story is…”

You can use the message of your story, the moral of your story, to drive home your point, the objective that you are trying to achieve. You can use the moral of your story to compel people to take the action you want them to take, simply because your story has convinced them that what you want is the right thing to do.

How good is that?

Stories can convince people to do what you want them to do, not because you have tricked them into it, not because you have flashed a load of shiny objects at them and offered them a load of free stuff, not because you have undercut the competition, not because of any of the marketing tricks you can think of, but simply because it is the right thing for them to do.

And the majority of people are hardwired to always do the right thing if they can. 

So, now you are on board with the how and exactly what stories can do for your business, you probably want to get down to the nitty-gritty and figure out exactly what it is you need to be doing, day in, day out, to use stories in this way, and to get that awesome power into your marketing.

Don’t worry; I am here to help.

I will be back with more tips and tricks on how to use corporate storytelling in your business really soon. Make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel so that you never miss a video! 

How To Use Corporate Storytelling To Empower And Skyrocket Your Blog (6)

How To Make A Business Book Part Of Your Content Marketing Plan

If content marketing is part of your business (or you want it to be) you probably already have a content marketing plan. You’ve probably already read a great deal about the concepts behind content marketing as a business strategy and the types of content you can (and should) use. You know you need to blog a lot, vlog a lot, tweet a lot, and generally spend an insane amount of time, effort, energy, and resources, creating content.

What you probably haven’t heard as much about is the use of books as part of your content marketing plan. Short freebies and guides, yes, but full length books? They tend to get overlooked. When you do think of them, there are a few things that will immediately put you off the idea:

I could never write a book.

It would take far too long to write a book.

Releasing a book would cost way too much money.

I don’t know how to find a publisher.

I’d never make my money back!

Sound familiar? These are all very common and perfectly understandable questions/concerns that I hear from clients all the time. Over the next few weeks in the run up to National Novel Writing Month in November, I will be blogging a lot about business books, how and why you should write one, and why November is the perfect time to do it.

How To Make A Business Book Part Of Your Content Marketing Plan

To kick everything off, here’s my ten step guide to making a business book part of your content marketing plan. Take a look, you’ll be surprised by the benefits!

Step One: Plan A Book

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking your book can’t actually be part of your marketing strategy until it’s published.

This is wrong.

Very wrong.

Your new business book will form part of your content marketing plan from the moment you decide to do it. Scratch that, from the moment you think it might be a good idea. One of the key concepts that you have to wrap your head around very early on here is that you’re not writing the book you want to write. You can, but the odds are it won’t help your business. 

In order to do this, you need to find out what kind of business book your tribe needs. This means market research and planning. Take a look at other business books in your niche. Ask your tribe which business books they love, which authors they devour. Consider the topics that are very popular, and the topics that could be the next big thing. Ideally, you want to combine the two.

Try to find a subject you can write on with great authority, that your tribe have told you they would love, that straddles one extremely popular subject, and one little-known subject that could be the next big thing. If you’ve really niched down in your business, the odds are you’re already doing something that’s little-known but could be the next big thing.

Once you have your subject, test it. Survey your tribe and potential ideal clients. Find out if it’s something they really would be interested in. Get their opinions on titles, chapter topics, themes.

For example, the original title of my current WIP was When the Phoenix Dances, and the cover was one of the illustrations. I was very attached to both, but I surveyed my tribe and potential clients and they didn’t get it: they thought it looked more like a novel that a business book, and didn’t immediately understand what it was about.

In hindsight I should have realised this, but this is why you need an outside perspective! I changed the title and cover, based on feedback from my tribe.

When The Phoenix Dances: Soulful Selling for Female Entrepreneurs by Hazel Butler How To Make A Business Book Part Of Your Content Marketing Plan

The Tao of Corporate Storytelling: A Guide to Copywriting and Business Narrative by Hazel Butler How To Make A Business Book Part Of Your Content Marketing Plan

The final working title reached – with a lot of help from my tribe – is The Tao of Corporate Storytelling.

Rather different.

One was about me, and what I wanted the book to be, the other was about them, and what they needed the book to be. 

You should always work to what your readers need from your book, and not what you want from it.

Now plan your book according to that data (don’t worry, I’ll be doing a post on how to plan your book very soon!). 

Step Two: Take Your Readers On Your Writing Journey

Once you have your book planned, you need to start writing it. Whether you’re writing it as part of National Novel Writing Month over the course of November, or doing it in fits and starts as you’re able, keep your tribe updated. If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter you will regularly see photos of me out and about with a notebook/laptop. Sometimes with a coffee in a café, other times down the pub with a pint, or at the beach. If you’re writing, your tribe needs to know about it!

  • Which bit are you working on?
  • Are you finding it easy or are you really struggling?
  • Do you have block? If so, how are you addressing it?
  • Are you really exacted to share a particular part of it with them?
  • Have you hit any mile stones – finished a chapter, reached the half way mark, finally figured out why a particular section wasn’t working?

Don’t forget to use the relevant hashtags when posting updates to drawn in new readers and grow your tribe even further. #AmWriting and #WritersRoad are good, but you need some specific to your ideal clients!

Step Three: Give Bits Of Your Book Away For Free

The sooner you start teasing your book, the better. There are many ways you can do this. The most effective are to pull quotes from your new book, create lovely, branded memes (like mine below), and share them on social media. 

HOW TO MAKE A BUSINESS BOOK PART OF YOUR CONTENT MARKETING PLAN Quotes From 'The Tao of Corporate Storytelling: A Guide to Copywriting and Business Narrative, by Hazel Butler

Quotes From ‘The Tao of Corporate Storytelling: A Guide to Copywriting and Business Narrative, by Hazel Butler

Share your little heart out. Use the literal writing process:

  • Your computer screen open on the document
  • Pages from your notebook
  • Index cards detailing sections and chapters of the book, laid out on the floor

And then shots of the later stages of the book’s progress:

  • The cover design and/or illustrations
  • The first draft, printed out and awaiting reading
  • Scribbles of red pen all over pages you’re editing
  • The proof copy once it arrives from the printers

The idea is to give your followers a sense of the book and what it is about long before it’s available. The real trick here is to prove the book’s value, and show them why the need to read the whole thing.

Hands down the best way to do this is to let them read the first chapter for free. You can very easily share a PDF of the draft of your first chapter as soon as you have it. 

Step Four: Build A Book List

Just as you build an email list for your business as a whole, you should be building a list of people interested in your new book. Start doing this as soon as you announce you are writing the book, don’t wait! There will always be people immediately interested. There will always be people who read the quotes you are sharing freely and want more. Make it easy for them! Include a description with each meme you share including the quote, details of the book it’s from (title, publication date if you know it yet) and a link to sign up to receive the first chapter for free as soon as it’s available.

You don’t have to have the first chapter ready to go when you start getting people on the list to receive it! At the time of penning this blog post, my first chapter of The Tao of Corporate Storytelling isn’t finalised yet. There’s still a very prominent page on the site where people can sign up, with buttons and links to it everywhere. By the time you publish you should have a list of people ready and waiting to BUY! 

Your book list should also be a section of your MAIN EMAIL LIST – a book is the biggest list builder you will EVER create, make sure you’re taking advantage of it from the start. Everyone signing up to your book list automatically gets added to your main list, to start receiving your newsletter.

Step Five: Write The BEST Book Possible

Many people make the mistake of thinking a business book doesn’t need to be earth shattering. That it can be a perfunctory thing created as a marketing tool and then forgotten about. That it doesn’t need to matter. While it’s true that your book will be an amazing marketing tool, it won’t work unless it’s a good book.

By ‘good’, I mean well planned, well structured, well written, thoroughly edited and proofread by a skilled professional, professionally formatted, has a top-notch, gorgeous cover and/or illustrations, and is published in a high-quality format. If you’re only publishing in electronic form, the latter part isn’t relevant, but if you’re publishing a paperback/hardback version you need to make sure the printing is first rate.

The reason for this is really simple: your book is a reflection of your business. If your book is crap, people will assume you are crap, your business is crap, and your other products and services are crap too. Conversely if your book is professional and fulfills a need, they will assume you are professional and can fulfill their needs, and that your business, products, and services, are something the NEED.

Your book is an investment. Don’t skimp on ANYTHING.

Step Six: Offer Advanced Reader Copies

Once you have your book in its final stages, when there is nothing left to do but the last proofread and checking the format for the final version, you can made advanced reader copies (ARCs) available. You can offer them exclusively to people already on your book list, or you can offer them to anyone interested and thus grow your book list still further. There are merits to both approaches: one rewards those who have already shown interest, and gives you an extra hook to get people to sign up to the list from the start; the other gives you a massive competition to run across all your platforms ahead of the book launch, raising the profile of the launch. 

Don’t give away the farm. Decide on a set number of copies. It’s easy to stick to a small number to make them even more valuable, but bear in mind that one of the main reasons for giving away ARCs is to get REVIEWS of your book ahead of your launch. Only about one in ten people who read your book will actually review it (excluding friends and family, who generally feel compelled). If you want lots of reviews ahead of time, you need to get the book out to a reasonable number of people. Hard copies will cost you money to print and post. You need to factor in the costs when you’re deciding how many you will offer.

If you’re offering them to your list exclusively, select names at random until all copies are allocated. If you’re running a competition, make sure you promote it everywhere for a reasonable length of time.

You should also approach professionals in your field and specifically request that they review your book in advance of the launch. This will give you exposure to a wider audience who are likely to be interested in your book, and give you quotes to use on the cover, in the front matter, on any promotional materials, and during the launch.

Step Seven: Launch Like You Mean It

Launch your book with as much passion and fanfare as you can muster. If you have kept your costs very low, and have a huge following, you might break even. If you don’t, don’t let it get you down. It doesn’t mean the project will never break even, it’s just the nature of publishing. 

Your eventual goal for the book should be that it provides you with consistent passive income. But that’s your end game. Your main goal here is to make your book a part of your content marketing plan, and use it to market your business.

Consider how much money you would spend on an advertising campaign to generate the amount of attention and leads your book has already created. And that’s before it has even been published! A few key things you will experience leading up to and during the launch of your book (if you’ve followed this plan!):

  • A surge in your social media following
  • A massive increase in your list
  • Increased traffic to your website
  • An uptake in inquiries and sales 

And that’s before you’ve sold a single copy. So buck up, this isn’t about making green – that’s the gravy, baby!

Pour your heart and soul into launching your book and make the most you can out of it from a marketing perspective. This is a HUGE opportunity massively to grow your tribe with a single campaign. Don’t waste it!

Step Eight: Quote, Reference, Mention, Repeat

Now you’re a bona fide author, for the love of god, milk it! Quote your book, reference your book, mention your book at every available opportunity and in every relevant blog post. Don’t shove it down people’s throats when they’re not looking at something directly related. If you’ve chosen the right topic, you will be able to talk about lots in a natural way.

Step Nine: Give Your Book Away

You already ran one competition to give away ARCs. Wait six months to a year and run another, this time with the final copies available. This works well if you’ve sold lots of eBooks but few hard copies (which is totally normal!). People who love the eBook will want the hard copy, people who’ve never read it will just want a copy.

Also, take advantage of that wonderful boon every author embraces: SWAG!

Bookmarks, key chains, post cards, posters, business cards, mugs, notebooks… Even cushions and other home wear items can all bear elements of your book. Whether it’s quotes, the cover, or the illustrations, it doesn’t matter. Sell the high-end items, give away the cheap options in spades. Imagine pens with your name, business logo, and a quote from your book, nestling in the handbag of every woman in your tribe.

How many of those women do you think will turn into paying clients one day?

Step Ten: Write Another Book

I know, I know, you hate me for saying it. It’s so much work, stressful, expensive and so rewarding. Better, it will give your business a massive boost, not just now but for years to come.

Do it all again…

List Building 101: How to Grow Your Tribe & Market Like A Ninja

As business owners in the online world we’re well aware of the need for list building. It’s the key to tribe growth. It ensures your tribe is composed of ideal clients – people you love to work with, who value you. We understand the power of an Email List. We know that having direct access to our ideal clients’ inboxes will sell our products and services. But knowing what steps to take for effective list building is tricky. List building allows you to market like a Ninja.

It’s also a constant effort.

And what exactly is an email list? How exactly do you go about building one?

Here are some FAQs and three key things to remember about list building.

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO MY THREE KEY PIECES OF ADVICE ON LIST BUILDING.

What is an Email List?

An email list is exactly what it sounds like – a list of email addresses. They aren’t any old email addresses though. They’re special. These are email addresses for your ideal clients, your tribe. This is crucial to list building: your list MUST be made up of people who LOVE YOU and VALUE YOUR WORK. People who need what you have to offer. Who value your skills. People willing to give you something in exchange for what you’re offering. Initially, this will be their email address in exchange for a regular delivery of quality content direct to their inbox. You give them this for free. An email address for awesome content. That’s the deal.

Once they know, like, and trust you, they will happily give you more. A small sum of money in exchange for a low-level product or service. Follow this up with a higher sum of money for a mid level product or service. Finally they hand over a big bucket full of cash for a tip-top products or services. Generally the last goal is selling one very high ticket item. It can also mean taking a client on retainer. A small to medium fee, paid frequently, is often worth more than a one-off high price sale. For product-based services, these are your repeat clients. They buy multiple products and come back time and again. They’re first in line when you release something new. They rave about you to anyone who will listen.

Do I really have to make List Building part of my business?

No. You don’t HAVE to do anything. Your business, your rules. If you don’t want an email list, you don’t have to have one. I’ll be honest, building one is hard work. It takes a consistent effort. It’s often extremely frustrating, at least initially. But…

It makes everything so much easier.

What software do I need for List Building?

You can build an email list using basic software, or you can go all out. It’s really up to you. You cannot use your normal email account for a list. It MUST be a proper structure in place to manage your list. You MUST allow people to easily subscribe and unsubscribe at will. Which means at a MINIMUM you will need to use Email Marketing Software.

Email Marketing Software.

There are a lot of options for good Email Marketing Software, such as Mailchimp, Mad Mimi, or Active Campaign. I started with Mailchimp and now use Active Campaign. This is not JUST to make your life a lot easier (it will!) it’s a legal and moral issue. You can’t arbitrarily put people on mailing list, they must OPT IN. They must be able to OPT OUT at any time.

It boils down to data protection, common decency, and common sense. You want the people on your list to LOVE YOU AND WHAT YOU DO. If they don’t want to be on your list, you don’t want them there anyway! Uninterested and inactive members of your list will skew your data. You don’t want that. You’re trying to use this list to build your business. You’re ultimately looking to sell people things. Which means you really don’t want to piss them off.

Set up an account with an Email Marketing Software provider. Use it to to manage your list (or lists) and send email campaigns. You can hire email marketing experts and campaign managers if you don’t know what you’re doing, or haven’t the time or inclination to do it all yourself.

Optin Forms and Popups

Aside from this, people need a way to get on your email list, so make sure there are plenty of opportunities on your website and social media. You can install a range of plugins on your website that create Opt In Forms and pop ups in various places and formats. I use PopupAlly Pro, which is a premium plugin, but there are plenty of excellent free options, such as Magic Action Box (which is what I used before I upgraded). You want to make your optin forms as unobtrusive and polite as possible, so that they don’t get in the way of people reading your website, but are also obvious enough that people sign up.

Landing Pages and Sales Pages

In addition, you might also want to get something to help you create beautiful and highly converting landing pages. Some popular choices are Leadpages, Profit Builder, and Unbounce (I use Profit Builder).

Do I need freebies to make people sign up to my email list?

The short answer is yes. It’s worth having a form or two on your website that encourages people to sign up so they don’t miss a post. But, realistically, most people on your list are going to end up there because of a freebie. Think of it as a transaction, You aren’t giving something away for free. Potential clients are buying something for the price of their email address. Yes, some people will signup, get the freebie, and immediately unsubscribe. Most people won’t. Most people will stay on your list for at least a little while. This gives you chance to build a relationship with them. Which makes it more likely they will buy something in the future, for cash. You need to get people on your list before you can sell to them.

If your blog posts are truly spectacular you will find people sign up to ensure they don’t accidentally miss your posts. In most cases, however, you need more than the promise of never missing a blog post to get people to sign up.

Can I buy email lists?

Again, the short answer is yes. It’s possible to buy lists of hundreds and even thousands of email addresses. You should never, EVER, do it however. For one thing, it’s unethical – the people on the list have no idea who you are, and didn’t agree to be on your list. For another, these are RANDOM PEOPLE and very few of them will have any interest in what you’re offering. Finally, any emails you send to a bought list are spam.

Your email might be wonderful and packed with great content, but if the person you’re sending it to didn’t agree to being on your list, it’s spam.

Nobody responds well to spam

So yes, you can buy email lists, but you shouldn’t – it’s unethical, ineffective, and a total waste of money.

Three Key Pieces Of Advice On List Building

Key #1: Content is Queen

Before you can really start building an email list you need to make sure your content is seriously high quality. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Your content is the incentive that gets people to sign up to your email list.
  2. Your content is what KEEPS people on your email list, engaging with you, and buying your products and services.

You need quality content, and lots of it. Ask yourself: who is going to decide what content you need and when? Who is going to write/design/create it? what about uploading, formatting, and scheduling it all? Who’s going to write and schedule your newsletter? Who will design and run advertising campaigns? How is going to network and promote your content in groups and forums? Who is going to promote your content on social media?

These are all essential tasks. Many of us never really get anywhere because we’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of things to do. We procrastinate. We want everything to be perfect, so we never begin.

Don’t do that.

You can absolutely do every single content-related task yourself, but you don’t have to. Outsource tasks you’re unfamiliar with, uncomfortable doing, dislike, or just don’t have time for. Whether you manage all content alone, outsource it, or settle on a mixture of outsourcing and doing things yourself, just remember that CONTENT IS QUEEN. Your content is the most important element of list building. Without quality content, you will never build a good list. If by some fluke you do, you will never keep your subscribers. And even if by some miracle you do, they will never convert into paying clients.

Key #2: Plan For Growth

If you’re using email marketing in your business, you need to PLAN. More than that, you need to PLAN FOR GROWTH. As mentioned, Key #1 is CONTENT IS QUEEN. But using any old content as and when you feel like it isn’t going to cut it.

Your blog schedule needs to be carefully planned to make sure it drives signups and sales. This means:

  1. Posting regularly and consistently.
  2. Always writing for your ideal client.
  3. Only covering topics your ideal client will love, relating directly to your products and/or services.
  4. Providing variety and value in every post.

If your posts are up to snuff, people will sign up to make sure they never miss posts. But if you’re really smart, you’ll plan more than blog content list building in mind. Plan your optin freebies to make sure they relate to your main topics. Ensure at least one thing in every blog post is an incentive to join your list. It might be a freebie that relates to the post. It might be the chance to enter a competition and win a free product or service. When you get really good at this, you will start upgrading your blog content. Content upgrades make sure your most popular posts come with free content. This means creating worksheets, cheat sheets, guides, and other downloadable content. These items accessible while reading and allow people to ACTION what you’re talking about.

You short, your blog schedule should be carefully planned to ensure and sustain the growth of your email list, sales, and business.

CHECK OUT: HOW TO PLAN A KILLER BLOG SCHEDULE THAT DRIVES SIGNUPS AND SALES

Key #3: Let Them Eat Cake

Yep, you need to go all Marie-Antoinette for this one…

In order for an email list work, you need a business that’s structured to take advantage of email marketing. This means you need at least four tiers in your business in terms of products, services, and available content. I like to call this THE CAKE CONSTRUCTION.

The Cake Construction

In a nutshell, The Cake Construction is a business model that relies on attracting clients to you with tasty treats, i.e. CONTENT. You’re going to divide your content into four tiers, which in my world form a CAKE. A four tiered CONTENT CAKE

Tier Four

The lowest tier of your cake is how most of your tribe will get on your list. Tier four is FREE CONTENT. It needs to be SERIOUSLY TASTY free content – providing entertaining, helping, informing, or a combination of the three. It has to make your ideal clients fill their bellies and purr like a kitten. Then it has to make them rub up against your legs begging for more. You need a LOT of free content so you can keep that kitty happy and get it used to eating your delicious cake.

Tier Three

Your cat is now addicted to your yummy cakey content. Which means you can offer that happy little cat something from the next tier up. This is in exchange for a SMALL amount of money. The cake on this tier is even better than the free cake. Your kitty cat will happily had over a bit of cash to try it.

They LOVE your free cake. It’s unbelievable you have BETTER cake. They simply MUST try it! And it’s such a low price it’s DEFINITELY GOING TO BE WORTH IT.

Cake on this tier can be similar to your free content but must be even more valuable. Full versions of your tasters and testers work well. For example, I offer a free blog post to all potential clients to give them a taste of my services. The next step up is to buy a full length post with all the bells and whistles.

Tiers One and Two

Now your cat happily pays for your cake, you can start tempting her with more decadent offerings. The exact products and services you offer on each tier will depend on your business, your clients, how you price things, and whether you divide your offerings by price, skill, or need.

THE CAKE CONSTRUCTION - LIST BUILDING 101 - HOW TO BUILD AN EMAIL LIST - EMAIL MARKETING - HOW DO YOU GET PEOPLE ON YOUR EMAIL LIST - MARKETING

By Price

If you’re dividing by price the price range for each tier will be relative to your business. You may not have anything on offer above £50. You might not have anything on offer less than £500. Businesses vary widely when it comes to pricing, which is why I don’t include price guidance on the three paid-for tiers. Look at your offerings and divide them into low-, medium-, and high-priced products and services.

By Skill

When it comes to skill, look at it in terms of the knowledge level of the client. Are they an apprentice (a newbie)? A journeyman (someone with some experience who is still learning)? Or are they a master (someone who knows the subject well and is looking for specialist knowledge)?

By Need

If you’re dividing by need, consider your clients’ various levels of need. Think about how each of your products caters to them. For example, I offer single blog posts for people who only need a one-off post. I offer twelve post bundles for clients who only need one professionally written post per month. These also cater to clients who don’t need posts regularly enough to have me on retainer. My top-tier service, The Divine Blogging Design, is for clients who need their blog written week in, week out.

Whichever method you use, make sure you have at least one thing on every tier. Make sure your free content caters to all levels of skill and need. That way, your list building efforts will work for all potential clients, regardless of skill or need.

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