Posts Tagged ‘publishedandprofitable’

One of your most important marketing and promoting decisions is choosing the right incentive to offer as a bonus to visitors who sign up for your e-mail newsletter or weekly tips.

It’s not enough to offer great information delivered at consistent intervals via e-mail; you have to go further and sweeten the pot with a sign-up bonus if you want to grow your list as quickly as possible.

Why you must offer an incentive

You have to strike while the iron is hot! One of the reasons to offer an incentive that is immediately delivered via an e-mail autoresponder is to immediately contact visitors who have signed up for your newsletter or weekly tips.

Visitors have short memories; if you’re midway between monthly newsletters or a weekly tip sheet mailing, by the time the next issue rolls around, visitors may have forgotten that they signed-up for it. C2010-523 dumps This won’t happen, however, if they immediately receive your incentive and a thank-you for signing up.

Characteristics of successful incentives

Your sign-up incentive should reflect the quality of information you share on a consistent basis with your clients, customers, prospects, and readers. Key characteristics include:

  • Engaging. Pay as much attention to the title of your incentive as you pay to the title of your book. Your incentive must immediately communicate a benefit that will help visitors solve a problem or achieve a goal. For help choosing the title of your incentive, use the same techniques used to choose article, book, & event titles.
  • Helpful & relevance. The success of a sign-up incentive is based not on how well it “sells” your services, but on the quality of the information you share in it. Let your information be your salesperson; don’t hold anything back- -share your expertise and leave your visitor looking forward to learning more.
  • Actionable. Avoid incentives that are long on theory, but short on information. Instead, focus on concise and simply-stated ideas that your market can immediately put to work.
  • Perceived value. Pay attention to the quality of your incentive; let the packaging, or the design and layout, of your incentive add value to your words and ideas. The design of your incentive should project an appropriate image, one that tells a story and differentiates you and your firm from the competition.
  • Low-cost or no-cost. Electronic incentives, like Adobe PDF’s, downloadable audios, or streaming videos are best because there are few out-of-pocket costs involved in creating them and no costs (other than the low monthly fees for an auto-responder) involved in distributing them.
  • Trackable. In order to test, and, thereby, continue to improve, the desirability of your incentives, it’s important that you carefully track the number of incentives you distribute and the conversions- -or sales- – that result. A simple spreadsheet will help you correlate newsletter or tip-sheet sign-ups to specific blog posts or pay-per-click advertising.

Types of incentives

As mentioned above, sign-up incentive can take many forms. Format options include Acrobat PDF files, audios, videos, and- -even- -templates to be used with popular software programs. CAS-003 dumps The following is a rundown of the types of content options you can choose from:

  • Assessments. An assessment can be as simple as a questionnaire, or as sophisticated as a self-grading interactive form. Assessments help visitors determine their needs and identify areas where improvement is possible.
  • Best-of compendiums. Your hard-drive may contain hundreds of previously-written articles, case studies, ideas, strategies, and tips, that you can assemble into a “Best of” incentive. Another source of information may be as close as your blog posts, which can be easily harvested for your incentive.
  • Checklists. Another popular incentive category idea includes checklists. Checklists help visitors evaluate their performance as they complete a task or work towards a goal.
  • E-courses. An e-course is simply an incentive sent by autoresponders at timed intervals. Typically, the first “lesson” is sent immediately, with follow-up lessons sent every few days or at weekly intervals. Each follow-up mailing reinforces your brand and your message, increasing the likelihood of a favorable outcome.
  • Glossaries. Every field has its own professional terms and jargon. Newcomers to your field are likely to appreciate a list of important terms and their definitions.
  • Resource compilations. What are the recommended books and online resources in your field? Who are the big players in your field? You can enhance your reputation as the knowledgeable “go to” individual in your field by positioning yourself as an expert “filter” who helps visitors save time locating and evaluating resources they’ll find useful…and you’ll get the credit for introducing them.
  • Software templates. Software templates, prepared for use with the popular programs like Microsoft Excel or Word, Adobe In-Design, or Mindjet’s MindManager, help prospects get a head start on their projects. Spreadsheet templates can help prospects make better decisions, and newsletter templates provide a ready-to-use framework for creating a one-page newsletter with Microsoft Publisher.
  • Speeches. Be sure your next speech is recorded, so you can offer it as a downloadable audio or a streaming video.
  • Survey results. After creating a survey of your clients, customers, prospects, and blog readers, compile a report summarizing the major trends. Survey incentives become more valuable each year, if you update the results and include comparisons with survey results from previous years.
  • Tip sheets. Tip sheets are one of the most powerful tools available. A tip sheet can be as simple as 10 tips printed on one side of a single sheet of paper, or they can become as elaborate as you desire.

Your sign-up incentives are going to be judged by their appearance as well as their contents. Ideally, the appearance of your incentives should reflect the brand associated with you and your book.

  • White papers. White papers which are educationally-oriented reports focusing on current challenges and new developments in your field are an excellent lead generation and list-building tool. The ideal length is 12 pages, or less. The key to a successful white paper is to avoid overt marketing or promotion until the very end, where you can stress your firm’s role in developing and delivering the latest advances.

Content and format options

Here are some things to bear in mind when harvesting previously written content from your hard drive and previous blog posts:

  • Clients and prospects have a short memory. Blog content quickly ages, no matter how carefully you have organized your blog posts by category. By drawing attention to valuable content 6 months, or so, older, you’re performing a valuable service for your market.
  • Different prospects prefer different formats. Just because you addressed a topic in a previous newsletter, and you have it archived on your website, doesn’t mean every prospect is aware of it. Thus, repurposing previous newsletters and blog posts into audios and videos exposes them to prospects who may welcome the information because it’s new to them.

Takeaway

Don’t make the mistake of focusing on writing the perfect book, but fail to offer a helpful, relevant, and actionable incentive. In many ways, the title and content of your sign-up incentive is as important as the title and content of your book. Successful incentives lead to successful books!


Welcome to Step 3, Promoting, in your 4-step Author Journey to a published book. The first step in marketing and promoting your book is to evaluate your current online visibility.

Your ability to market and promote your book is based on your ability to promote yourself and your book online. Online visibility brings up the topic of your author platform.

What’s your platform like?

Your author platform refers to your ability to promote yourself and your book online- -where books are sold and product and service decisions are made. Your platform is a measure of the quality and quantity of your website presence plus your ability to keep in touch with clients, prospects, peers, and opinion-makers.

  • Start by asking, What shows up when you enter your name, or your firm’s name, into a search engine like Google.com or Yahoo.com?
  • Then, enter the keywords, or terms clients, prospects, or the media use when asking questions or searching for information about issues and topics in your field. Does your blog or website show up on the first page, or two, of results? Are there a lot of results, or just a few?

The stronger your platform, i.e., the more visibility you already have, the easier it will be to get your book published and into the hands of readers who you hope will turn into prospects and customers.

Questions to ask when evaluating your online platform

The best way to evaluate your online platform is to evaluate your current web presence by asking questions like the following:

  1. When did you last update your website? Visitors and search engines like frequently updated websites, beginning with the home page. Just as you wouldn’t buy your daily newspaper if the front page always looked the same, your website needs to be constantly freshened with new content.
  2. Can you update your website by yourself? Your ability to promote your book and your career is based on your ability to easily update your website yourself, without needing to contact and pay money to a webmaster or web designer.
  3. Do you have a blog? Blogs are no longer fashionable options for sharing the details of your daily existence. Today, blogs are fundamental marketing tools that permit you to develop and share your expertise by easily and efficiently adding text and graphics by yourself, without incurring the costs and delays of paying someone else. In an age of WordPress blogs, there’s simply no excuse for a website you cannot edit and update yourself.
  4. Does your site offer a sign-up incentive? It is essential that your website contains an incentive for visitors to sign-up for your email newsletter or tips. Unless you have a way of capturing your visitor’s e-mail address and permission to contact them via email, you’ll only get one chance to sell the visitor before they go elsewhere and forget about you and your site. Capture their e-mail address and permission, however, and you can convert that one-time visit into a long and profitable relationship.
  5. How often do you send e-mail updates? Do you remember E.R. on television, the drama that took place in a hospital emergency room? Remember the oscilloscope displays tracking the heartbeats of the patients? Each time their heart beat, the trace rose to the top of the screen. But, it never stayed there. The rise to the top was quickly followed by a drop to the bottom of the screen. The same effect happens with your marketing. Each time you send out a tip or a newsletter, your visibility rises to the top of your prospect’s attention. But, the more time that goes by between your e-mail contacts, the more likely you won’t be visible when your prospect is ready to buy. Short, weekly e-mail updates are far more effectively than monthly or quarterly contacts.
  6. How often do web visits turn into sales? Are you able to track the conversions, or sales, that originate on your website? If you’re not able to track your website’s performance, how do you know what it’s contributing to your firm’s profitability? If you can’t track your website’s performance, you can’t test your offers, your prices, and your headlines? You’ll never know which keywords to include in your headlines and body copy. Websites and testing go hand in hand; making it easy to test each variable until it delivers maximum sales for each of your product and service offerings.
  7. How helpful and relevant is your site’s content? If your website consists primarily of empty claims about how great you are, it’s probably not contributing much to your bottom line. Success today is based on sharing genuinely helpful information with clients and prospects. Givers get. The more information you share, the more you will be viewed as an expert in your field, paving the way to book sales and back-end product and service profits.
  8. Is your site’s image unique and accurate? Content is king, but content, by itself, isn’t enough. The design of your website says a lot about you, pre-selling the importance of your words, projecting a distinct and appropriate look that differentiates your site from the competition and resonates with prospects, inviting repeat visits. If your website looks old and tired, however, your message will look old and tired.
  9. How well are you using web audio and video? Are you taking appropriate advantage of streaming audio and video? It’s a mistake to think that everyone wants to read as much as you do; today’s world is dominated by iPods, podcasts, and online videos. If you’re not taking advantage of them, your profits will suffer. It’s imperative that you offer prospects their choice of message formats.
  10. How regularly do you submit articles online? Your website is just one of your online marketing tools. Articles that you write and submit to article distribution sites like www.ezinearticles.com permit you to expand your search engine visibility and drive addition traffic to your website.
  11. Are you taking advantage of social marketing? How effectively are you using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other specialized sites to cultivate relationships and referrals from clients, co-workers, friends, prospects, and subject area experts? It’s never been easier to create quality connections with others who share your interests or challenges and drive traffic to your blog or website.

Conclusion

Once you have realistically evaluated the effectiveness of your online presence and author platform, you’ll have a baseline, or starting point, for moving forward. You’ll be able to plan a realistic enhancement of your author platform and search engine visibility. This will pave the way to building your brand and selling more books by taking advantage of the historically unique combination of amazing technology and low cost online marketing opportunities currently available.

Your book proposal for your first book is among the most important documents you’ll ever prepare. It often represents the formal beginning of your journey to a published book.

Book proposals serve two primary, and several secondary, purposes:

  1. Sales piece. If you’re hoping to have a conventional publisher sell your book through online and through bricks-and-mortar retail bookstores, your book proposal functions as a direct-response sales letter intended to them to invest time and money into your project. It has to spell-out the inevitability of your book’s success to skeptical readers.
  2. Marketing plan. Regardless whether you are looking at trade publishers, or intend to publish your book yourself, your book proposal must describe how you are going to market and promote your book before and after it’s publication. Your proposal has to describe the market your book addresses, the benefits it offers, how it differs from existing books on the topic, and the specific steps you’re going to take to sell it to its intended readers.

Secondary purposes include providing a sample of your ability to communicate in print. In many ways, the style and detail of your proposal are as important as the contents of the proposal. A professionally written and presented proposal communicates to literary agents and acquisition editors that you’re an author worth paying attention to. Even if the proposed book doesn’t meet their current publishing needs, a proposal can open doors to other opportunities.

But, a rambling proposal that hasn’t been thoroughly edited and proofread can close the door to future possibilities.

Elements included in book proposals

A book proposal includes seven sections. These provide the structure needed to communicate the details of your project. The sections include:

  1. Engagement. The proposed title and the first paragraph of your book must immediately engage the interest of your agent or publisher in the first paragraph, or two. The title and opening paragraph must communicate at a glance, describing what your book is about, how it differs from the competition, why it will sell, and how you’re going to market and promote it. The first sentence and paragraph of your proposal must “hook” your prospective agent or editor’s interest and “sell” the importance of reading on. Each sentence and paragraph must continue selling, providing details that support the premise, or big idea, behind your book. If the initial sentence and paragraph fail to convince, the remainder of your proposal probably doesn’t have a chance, either.
  2. Description. The second section, sometimes called an overview, provides an opportunity to step back and provide the details necessary to support the promise offered by your book title and first paragraph. Think of this section as the 30,000 foot view of your project, your qualifications, and how you came to propose the book.
  3. Market. Next, you have to prove that a market exists for your book. You have to describe the characteristics of the market you’re writing for and their goals and objectives. You have to prove that you know how to reach your prospective readers and tap into their urgent need for assistance solving a problem or achieving goals. In addition, this section must include a review of existing books, so you can show how your book provides a fresh, needed perspective that goes beyond any currently available book.
  4. Contents. After you have proven the existence of a market and the need for your book, you have to prove how your book will live up to the promise expressed in its title and the premise described in the opening paragraphs. It’s not necessary to completely write your book, but it is necessary to show that you have put a lot of work into organizing your book into sections and chapters. Each chapter should be described in a couple of sentences, followed by 7-10 bullet points corresponding to the main ideas you plan to include in each chapter.
  5. Author platform and promotion. This section begins with an overview of your current online presence, and goes on to describe how you are going to market and promote your book before and after its publication. Limit your marketing plan to the print, broadcast, public relations, and social media that you realistically expect to employ for marketing and promoting your book, and list the marketing affiliates and professional services you intend to work with. Remember that your marketing plan will be judged on both its detail and its creditability. Avoid unrealistic promises or a laundry list of media alternatives, but do emphasize your network of professional connections in your field.
  6. Qualifications. Why should a publisher trust you with their money? How do they know you will deliver. Rather than list your academic credentials, family situation, or employment background, place the emphasis on your accomplishments and achievements. It’s not important that you “love to write” or have “great passion for your topic.” It’s more important to communicate that you are driven to succeed and do whatever it takes to accomplish your goals. (Note: you don’t have to say you’re a good writer, because the writing in your proposal should speak for itself!)
  7. Details. This section, like the previous, can be relatively short. In this section, describe the anticipated size of your book and the number of pages you’d like to see in the printed book. Describe the number of colors and illustrations, or photographs, you intend to include. And briefly mention topics for follow-up topics that will expand the book into a series. Finally, provide a realistic date for completing the manuscript, following receipt of a publishing contract.

Your proposal is an investment

If the above sounds like a lot of work, it can be!

However, your book proposal is an investment that doesn’t have to be repeated! Once you have your proposal, you have done the hard part—you’ve identified a book that needs to be written, and you have identified the information needed, and you have organized that into a logical order.

You’ve also created a marketing and promotion plan for selling your book.

Many authors find it harder to prepare a book proposal than it is to complete a book!

Writing is easy when you know what you’re going to write, and marketing becomes easier when you know what you want to happen, and when.

Writing a book proposal can be a lonely proposition, unless you’re working with an experienced book coach. But, when you’re actually writing your book, you typically have access to editors and proofreaders who will provide the feedback and support necessary to create a successful book.

Prepare your book proposal as carefully as you’d prepare a marketing plan for your career. Your book proposal can be the catalyst that transforms your career and, with it, your life!


There are three basic approaches to getting others to help you write your book. As always, your choice should be determined by your goals and your resources. The three options are:

  1. Paying for Help. This option involves locating co-authors, ghost writers, and other forms of reimbursed writing assistance. Reimbursement can be based on a fixed-fee, work-for-hire basis, with the money coming either from the author’s pocket or publisher’s advance. Reimbursement can also be based on future royalties and book sales. Authors must carefully identify exactly what they’re looking for from others, and structure responsibilities and rights to avoid disappointment down the road.
  2. The Network Approach. Another option is to approach other authors and subject area experts in your field for chapters, stories, or suggestions. This often works well when combined with approaching clients and prospects with surveys and offers to contribute case studies or stories to your book. The better known you are in your field, the easier it will be to get free contributions for your book in exchange for acknowledgments and inclusion in the Resources section of your book.
  3. Social Media Approach. A newer approach is to combine the power of social media, like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, with the outreach power of online surveys, from sources like SurveyMonkey or Zoomerang to locate others who can help you write your book. This approach leverages the power of the latest Internet tools to help you save time writing a better book.

Social Media Approach at a glance

The social media approach offers many advantages and continues to evolve and improve.

The social media approach frees you from the limitations of the first two approaches. It eliminates the costs, possible disappointments, and possible future “entanglement” costs of working with co-authors. No agreement, no matter how well constructed, can anticipate all future scenarios, and—at one time or another–all books and relationships involve differences of opinion.

The social media approach can open the door to new relationships with others who are interested in your topic, or have had experience in it. This can broaden your perspective and pave the way for new friendships, ideas, and profit opportunities.

The social media approach to getting others to help you write your book involves 2 steps:

  1. Locate strangers with relevant information. This involves using a combination of search engine marketing, social media, and online surveys to locate others interested in sharing their views.
  2. Requesting follow-up interviews and stories. Your initial survey should contain an option allowing survey participants to share their e-mail address and permission for you to contact them in the future. This is your gateway to follow-up e-mails and, when appropriate, possible telephone conversation and interviews.

By participating in your survey, individuals are indicating their interest in your topic. This makes them likely to be willing to share their experiences and stories  with you in your book.

Driving traffic to your online survey

After creating your survey with SurveyMonkey, Zoomerang, or the dozens of other free online survey providers, there are several ways you can drive traffic to it.

You can begin with promoting your survey on your blog and in your website. You can promote your survey in your permission-based e-mail newsletters. You can Tweet about it, and encourage your followers to Retweet your requests for survey participation.

You can also add survey modules to your Squidoo lenses, and create a LinkedIn Answers campaign or post your question on Facebook. Step-by-step advice for working with LinkedIn Answers can be found at Dummies.com.

Finally, you can use pay-per-click ads to attract the attention of those interested in your field and drive them to your survey. Even a relatively small budget can be enough to drive qualified traffic to your survey each day.

Help a Reporter Out

Peter Shankman’s Help a Reporter Out, or HelpaReporter, is perhaps the most powerful, popular, and free outreach option for authors. Help a Reporter Out is a free subscription service that sends members 3 e-mails a day containing a digest of brief questions posted by authors and journalists.

Authors can use this service to drive traffic to their online surveys. They can simply ask for individuals interested in sharing their experiences to visit your survey page and answer a question, rate their concerns, or share their favorite shortcut or tip.

Over 29,000 journalists subscribe to HARO, which enhances the program’s power to drive qualified traffic to your online survey. In addition to attracting the attention of people interested in your topic, your query may prompt a journalist to contact you for a possible interview.

Being quoted as an expert in your field, of course, will introduce you to additional potential readers as well as potential contributors.

Tips for following-up surveys

Here are some tips for interviewing individuals who have participated in your survey:

  • Always record and transcribe your interviews. Recording your calls, with the interviewee’s permission, frees you from the necessity of taking notes during the conversation. You’ll be better able to pay attention to the interviewee’s responses and ask for clarification or more details.
  • Obtain permission for quotes and stories. Clarify your intent to include portions of the interview in your upcoming book. Be sure to keep careful records of interviewee names and e-mail addresses. Your publisher’s Permissions Department will want to follow-up and confirm permission before your book appears.

Conclusion

Never before has it been so easy to get others to help you write your book. Social media makes it easy to locate others interested in your topic; free online surveys make it easy to begin relationships that can lead to in-depth interviews that can add richness and depth to your book.

Testing your book’s title before your book is printed is the only way you can be sure that you’ve chosen the right title and subtitle for your book. Title testing is easier and cheaper than it was ever before.

It just takes a little effort to test your book’s proposed title and subtitle, but it can save you a lot of frustration and lost opportunities down the road.

Testing titles on your website

Here are some of the tools and techniques you can use to test proposed titles and subtitles on your website:

  • ŸLanding pages. Start by creating separate landing pages for each proposed book title. Landing pages don’t show up in a website’s navigation; visitors have to know where to go to get there. (You can keep search engines from indexing your landing pages by adding the HTML NOFOLLOW command to the header of each landing page.)
  • Setting up a test. Populate each landing page with identical content, but add a downloadable incentive, such as a tip sheet or table of contents, on each landing page. This will allow you to not only track the number of visitors to each page, but the number of visitors interested enough to download your incentive.
  • Driving traffic. There are several ways you can test the drawing power of different titles. One way is to drive traffic to your landing pages using blog posts, or Tweets, that contain different titles. Another option would be to create an A-B home page test, or an A-B-C test, so that every second (or third) visitor encounters a slightly different home page, i.e., a home page with a link containing a different titles.

The advantage of this approach is that- -assuming you know how to add and link new pages on your website and work with online resources like Google Analytics—there’s virtually no cost involved.

The disadvantage of this approach is that, depending on your blog and website traffic, you’ll soon get an idea of which title drives the most landing page traffic and downloads. However, it may take a week, or more, to come to a definite conclusion about which title draws the most traffic.

Pay-Per-Click options

You can speed-up your title testing using pay-per-click search engine advertising. In this case, you would create a pay-per-click campaign with 2 or 3 ads, with a different title in each ad.

Pay-per-click ads provide you with immediate feedback. Within a few moments of setting up your campaign, you’ll begin to see patterns developing.

The disadvantage, of course, is that you have to pay for pay-per-click advertisements. However, you are always in control; you can specify how much money you want to spend on your title testing each day. In addition, you can fine tune by targeting specific geographic areas, or excluding certain areas (i.e., foreign countries, etc.)

Using online surveys to test proposed book titles

During the last few years, a variety of online testing sites have appeared. Survey sites allow you to create and post online surveys hosted either on your site or the survey’s website.

Examples include: Free Online Surveys, Poll Daddy, SurveyMonkey, Zoomerang, and hundreds of others.

The best online surveys are not only free, but they offer a variety of survey formats: multiple choice, ranking, fill in the blank, and ratings. Many sites start-off free, but charge minimum monthly subscription charges for more advanced displaying and reporting options.

Best practices for online book title surveys

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your free online book title surveys:

  • ŸProvide a context. Set the stage for your title options with a short introductory paragraph that explains what your book is about, who you wrote it for, and the benefits it offers. Explain that you are looking for the titles that best describe the book you’re writing.
  • ŸProvide multiple options. Don’t just test titles, test the subtitles, too. And separate titles and subtitles. Just because you’ve paired a specific title with a specific subtitle doesn’t mean they work best in that order. Use separate questions for titles and subtitles, testing title against title and subtitle against title.
  • ŸInvite suggestions. Don’t assume that the title and subtitle options you provide include all the possibilities. Provide a text box for participants to use suggesting new alternatives.

Once you get started with testing book titles and subtitles, you can refine the process as much as you want to. For example, you can invite participants to rank the various possibilities, or ask them to rate the alternatives on scales of 1-5. You can also explore ways to qualify survey participant responses according to the likelihood of them purchasing each title and subtitle alternative.

Surveying the right people

The quality of your survey results depends on how effectively you have targeted the right market. It would be futile, for example, to invite everyone living in city of Dover, NH, for example, to comment on proposed titles and subtitles for #BOOK TITLE Tweet: 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Compelling Article, Book, and Event Titles.

A better choice would be to survey the faculty of the University of New Hampshire’s Writing Program, or- -even- -students participating in the program. Even better, however, would be to survey Published & Profitable friends and members, or readers of my blog. So, always make sure you target your surveys to the right audience!

To learn more about surveys and market testing

To learn more about market research, I recommend Jay Conrad Levinson and Robert Kaden’s More Guerrilla Marketing Research, which you can learn more about here. Unlike many books on the target, this book was written for business owners interested in a fast track to results. I’ve interviewed Robert, and he has a refreshingly candid approach to the topic.

The book’s subtitle summarizes the book’s purpose: Asking the Right People, the Right Questions, the Right Way, and Effectively Using the Answers to Make More Money.

.