Have you ever tried to market physical products? Many of us have info products, services or things that we do, but you may also have a physical product that you're trying to market. I'm working on my 4th book. Actually, it's going to be released this week, July 1st, 2016. If you're reading this after that date, you can still find it on Amazon. It's going to be around for a while, I hope.
Marketing A Book
I want to talk about the sequence of events leading up to the book launch. Let me tell you, writing a book is a daunting task. It's not super hard, but it does take a lot of work. The first thing you have to do is come up with a concept. Then you actually have to write the content that goes in the book.
Next, you need a cover, which is always one of the first things I do. I try to get the book cover done as soon as possible, because it gives you something to market to as you're developing the book. The cover is an expense, but will be totally worth it. I actually pay a great designer. His name is Jackson Price. If you want his information, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you have questions you can go to the baconpodcast.com and check it out there. He is an incredible designer and does a great job, so it really helps me build a buzz around what's coming.
After I finish the book, then I pay an editor to go through and really kind of add a personality to it. An editor does much more than just go through and dot your ‘I's and cross your ‘T's. That part is left to the proofer who comes in even later.
An editor is somebody who goes through all of the chapters and tries to create a cohesive personality inside of the book. Then, like I said, I had to hire a proofer to go through and check all of the grammar, because my nickname is Captain Typo. As you can see it takes an army! Then, luckily with my first book, I paid to have all of the interior formatting done and sent to me, because I don't have the right skills to be able to work the design and actually format the book, which takes quite a bit of time.
It Takes Money and Time
Creating a physical product that you're going to sell takes a lot of money, energy and time. It is still difficult even if you do a GoFundMe or crowdfunding. Obviously, one of the first things you have to do is have some kind of proof of concept.
Is this something that people actually want? It's no different than the process you would go through for a service you are selling or for anything else that you do. It's always good to have some kind of proof of concept or social proof that there's a need for what you are offering. Then what I did was actually put the book together even though I was missing several of the pieces. I was missing reviews, the foreword and a few others.
I shipped pre-ordered copies of my book to some big influencers that I was going to meet up with at a conference in Denver. I wanted them to take a look and give me some feedback or to take a picture with the book to try to build a buzz. I shipped them a month and a half before the conference.
At the conference, I sat down for coffee with one of my favorite authors, Brian G. Johnson. He said, “Let's talk about the book marketing sequence. Let's look at what we can do between now and later on to build a big enough buzz that you can do something special and get the book to become number 1 on Amazon on the day of the launch.”
Let me tell you a couple of the challenges. First and foremost, as you're building this book there are many moving parts. You have to build either a website or a web page for it and you have to get copies of the book out to the influencers to get them to read it and maybe take selfies with it. Then you have to build the whole book launch sequence, meaning ‘T' minus 10, 9, 8. How many days out are you going to do each step?
Book Launch Week
One of the first things I did was get physical copies and mail them out to people. The next thing I did was talk to some of the influencers and asked them if they would like to offer a free giveaway. One of the things that is happening this week is a friend of mine, Dan R. Morris, is running something called BC Stack which is a blogging concentrated stack.
What he does is he gets close to 70 people to give away free things. I'm giving away my checklist bundle for anybody who buys into this BC Stack for $27. For $27 you get the opportunity to download a whole bunch of stuff that's worth about $3,000. That's the same concept that I'm using with the book launch, but I'm not charging anything for it. I'm giving it away on the day of the launch.
What I'm saying is, “Wait until July 1st, and when you buy the book you're going to be able to download hundreds, maybe even thousands, of dollars worth of free things at no cost.” You buy the book, you fill out a form, and then you get a link back to all of the free downloads. I've got dozens of people who have provided me with things that I can give away that day.
Building Your List
There are a few reasons to do this. Number 1 is because it creates a buzz for people to buy that day which raises you up in the Amazon rankings. Number 2, Amazon and Apple. When you put an app in the App store or a book inside of Amazon, which is the world's largest marketplace, guess who gets to keep all the contact information? Amazon.
You don't get to know who bought your book. Maybe they'll give you a review and you can kind of tell, but you don't get that info. If I ask people to buy the book and then go to my website to fill out a form, I am saying, “Okay, not only am I going to get your name and your email address, but if you put in your receipt, you can get hundreds or thousands of dollars of free downloads.” By doing this, I can capture a portion of the people who purchase the book.
The rest of the sequence goes like this. I've done all that work up front. I got people to give me things and I put books in people's hands. I've got selfies from dozens of people that I'm actually compiling into a photo for launch day and now I'm sequencing a whole bunch of emails that say, “Book launch day is coming. Here are the things you're going to get if you wait until Friday to buy it.”
Building The Buzz
There's a whole social media campaign built around this as well. What I'm trying to do is build a buzz for the book and get people to say, “You know what? Friday's coming and I'm going to go buy it.” If they buy it on that day, and if I get a whole bunch of people to buy the book on July 1st, Amazon will looks at it and all of a sudden will shoot you up in the rankings. The goal is to become a number 1 best seller for a day inside of that category.
It's not the same as being a New York Times best seller. I'm not even trying to come close to that, but it's really about generating a tribe and a buzz that's going to help you promote the book. Let's face it, the cost of creating the book cover, hiring the editor and the proofer, and printing the copies to give away are all expenses built in to doing this. I'm guesstimating I probably spent about $1,000, which is about 5 times less than what I spent on my first book.
If I sell books in person, which I've already done while at some speeches, I make about $10. On Amazon, I make about $5. That means to make $1,000 I have to sell roughly 200 books. The goal for launch day is to hopefully get to the break-even point, and maybe even start to make a profit. If you listen to some of my past podcasts, you've heard people like Joel Com say that the average person who creates a self-published book sells maybe 10.
I've heard other people say about 100 or 150 is the average sales of a self-published book. The goal of this is to create a big enough buzz that I generate enough profit to break even at worst.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about marketing physical products or selling books. Comment away!