Effective marketing typically relies on a creative, multi-pronged approach, using various strategies to increase brand visibility and generate interest among consumers. From email campaigns to social media engagement, the breadth of promotional opportunities assisting small businesses continues expanding.

Though some traditional marketing methods lose ground to modern alternatives, other time-tested moves hold their place, continuing to provide returns for small businesses. And with each new wave of technology, fresh marketing capabilities add further possibilities.

Among the creative marketing solutions boosting brand engagement for small business, using your own book to promote your business may provide the exposure you’ve been looking for. The strategy blends old and new school marketing methods, building timeless academic authority, while creating a buzz across modern channels.

Make the Most of Your Marketing Tool

Publishing a book isn’t as complicated as it once was; self-publishing makes the process accessible and affordable for everyone. While some people may argue publishing should be reserved for those deemed worthy by literary agents and publishing houses, the opportunity to publish a book also provides additional means with which to promote your business.

Wielded as a marketing tool, similar to other promotional aids, your book can be a business-building asset. Entrepreneur contributor, Wendy Keller, recently shared a series of sequential steps to consider when using your book to market your primary business.

  • Decide whether or not you’ll publish again – Before bringing a book to market, it’s important to consider your writing ambitions for the future. If you’re putting together a text simply for promotional purposes, the particulars are less consequential than cases in which the author plans to publish more material in the future. Performance matters to publishing companies, which assess sales of your self-published work, before offering book deals. If you plan to make a name for yourself as an author, your self-published title should include a promotional campaign, properly positioning you and your book for promising sales figures.
  • Establish goals – You won’t move the needle without establishing realistic goals outlining what you hope to achieve with your book. Publishing a book related to your business supports your authority as an expert in your field, but beyond the credibility boost; it’s up to you to make the most of the opportunity. Contributor, Keller, suggests a few functions for your book, such as increasing sales, attracting consulting clients, and generating interest as a paid speaker. All are possible, according to the author, but not until you define your goals.
  • Conceive of content – What will you write about? Common publishing formats include prescriptive books, helping readers tackle specific tasks and challenges, as well as theoretical books that share concepts. Theoretical publications leave it to each reader to apply the material as appropriate under individual conditions. As you formulate topics and weigh content possibilities, identify the most effective type of book for accomplishing your professional goals.
  • Sprout Funding logoConsider the competition – Amazon is a helpful resource for budding self-publishers. While the company isn’t the only bookseller online, the breadth of titles on Amazon lends insight about your own publishing effort. Who’s published in your field? What are they talking about? Vetting competitors and professional peers may include buying a few books, in order to closely evaluate existing material. The process highlights niche opportunities to set apart your book and attract attention to your business.
  • Turn on your marketing machine – Your book is a valuable tool, but only if you initiate a marketing campaign to promote yourself and your published work. According to Keller, the window of opportunity starts closing only 90 days after release, so your promotional plan should be in place before your book is published. To succeed marketing your book, she suggests playing to your skills, resources, and personnel, among other things, as well as bringing in outside help from a publicist and/or PR firm. You may wish to start a podcast or guest on others, and invest in promoting your business website’s book page. Getting your book into the hands of key clients and prospects is also a good idea, accomplished by gifting copies or providing them at hosted promotional events. If paid speaking is part of your plan, launching your speaking career with your book makes a splash. Excerpting your book in other publications is another effective strategy, drawing attention to your book and business.
  • Follow the feedback – Marketing budgets are seldom open-ended, so you need to generate desirable ROI on your book marketing efforts. Is your approach advancing your goals? If not, you may need to realign your promotion plan, before spending too much on ineffectual tactics. Understanding the value of a new customer (if that’s your goal) can help you determine how much to spend and where to focus. If you haven’t seen results within 4-6 months, depending upon your publishing mode, you may be on the wrong track. Don’t argue with analytics – stop throwing away money and consult with an expert.
  • Ride the wave – Your published work serves as an ongoing opportunity, to be leveraged and promoted in the future. Among the many possibilities for your book, you may choose to license an audio version, teach a course, construct a workbook, or release excerpts in other publications. Your digital book can also be used as a sales incentive or a free premium for guests signing up on your website. With your overreaching goals in mind, your book can be repurposed for years, providing an effective promotional tool, without substantial investment.

Creative marketing spans promotional solutions ranging from business cards to email blasts. Among the diverse opportunities assisting small businesses, published entrepreneurs can use books as marketing tools, advancing their business interest and supporting their professional expertise. If you’re looking for another layer of professional promotion, consider using a book to boost your brand.

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