by Dan Smith, CEO & Founder
What is 6" by 9," usually weighs roughly one ound, and is giving an increasing number of business people an advantage over the competition? A book.
The use of 'the book as a business card' has added a new and powerful tool to marketing arsenals to build credibility and attract new business opportunities. Experts, consultants, and professionals from various fields are putting their knowledge into professionally-published books–a calling card sure to make a bigger and more meaningful impression than the traditional business card.
Marketing—especially for businesspeople in consulting and service industries—is about credibility, and a book establishes a person as someone who has reached a level of expertise. It allows readers (potential clients) to learn more about their philosophies, thought process and successful case studies, much more so than a simple brochure. And, you don't have to be published by a major house to achieve and utilize this credibility.Authors are proving that it doesn't matter if a book is self-published -- the end result in terms of marketing benefits is the same.
Consider this example: A successful consultant was asked by a corporation to prepare a proposal for an all day seminar. He was told his proposal looked great, but they ultimately decided to go with someone else simply because they were impressed the competitor was a “published author,” and hired her even though she charged a significantly higher fee. The only real difference was one had a book.
Who can benefit from the book-as-business card?
- Consultants, specializing in virtually all trades
- Service-providing business owners, from insurance companies and home security experts to psychologists and financial planners
- Self-help professionals, motivational speakers, etc.
- Non-profit organization leaders
Having a book is one element of the book-as-marketing-tool strategy. Media attention based around a book significantly enhances credibility. When a prospective customer visits a company website and sees that the company or executives have been featured in the news, it essentially proves the company is “for real” and trusted.
What makes all of this possible is the book. While non-authors can get media coverage through book marketing campaigns, most of the people you hear on radio, see on TV, or read about in newspapers and magazines are in fact authors. The book, again, acts as the credibility attracting the media. And, it’s cost effective - thanks to print-on-demand and the self-publishing revolution, you can have a professionally designed and produced book for as little as $1,000.
Brochures and collateral materials tell prospective clients what you can do, a book proves you know what you're doing—and give you the space to explain your ideas. Add in the media coverage, and you then have other people (the media) proving you are an expert because they thought enough of you to interview or write about you.
So, the bottom line: Write about what you know. Write about your business, your tradecraft; and teach others, via a book, the most essential elements of the service you provide. Put in the printed word that which you do best. When your book is printed and available for purchase, promote it, get media coverage; hand it out at presentations or talks; give it away, and customers will come. You can't be complacent, however. A book does nothing for you if you don't market it and make others aware of it.
You've become an author. You’ve proven you are an expert. Your book publicity and book promotion efforts have been successful. While the world won't fall at your feet because you've written a book and received media exposure, you’ve created a clear advantage over your competition.