You’re walking down a busy New York City street, on your way to meet friends for Tuesday night book club over coffee, when someone lunges out of an alley and grabs you. He drags you back, forces you against a brick wall, and shoves something in your face.
“This is my new book,” he says. “Buy it!”
That’s obviously a bad way to market your book. But sadly, that’s what a lot of marketing looks like – no matter what product you’re pushing.
Let’s try a different scenario.
You make it safe-and-sound to your Tuesday night book club, and you’re all sitting around with your coffees, discussing your latest awesome read. You’ve been hanging out with the people in this club for you-don’t-know-how-long, and they’ve become some of your best friends.
Then one of them mentions that she’s just released her own book – and in the genre your club likes to read most.
You’re all thrilled for her and ask where you can get your copy. In fact, it’s unanimously voted in as the official read for next month!
Marketing on the Friendship Principle
None of us like a pushy salesman. But when we’ve suddenly got a bouncing baby book to promote to the world, it becomes all too easy to grab everybody we meet and shove it in their face. “Isn’t it cute?!”
In reality, marketing should work in exactly the same way as friendship. I’ll be nice to you, you’ll be nice to me. I won’t ask you any favors unless I’d be just as happy to do a good turn for you.
It’s about genuinely getting to know people, what they’re interested in, what their needs are, and (finally!) how your book satisfies their needs.
Quick Sales Vs. Lifelong Readers
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Most of your marketing takes place online. And considering all the people you meet on social media – you don’t have time to get to know each and every one and do them all favors!
No. But you can treat them all with courtesy. If the opportunity for a conversation emerges, imagine you’re meeting at the corner store and pull up a stool and a cup of coffee. Don’t sit down to talk about your book. Talk about anything. Be a person. If they like you, they’ll click through your links. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this or have had it done to me.) Maybe they’ll subscribe to your blog (if you have one) or follow you on Facebook or Twitter. The more they get to know you, the more they’ll like you. And they’ll start wondering exactly what it is you have for sale.
This isn’t how you get a quick sale – but it’s how you get a life-long, loyal customer. The kind of customer who says to her friends, “Oh, you’re looking for something to read on vacation? Drop by Joe’s place. He’s got some great books! Great guy, too.”
A devoted reader is better than a quick sale any day.