Fresh Ideas for Marketing Yourself and Your Business

More and more, books are a becoming a key marketing tool, reaching targeted audiences with information relevant to their needs, interests, and lifestyles. Leading marketers are turning to books as a unique and enduring medium to deliver messages in a way that communicates expertise, value and brand relevance. Could a custom book help your business grow?

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Books Are Marketing Tools: Author! Author! Expert! Expert!

Branding Book Brings Credibility to California Businessman
Mike Jenkins is a twenty-four-year veteran of the remodeling industry, and his company Renaissance Doors has specialized in door and window replacement in Orange County, California for twenty years. Early in 2002, Jenkins decided to write a how-to book on home remodeling. He titled his book Iíll Do it Differently Next Time -- a phrase heís heard all too often ñ- and set out to compile an informative and helpful guide to doing a home improvement project the right way.

Writing a book wasnít easy ñ- itís not ìwhat he does.î But he did feel it would be worth the effort, and took the necessary time away from his normal office routine. He worked hard on research, and developed what he feels is the best collection of information available on the topic of home remodeling in California.

Once the first printing of 3000 copies was delivered on December 1st, Jenkins and his salespeople began handing out the book in their showroom, using it like an elaborate business card. The companyís main advertising vehicle, a direct-mail, large format postcard, began announcing the availability of the book FOR FREE to customers.

ìPeople began responding immediately,î says Jenkins. ìI donít know how many people are reading it, but it really gave us something special, something that set us apart from the competition.î

Sales began increasing right away, delivering record months in both December and January, and a record February is expected as well. Closing percentage is up a whopping ten percent. And Jenkins himself has become a bit of a celebrity.

ìPeople are treating me differently, and truly seem to be impressed by my new status as a ëpublished author.í I went to a regional meeting of business people recently, and about half of the people there insisted I sign a book for them,î says Jenkins. ìOne of our vendors came to visit the other day and said, ëBefore we get started, I want a copy of that book ñ and youíd better sign it!íî

ìThe credibility you gain by writing a book is huge. This is only an 85-page book, but the reality is that people now think of you as ëthe expert.í Not only that, but Iím amazed how much people like to get something for free. Theyíre coming in and spending $20,000 on a project, but getting that $20 book for free seems to make a big difference. I really didnít expect it to have such an impact.î

Having already gone through 1,200 copies, Jenkins expects that at this rate heíll reprint ìtwenty or thirtyî times during its life cycle.

Writing and publishing the book was quite a large effort, and he finds it gratifying to see his labor paying off. Part of what made the project go smoothly was turning production over to his brother Jerry’s custom book publishing company. “The hardest part was writing the book, but once that was done I was able to turn it over to the Jenkins Group production team – and I could get back to doing my real job.”

“That really made it easy to make this happen, to use a turn-key operation that would handle everything, from design and layout, to registrations and graphics -– everything was taken care of. I hear about people wanting to do it themselves, but I don’t recommend it. Do what you’re good at –- put your expertise down on paper -– but let the publishing experts produce the book.”

“It’s very much like a contracting job. When the homeowner tries to save money and do some of it themselves, they make mistakes, and all kinds of problems can happen. I hope my book delivers that message in more ways than one –- let the experts do their work.”

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Top Seven Characteristics of an Effective Business Branding Book

1. Compact – Keep it short, simple and manageable. Business people are busy people.

2. Concise – Use simple, understandable language. Don’t get overly “expert” with insider lingo or technical terminology.

3. Usable – Include useful resources, glossaries, legal forms, etc. This content is often available from governments and associations for free, and just needs to be compiled for convenient use.

4. Timely – Do extensive research. Prove yourself an authority by giving readers the latest information available.

5. Great Design – Your book is a reflection of you and your business, so don’t scrimp on design. Even business books are judged by their covers. Use good design, illustration and a killer cover image.

6. Quick Tips – Provide highlighted, takeaway tips and truths that readers put right to use without reading the entire text.

7. Identity – Brand yourself. Display your name and business prominently and often. This is your “business card,” so use it that way.

If you’ve written and produced your book well, your customers will want a copy and they will use it -– along with your products and services!


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