Entrepreneur John Locke released his book series “Donovan Creed”, a story about a former CIA assassin, without the help of an agent, a marketing budget or even a background in writing.
However, he didn’t let those circumstances, stop him from achieving literary success. In fact, his business acumen and marketing prowess enabled him to sell more than 1,100,000 eBooks in just five months, making him the eighth author in the world and the first self-published author in history to have crossed the 1 million eBook sales mark.
Such success stories aren’t that frequent, and yet John has mentioned on numerous occasions that his results are in fact repeatable. There are certain underlying principles and conditions that affect human behavior and decision making, which might have contributed to his enormous levels of success.
In the next few paragraphs, you will learn how some of these principles might have played an integral role in making John Locke a New York Times best-selling author, and how the awareness of these principles will help you build and market your brand through eBook publishing.
1) Anticipation – This is a very powerful mental trigger. Especially if the eBook is a part of a series, each book in that series acts as a training module for your readers. Your readers get used to your unique style of writing, thinking and expressing yourself through words—they subconsciously get used to your brand.
It’s a general observation that your readers tend to want something more if there’s less of it available. Especially if you put a release date for the next book in the series, your readers will put a date on their calendar and earnestly wait for the next book.
They will begin to feel like they’re a part of an adventure, and deep down they won’t be able to wait to find out what happens next. Furthermore, this familiarity with your brand and your story makes them more receptive to trying out your products and services.
2) Storytelling – Let’s face it. We all enjoy a good story, whether it is in an article, movie or an eBook. Stories have a way of engaging us and enabling us to feel as if we are a part of that story. As opposed to a PowerPoint presentation, which taps into the language processing part of our brain, a story taps into that part of the brain that would have been activated, if you were actually living the story.
Writing an eBook gives you an opportunity to share your story—whether it is the story of your business or the story of yourself. Instead of featuring a business mission statement on your website, what if you expressed your ‘why’ story though an interactive eBook using high-definition images, videos, and mini-quizzes? Would that strengthen your relationship with your readers?
3) Customer segmentation – At the end of the day, the objective of a business is to make money, whether it plowed back into research, spent on marketing or used to pay employees. A lack of cash flow may result in the company not being able to run operations or, even worse, an abrupt shutdown. Depending on how you develop your pricing strategy for your books, charging for a particular eBook will benefit you in two ways:
- The more obvious – It will boost sales!
- The more subtle yet important benefit – It will help you separate the buyers from the subscribers. Buyers have a high chance to purchase the books or products that you release in the future, whereas subscribers are mainly there to glean information and get to know more about your company or your products. Subscribers might become buyers sometime in the future, but your communication strategy with them might be slightly different than with those who have already purchased your product, or service.
4) Differentiation – Especially if you have a business, an eBook will allow you to set yourself apart from your competitors who are also vying for your customer’s attention but sharing only information about their products.
An eBook is your unique opportunity to share your company’s story and vision, thereby building strong bonds with customers who resonate with your story and those who might have faced the same challenges as you did in the past.
5) Interactivity – With the help of an interactive eBook, you can guide the reader through a unique journey. Although this requires a level of storyboarding, strategy and design, the eBook can be made fun, interactive and non-linear.
Your readers will appreciate this transition from reading to interacting just like a breath of fresh air.
6) Community – This is a powerful mental trigger. We all are part of one community or another. Members of a community act in accordance with the norms of the group, and this gives them the special feeling that they’re a part of something larger than themselves.
This phenomenon always holds true, whether it is the host of Apple iPhone fans pitching tents outside Apple stores or a community of HOG (Harley Owners Group) members riding along the Pacific Highway.
Irrespective of the scale of your organization or your current success level, releasing an interactive eBook allows readers to get a glimpse into your life and decide whether they would like to become a part of your ‘tribe’.
Once you’ve gathered a loyal fan following, these people won’t just be your advocates, they will become your evangelists! They will help spread the word about your new products, comment on your social pages, like your posts and defend your brand when the time arises.
7) Likeability – This is such a huge factor as far as business dealings or for that matter any relationship is concerned. This is why potential business partners go for that golf or squash game to determine whether they can trust and can work together over an extended period of time.
MBA schools spend a majority of the intake interview, asking behavioral questions to assess whether the prospective student has that “fit” quality: will this person get along with other students in the program.
An eBook gives you an opportunity to share your story, your ups and downs, your struggles, your triumphs and ultimately your vulnerability, which is an attractive quality because people love to do business with real people more than with a large faceless corporation!
The foundations of your brand is your authenticity and the connection that you have with your tribe, something that an eBook will allow you to form.
8) Social proof – If you just had enough time to read an 800-word article and you had to choose between two articles, one with 2 likes and the other with 12,000 likes, which one would you read? Of course, you would read the article with 12,000 likes! This is social proof in action.
According to research, people are usually willing to take decisions based on “social proof” of conventional wisdom rather than their own private knowledge. This phenomena is tied deeply into our caveman instincts of survival and replication.
To be honest, developing social proof takes time and effort. However, building social proof is a winning strategy to exponentially grow your business, and building your own tribe through your eBooks is a powerful way to do so.
Use these principles in one form or another to build and grow your brand. Of course, strong as they are, the principles shouldn’t be used to manipulate your audience, but to nurture and build long-lasting relationships based on real value.
Which of the 8 factors do you feel is the most powerful as far as brand building is concerned?