Are You Planning to Write a Book?

3 Steps to Get Your Dream in Motion!

If you are like most first-time authors, or perhaps you are an established author with many priorities on your plate, either way you may find yourself the victim of never seeming to get your book project in motion… How do you get yourself motivated or organized to make your dream a reality?

How do you get yourself motivated or organized to make your dream a reality?

deadlineI have many conversations with authors (and soon-to-be-authors) and this a common subject of these interactions. I have found myself inspiring and motivating the author—building their dream and providing professional feedback on how they can bring it all together. That’s the emotional side, but what about the practical side, the ever-familiar “I just wish I could find the time—if I could just find a way to lock my self up so I can focus on writing…”?

This is exactly why I’m writing this message, to help authors to realize their dream in three simple steps!

DO! – Planning vs. Doing

There is a difference between being busy and being effective. If you really want to get your book done, regardless of the motivation, you just need to decide! Simple? Yes! But, the big “but,” it’s all about what you do next, after deciding to get your book done. This is why there are three steps and not just one.

Sometimes I run up against the author who has “analysis paralysis” which puts them in the mode of “plan-plan-plan-plan-plan some more-plan…” What they need to do is “plan-do-plan-do…” This is where mentorship or guidance comes in. Having a professional resource at hand that makes you accountable to what you want to do. This keeps you focused on a simple path of:

Plan the work – Work the plan

work the planI like to view this “mentor” as being the project manager—the individual who is charged with the responsibility of getting and keeping the project in motion, keeping it on budget and on schedule.

Now, in contrast, there’s also the author who “proceeds with reckless abandon.” This is the person who just puts their head down and plugs away and just keeps going until they get there. The problem often is “where is there?” I like to refer to this approach as “ignorance on fire!” and yes, it is good to be in action, however this approach can often waste time or result in a less-favourable result.

So the answer is obviously somewhere in between, and getting there is the secret—via a professional resource that makes you accountable, as mentioned previously, to what you are wanting to do.

Have a professional resource at hand that makes you accountable to what you want to do and acts as your project manager. 

question markKNOW! – Knowing Your Options

In an earlier article called The Publishing Process, I fully explained the option of self-publishing with guidance and expertise (professional self-publishing). At this point, I will assume that you are fully aware of the difference between the two common methods of publishing:

  1. Traditional Publishing
  2. Self-Publishing

At Motivated Publishing Studios we focus on the latter—actually it’s perhaps a third one which we’ve coined as “professional self-publishing,” which is all the benefits of self-publishing but with professional resources executing a predictable plan for the desired results. It’s all about getting a professionally executed book project, ensuring your 100% ownership, with all of the modern product options, format and design to meet your needs, and the option of top-flight marketing plan—without having to do it yourself!

It’s all about getting a professionally executed book project, ensuring your 100% ownership, with all of the modern product options, format and design to meet your needs, and the option of top-flight marketing plan—without having to do it yourself!

ACT! – What Next?

Act

Here’s what you’ve been waiting for, the answer!  The time in now! Get a hold of that professional resource that can hold you accountable and act as your project manager. How do you know if you have the right person? There are a couple of ways:

  1. Get referrals from people who have used them before.
  2. Meet with them and engage them on a level where you know you have a good connection.

By ensuring this resource can get you the results and that they have the expertise in coaching/accountability, can set you on your way to success. This is where someone like Motivated Publishing Studios can be the ace up your sleeve. You can’t do it alone, if you could you’d already have done it…

The time to act is now!

Conclusion

There you have it, three simple steps to put you on your way to accomplishing your dream—getting your book published. It’s as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Plan the work—Work the plan (but not by yourself!)
  2. Know your options—Use professional self-publishing
  3. Act!—on steps 1 and 2 above…

As one of my mentors taught me years ago, success comes from a simple formula of DREAM => GOAL => PLAN => EFFORT, but I’ll save that for another time…

Sales and Marketing – 5 Essentials for Success!

Sales and Marketing is a huge catch-all phrase used all too often in business. But what does it really mean? Is everyone on the same page when it comes to defining sales and marketing?

sales and marketing 3Earlier this month, I wrote an introductory article on Market Your Business—Planning is Critical, which served as a general introduction to components and phases of marketing planning. The natural progression is to now provide insight into the complete picture of sales and marketing.

In my 25+ years of experience, I’ve seen too many misinterpretations of “sales and marketing” and a myriad of missed opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs alike. Usually one common thread does come to surface when sales and marketing comes up—it occurs when sales are down or there is a focus on improving sales for an organization. I’ve seen it time and time again—sales staff have no problem (usually that’s the case, but not always…) “selling.” They can engage a prospect, develop rapport, present, handle objections and close the deal. That’s the loop of activity that surrounds sales, but one missing key component is the input, or flow, of prospects to sell to! I’ve even heard sales professionals say “if they could just give me a steady flow of willing buyers, I could sell them all day long!” Furthermore, there is often some mud-slinging, typically relating to marketing, market perception, “if our company would only…”—you get the picture.

Now I do get it, these are just some of the symptoms of sales challenges, or perhaps they are simply every-day businesses challenges.  Either way, they are not the “problem,” they are simply symptoms of not having a plan, having an ill-conceived plan, or the result of an incomplete sales and marketing plan. This article is about setting the framework for the essentials of a successful sales and marketing plan.

The 5 Essentials

1 → A Sound Marketing Plan

Marketing PlanA sound marketing plan involves analysis, process development and content creation planning. The approach I like to use, and have implemented several times over, is to divide the marketing plan into 3 key areas:

  1. Strategy
  2. System
  3. Tactics

Each of these areas contains the elements needed to define a well thought out plan. Now at this point I am not going to go into details of plan-writing, rather the purpose here is to provide a framework:

Strategy – this is the part of the marketing plan that needs to be aligned with your business plan. It’s all about the opportunity you are capitalizing on and ensures your analysis has taken into account the important pieces of the landscape so that you can monetize your business. The key factors for your strategy are:

  • Target Market
  • Competition
  • Market Trends
  • Monetization:

System – successful businesses need to systematize. Creating systems helps with quality, efficiency and scaling (growing your business). Sales and marketing success is greatly improved when your plan includes:

  • Lead Generation
  • Lead Conversion (sales)
  • Client Value (creating value for them)

Tactics – are elements of execution. They do not stay fixed over time, rather they should evolve to tackle the marketplace, promotions and opportunities. Technology implementation can facilitate your tactics too. These key pieces are:

  • Website, SEO
  • Blog, Newsletters
  • Trade Shows
  • Email Campaigns
  • Telemarketing (if needed)

2 → Target Market

Prospects

This will always be a sound fundamental of success—know who your customer is! Your target market influences how you will market your business. Too often businesses will come up with great ideas, or so they think, to increase sales, only to find out that they haven’t considered their target market. Don’t make these types of costly mistakes.

Do you have a profile for your ideal customer? Does your ideal customer know that you exist?

3 → Technology

Website schematic

Today, essential technology for sales and marketing must include the use of modern online tools. Having a website (CMS-based of course) with a sound design is the cornerstone of successful sales and marketing. Having a website that is fully optimized, linked to social media platforms and is faithfully (ie. consistently) updated with new relevant content will enable your business to deploy tactics that can greatly improve sales results.

It is vital to know that success with technology does not come with needing to pay for the “latest and greatest.” Today’s technology can allow you to take steps so that you can phase in newer pieces as your business grows and moves forward. The key here is proper planning!

4 → A Proven Sales Cycle

Pattern For Success - greyscale

Every business has a sales cycle, but not all businesses know what their sales cycle looks like! That being the case, how can a business improve sales if they don’t have a clear understanding of where they are at?

I am a huge fan of building systems and any sales cycle can be built with the model of the “Pattern for Success.” Regardless of the vertical market, organization size or sales team make-up—this pattern can form the basis of any sales cycle. I have found that the best success in a sales team comes when the core training and sales metrics are tied into the sales cycle. This puts everyone in the organization on the same page and constantly keeps the business focused on its sales cycle. Always remember “anything that can be measured can be controlled.”

5 → A Working Sales Funnel

Sales Funnel - no text

Like the sales cycle, the sales funnel is a key element for ongoing success. Sales is all about filling the funnel and generating results! This is where my opening comments regarding faltering sales and what I’ve heard sales professionals say when this occurs, fits in. The sales funnel can always measure success and future success of an organization’s sales efforts.

Sales and marketing is all about filling the sales funnel. Today there are several methods for even automating many portions of a business’s sales funnel. Can you image what your business would be like if your sales team had a never ending lineup of prospects that were already qualified as buyers? Sound too good to be true? There is inbound marketing technology and tactics available today that can be deployed by your organization now! Now, as before, a proper plan for implementation and scaling may be needed (and budget too), but knowing this is possible is something that your sales and marketing planning should include.

Putting it All Together

MPS - Sales and Marketing Strategy - WITH STEPS and LOGO - Sep-26-13So here it is, putting the 5 essential elements together—this, to me, is what sales and marketing is! An organization, regardless of its size, that deploys this process and structure will have sound fundamentals for its sales and marketing.

Demystifying sales and marketing and distilling it down to 5 elements makes “getting results” more achievable and easier to understand. The benefits to businesses is that this strategy can be done in phases and deployed in a logic sequence that matches the business plan, budget and expectations.

Does your business have a plan? Is it working? Is sales and marketing well-defined in your organization? Is everyone on the same page when it comes to deploying tactics that are designed to accomplish the company’s objectives?

These are a handful of the important questions that can shed light on whether or not “sales and marketing” is working for you.

Market Your Business – Planning is Critical

The 2 Keys Every Business Owner Needs to Know

In my little more than 25 years of experience as a professional engineer (in numerous roles as an entrepreneur, corporate executive, sales & marketing strategist etc.) I constantly see one common element that always determines the success and longevity of a business—a solid working marketing plan. Now I realize that “marketing” is much more comprehensive that what I’m going to cover in this article (such as branding, product, etc.) but for the purposes of this writing I’m going to stay focused on a simple actionable plan.

sales funnel

So, that being said, the purpose of this article is to give business owners, entrepreneurs and CEOs alike, an overarching viewpoint for that solid marketing plan. The overall goal of a marketing plan is to fill your sales funnel so that your sales process can convert leads into sales.

To keep the plan simple, there are two key elements:

  1. Components – technology and tactics
  2. Phases – of deployment

COMPONENTS

puzzle 2The technology and tactics that can be used for marketing are numerous and constantly changing/evolving. Therefore, budgets and time-frames will play an important role in determining which elements make the best sense. These need to be carefully aligned with the business’s current situation and future goals. The following is the starter list for the key components:

1. Know Your Customer

If there is one thing every business needs, it’s knowledge of its ideal customer. What does your idea customer look like? What are their attributes and what exactly are they looking for? Do you know their questions? How about the competition? Develop a plan (usually in your business plan) for knowing your customer and any segmentation of vertical markets.

Why is this important? (notice this section is mostly questions…) Knowing your customer allows you to relate and connect with them. You can engage them using terms they know and topics they are interested in. Your customer wants to know “what’s in it for them?” and “why should they care?” You need to know the answer to these two vital questions.

2. Website

Your site should utilize a modern CMS (Content Management System) so that it can easily integrate with a blog, social media and mobile platforms. The effective use of landing pages, dedicated to offers, is a must—so that your clear CTAs (Calls To Action) are easily actionable by your prospects. Many businesses fail when they treat their website as a one-time project. It is vital to keep a website current and fresh with new content on a weekly basis. An effective SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plan is essential for an effective website, this is what impacts how you are found on the web

3. Social Media

Your website should feed fresh content out to your social media channels. Social media is a very effective marketing tool if used correctly and often. Properly configured business pages, attention to specific features of the various social media tools, and responsiveness to your audience are a must!

4. Modern Tools

Using the current tactics and tools that modern technology offers, is the easiest way. So staying somewhat familiar with technology (or having someone on your team who does) is another key for an effective marketing plan. Modern tools include elements such as:

  • blogging
  • using videos
  • communicating with social media
  • using inbound marketing (rather than antiquated outbound marketing)

PHASES

phasesDefining phases of deployment, as previously mentioned, are important when you consider both budget and time-frame constraints. A successful marketing plan will always be updated, kept current and evolve—as the business situation changes and technology advancements/tactics change. Phases usually means “budget-related.” What is your budget? Do you have the right resources/team? When do you need results? What metrics will you use to indicate success?

Keeping in mind that the phases should match each business’s unique needs, here is a starting point for the potential phases of deployment:

1.  Business Plan

For the sake of this article, we’ll assume that you have this in place, so you know your plan, budget and goals (if you don’t, this could be trouble…).

2. Website

Your website project is the first piece of the puzzle. It needs not only the correct technology (so you can easily maintain it) but a solid effort and strategy for proper design so that all the key elements are included (there is a science here—it’s not just about a pretty website…).

3. Socially Active

Get your presence on social media channels out there. Select the key channels—I recommend starting with Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

4.  Content Creation

Start creating regular content. If you can’t do this yourself, ensure you have a curator on your team that will do this at lease a couple times a week. Nurturing leads requires that you offer value to prospects.

5.  Sales Plan

Do you have a sales staff or is it you?  Define the regular tasks that are needed to keep the funnel of prospects full.

6.  Deploy Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing is an exciting technology that can begin the process of automating your sales funnel. It does have a cost and requires constant attention, but it’s a proven effective tool!

7.  Targeted Lead Generation Projects

These are customized, specifically targeted lead generation activities (email, telemarketing, trade show, etc.). If your inbound marketing program is giving you all the qualified customers you can handle, you may not need this one…

8.  Master Your System

Once “success” has been measured and achieved, now you want to master the system you’ve deployed. Whether you plan to scale your business, venture into new territories, or simply want to grow your existing business—mastering (sometimes the word “duplicate” works well here) your system will bring longevity to your business.

Conclusion

sales and marketing 2Having a marketing plan is vital for success and longevity of a business. If you can’t do this yourself, engage a professional or a team member who has the skills. Your business can have an effective marketing plan by knowing the key components and deploying them in phases that match your budget and goals.

Marketing your business is an on-going process, it’s not a one-shot project. However, when properly planned and executed, your success is predictable!

Planning Your eBook Marketing

So, perhaps you are an author that is already (or about to be…) in process with publishing your new book.  By now, most authors are fully aware of the value and need for including eBooks for your public offering to the market-at-large.  With this in mind, all that is really needed is a sound plan for development of your eBook files and a plan for their distribution.

This post focuses on considerations for your eBook project.  Perhaps these are some of the questions you’re asking yourself:

  1. What are the best formats to use for my eBook?
  2. How can I make money with my eBook?
  3. How do customers buy my eBook?
  4. How do I get my eBook done?

The Best eBook Formats

ebook formats 1

My direction here is one of simplicity, rather than technical details; use the ones that sell the most!

The EPUB format is used by Kobo, iBooks, iPAD, Sony Reader and several other platforms.  This is a professional layout used for eBook distribution (it’s actually more like a “website format” than a book format).

Amazon Kindle is a proprietary format used by the Kindle Reader, by Amazon.  Amazon distributes these eBook files on their Website (Amazon.com).

Smashwords is becoming one of the most popular formats/platforms for eBooks. They are a popular publishing service that provides additional multi-format eBooks, including a distribution service.  They are a distributor and retailer of eBooks and also makes your eBook available through Barnes & Noble (for the Nook), Sony (for the Sony Reader), Chapters/Indigo (for the Kobo), and the Apple iBookstore (for the iPad and iPad mini).

As a minimum, I recommend providing your eBook in both Kindle and Smashwords formats, for best coverage of the available eBook reader platforms.

Tip 1 - small

You may also want to consider doing a stand-alone EPUB file, for sending directly to in-house staff, key clients/customers or for free give-aways/gifts.

Making Money With eBooks

The best and simplest way to make money with your eBook is to make it available on the most popular distribution networks; namely Amazon (Kindle) and Smashwords.  Although there are many alternatives, these two sites provide you with online sales, distribution, and profit.

Buying Your eBook

Once your eBook is available on both Amazon and Smashwords, customers around the world can purchase your eBook.  Both Amazon and Smashwords provide your customers with the download and financial transaction to purchase your eBook.  Then, you are rewarded with your portion of the profit.

Getting Your eBook

Motivated Publishing Studios provides a complete turn-key solution for the production of your eBook needs.  Whether you are doing a physical book, or even if you’ve already published your book, we can help you produce and get your eBook online and working for you!

Marketing Your Book

Strategy for using today’s modern tools…

Many author’s today ask the daunting question “So, how do I market my new book?”  But, before a good quality answer can be given, there are many situations, intent and answers to questions that need to be considered…

marketing 7 greyscale

Marketing a book should never be a “last thought” or “something to worry about after the book, or eBook, is printed/created.”  Planning is a key element to success with marketing a book – and planning should start early in the book creation phase (usually as soon as the manuscript is ready for the editing phase).  This is key because good marketing should be tightly coupled to the book content (assuming non-fiction here…), more on that later.

The focus of a sound marketing strategy should also involve the use of modern tools that are readily available today.  This will make your efforts current, simple to implement, maintainable and readily acceptable to the general public and targeted markets.  However, before we dive into the process of developing your marketing strategy let’s get to the insight needed before a quality solution can be presented.

6 Key Questions

1. How elaborate of marketing are you looking for?

Are you looking for the use of public media (TV, radio, internet radio, video…).  Knowing your vision and what the future of your book looks like, are key factors in implementing a sound marketing strategy.

2. What is your budget?

As I’ve often heard in advertising, “know your limit and stay within it.”  Be realistic and honest with your budget.  Your strategy must match your resources.  There is no need to produce a Cadillac when a Camry will do just fine.  Your budget will also define what professional services will or will not be available to you.

3. Technical capabilities of author or do you need help?

If you have the ability to add content and manage a blog and Social Media accounts (ex. G+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), then you can personally maintain your marketing platform. If not, then engage MPS for the resources to set this up, create content and get some simple instruction to be able to be competent with this simple technology. It will be very important to have an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plan implemented, so that your book and you can be “found” on the Internet!

4. Does the author’s core business facilitate sales?

Does your core business sell your book, as a value-added item, or is it more of a give-away?  Do you have infrastructure and resources to take book orders?  Is your webmaster resident at your place of business? This will determine if your focus will be to control your marketing, sales and distribution (preferred) or if you need to outsource it.

5. Does the author have infrastructure to fulfill orders?

Do you have infrastructure to fulfill orders, or do you need to outsource this physical work?  Remember, customer service is king…

6. Do you do speaking engagements?

If you are a public speaker as well, then you marketing plan needs to include your strategy for event sales (customization, pre-sales, back-of-room sales, after-event sales).  Do you have other collateral?

Your Marketing Plan

Marketing Plan for new bookThe plan starts with knowing what basic tools to use for your marketing strategy.  Based upon the answers to the above key questions, most authors should desire to control their marketing plan and ultimately their sales. That being said, depending upon the answers, it may make sense for some authors to use third party resources if they do not have resources themselves. Or, utilize the services offered by MPS to get your marketing plan in place and learn how to take on the task of continuing with the plan.

The basics of an effective marketing plan for your new book, include:

  1. Website:  this should ideally be a website dedicated to your book or publishing company.  Technically, this site should utilize a modern CMS (Content Management System) so that it can easily integrate with a blog, Social Media, and mobile platforms.  A good strategy is also to provide offers or “hooks” inside your book, which lead the reader to custom landing pages on your site (value-added offers and information).
  2. SEO:  it is vital to deploy an effective SEO plan so that all of your marketing efforts, your book, and you – can be found on the world-wide-web.
  3. Blog:  is an absolute must and needs to provide value on a regular basis to your subscribers.  This is how you create “community” and connect with your potential customers.
  4. Social Media:  is how you connect on all of the most utilized platforms, to the largest possible audience.  This keeps you message available to the mobile community and allows for viral marketing to work effectively.
  5. eBook:  is more popular than ever and is not a huge investment. Having your book available in the most popular eBook formats keeps your product available to the ever-increasing digital consumer.
  6. Amazon:  is the most popular and widely used e-commerce site for book sales.  This requires a sound strategy as well – do not simply put your book on Amazon without a plan…  Where do you want to drive traffic?  Do you want to keep all the profits? Is Amazon for convenience or your distribution?

Knowing the answers to the key questions and then implementing the marketing plan, using today’s modern tools, that matches your goals – this is how you market your book!

MPS can help you formulate, implement and maintain your marketing strategy, including the use of additional resources for advertising, media and promotion.

public speaking

Shake the Nerves: 7 Public Speaking Tips

Shake the Nerves: 7 Public Speaking Tips

13 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Books

13 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Books

Selling Your eBook – Proof that you don’t need a huge list…

Selling Your eBook – Proof that you don’t need a huge list…

 

Marketing Systems

Motivated Publishing Studios are experts in the marketing arena.  If your business is looking to develop a marketing plan or implement a new marketing strategy, such as a Direct Sales or MLM model, we have the experience and first-hand expertise to help you.

With our extensive 25+ years in the sales and marketing arena, MPS has the resources to help organizations develop and implement a solid marketing plan. Regardless of your business’s market, our knowledge of technology and tactics has been proven across a wide range of industries.

sales and marketing 3Read the article on Marketing Your Business—Planning is Critical (the 2 keys every business owner needs to know)

We provide the capabilities to help a start-up company implement these strategies or if you are an established organization and are looking for a tune-up or intellectual capital to enhance your business model – then contact us today.

We have specific expertise in the areas of:

  • marketing systems
  • sales and marketing planning
  • paths to market, conventional vs. Direct sales plan
  • compliance
  • compensation plans
  • growth contingencies
  • distribution/distributor business plans
  • incentive plans
  • marketing collateral and publications
  • policy and procedure development
  • mlm and direct sales structure design and comparatives
  • branding