During my time spearheading innovation research in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, there was one mantra that kept me going:
Repetition, repetition, repetition.
And that mantra has stuck with me ever since. When I began to study behavioral design. As I broke out of the world of traditional marketing. Even in my personal life.
So when I made the decision to write a book, repetition was in the forefront of my mind—right next to all the overwhelming tasks I needed to get done to make the most out of the investment.
Starting is often the most difficult part. The wrong strategy and your book or business are doomed from the start. With the right strategy, however, you’re set up for success and can turn your idea into a real, successful business.
Don’t wing your future. Follow this 5-step process to transform your book or business idea into a successful, profitable business.
1. Start with a Trial
I began my book marketing the same way I would start a business: with a trial.
A trial is repeated exposure to your product or service. To get customers to adopt a new product or service, you need to help them know it exists. For my book, the trial was my book launch. It was the perfect opportunity to get the title in front of the right people.
Things got much trickier after the launch ended. I had to start thinking about ongoing marketing that would not only keep re-introducing the book to new buyers but also get my current buyers to talk about the book to their friends.
It’s the same place many business owners find themselves in after a few months of introducing their company to the world. Things go quiet. You know if you don’t take action, your company could disappear from the industry entirely.
With stacks of unsold books piling up in my office, my focus became maintaining momentum while getting the book’s ideas in front of the people who it could impact the most. And that task is often the hardest part of growing a successful business.
2. Implement an Inbound Marketing Strategy
Content is often the best way to continue to engage with potential customers. (That’s why inbound marketing has had such success for many industries). But the last thing you want to do is haphazardly publish content that doesn’t serve any real purpose.
The first hurdle I faced was organizing my ideas into a coherent plan of attack. The idea of ongoing inbound marketing sounds great, but to get the best results from it, I had to think through questions like:
- Who are we trying to reach with this content?
- How can this book help these people achieve their goals?
- Knowing that, what message should we bring to them?
- Where should we place this content to grab their attention?
These questions seem simple. But as many entrepreneurs know, they’re often the most difficult to think through. The closer you are to your product or service, the harder it is to see it clearly.
Then there was the time commitment. At the time, I was also running TriggerPoint Design, my behavioral research and design consultancy, and had just launched Mindstate Group a few months before the book’s release.
Even with the best intentions and a rock-solid strategy, I knew that consistently producing content would be a huge challenge. There are so many hours in the day. So I did the one thing many business owners struggle with the most. I asked for help.
I reached out to Scribe, who helped me throughout the book creation process. What Scribe always brought to the table was an understanding of the marketplace and what works for authors, which is something that I recognized I didn’t fully understand.
I remember thinking, “I’m going to do what I do best, which is integrate behavioral psychology into my marketing. Then I’m going to let Scribe do what they do best, which is understanding the marketplace and how to make a bestselling book.”
The Scribe team helped me create two monthly articles: one for Forbes and one for my LinkedIn page. This approach kept a steady stream of content in front of different audiences and help me establish authority with those most likely to reach out for help with their marketing.
It’s never easy to give up control, particularly when it could have such a significant impact on the success of your business. But the only way entrepreneurs can see results is when they take a step back and give others the chance to bring their vision to life.
3. Differentiate Yourself from the Crowd
Whether your business is a business or a book, one of the biggest struggles you’ll run into is competition. Inbound marketing isn’t new. Thousands of organizations use it every day to get their name out there.
With the constant swarm of content thrown into your customers’ faces daily, it’s even more challenging to stand out from the crowd. This is where differentiation comes in.
Marketing to your customers’ mindstate is a sure-fire way to distinguish yourself and cut through the noise. But another thing that will help you stand out is creating content specifically designed for the platform you choose.
For example, Forbes is a place where people go to learn how to grow professionally. So I knew my Forbes column would need to fit that bill. I focused on applying concepts from the book to the business challenges that marketers face.
LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a place where people connect with others and take in lighter reading. These customers want to learn, but after a long day of work, they don’t feel like reading a dry 2000-word article on behavioral science. So on my LinkedIn, I went a slightly different direction and apply mindstates to pop culture phenomena like Game of Thrones and The Bachelorette.
It was a bold strategy that quickly paid off… just not in the way I expected.
The three-article series explaining the Mindstates of Game of Thrones characters caught the attention of organizers for the IIeX Behavior US conference, who asked me to present on the topic to a room filled with marketers—one of the audiences I had hoped to reach.
Sitting in the audience was a representative from the pharmaceutical giant Merck. Shortly after that talk, that representative asked me to give a 60-minute presentation as part of a marketing training meeting.
I showed them how speaking to the mindstate of their audience (doctors) could help the company predict whether their newest offering would be accepted. Then bam! They bring me in to start doing branding for an internal research consultancy and to create an internal behavioral economics think tank called BEAM: Behavioral Economics at Merck.
Those two talks generated, at a minimum, $200,000 worth of new projects. All from a fun article I wrote for LinkedIn.
4. Be Confident in Your Expertise
My content was landing me on stages, but as I tried out new ideas each month, something else was happening: my confidence in my expertise and abilities was growing.
Like many authors, I had struggled with imposter syndrome while writing my book. I don’t have a master’s degree in psychology. I’m just a regular marketing guy who fell in love with the way our brains think.
Because of that, it was very difficult for me to take the initial step of writing content. I didn’t feel like I had the right to.
But with every article, my internal doubts started to shrink. I began to recognize the depth of my knowledge and the authority that comes from years of practice. And seeing my ideas validated by conference organizers and large companies gave me the courage to stretch myself even further.
I even built up the nerve to apply to be a speaker at the Unbounce Call to Action Conference, which hosts over 3,000 attendees. I had never spoken to a large audience before. But knowing that I could truly help companies helped me overcome those insecurities and step out of my comfort zone.
The whole point of this conference was action. It was not about ideas that work in theory. They wanted to see how your ideas can be applied to real-world situations, and that’s all we’d been doing with my content. I sent them what I had and landed the gig.
And this one step led to a slew of additional leads:
- A member of the British Columbia chapter of the American Marketing Association (BCAMA) saw my presentation at CTAConf and asked if I’d do a webinar for their group.
- At the same time, my article on experience design that referenced Disney caught the attention of a Disney Parks researcher who contacted me to offer her thoughts.
- Another article evaluating the behavioral psychology used in the design of Amazon’s 4-Star store in Dallas led to an email from one of Amazon’s researchers inviting me to work together.
You probably already know how many thousands of vendors are trying to get into Amazon every day as a researcher or as a marketing company. All I did was post my article to LinkedIn with the right hashtags and someone from Amazon reached out to me!
What opportunities could a content strategy and a bit of confidence open up for your business?
5. Repurpose Content to Fuel Your Business’s Growth
The importance of repetition hasn’t just steered my strategy with my book post-launch. It’s also helped dictate what happens with my content after it’s published.
Growing a new company is far from easy, but the great thing about an inbound marketing content strategy is that it’s reusable. By tweaking the content I had already created, I now have a pipeline of great ideas to share with those interested in the Mindstate Group in the long run.
You can use the same successful articles to turn your blog, email list, and social channels into avenues to attract new business.
My articles have also given birth to new forms of content I wouldn’t have otherwise considered. Now, we have a new series we’re doing on social media where I discuss a topic for an hour. All I do is send our producer one of my articles to use as the basis for our discussion.
It’s opened the door for people to share their biggest struggles with marketing in a new context, and allowed me to create the Mindstate Marketing Masterclass to teach others how to overcome them.
Did I know that two monthly articles would start something this exciting? No. But to be honest, I’m not entirely surprised.
That’s the power of repetition, repetition, repetition.
Don’t Give Up on Your Dreams for Your Business
Creating a new business or book is always an emotional roller coaster. You’re excited and full of dreams for where this new venture could take you. But at the same time, you’re terrified that everything will fall through and you will end up right where you started—with more debt and disappointments.
But just because it’s difficult to gain traction doesn’t mean it’s not worth the fight. With a consistent, strategic inbound marketing plan, you can grow your confidence and your success simultaneously.
Even if you don’t get incredible results, you’ll walk away with a clearer idea of who you are, why you’re doing this in the first place, and how you can really make a difference for your customers. And that alone is worth the investment.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. If you don’t know where to start, the Mindstate Marketing Masterclass will teach you how to create content that cuts through the clutter, instantly grabs your customers’ attention, and persuades them to take action.