Book as a Business Card
By Brent Sampson
Is your business
card laminated or matte? What type of paper stock is used? What type
of font and at what size? Is your business card full-color on one
side (or both sides) or spot color? Is it entirely black/white? Does
it feature your company logo at the top (left or right corner) or
toward the bottom?
More important than
the answers to these questions is realizing that for approximately
as much effort as one expends designing and producing a business
card, one can compile their information and publish a handbook about
their business. With the advances in print-on-demand technology, one
can then control the quantity and availability of the book to meet
their specific needs. Presto! A published book is now your
business card of choice.
Of course, one
wouldn’t suggest that a book replace your business cards entirely.
Rather, the book becomes a supplement to your branding and promotion
efforts. A business card still has its place and is certainly
preferable in some instances. On the other hand, handing a potential
customer or client your book at the end of a meeting, pitch or
seminar immediately elevates you to a higher level. New customers
or clients will look at you with a different perspective – as a
published author, as an expert.
Don’t allow the
concept of writing a book to scare you. Your book should not be a
1,000-page tome. In fact, approximately 100 pages would be the
ideal length. Make the length congruous with the content. This is
easy, because people also like Top 100 lists. For example, “101 Ways
to Prepare Your Home For Sale,” by Jane Smith. One tip per page.
One hundred and one pages. Done and done.
Imagine then, if
your 30-second elevator speech sounded like this: “I’m Jane Smith
and I recently published a book that can help you increase your
profits by 30 percent when selling a piece of property. Would you
like a free copy?”
Now doesn’t that
sound much more compelling and memorable than “I’m Jane Smith. I’m
a real estate agent. Here’s my business card.”
A book does a
number of things that a business card cannot do.
book establishes your credibility in your field and can help to
further establish your expertise. Consider this: If you had a
house to sell and were deciding between two agents, one with a
business card and the other with a published book, who would you
choose, everything else being equal? Probably the published
books, whereas many business cards reach the trashcan before the
end of the day, or wind up lost in a digital rolodex. People
place books on shelves, refer to them later, and even pack them
in boxes when they move!
books with other people. Through no additional effort of your
own, you become an expert to that secondary customer, too,
rather than just a name and a number on a business card.
free book is memorable. After all, the whole point of handing
out business cards in the first place, and having an efficient
and effective elevator speech, is to be remembered. How
inclined are you to share the story about the time a real estate
agent handed you her business card? Now, how inclined are you
to share the story about the time you bumped into a published
author in an elevator and she gave you a free copy of her book?
marketing opportunities. One of the worst things about handing
out business cards is you have to personally hand them out,
which means the number of people receiving your card is directly
related to the number of people you meet personally. This is
neither an effective form of marketing, nor very efficient. By
contrast, having a published book allows you to market your
business to potentially millions of people you may never meet.
The book does the marketing for you. All you have to do is make
your book available for potential customers to find and buy on
popular Web sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Google.
book and distributing it through the Internet is easier than you
might think. With the turn of the millennium came a seismic shift in
the publishing industry, with the proliferation of self-publishing
companies that help authors, entrepreneurs, experts, poets, business
owners, and everyone else easily and affordably publish books for
public sale. Nearly all of these companies can produce short-run
paperback books for your personal use, and many of them can also
include distribution through some of the world’s largest book
wholesalers so that your book is listed on Web sites like Amazon,
Barnes & Noble, and others, exactly like any other book.
Then, by using
Internet marketing strategies, which many publishers will share with
you, you can efficiently drive large numbers of potential customers
to your publication, thereby removing the business card hurdle of
having to personally “bump into someone” in order to hand them your
business card. Instead, they type in “home for sale” into an
Internet search engine, and your book appears among the listings
(notice how you astutely put that key term into the title of your
book, “101 Ways to Prepare Your Home For Sale.”). Don’t worry too
much about making money from the sale of the book itself. The real
profits come from making the book exceedingly affordable (more so
than competitive books) and extremely informative, so the reader is
compelled to contact you directly with additional (more profitable)
business, like selling a home. The margin for a selling a home is
much higher than the margin for selling a book. Don’t step over a
dollar to pick up a penny.
contact information should be easy to find within your book, but it
is important that the book contain valuable, helpful information,
and be professional in its appearance and content. The first goal
should be to share your knowledge and expertise so that readers are
compelled to become paying customers. Equally important is the
quality of the book itself. After all, rarely do professionals hand
out business cards they designed and printed themselves from their
home computer. So be sure to choose a publishing company that can
provide important functions like professional editing, formatting
and cover design. Like your business card, your published book
needs to be a high-quality reflection of your professionalism and
Try it! You will be
surprised and excited by how effective this new business marketing
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