Tag Archives for " books "

January 25, 2019

Why self-publish a book

I’ve been busy in the last few months updating my two main books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling.

Simple Story Selling now includes additional sections on email sequence structure, Facebook ads and Google ads. It’ll be live on Amazon hopefully later today, and I’ll be offering a discount next week.

*Just saying – keep an eye out*…

All of this would never have been possible if I didn’t own the rights to the manuscript, like in a traditional publisher arrangement. That’s fine if you’re going after national media coverage. It’s not fine if you’re publishing a book to generate leads for your business.

If you try to publish the ‘perfect’ book, you’ll never publish anything. Ever. Writing a book is a moving target, where the target moves away the closer you get to it. Even just updating two books has taken me four months.

A book that only exists in your head, or on post-it notes, or in a Word file, is a liability not an asset. It’s better to publish something imperfect, and iterate. Amazon will let you update the manuscript, or produce the perfect cover later on.

And thank God for that, because my first book covers were crap.

I’m still looking for a client or two to work through this with. Read more here.

January 8, 2019

Key marketing challenges in 2019

We’re contending with a few key marketing challenges as we head into 2019…

  1. Unless people actively search Google for your products and services (preferably by brand name), it is getting expensive to generate cold leads.
  2. Big online media platforms such as Facebook have become a bloodbath in the fight for attention.
  3. Most people on Facebook would rather you went away, even if they desperately need your help.

Your marketing has to deliver tremendous value, and be entertaining. It should be a service to your audience, not an annoyance.

As I see it, the bottom line is this…

If you sell based on expertise and you don’t yet have a book, you’re probably paying too much for your leads.

A book that solves a specific problem for a specific audience makes all other channels more effective.

Walking into a business networking meeting with a book is completely different to walking in without one. Running Facebook ads to promote a book (especially a non-marketing book) is a game changer.

There are two ways to go about this. You can tag a book into your existing marketing strategy, perhaps fashioning it out of existing content. Or you can make the book your core marketing strategy, using other channels to push people towards the book.

Anecdotally I can tell you that all of my serious project conversations come from people who have read one of my books. Really it’s a litmus test. People who don’t have time to read a book tend to be a pain to work with. Plus I have to waste time on calls explaining stuff I’ve already written about.

To talk to me about writing a book in 2019, read the information here.

I’m looking for a maximum of two projects in January. Because this is a new service, there is a discount for fast movers.

January 7, 2019

Grumpy Marketer 2018 – now on Amazon

I had grand writing plans for the Christmas period. I was going to update my Simple Story Selling book, and get ahead with production of these emails.

Then the world imploded. My grandmother got sick. Then Christmas happened, with the distraction of having a ten-month-old.

My situation isn’t unique – we’re all pressed for time. We tend to over-estimate what is possible over the Christmas break, and under-estimate what is possible over a year, with careful application.

Just before Christmas I published all of my emails in a single collection. That collection now exists on Amazon as a paperback book, Grumpy Marketer 2018; The 2018 Magnetic Expertise Email Collection. (Amazon US / UK / Canada, or search your local Amazon)

Grumpy Marketer 2018

Admittedly the cover is a DIY botch job, done in a hurry. But you know what? It’s good enough. At least for now.

Clarity, speed and perfectionism will be the biggest marketing challenges in 2019. A book that only exists in your head can’t possibly do you any good.

I’m also working in the background on the 2016 and 2017 editions. It’s been fascinating to go back through everything I’ve sent in that time.

I’ve noticed changes looking back. My 2016 emails were more eclectic – you can tell I had more time on my hands to watch documentaries. They were also less direct, and often lacked direction. Some of the phrasing I wouldn’t use any more; there’s a definite change in voice.

There’s also plenty of value in them, and they’re still well worth collating. Ultimately they’re a part of my body of work.

If you do something every day, you’ll improve at it. That thing could be an email. It could be a simple journal entry. It could be a Facebook post. It could be a video. There is no shortcut around the baby steps – you have to suck in the beginning. Most people give up too quickly.

What will you do this year? A weekly email? A biweekly email? A daily email? A monthly print newsletter? A daily Facebook Live? A regular YouTube video?

Where do your audience hang out?

Can you repurpose your efforts into a different format?

It turns out that an email every weekday can turn into a 64,580 word book.

Imagine walking into your next sales meeting holding that…

Rob

P.S. I’m looking for two additional book clients this month. Read the information here.

December 14, 2018

Make your book a reality… in 15 weeks or less

If you sell based on trust and expertise, publishing a book can boost your credibility and facilitate high value sales.

Which of course is where things fall apart…

If you’re like most of my clients, you can talk for hours about your topic. You’re passionate about helping people. But writing isn’t quite your thing. You know you have a book inside you – perhaps even multiple books. “But when will I find the time!” you think to yourself.

(Never! Is the answer…)

In 2019, an Amazon book will become the ultimate lead magnet for coaches, consultants and experts. The ultimate business card too. You can play around with automated webinars. You can spend thousands of dollars on Facebook ads. But nothing leaves the same impression as a physical book.

Whether you’re publishing for lead generation, profit or legacy, I want to help get that book out of your head.

Read more at www.magneticexpertise.com/book-publishing. If you’d like to save some money I’m looking for some early bird clients to work through this with in the New Year.

December 13, 2018

Publish a book on Amazon in 2019

There’s a perception that publishing a book is a long, expensive process. Quite frankly, it doesn’t have to be.

I now publish all my books using Amazon’s print on demand service. Today, I want to give you a look behind the curtain at how it works…

The best way to increase your lead volume is to invest more in your lead magnets. One way is to convert a lead magnet into a higher value format, like a book. PDF’s generally aren’t valued or read.

After all, if you’re really an expert at your thing, then why wouldn’t you have a book?

I’m helping a few clients with this at the moment, ranging from book planning advice to full on interviews and ghost writing. The idea is then to repurpose sections of the book as emails, remarketing ads and other content.

If you’d like me to help write and publish your next book, email me for details. Currently this is a beta service, and I’m only taking on a small number of projects.

August 10, 2017

Book review: The Oxygen Advantage

I’ve long suspected that I have some kind of breathing problem. Nothing that would be described as a problem by a doctor, but something I regularly notice.

Even though I’m in reasonable shape, I lose my breath quickly in physical exercise. If you were to play me at squash for example, I’d be panting after a few minutes. But by the end of the 40 minutes I’d be okay, and probably able to play a double session. Because I’m determined, I suspect I’ve learned to cope with this over the years.

I also have spells where I feel like a can’t quite get a full breath, and sigh occasionally to compensate.

I accept there may be other factors feeding into these symptoms, but the obvious culprit (stress) has never felt right to me. Barring one or two brief periods, I’m not a very stressed person.

According to Patrick McKeown, overbreathing could be the main cause. In the opening of his book The Oxygen Advantage, you’re asked the following questions to determine whether you’re overbreathing:

  • Do you sometimes breathe through your mouth as you go through your daily activities?
  • Do you breathe through your mouth during sleep?
  • Do you snore or hold your breath during sleep?
  • Can you visibly notice your breathing during rest?
  • When you observe your breathing, do you see more movement from the chest than the abdomen?
  • Do you regularly sigh throughout the day?
  • Do you experience nasal congestion, fatigue or dizziness?

For me, and answer to all those questions was at least a partial ‘yes’.

The key idea in The Oxygen Advantage is that your body needs carbon dioxide to absorb and use oxygen. When you overbreathe you lose carbon dioxide, creating the need for bigger breaths and sighs.

Your blood is almost always saturated with oxygen. So taking deep breaths to get more oxygen into your blood is actually a misunderstanding.

If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you’ll know this to be true. The harder you breathe, the harder it becomes to catch your breath.

According to McKeown, the answer is to breathe less. Because breathing is an autonomous action not regularly under conscious control, you have to reset your body’s tolerance to carbon dioxide. Nasal breathing and breath holds are examples of ways to do this.

Which is counter-intuitive, I know. Hold your breath to get more oxygen into your cells. How weird.

I’ve been experimenting with McKeown’s exercises, and so far the results have been good. I’ve stopped sighing, at least. And I’m learning to breathe through my nose more, which automatically throttles your breathing.

I’ll report back in a few months. But if this resonates with you at all, this is strongly recommended reading.

Rob

P.S. Marketing lessons? I think this illustrates that:

  • The most obvious answers are usually under your nose (literally, in this case)
  • You can always get people’s attention (and get them to read entire books) if you can accurately describe the symptoms of a problem they’re facing
January 20, 2017

Is your business too big?

I’m reading a book at the moment, called The Breakdown of Nations, by Leopold Kohr. Kohr was writing at the height of the Cold War, when it looked inevitable that America and the Soviets would collide in a third global war.

Kohr’s main argument is that humans in large numbers tend to behave badly to one another. The bigger an organisation becomes, whether it be a company, government or entire nation, the worse it tends to behave.

According to Kohr, little organisations produce greater wisdom in their policies because they are weak. Their leaders could not get away with stupidity, not even in the short run.

Everything in the world is about balance, and balance is dynamic and changing. Smallness offers flexibility, so changes in balance can be easily redressed. When the situation around you is dynamic and moving, being nimble is extremely important. Big things are inherently unstable, because they cannot react as quickly. Bigness creates its own self-supporting momentum.

I believe this is a fundamental rule of the world. It’s true in nature, in politics and in business. There’s a reason why cockroaches are still here, and the Tyrannosaurus Rex is not.

I was talking with a client this week about business structure. My opinion was that conventional employment contracts could eventually die, because employment contracts are only beneficial to big organisations who need to tie people in to their self-supporting bulk. They offer a false sense of security to the employee, when in fact the security is a mirage.

Essentially, employment contracts are a hangover from the industrial revolution. It’s now possible to run a business entirely from cloud based services, with a virtual team paid only as and when you need them.

Staying small does not mean you have to think small. You can still have big goals and objectives, I just think you don’t need the bulk of organisation that comes with a conventional business. Beauty exists in smallness and division, not bigness and unity.

Kohr tells a story about the professor of statistics, who after his demise arrives at heaven, briefcase in hand. He complains to the Lord about the poor and archaic manner in which He has organised the world.

“I have an infinitely better plan than yours,” he says, unfolding his charts and diagrams. “As things are now, life is divided into too many repetitious little tasks and activities. We arise in the morning after eight hours of sleep. We spend fifteen minutes in the bath. We chat for five minutes with out families. We read for ten minutes, and eat for fifteen minutes. Then we spend half an hour walking to our office. We work for four hours. We eat again for ten minutes. We nap half an hour. We use another half-hour walking home; another hour chatting with our families; half an hour for another meal, and finally retire for another eight hours of sleep.”

“All this splitting up of one’s lifetime is extremely wasteful,” he continued. “I have calculated that the average man spends twenty-three years sleeping, two years eating, three years walking, five years talking, four years reading, two years suffering, ten years playing, and six months making love. Why not let man engage in these activities in single chunks of sustained action, beginning with the unpleasant two years of suffering, and ending with a pleasant six months of love-making?”

As the story goes, the Lord permits the professor to try out his plan. The plan fails dismally, and as a penalty he is expelled from heaven. Arriving in hell, he immediately asks for an audience with Satan to submit a similar plan.

“Satan,” he begins, unpacking his charts and diagrams, “I have a plan for organising hell.”

At this Satan erupts into laughter that shakes every rock in the fiery caves.

“Organise hell?” he roars. “My dear professor, organisation IS hell!”

Rob

January 11, 2017

The Marketing Nurture System in Action

In my book The Marketing Nurture System, I explain how my Dad fits into the nurture – training – Harley Davidson model of buying expensive products.

It all started two years ago. For his birthday, I thought it would be fun to buy him a ‘CBT test’. CBT stands for ‘Compulsory Basic Training’. It’s what you have to do before you can ride a motorbike with ‘L’ plates in the UK.

At 10AM on his birthday, my phone rings. It’s Dad.

“Thanks for the CBT,” he began, “but I don’t think I’m gonna do it. I mean, it’s not like I’m going to buy a bike, or become a biker.”

I bit my tongue for a few moments. “It’s just a fun day out on bikes,” I tried to reassure him. “I think you’ll enjoy it. Have a little go on mine when you come over.”

At the time I had a small 125CC bike – suitable for a learner. My Dad came round for the weekend, and had a little go up and down in the driveway.

“Yeah I enjoyed that, actually.” he admitted. “I’ll go and do my CBT.”

So he went to Birkenhead and did his CBT. On the day of his training at half three in the afternoon, I receive an excited text message.

‘OMG that was amazing. I’m gonna go and buy a motorbike!’

In my head I was like, ‘yesssssssss. Mum’s going to be furious!’

As it turned out he didn’t buy a bike, but he did eventually buy my old 125CC bike. In October he completed his full test, and upgraded his bike.

Bikes

All this from someone who a few years ago declared, ‘I’m not going to buy a bike, and I’m not going to become a biker, thank you.’

What changed his mind? Well I can tell you it wasn’t my selling skills, or power of persuasion. What changed his mind was the experience of the training.

I explain all of this in my book, The Marketing Nurture System. If you still need a copy, you can pick it up here. It’s in Kindle and paper format.

January 6, 2017

Book review: Understanding Media

This week I’ve been reviewing the books I read over Christmas. So far, we’ve looked at The Advertising Solution And Changing The World Is The Only Fit Work For A Grown Man.

Next in the list is Understanding Media, by Marshall McLuhan.

Understanding Media

First published in 1964, Understanding Media is the original source of the phrase ‘the medium is the message’. The premise of the book is that man is the only creature who systematically leverages his own influence using tools, technology, or media.

Tools of all descriptions have always been pivotal to human survival, and the tools we use ultimately shape who we become. First we shape our tools. Then our tools shape us. Nowhere is this more clear than on Facebook, where millions of people across the world are addicted to endless meaningless notifications.

The idea that we are shaped by our tools holds across all tools, not just Facebook. If you use Infusionsoft for long enough it kind of embeds itself in your psyche, and becomes a part of who you are. Whenever you are presented with a problem, you end up thinking, “I wonder how I’d build that in campaign builder…”

McLuhan’s book takes a wide stab at the known media of 1964, and remarkably his conclusions are more relevant today than they were then. Without naming it, McLuhan practically predicts the coming of the internet 30 years before the actual event.

Understanding Media is not an easy read. I’ve had it on my bookshelf for a few years, and I feel I’m only just beginning to grasp what McLuhan was trying to say.

McLuhan argues that for 400 years after Gutenberg created his printing press, man was a ‘typographic man’, where media tended to expand time and space. Typography allows for central administration and the dissemination of knowledge, pushing back borders and collective identity.

In more recent times, McLuhan argues that modern electronic media has imploded space and time, leading to a ‘graphic man’. In effect, it has become desperately easy to become absorbed in your own world. Electronic media, especially social media, require commitment and participation regardless of any point of view. This has led to an age of anxiety, where people feel anxious if they haven’t posted to Facebook in a three hour window. To quote McLuhan:

“Typographic man assumed that A follows B, that people who made things – whether cities, ideas, families, or works of art – measured their victories (usually Phyrric) over periods of time longer than those sold to the buyers of beer commercials. Graphic man imagines himself living in the enchanted garden of the eternal now…”

Remember, McLuhan was writing before the internet, which fosters the sense of eternal now more than any other media. In some respects I believe McLuhan was writing way ahead of his time.

A key idea in the book is that McLuhan distinguishes between ‘hot media’ and ‘cold media’. A hot medium is one that extends one single sense in high definition. Photographs are a hot medium, whereas cartoons are a cold medium. A cartoon provides less definition, allowing more space for the viewer to form their own interpretation.

The same distinction applies to movies and novels. Movies are a competitor of the novel, because both seek to create a stream of images in the mind. Movies are a ‘hotter’ medium, being delivered in surround-sound high definition. At the movies, little is left to the imagination. As a member of the audience you are a mere observer.

A novel on the other hand only describes the broad strokes, and asks your imagination to fill in the gaps. The ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ definition helps to explain why the movie is forcing the format of the novel to change. All new mediums exert pressure on the old, forcing them to find new roles.

Understanding Media is a frustrating read, because at first pass it’s 15% untrue (50 years have unstuck some of McLuhan’s arguments), 70% unintelligible, and 15% genius. I thought about giving up multiple times, just before stumbling across some golden insight. Even 50 years on, some of the trends McLuhan describes are only just coming into existence.

I have a lot more I want to say about Understanding Media, much more than I can cover in this short review. I’m planning to write a much longer review. If you’d like to receive it when it’s ready, you need to be subscribed to my Marketing Clarity letter.

January 5, 2017

Book review: Changing the world is the only fit work for a grown man

The next stop on my Christmas reading book review is Steve Harrison’s biography of Howard Gossage. According to Harrison, Gossage was ‘1960s America’s most innovative, influential and irreverent advertising man’.

Changing the world is the only work fit for a grown man

I’ve mentioned Howard Gossage before in these posts. For anyone trying to blaze their own trail or swim against the tide of conventional marketing ‘wisdom’, he’s essential reading.

Re-reading this book highlighted a number of things to me.

Howard Gossage was famous for running one ad at a time, and measuring the feedback from each ad using coupons. Each ad would look to stimulate a conversation with the reader, and subsequent ads would be based on the responses to previous ads that had been mailed in.

To Gossage, good advertising should create issues and cause discussion, not endlessly hammer people over the head with banal messages.

I believe this has a modern email marketing parallel. I see a lot of people trying to automate their email follow-up sequences, months and years into the future. The problem with doing this is you allow no room for conversation and feedback.

What would Howard Gossage do if he had a tool like Infusionsoft? I imagine he’d send one email at a time, and build up a dialogue. It’s more work that way, but it’s also more engaging. You learn a thing or two along the way.

Gossage also made extensive use of parody. He famously parodied David Ogilvy’s ad for Rolls Royce, ‘At 60 miles per hour, the loudest noise in the new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock’.

Gossage ran a parody version for his client Land Rover, with the headline ‘At 60 miles per hour, the loudest noise in the new Land Rover comes from the roar of the engine’.

What’s the modern equivalent? I see a modern equivalent in Facebook advertising. The best way to get traction with Facebook ads is to start by raising a smile. Poking fun at things people are tired of is one available tactic.

Howard Gossage believed in keeping his agency small. His agency never employed more than 12 people, and he refused to be bought out by larger competitors. Unlike the big Madison Avenue agencies at the time, they charged high retainer fees for their creative work, passing on media spend savings to the client.

At the time the idea of charging for creative work was groundbreaking. Agencies earned their keep by being big, encouraging clients to spend more on ads, and skimming off a percentage of media spend.

By charging high creative and consultancy fees, Gossage was able to advise a client not to spend money on advertising at all, if he felt it wasn’t necessary. He famously turned down Volkswagen account, because he thought the Beetle would sell itself.

For a modern equivalent you don’t have to look further than pay per click. Most large PPC agencies still charge based on a percentage of ad spend, despite the fact that percentage of spend has no correlation to value delivered.

Gossage was also a master of PR, and loved to run competitions. When Scientific American wanted to encourage big airlines to advertise in their publication, Gossage created a worldwide paper aeroplane competition, judged by a panel of celebrity experts. The event was a big success, with 11,000 entries from 28 countries. The media picked up on this, and Eastern Airlines and American Airlines both placed adverts in the magazine.

The modern equivalent? Competitions work as well as they’ve ever done. Very few companies do them, let alone whip up a media frenzy.

Eventually, Howard Gossage tired of advertising. His late agency work promoted environmental or social causes. Perhaps most famously, Gossage created the advertising campaign for the Sierra Club which helped save the Grand Canyon from damming. As with all of Gossage’s ads, the Sierra Club ads included coupons which could be cut out and sent directly to local senators.

Every time I read about Howard Gossage, I discover more about someone I regard as a kindred spirit. A rebel who stuck to his guns, and did things his own way.

Despite the lengthy title, Changing the world is the only fit work for a grown man is an inspiring and practical read if you keep your eyes open for modern applications.

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