Three Things That Belong in Your Marketing Message (and the one that doesn’t)

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During a book event recently, I had the opportunity to chat at length with an author. She was promoting her first book, a non-fiction account of the difficult birth of her first son. I asked her what made her turn her blog into a book.

“There wasn’t any literature for new parents going through what I was going through; nothing that could reassure me that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. That I would soon be able to take my son home,” she told me.

Her book’s cover and collateral all said, “You are not alone, and this book will help you.”

Before I could ask more, a potential reader approached her booth. She gave them her message and it resonated. She sold a book.

The success of a book hinges on whether a reader will take the chance on something new. The great news is, readers are always looking for their next book — all you need to do is give them a little nudge in the form of a strong, consistent marketing message.

“What is my marketing message?”

A marketing message is the guiding set of principles you will use to communicate: “buy me” to a potential reader. Importantly, it’s not what you want to tell a reader, it’s what a reader wants to be told by you. It’s an important difference.

There are three key components to a message: the ‘who?’, ‘why?’, and ‘because’.

Who is your audience — the people you know from your research who are buyers for your book. No matter how broad your subject matter or how good your writing is, not everyone is a potential reader. Ask yourself, “which group of readers should buy my book?” If you don’t give people this information, they’ll guess and they may guess wrong.

The Why gives potential readers a reason to buy. Why should they invest their time reading your book? What breadcrumbs can you drop to lead them to the checkout button?

Because is why a reader will buy your book over another. It’s the hook.

When you put these three components together, a marketing message sounds a lot like, “For the readers who ______, my book is the story of _______, because _______.”

Let’s break down something we’re all familiar with. For example, take this commercial for Swiffer WetJet, a Proctor & Gamble product:

Who: busy new home owners.
Why: look how easy it is! Spray and wipe and throw the pad away.
Because: Swiffer cleans the floor better than your current method.

If we put that all into one sentence, it would sound like: Swiffer WetJet is for busy homeowners who are looking for an easier way to clean their floors because it will clean what your mop and bucket miss. Knowing their message, the Proctor & Gamble marketing team creates a campaign around a hashtag that aligns perfectly to the “because”: #SwifferEffect.

A great example of how to apply this to a direct published work is a book we read for the Goldilocks & the 3 Cares Podcast: Project E.D.E.N by B. Mauritz (available at Amazon).

When you know your message, you can craft tweets that are consistent, like:

It is difficult to perfect your message, there’s no doubt about it. The one thing you don’t want to do however, is to make your message overly complex. This is characterized by a long, rambling description of the plot, characters, or the different genres the book straddles. Don’t be afraid to edit, edit, and edit. And then test, test, and test on potential readers. You’ll know you’re done when what you have resonates with your audience.

“What do I do with my marketing message?”

Write it down on a piece of paper and tuck it into a drawer. You’re never going to tell a reader your message directly; instead, use it as the basis for where and how you market your book.

What did you do for your marketing message that resonated with readers? Comment below!

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Andrew Gaudet

Asker of Questions
Andrew has worked in sales and management for more than a decade. His favorite books include Star Wars "Hier to the Empire" trilogy by Timothy Zahn, "Raw Shark Texts" by Stephen Hall, "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey, and "Paris 1919" by Margaret Macmillan. "No plan survives first contact" - paraphrased from Helmuth von Moltke.

2 responses to “Three Things That Belong in Your Marketing Message (and the one that doesn’t)”

  1. Great post, as always! Lots of good information.

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