How Kindle Publishing is changing the marketing landscape for small business owners
This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home,
This little piggy had roast beef
This little piggy had none,
And this little piggy went wee
wee wee all the way home
The digital explosion has created a marketplace those little pigs could never have imagined. And it’s one that small businesses can’t afford to ignore. The emergence of the Internet has opened up a whole new world. Instead of relying on maybe a few hundred customers in your area buying your products, small businesses can now parade their goods in a new market where millions of potential customers can look at and buy them.
A friend of mine, Peter, who owned a bookstore, was making enough money to pay his mortgage, run a car, take a vacation and buy most things he needed. Another pal, who sold shoes, battled to make a living. Roast beef dinners were not on his menu at home. They both marketed in the old-fashioned way.
They handed out business cards, put stickers advertising their shops on the back of their cars, joined groups and clubs to make contacts, held seminars and video shows to encourage business and advertised in newspapers and magazines. Word of mouth was vital too. The problem is that they were trying to make money in a relatively small market. In some sad cases, owners went wee wee wee home with their tails between their legs. Nowadays, many small businesses battle to make enough bucks. They also know that the buck stops with them.
My advice: keep marketing the way you have been. It would be silly not to. But join the digital era as well. A world you never imagined has arrived and it’s time to get involved in it. My bookstore owner friend did OK in the old days. He sold maybe a hundred books a month. Then he went digital. His change in fortune was dramatic.
Jim started advertising his books on Kindle websites such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and many other leading ones. A book in his store that attracted dozens customers or maybe more suddenly sold thousands.Why? Because millions of people could take a peek at his books and decide whether to buy them. One case that I heard of bears mention.
An author, who had her books regularly rejected by publishers, put them on the Kindle e-book market. It doesn’t cost a cent to do that. Initially, sales were slow.
Then, because it was an excellent publication, sales soared. The book finished in the top 10 on the Kindle best-seller list and she eventually sold nearly 200,000 copies. She swapped her Beetle (a favorite of mine, mind you) for a Ferrari and now drives around in style.
Jim’s fortunes also took a turn for the best for the same reasons. His shoe sales soared and he even thought of including caviar at the dinner table. Of course, you have to have a good product. You can’t sell just any old thing in marketplaces. However, it’s vital to at least try one that has the potential for success you never dreamed of. These are some of the things you should do:
- Publish books about what you do on Kindle book sites. Millions of potential customers will be able to see them. It’s a fantastic marketplace. Kindle publishing has changed the marketing landscape dramatically. You should also:
- Create a website or have someone do this for you. We create websites and can set up a basic one in a day. We use WordPress, it’s the best in our view. You have to buy a domain name and arrange a host, which will allow anyone with a computer, mobile phone or iPad to check it out. You can tell people what you do and sell on your website. You can feature pictures, videos and many other ways of promoting your business on it. You can advertise and sell products. You can receive and send e-mails. It’s an all-in-one way to do business.
- Market your business in the social media. It’s good to use Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, Google +. YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest. Tumblr. Vine. SnapChat, Flickr, Reddit and WhatsApp. It’s an excellent way to promote your brand.
- Embark on an e-mail campaign. Develop a long list of addresses. Get business cards from people you meet and list their e-mail addresses. If you’re a member of a club or group, see whether they are prepared to let you have a list of their members and e-mail addresses. Putting a list together will take time, but getting going.
- Design pamphlets that show people what you sell and attach pictures of your products when you send an e-mail to potential customers. If you aren’t creative, ask someone to design your pamphlets. It shouldn’t cost much.
Remember that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Take it now into the digital world. You won’t regret it. And you will probably find that your trough of cash fills up quickly.
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