Promoting Your "How To" Book - Customer Confidence Building

by : Michael Mould

Once you have your book completed and out in the marketplace you cannot sit back and hope the sales will be great unless you have no desire or care to see it sell, YOU have to promote it. So, what can you offer that will boost customer confidence and promote additional sales? Of course there are the traditional promotion tools, e.g., advertising, blogging, banner cross-promotion with other websites with themes that you book can enhance, etc.

Publishing a newsletter is a great idea too, and a very popular way of supplementing the information that your book already provides, but the communication with your customers is still one-way. To really get your customers involved, you need a way for them to participate and contribute whether it be by asking questions, or by sharing their experiences and you providing validation of their efforts. With a newsletter this is difficult because customers do not want to submit a question or share an experience and then have to wait until the next publication to get a response. They also like to participate in near real-time. If you choose to set up a blog and allow customer/reader comments, you may find customers apprehensive about posting because there is no privacy to their post and their post itself is subject to public rebuttals. After trying both, I found very little willingness on the part of my customers to contribute or to supply content to share with other customers.

One of the things I found that is really appreciated is to set up a restricted access message board for customers only. This seems to be popular with customers for several reasons, including:

1) It gives them a place where they can communicate with other customers and discuss various topics of your book.

2) It allows them to share their experiences with each other as they work their way through what you have conveyed in your book.

3) It gives you a platform for sharing additional explanations or information that you may not want to share with the world by posting it on your website.

4) It gives your customers a place to ask questions that you can answer.

5) Access is restricted, so your customers get a sense of it not only being their special place, but that they are protected from the harassment and intimidation normally associated with open message boards.

6) The message board will allow you to answer common questions once rather than answering individual customer emails.

Besides being a way of establishing additional credibility, providing a message board for your customers is a great way to say "Thank You" to them and to let them know that you are not just interested in selling them a book, you are interested in making sure they are able to implement what it teaches. You will also realize, and very quickly, that your customers can teach you a few things about the very topic you wrote a book about. This is a good thing because learning a few things from your customers and accepting that you do not know everything about the subject gives your customers a feeling that you are genuinely interested in listening to them.

You might also consider inviting some other experts on the topic to join your message board. This will not only add to the content of the board, it demonstrates to your customers that the intent of the board really is to help them and that you do not feel threatened by having another expert involved.

I believe that if you opt to give this concept a try, and let your customers know before they purchase your book that the board is there for them, you will find the entire scenario to be a win-win situation.