By Rob Eagar
Call me crazy, but I like money. Cash, check, direct deposit, wire transfer...I'll take it. No, I'm not hyper-materialistic. I just like how money allows me to pay my bills, enjoy vacations, and generously donate to others. Therefore, I like the ability to make enough income to do those activities. Without it, life feels like sitting in a car that's stuck in neutral going nowhere.
As a consultant and author, I've found that marketing represents the fast-lane to making more money. If you develop a good product or service, promote it to the right audience, and empower them to spread word of mouth, you can be rolling in dough before you know it. But, new technology seems to be acting like a strange pied piper luring people away from this business reality. Social media is causing too many authors to let their marketing efforts get hijacked by numbers and measures that are inferior to money.
For example, the social media gurus will tell you that the future of business is all about how many Twitter followers, Facebook likes, or LinkedIn connections you can acquire. Those are the real numbers that we're supposed to idolize. Whoever has the most followers, likers, or stalkers apparently wins the game. I guess that's true if you're in a popularity contest. But, what if you're just trying to pay your mortgage? Does the bank accept Twitter followers as payment?
When did the marketing metrics of sales and revenue get supplanted by followers and likers? And, if these numbers are so important, then why am I making more money than most of these social media gurus? I run a successful six-figure consulting practice. Yet, I've got less than 300 Twitter followers, no Facebook page, 1,500 newsletter subscribers, and a small tribe of blog readers. According to the techno-geeks, there's no way I should succeed with such a small following. In fact, some would warn to never admit such low numbers. But, I don't care, because my business is making money...and lots of it.
I openly share my social media numbers to prove the only number that matters is money. I don't care if you've got 25,000 Facebook friends, a million Twitter twits, or a gajillion LinkedIn connections. I know lots of authors who've got a lot more followers than me, but they aren't making much money. And, if you're not generating income, then you're going to windup in a financial downward spiral.
Consider these eye-opening studies. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll that four out of five Facebook users have never bought a product or service as a result of advertising or comments on the social network site. In addition, researchers at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute found that less than 1% of fans of the 200 biggest brands on Facebook actually engaged. Less than 1%! These numbers (or the lack thereof) are staggering, yet not surprising. Just because you've got a lot of social media followers doesn't mean you're going to make a lot of money.
That's why the primary marketing number any author should focus on is the bottom line. You can't write more books without tangible book sales. You can't grow your career without netting a profit.
What's the answer? There are several solutions, but the fastest way to make more money is to charge more with less labor intensity. Authors can increase their income via profitable spin-off products, consulting projects, and speaking engagements. For instance, I've written two books. But, I don't define myself as an author, because that mindset is too confining. Unless you're a perennial bestseller, there is very little money in books. Instead, the money comes by offering the intellectual property of your book in as many formats as possible, such as books, workbooks, study guides, movie rights, speaking, consulting, training, licensing, etc. The possibilities are endless, as long as you concentrate on the right number, which is the revenue that can be produced.
Stop sweating over your social media numbers. Instead, focus your marketing on the amount of income it creates, rather than the amount of fans it generates. Facebook fans and Twitter followers are fine, but not if they decline to give you a dime.
About the author:
Rob Eagar is the founder of WildFire Marketing, a consulting practice that helps authors and publishers sell more books and spread their message like wildfire. He has assisted numerous New York Times bestselling authors and is author of the new book, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire. Find out more about Rob’s advice, products, and coaching services for authors at: www.startawildfire.com
Sell Your Book Like Wildfire is available in print and e-book formats. This is the bible of book marketing for authors and publishers. Get 288 pages packed with advanced information, real-life examples, and tips to start selling more books immediately. There are specific chapters on social media, word-of-mouth tools, Amazon, and a chapter dedicated to best practices for marketing fiction. In addition, get over 30 pages of free bonus updates online. Get your copy today at: