Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Start Your Grass Roots Campaign With 10 People

Authors often ask me how they can go viral or build a fan base.  They will inquire about what makes sense as far as social media is concerned.  What they really need to do is find 10 loyal evangelists.

Getting 10 people to each tell 10 people who each tell 10 people will quickly yield 1,110 people who know about you.  Yes, do the math.  It’s that simple.  But what isn’t simple is to get these people to buy your book.

It begins with the first 10 people.  They need to be informed incentivized, and purposeful in the people they reach out to.  If the people you begin with are not passionate or truly knowledgeable about your blog or book they won’t be able to “sell it” to others.

Most people will alert their Facebook followers, LinkedIn connections, blog readers, family, friends, and colleagues.  That certainly is a start.  But often things die after that.  The second generation of connections that you seek are not being inspired to take an action step, namely to buy a book AND share with others.  Maybe you tie the two together.  Give them a discount or free copy if they can deliver 10 people who will buy the book.  Knowledge and awareness of a blog is the first step, but you need to give incentives to get sales.

Ask your original 10 people to be your advocate.  You want them to go the extra step and tell all of their friends, family, colleagues, FB fans, Twitter followers, blog readers, etc.  You want them to not just mention that their cousin wrote a book.  You have them say what the book is about, give them a deal to incentivize a sale, and have them tell others not just once, but several times.

Take those 10 people under your wings.  Treat them like paid employees.  Don’t expect them to do much for you just because they know you or even love you.  You need to beg, inspire or even pay them to get the action that you want.  And then you have to convince them to do the same for the 10 people they each bring in.

What you want is to get a direct path back to the people they tell about you.  The key is to continue the dialogue and to personally hand-sell all of these people.  Because once you do it, and do it well, the next round of outreach to 10 people for each of those 1110 people will yield another 10,000 people!

Think about what will move people to take action.  Here are some ideas:

·        People will support those they believe in—they align with you as a person based on character, experiences, morals.

·        They will rally around a book they love or believe in.

·        They will act for you if you trade a favor of some kind—ask them what you can do for them.

·        People will support a cause, such as politics, a non-profit, or to save dogs, battle cancer and educate youth.  Tap in to something that people support.

·        People can be moved by a fat discount or something free.  Think about what you have access to that others value.  You can give money, service, books—but you can also give something else.  For instance, partner with a community group or a store to give away their product or service in exchange for people buying your book.

·        People act out of emotion—fear, guilt, hate, love, desire, and hope.  Tap into the nerves of one’s life and you can move them to help.

·        Exploit your connection to a person.  If it’s a relative, lean on the family link.  If it’s a friend, he or she should want to support you.  If it’s people in your house of worship, lean on the spiritual connection. Use what you got. Call on who you know.

Now, what do you want people to do for you?  Determine your answer and take steps to encourage that exact action from them.  Don’t just ask them to click on a site or like a FB page.  Tell them you want them to buy a book by next week, to put a link and supportive message for your book in their newsletter, blog or site.  Tell them to also tweet out a link to your site, to give you 10 emails of people that you can contact directly (with an initial introduction supplied by them), and to write a review for you on Amazon or other book sites.

None of this is brain surgery but if you know 10 people—and I suspect you know plenty more—you just need to work the crowd to support you.  This initial investment of time, money, energy or some other currency is what will get your book campaign jump-started. 

Of course in addition to this you still need to explore a publicity campaign, speaking appearances, bulk sales from organizations, library sales, and dozens of other marketplaces to get your book sold.

You have to look at people and see them as a step on a ladder that connects you to the next step until you climb to the top.  There’s nothing wrong with asking lovers, parents, siblings, or kids to work the people they know.  No time to be shy or conservative. 

Start today.  Make a list of who you know and of who they might know.  It’s a numbers game.  Reach enough people, enough times, with enough of an offer or incentive and you will sell books. 

By the way, I got the idea for this blog from my seven-year-old son. He told me about seeing something on a TV show called Cyberchase, about how when 10 people tell 10 people who tell 10 people, you’ll have a lot of people knowing about you. If children are embracing the laws of going viral, you can too!

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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