I recently put out a traditionally published print book — The Pocket Small Business Owner’s Guide to Starting Your Business on a Shoestring.
I did a lot of things to promote the book. I had a launch party. I wrote guest posts. I spoke at conferences and on podcasts. I had 50 early readers and got day-of-publication Amazon reviews.
All good stuff, and all things I recommend doing.
But there was one thing I did a bit late in the game that blew all my other strategies out of the water. It led to by far the most opportunities for exposure, helped me form great new relationships, and even seems to have raised the traffic here on this blog!
It’s something I did on LinkedIn, and I sure wish I had done it three months sooner. I got so many ideas and leads on how to spread the word about the book, it was astounding. If I’d started sooner, I could have executed many more marketing activities in launch month.
What I did is a bit technical, so I’m going to show you some screen shots on how this works.
Sending “personal” messages on LinkedIn
The thumbnail version: I sent nearly all of my 800+ LinkedIn connections a personal-looking email asking if they would brainstorm with me about ways to promote the book.
Before I talk about the results of this request, let me show you how you can do that on LinkedIn. First, go to your contacts page and hit “Select All.” Then, you can choose “Send a message.”
The system will then let you select up to 50 people at a time that you can send the same message. Here’s what the top of mine looked like:
Obviously, taking the time to really send these individually might have been even more effective, where you could use a “Dear Joe” form of address instead of my generic “Hi there.” But time constraints being what they are, this allowed me to send about 700 of these in less than an hour.
I could have exported the list to Mailchimp and sent it all at once from there using the Firstname tag, but then it wouldn’t have been InMail, inside of LinkedIn.
And the thing about InMail is LinkedIn has reported it gets as much as a 30 percent response rate. Where in traditional marketing, people get excited about topping 3 percent response.
So sending InMail hopefully got the message more attention.
The magic of asking for help
As far as the content, you’ll notice I didn’t ask my contacts to review my book. I didn’t ask them to post or tweet about the book or let me do a guest post.
I just wanted their input on what I should do. That’s important. I think directly asking your connections, “Hey, plug my book please!” would be obnoxious and inappropriate.
As it happens, just asking for people’s thoughts works out great. People really love to help out and connect people on LinkedIn! It’s like a big online networking party.
Through my email request, I got introduced to dozens of new people, some of them very influential. One added me to her huge Skype-based blogger’s mastermind group, through which I met many great bloggers I hadn’t known before.
Another asked me to speak at a citywide summit on the state of book and ebook publishing! I made many additional connections at the event, including hearing about another podcast I could guest on.
I got so many suggestions of blogs I could reach out to — some of which I knew well, but still had not considered for marketing this book! It’s hard to remember every appropriate place to pitch you might ever have seen. Others were brand-new to me.
This month, I’m still fulfilling requests for guest posts and taking Skype calls with new connections.
Tapping the wisdom of my network helped me create my marketing plan and took it in great directions I wouldn’t have imagined otherwise.
To sum up, if you have a book or ebook you’re getting ready to sell, ask your network for ideas before you launch.
You’ll get a bigger group of people on the inside track of knowing about your book — and a million suggestions that will help you sell it.
Have you asked your network for help? Leave a comment and tell us what happened.