Word of mouth is 10 times more effective than advertising. Think about the last book you read or the last movie you saw. You probably heard about it from a friend. Business works the same way. Most new customers come from existing ones. 91% of new B2B business leads come from existing clients. So you don’t need a big marketing budget to be successful, you just have to understand how to turn your customers into advocates.
I’ve failed to do that. I know people read the blog, I know people have downloaded the books for free and I’ve even managed to sell a few digital copies. Where am I am failing is getting the people who know me to spread the word. Not the random strangers but the people whose work I follow and support and who have been there all these years as I awkwardly learned the craft, I am failing at making them talk in a positive way about the stories I write.
It can be disheartening to have to ask your friends and family to share links and talk about your work, especially when you watch them promote and share so many things online. I’m not a nice person, I don’t make small talk with strangers or mingle with the general population so I tend to assume that those who I like and do share a rapport with are my friends. I’ve had to accept the hard truth that a lot of people are simply being nice to me, or polite, but they really don’t care one way or the other. In other words the small group of people in this world I like may not in fact like me back, at least not enough to consider us “friends”.
Being in the hospital and then out of work without income for two weeks really gives you a new perspective on people and life. I had to wash dishes for cash with a bunch of illegal immigrants just to get by the last week and let me tell you, these guys were distraught that things were so bad in the world that an educated, English speaking white male was working alongside them. I told them not to worry, life wasn’t that bad, I just have a never-ending constant string of bad luck.
Despite the multitude of media platforms available, verbal buzz about your business or product passed from one reliable person to the next is still the most cost-effective way to build a loyal following, expand your business, and reach new customers.
The truth is, I am tired. I’m tired of engaging with people online that have no real interest in what I am doing, they just want someone to fight with. I’ve tried getting off Facebook, but it seems that a lot of my other websites are tied to it and my family uses it as a quick way to contact me when I am working on the books. It just feels like I’ve been clapping and cheering people on but when it comes my turn they all grow silent. I’ve done all I can to advertise to my “friends” online, so now I turn to you, the strangers and silent readers, to spread the word. If you see a link on Twitter to a book, please retweet or share or simply click “SHARE THIS” on the blog posts you like. Most of the people whom I’ve met through WordPress have been really, really cool people. So if you could spare a minute let people know about my books!