Updated: Dec 11, 2020
I wish I could get back the thousands upon thousands of dollars I spent on video and print ads over the years. Even our best marketing efforts cost us time and money in shared coupon buy-ins and poor customer targeting. Luckily, we could take our marketing efforts as a tax write off. If I knew then what I know now, I would write a book instead. A book adds instant credibility, can open otherwise closed doors, and offer an additional revenue stream. Any additional costs associated with the book, such as purchasing books wholesale or other marketing efforts for the book, will still go to the write-off. Of course, any profit made by the book will need to be accounted for as well. Here are some ad avenues I went down and how they compare to book publishing.
Print Ad vs. Book Publishing
Print ads are almost dead, maybe. They have still endured because people still buy magazines, newspapers, and local fringe publications. The magazine pays for themselves with ad money and a portion from the reader. If it’s a Psychology Today or The New Yorker, the reader can pay $6-15 for a copy. These companies don’t only get their money from ads, but they are still super expensive. To run an ad in a small local newspaper in Phoenix, it was around $300/month just for a small 3x3 image; you were required to create the image as well. For a full back page, it was $1000/month. It’s been a few years, so I’m sure the prices have been raised.
The usual commitment for an ad run is three months. You could pay $3000-4000 and see nothing in return. When you write your book you become highly strategic and laser point exactly where you want it to make the most impact. You could send your copy to particular companies, offer a give back for a charity, and sell from the stage. The opportunities are endless. Or you can cross your fingers and hope the print ad will pay off. I wish it did; it doesn’t.
Print ads work better this way:
I have paid for ads and never saw a single dime from doing it. What benefitted me the most in the print ad arena was writing for the magazine for free. I did interviews with local people and used them that way, which is undoubtedly an option. Magazines and local papers are always looking for content. If you submit a story, they are usually pretty happy to print it with the author’s byline and company. If you are a writer, getting your word out, this can be a terrific tool. Also, if you learn how to write press releases, you can submit those to papers and magazines, and they will sometimes print your newsworthy press release either online or in the newspaper.
Recurring Video Ad
We got talked into the idea of running a video ad at a local gym. At first glance, I thought it was an excellent investment. They would run the ad ten times every hour for several seconds before moving on to the next slide; I decided based on the law of averages, something would come from it. The ad wasn’t a video; it was a still image telling people how to reach us if they wanted to lose weight or stop smoking (we owned a hypnosis clinic at the time). At least they created the ad for us. It ran for three months (three months is the lucky number in advertising it seems) and thousands of dollars later, we had no new clients to show for our effort.
How videos work better:
On the other hand, a book has a lasting impact on your reader. It’s not a flash on a video screen or an easily scrolled by the announcement. Using video to help you sell your book can also be a fantastic tool. Create a youtube channel, and upload content regularly, have your customers subscribe and have fun, be creative. Add videos to your Facebook and LinkedIn Accounts. Do interviews with people you find awesome and boost each other up. Interviewing authors and having them interview you can be incredibly beneficial. We are a small, saucy, smart bunch who wants nothing more than to make a difference with our message.
Another way is connecting with the owner of a company you can pair with easily; for us, it made sense for it to be a gym. If I created a strategic partnership with the owner and made him an affiliate, we may have seen more people come through our doors as a result. We would have then promoted their gym as the place to go to and continue their health journey. The main thing to remember is always to create affiliate teams with those you know have high integrity and are going to treat your customers very well.
Being the #1 go-to company for a Top Company
Oh, Boy (Kyra cracks her knuckles)! This one was the scammiest of the scammiest. I had someone call me and say they represented a big well-known company in Phoenix (I’m not going to say who), and they were looking for the hypnosis company to serve their thousand employees for their health program. I’ll admit it; I got suckered. We were in a place at that point in our business where I felt we needed a boost. To be the only hypnosis clinic, their employees would be referred to seemed like a good idea and certainly something my ego enjoyed. Thousands of dollars later, crickets. If anyone calls you and says they “represent” the company, be on guard. They are a marketing company in disguise.
How being a go-to company works better:
Even though nothing happened as a result of this attempt, we were able to use their logo as social proof and added our exclusivity to our marketing. This approach helped with our credibility somewhat. If you happen to use this "go-to company" approach, be sure to contact the company and ask if you can do a free lunch and learn with the employees. If there are several hundred or more remember to bring someone to take a lot of pictures, it will help with your sizzle reel and show your command of a crowd. Another option is going department by department over several months and get engagement and set up free sessions or product trials. Always offer value during mini-events.
A final note on connecting with a Top Company:
When you write and publish your book, the opportunity to connect with companies, you feel passionate about becomes much more accessible. They can see you believe in your message enough to write the book on it, and your expertise is assumed. It should be assumed, and you better have a professional, well-designed book with you. When a top company wants to support you, your book needs to be above reproach. If you are just getting your foot in the door, I recommend connecting with the HR department. Send an email and then give them a call. See who your Linkedin contacts are connected to in that Top Company and see if you can do anything to support them with your valuable message.
All of the methods outlined above are tax-deductible. However, as Spur from "The Man From Snowy River" says, I don’t want to “...throw effort after foolishness.” I want marketing efforts that work and show who I am, why my voice matters, and what stretches my dollar the farthest. Even though we lost money on these approaches, we learned things, did what we could to salvage the fallout, and were able to share our experience with others. If you make a wrong marketing move, don’t worry, hindsight is 20/20, and you will make a new choice in the future. For my marketing dollar, books are a great place to start for a long term advantage.