That’s what media people were saying about British author J.K. Rowling’s new book, The Casual Vacancy.
The author released her first attempt at writing an adult-themed book last Thursday. Prior to its release, CBS News said that whether it “is a staggering genius or a mediocre disappointment” the book couldn’t lose as it was already at the top of Amazon bestsellers list and had sold at least a million copies in advance in the UK.
As expected, The Casual Vacancy rose to the top of the charts. Nielsen BookScan shows that it is selling 10 times its closest rival.
This isn’t J.K. Rowling’s “first” attempt at writing a blockbuster of course. As the whole world knows, she’s the author of the wildly popular Harry Potter series.
However, when she wrote her first Harry Potter book, it didn’t hit #1 overnight like her new book. It crept silently up the charts until it hit #1 in December of 1998, a year and a half after it came out.
Since then, Rowling has used every strategy available—from turning Harry Potter into a movie to creating a “Harry Potter industry” with everything from video games to collectibles to build her popularity, visibility and readership. A following that pretty much guaranteed her the number one spot for her latest book.
Using every available strategy you possibly can is something you should do too.
Because while you can learn many different lessons from J.K. Rowling such as how to create raving fans and the importance of consistent marketing to your target audience, the very thing I want to focus on is the fact that she didn’t rely on any one strategy to build her income and following…
Because readership is never really guaranteed.
While you may have written emails, put up a website, and created ads and other marketing pieces before, like Rowling, you should look at every opportunity and strategy you can to stimulate readership and make your marketing more visible.
Which is why I want to talk about something a little different today.
Often when we talk about your marketing, we talk about how to put marketing systems in place, how to make your copy more effective etc. But what we haven’t discussed much is how to get the most out of the layout of your marketing.
This is yet another strategy you can use to ensure prospects will be riveted to your marketing copy. And the good news is it won’t require much effort on your part.
Here are four tips for working with a graphic artist when creating your direct response pieces that can help increase readership and boost response even further (even if you are just starting out):
1) Teach your graphic designer about direct response. Most designers know how to make a piece look pretty, but have not been taught direct response. The vast majority know very little about marketing… period. Talk to them about your customer, client or patient and what their concerns are. Explain who your prospects are and what they respond to. Before you even talk about design, make sure your designer has a clear picture of your target audience.
2) Let your graphic artist know what you are trying to convey. Whether your artist understands direct response or not, it’s a good idea to give your designer ideas about how you want to guide the reader. For example, give suggestions for the type of photo you want to include, expressions and voice inflexion you are trying to convey and what you want to draw attention to such as offers, calls to action and your main points.
3) Make your graphic designer read your copy all the way through so they have a better understanding about what you are selling. To ensure they read it, tell them you would like their comments and that you will call to discuss your piece with them after they’ve read it.
4) Give your graphic artist a book on Direct Response. You might give your artist a copy of Dan Kennedy’s The Ultimate Sales Letter book so they have a better understanding of Direct Response. Have them pay special attention to “Step 16” in chapter 8, which covers graphic enhancement.
If you are in a business that is typically labeled a “non-direct marketing” business such as a doctor, dentist, restaurateur, accountant, etc. then a second good resource for your graphic artist is No B.S. Direct Marketing.
Remember to stimulate readership by working with your graphic designer instead of just handing things over for her to “figure out.” The small investment you make in time, effort and money to buy a book for your artist will far outweigh the boost in response you can get from even one small graphic enhancement idea your artist picks up and uses. In fact, there are cases where people have taken existing copy, didn’t change one single word of copy and by adding the right graphic enhancement, improved response dramatically.
Put it to the test yourself and let me know how it goes.
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