Copywriting Maven’s Marketing Makeover:

Copywriting Maven’s Marketing Makeover:

Reader Comments (19)

  1. Roberta,
    You always offer insightful, actionable ideas and tasks. I respect what you do so much. I am an avid reader. My book club at home in New Orleans, had a few simple rules. The important one though was, and still is , is that it is about the books not chit chat. We each had a 2-3 minute turn to offer whatever we wanted about the book. Then the discussion opened. This is an incredibly well read, well travelled bunch. Some with quite deep pockets. I cannot imagine any of us paying for a reader’s guide. The mediator is an independent bookseller.
    However what I could imaging is a customized selection of books and guides to read based on a theme, like a series that reaches across borders yet deals with a specific idea or event. Or some such thing. We seem to go through global and local, and just doggone good. Prize lists and all. And some clinkers too. 🙂 Like bundling a package of foreign classics might work.
    I don’t know if that adds anything, but I hope so.

  2. Thanks for the comments! First, thank you Roberta — my business has picked up again since I implemented your suggestions!

    Janice — Believe it or not, right after I started my blog in November the second order I received for a custom kit was exactly what you suggested! A client ordered 5 kits based on the book The Things That Matter: What Six Classic Novels Teach Us About Life (the novels were Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Middlemarch, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and Between the Acts). However, I didn’t think there would be a market for such a large order, so I’ve only been selling each kit separately. After reading your comment, I’m rethinking this!

    I would love to hear any other theme ideas you might have —

    Thanks again, Roberta!

  3. You’re spot on, but there’s a few other little things missing.

    Honestly, I think these kits are too cheap. Maybe great as a teaser or get-em-in strategy (with an email list to capture them), but you need something else at the $60 to $150 level to help with the price psychology, at the very least.

    To me, how much of a “kit” on classic literature can it be if it’s only $25? Try saying it’s on sale from normally $49 and see how that changes things.

    Because, yes, I can get this freely elsewhere, but it’s hard to understand. If you make it easy for me to learn how to read Robert Frost or Herman Melville or Homer, to me that’s worth $50. It doesn’t seem like you put a lot of effort into it if it’s only $25.

    You should also switch your perspective a bit. See if you can team up with someone selling classical music compilations, maybe stick a flier in their CD mailings or email list. Maybe put some fliers in art galleries and museums.

    People who appreciate classic art forms appreciate ALL classic art forms – or at least most.

  4. @Kristen – I love the feedback on how the suggestions made are popping sales in the right direction!

    @Trisha – Price testing is always a good idea. I also love your idea about pairing classic music and books. There’s a lot of good marketing synergy to be enjoyed here.

  5. I admit I skimmed the post but wanted to comment 🙂 … It’s an interesting challenge but the marketing maths feel out of whack so it’s hard to develop a strategy off it that is realistic (that’s without considering the actual product and trying to quantify the potential market for this product).

    The $100 per month equates to 4.8% of budgeted revenue being allocated to advertising. For an established brand/product, this doesn’t feel too far off the mark. For a new product/brand trying to assert itself, I’d suggest upping the budget to 10-15% of budgeted revenue for the first year or two.

    AdWords should only be ONE part of the channel mix for this spend. Online businesses need to establish credibility so using other online and offline media/PR is critical to this.

    If you were to build a business around helping people build and manage successful book clubs with this product being one of a suite of products, you’ll widen your sphere of influence and increase your target audience. I feel you need to do the hard yards first before you can sit back and reap the rewards of a passive income stream…

  6. @Mark – I don’t disagree except to say that ultimately you have to have a large enough target market universe (that continually renews itself) to make any marketing/PR program work. In Kristen’s case, her primary target is book clubs. The challenge? Free, easily available material. Focus: Why paying for her kits makes good sense.

  7. @Roberta – Agree completely with the first 2 sentences but was confused by second half of your reply. You’re saying that the challenge is: Why should someone pay for her kits when there are free alternatives available? (BTW my comment re: marketing maths wasn’t about your suggestions but about the original info provided by business owner).

    If I’m on the same page with the challenge, then if the alternatives are of similar quality you can either build additional perceived value around the sale (additional tools, services, information, book subscriptions/discounts etc – see Edward de Bono’s “The 6 Value Medals”) or build a really solid brand out of the business/owner so that the purchase becomes emotionally driven but rationally supported (eg people who spend $1500 on a pram/stroller when a $200 option would suffice).

    Guess my quick key points are:
    – extend product portfolio (eg book club management tools)
    – create strong brand/personality outside of the website
    – increase transparency (who’s behind the website, what’s your story, can I trust you with my money, testimonials, etc)
    – consider long-term need to help people create new book clubs rather than just sell to existing book clubs (low hanging fruit)

    (I will say that the bookclub website is a really well put together site)

  8. @Kristen- I’ll put some thought into it…several ideas came rolling right out, but let me sift through.
    The idea is to ( Brian’s going to love this) re-purpose the use of classics. Make connections. Invigorate discussions that make ideas we have long loved resonate with relevance. I will email you. Or you can contact me through my site.
    @Mark and Roberta- you two are nailing a primary concern that I have in launching any venture. Scale. Practically speaking do the numbers work? And is there a sweet spot number in marketing effort dollars that tips the venture into success?

  9. @Mark – Your points are all well-taken and essential to the long-term growth of Kristen’s business as well as any other. Except, and this is probably coming from the discussions we’re having about copy/creative value at Copywriting Maven as well as Copywriter Underground in that the perceived value of information/content today – even specialized or enhanced – is being degraded. (If it’s on the internet, it must be free, right?”) I see this happening even in B2B info marketing.

    I think Kristen – and any of us who ply the online waters selling info – need to create strategies that will overcome “I can get this free” mindset with clear, practical value that prospects will understand and desire, because they lack the time or expertise to get or make it for themselves. Your suggestions speak to exactly my point.

    Just another way of looking at the challenge 🙂

  10. @Mark -thank you for giving me another opportunity to play with the “black pencil”, one of my favorite sites in spite of what Dean says. 🙂
    @Roberta- isn’t your advice to Kristen geared toward just that, creating perceived value, something the free stuff doesn’t have? A navigator with a more valuable map? I will scoot over to Maven to see if you’ve posted any of the creative value discussions.

  11. Thank you!! I just got home and am taking many, many notes! I really appreciate everyone taking the time to help me out!

    When I first started this venture — my plan was to “re-purpose” the classics since we really don’t have the life experience to appreciate them in high school, and I thought they would be so good for book clubs, but wanted to help readers out who might be intimidated (and there weren’t many free guides available or that were sufficient for the classics). So, I spent all summer creating kits — which take about 30-40 hours to create (each).

    To my surprise, what ended up happening was I started to get orders for what tend to be “hot” book club books (contemporary) — even though there were already free guides available! Originally I hadn’t planned on competing w/ “free”!

    So, I have been trying to shift my thinking the past few months. I am really not good at marketing — which is why I’ve only tried AdWords so far (which bring in 2-7 orders a week, but the conversion rate isn’t great).

    @Trish — I am intrigued to try your price psychology idea! I do think the kits are worth more, but I was thinking a lower price would encourage people to give the kits a try w/o too much of an investment. I look forward to experimenting!

    @Mark — I love your ideas and look forward to brainstorming ways to extend my product portfolio! I really should branch out w/ my advertising, too… Thanks for the kind words, too!

    Thank you for all of the help, everyone!

  12. I think another great target market for this could be the home schooling community. It’s a large and ever-increasing customer base, one that is (I assume) eager to purchase study aids such as these.

  13. @ Jamie — Thanks, Jamie! You are so right! I’m actually planning to launch a curriculum site this summer (in an attempt to better market the classic kits) and I hadn’t thought about home-schooling — terrific idea!

This article's comments are closed.