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Personal essays

Marketing - Essay from Newsletter 71

Let them know

Going out of business

When Steve suggested I start a newsletter, it supposed to be a monthly or quarterly email that offered some thoughts but mainly marketed my products.

That’s not what this is at all.

It is a weekly essay (rant?) about whatever is animating me on Tuesday morning when I get up to write it along with links that have captured my attention in the past week or so.

But I remember the sales people at each of the radio stations I worked at who would shake their heads at clients who were going out of business and finally bought some advertising.

Invariably, the store buying the ads would report record numbers of people in the store and record sales.

The sales people shook their heads because they’d been trying to convince those stores to buy advertising for years.

And so having watched this for years, this past week I reconsidered marketing and advertising.

They want you to

It’s not the first time someone has had to talk to me about this.

I don’t know if it’s the midwesterner in me, but I am uncomfortable promoting myself.

Chad Fowler once told me that if you have a product or service that you think someone could really benefit from and you don’t tell people about them, then you’re doing them a disservice.

That sort of marketing, Chad explained, isn’t dirty. It’s providing people with something they want.

It makes sense. But I worry about how it looks.

When I give talks at conferences, I just begin with the topic on slide one.

I don’t like the talks that begin with “a little about me”.

I’m sure there’s a happy medium between folks who overdo it and me who does nothing.

Often after conference talks people will come up and talk to me and I’ll end up doing training at their company. So I guess I never saw the need for marketing.

But then there was this past year where there were no conference talks and mingling with people afterwards. And it looks as if a year will easily grow into two years.

I’m not going out of business - but the business is changing.

The Ultimate Bundle

I was chatting with Paul Hudson a month ago about a book I’m considering writing.

He threw out a number that he thought was minimal that my books should be earning.

They don’t.

He looked at my product pages at Gumroad and made some concrete suggestions.

I should offer a bundle of my programming books for a reduced price.

I don’t like to run sales - I worry about charging those who rushed to support me more than those who needed convincing - but this isn’t the same sort of thing.

So we created The Ultimate Bundle.

Paul helped with the name.

He also provided artwork and copy for the site.

He provided artwork for the pages for my existing books and made some concrete suggestions of what I should do to change the text on each individual page.

He also mentioned me and linked to the bundle in his newsletter.

The results were amazing.

I was never going out of business, but this helps keep me in the book writing business and I’ll figure out how to build back the training online.

Thank you Paul, Chad, and Steve.

I don’t feel as dirty as I thought I would.

Essay from Dim Sum Thinking Newsletter 71. Read the rest of the Newsletter or subscribe

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