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A Book Is NOT a Glorified Business Card

Have you ever heard someone describe their book as a glorified business card? Some speakers and coaches hand out their books at conferences and events like stickers at a pediatrician’s office or lollipops at a bank.

However, a book is so much more than a glorified business card. Let’s take a closer look, and I’ll show you why.

A business card typically contains a lot of useful information about you, especially if a person wants to get in touch with you. It may have your:

  • name
  • email address
  • phone number
  • website
  • photo
  • product info
  • social media handle
  • and more!

Every detail on the card is about you and your brand.

Yet an effective book, one that can successfully help you grow your business, is more about the reader and the problem they’re looking to solve than it is about you.

A Book Is NOT a Glorified Business Card

A business-building book:

  • clearly identifies the reader’s problem.
  • outlines some possible solutions.
  • shares why certain solutions are better than others.
  • tells a bit about you and how you discovered or developed your preferred solution.
  • demonstrates how other people just like the reader have used the solution themselves.
  • invites the reader to give the solution a try.
  • provides additional resources they can access to learn more.
  • encourages them to get in touch with you if they need more help.

By the time a reader has finished a book you wrote about your topic of expertise, they’ve formed a few opinions as well. They’ve decided whether they:

  • like your style.
  • trust your information.
  • believe your solution could work for them.
  • can do it on their own.
  • want more help.

When someone who has read your book does reach out to you for help, you’re probably talking to a prospect who already knows, likes and trusts you, and who is familiar enough with your methods to believe your strategy is right for them. In other words, you’re talking to a warm lead. The only real question at that time is: Which product or service is right for them based on the investment they’re comfortable making?

When I say that a book is more than just a glorified business card, there’s more to it than that. It’s not just about the content!

How People Search

Did you know that the top three search engines people use to learn new things and find solutions to problems are Google, YouTube and Amazon? Hopefully, you’ve already taken steps to show up in Google and YouTube, but how will you rank in search results for people who need what you have to offer when they’re looking on Amazon for a solution? You need a visibility strategy to show up there too.

And that’s where writing a book comes in. When your book is clearly written and positioned to solve a potential client’s specific problem or pain point, solution-seekers for that particular problem will find your book.

They may have never heard of you before or may already know you well, and Amazon has just jogged their memory, reminding them that you may have a solution. But when they are searching for a book to help them achieve something they’re interested in and your book shows up, you’re meeting them where they’re at. And that’s not something that a business card can ever do.

Books as Problem-Solvers

Books can also be written to solve specific issues in your business. Do you want to build your mailing list? Establish your authority? Generate more leads? Produce more revenue? Have more productive conversations with prospects? All of these things can be accomplished when you strategically write a book to address those needs.

You can even sweeten the odds of being discovered by lesser-served communities if you release your book in more than just eBook and paperback formats. There are relatively few books produced in large print and audiobook formats. As a result, if you produce your book in those additional formats, you increase your book’s odds of being discovered.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that large print is only for older folks. Many Baby Boomers and visually impaired readers appreciate large print because it reduces the strain on their eyes. And audiobook sales continue to increase each year. People love to listen to them while busy with other things, like commuting, exercising and doing chores.

I don’t know about you, but at times I’ve had stacks of business cards tucked away in various places in my office that I never touched again. Eventually, they were thrown away along with the dust bunnies they’d collected. Maybe a few of them were scanned first, but most of the time, they weren’t.

Yet a book can be the start of a carefully designed plan that funnels a reader from the pages of the book to working with you or buying your products. Adding bonus materials for which they have to opt in allows you to build your mailing list and nurture that relationship until such a time as they are ready to buy from you.

Unlike the one-way communication of a business card, a book can stimulate engagement and a real conversation between the reader and an author. And two-way conversation is crucial to building a solid foundation between you. So, the next time someone tells you that a business-building book is nothing more than a glorified business card, remember… It is so much more!

This article originally appeared in the 1st quarter edition of Marketing, Media and Money magazine in 2021.

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