Monday, April 01, 2013

What Jesus Can Teach Us About Marketing

One of the things I simply detest about being an author is marketing. There is nothing more embarrassing than to have to explain to someone why they should buy my book. "Because I wrote it and it's about Jesus and I think it's really cool," does not really pique anyone's interest, much less my own.

I prefer to hand out a bookmark, or postcard and let that do all the explaining. Better yet, read the back of the cover - that will save me from having to explain what it's all about. Sadly, this technique will not sell many books. There are of course many other options for marketing your book like newspaper ads, book signings, radio interviews, etc.,... But if you are someone who doesn't have a lot of money, perhaps you could rely on Jesus' marketing techniques.

Jesus had marketing techniques? Well, not in the sense of what we have today, but he did use a few principles we could learn from and incorporate into our own marketing plans. 

The first thing the Lord did when he began His ministry was to observe his cousin John the Baptist at work. He listened to him preach, then when the moment was right, He had John baptize Him. That moment was marked and etched on everyone's mind who saw Him get baptized too. Why? Because when Jesus came up out of the water the Holy Spirit rested on him in the form of a dove and a voice from heaven called out, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." After that, Jesus was lead by the Holy Spirit out into the desert for 40 days and nights. No one had contact with him.

Marketing Tip #1 - Create a buzz about your book before it comes out. Before you are finished writing it, talk about it with your friends, family, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, etc. Drop hints about it's subject matter. Share just enough to get them interested and do this months in advance of its release.

When Jesus came back from his sojourn in the desert he began to preach nine powerful words, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Marketing Tip #2 - Get your elevator pitch ready. Think Twitter. Tell me about your book in 10 seconds or less. Your elevator pitch will address what your book is about (repenting) and explain why it's important (the kingdom of heaven is at hand). Your opening line should intrigue your listener so much that they say, "That sounds interesting. Tell me more." 

Once Jesus began preaching he then gathered around him people who believed in Him and His message.

Marketing Tip #3 - Gather together at least 12 family members and friends (try to include other writers) who can support you in various ways. First and most importantly, you will need a prayer team. These precious people will cover you and your book in prayer as you begin final edits and get ready to submit it to a publisher. These will be the people who give you honest feedback on your book. They will critique it and not be afraid to tell you what they like or dislike. By the time you submit your manuscript to an editor, your book should appeal to more than one type of person and should have most of the kinks out of it. In addition to being your prayer support and critique group, these people will believe in you so much, that they will talk about your book to others - even before it's in print. Word of mouth spreads fast.

Jesus had one big advantage on spreading his message - he could heal people, he could even raise them from the dead. Once this news got out, people were clamouring to hear him and touch him. And those in authority wanted him dead because of his teachings.

Marketing Tip #4 - Create a stir. Dan Brown created a stir with The DaVinci Code - he got Christians so riled up that when the movie version of the book came out, they boycotted it and any companies who sponsored it. That made everyone else who wasn't a Christian, want to see it all the more. Am I suggesting you do something offensive? Of course not! However, we all know that almost everything Jesus said was controversial for His time. He angered quite a few people. When my book first came out, I was lambasted by Catholics because I did not venerate Mary and leave her as a perpetual virgin. One Catholic reviewer said Come to Me was "Just as bad as The DaVinci Code - highly offensive." Ouch! I was horrified! And wondered what to do to "fix my book". But my wise father said, "This is not a bad thing. People like controversy. Wait and see what happens." And he was right. Anyone who wasn't Catholic wanted to buy it and some who were Catholic and heard about it from their Protestant friends, decided to give it a chance anyway. I was relieved to receive a few emails of praise from them because I had made the Holy Family seem "real". Come to Me has been a consistent Amazon bestseller since its release.

These are just a few of the things I learned on marketing from looking at Jesus' life and ministry. In the end you will have to do what is best for you and your book. Personally, I prefer the old-fashioned way - Word of Mouth.

Until Next Time,


Peter Black said...

Laura, this is a really great post -- eyebrow-raising and mind opening, and also instructional AND helpful!

(An' I don't think that's superlative language.)

Thank you.

Marian said...

Great insight. Thanks Laura. One observation: Jesus has intrinsic value and so does "Come to Me." Ultimately they are marketable.

Eleanor Shepherd said...

Thanks, Laura. These are helpful ideas and I am enjoying reading Come to Me.
Warm regards,

Laura J. Davis said...

Thank you all for your encouragement.

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