Finding good marketing strategies is like buffet grazing

Halcyon Acres vegetable basket

Halcyon Acres vegetable basket

Think the only buffet you can find is at a restaurant? Get creative to discover new variety to relish.

I never understood the appeal of smoothies or any other kind of concoction created by grinding up delicious treats into a liquid muck. Tastes, textures and colors are just too much fun to dismiss as an inconvenience. Reducing what you ‘eat’ into sludge seems to miss the point. Oh sure, the ‘truly inspired’ will tell you food should be about nothing more than fueling your body with vital nutrients, but these folks eschew one of the greatest joys in life. Discovering great marketing strategies is much the same.

Marketing is like a buffet. There’s the picking and choosing part (and I’m delighted when I can get a small taste of so many things) where you test a bunch of ideas and then go back for more of what (you like) works. Sticking to a single strategy (or food choice) is rarely effective over the long term if you want to enjoy the benefits of an effective mix – for both your health and prosperity.

There are also perks that come with the ability to experience each selection as a separate delight (or disgust).  Often, it’s the trial and error through distinctive selections that creates the greatest results. Mistakes can teach us lessons that last a lifetime. Being open to new to you possibilities can result in unexpected and delightful finds.

Turning Challenging Horses Into Willing Partners audio bookLate last year, we started to dabble in audio books with Horse Sense and Cents® (we offer a lot of free ideas on our website and blog, but also publish non-fiction equine titles through this company). The end game had nothing to do with the initial titles we ran through the system. We were testing a new provider to gauge the process, service and effectiveness for an audio product we had already produced, but were hitting roadblocks relative to getting listed on iTunes, Amazon and other major online retailers.

Amazingly, these titles started to sell more quickly as audio offerings (at twice the price in most cases) than the previously published print or digital books. What we discovered (my first – and probably last – bleeding edge coup) is buyers are looking for audio titles for their horse care, career and training challenges. We’re one of a very select few that satisfies this demand.

You guessed it – we’ve shifted our marketing strategy to put primary focus for the remainder of the year on converting as many titles as possible to audio options. The initial goal of finding a means to get done audio content listed on the biggie sites resulted in a discovery we never would have expected. It’s funny how opportunities sometimes come unexpectedly.

I found ACX (after six months of research) as a solution to a problem we couldn’t resolve; namely, finding a way to get one-hour MP3 segments of the Inventing Your Horse Career Series available for purchase on the major online retail players.

This hasn’t been easy for small businesses – until now. I gladly share the wealth as a royalty share that nets us 25% (this will go up to 50% on the titles we produced without voice talent help) for sales we couldn’t have made without the visibility provided by this resource. What I found was a great additional revenue stream for most of our other titles with virtually no out-of-pocket costs.

As has always been the case with our product extension, additional options serve to drive more sales for initial (more expensive) products. Counter-intuitive, granted, but I’ve found offering varied and less expensive alternatives to an original title brings more buyers for all offerings.    

If you’re not open to a range of tastes with your marketing strategy mix, you’ll never find that unexpected gem that launches you to a new level. It’s important to test in a way that allows you to sample each flavor so you know when you find that delicious tidbit that excites your senses and completes your palate.

It seems everyone dreams of being an author at some time in their life. Kindle makes it easy, although it’s smart to hire professional editing and design support if your goal is to gain credibility.

Once you have a listing on Amazon, you can access the vast marketing reach ACX provides (although they do have a quality control process designed to ensure they keep out the dreck – that’s a good thing for professionals). There’s a huge demand for audio books right now. Few – including the behemoth publishers – are serving this need. Why not jump into the fray with something you’re passionate about? It’s fun, a great learning experience and rewarding to get those monthly royalty checks (in many more ways than the money factor).  

Some of the most successful marketing strategies are off the grid. Right now, audio books seem to be one of them. Why not give it a shot? Have questions? Please leave a comment below and I’ll try to provide or find an answer.  

8 Responses to Finding good marketing strategies is like buffet grazing
  1. Kim Wende
    June 10, 2013 | 7:01 pm

    That is fantastic that you are starting to do audio as I’ve been reading how it is the up and coming marketing strategy. I know for me I like the audio so I can listen when I’m driving or at the barn. Keep up the great work!

    • Nanette Levin
      June 10, 2013 | 9:18 pm

      Thanks, Kim. It’s been an unexpected but fun detour. We put out our first title toward the end of December, 2012 and are now working on our fourth. It’s good to know you’re hearing good things about audio – and enjoying it yourself.

  2. Chef William
    June 10, 2013 | 9:13 pm

    Interesting article after the first paragraph. I have had a wonderful career that included “grinding up delicious treats into a liquid”. Many vegetable sauces and salsas come to mind. A good pesto sauce to go with leg of lamb, many barbecue sauces,an avocado sauce to serve with lemon chicken, Basil and lemon mayonnaise and many, many more. And yes, when I have a full schedule in front of me I often make myself a vegetable smoothie with a piece of fruit added for sweetness, before getting into my car, turning on an audio program to listen too while driving to where ever I’m headed…Food is a buffet and smoothies are part of that buffet, maybe not for everyone but then neither is escargot yet both can be enjoyed by people attending the same buffet. just saying……..

    • Nanette Levin
      June 10, 2013 | 9:30 pm

      Yes, Chef William, I did consider sauces and other enhancements could be described in a similar fashion – and can really enhance the taste of a meal. On smoothies – food and marketing involve different tastes depending on who you are trying to appeal to. If you try to serve me a smoothie to sell your culinary skills I probably won’t be convinced :-).

  3. Amy Putkonen
    June 16, 2013 | 1:35 pm

    Hi Nanette!

    Wow. This is great. I totally agree with you here. I have an Audible account and the way it works is I get one credit a month that I can spend on any book. It does not matter the cost of the book because the “credit” costs me $15. If a book is less than $15, I will often buy it outright and save my credit for the more expensive books. I actually read more books this way because I am a commuter and I read in the car. Sometimes, if a book is really good I will also buy it in print. Or, if I buy it in print first and I want to listen to it again and again, I will buy it in audio. I also buy most of my books on my Kindle these days because they take less space and I can take them with me wherever I go. In rare cases, I will buy actual print copies. Only if they are way cheaper or not available in the other two ways. Perhaps I am a technical person and not the norm, but I would say that people are getting more and more like me. Thanks for the great resource! You are always so wonderful that way.

    • Nanette Levin
      June 16, 2013 | 5:10 pm

      Thanks for stopping in, Amy. As noted, I was initially surprised that when more options were offered the core products sold better. I think a lot of people are looking to listen to books with limited time to sit down and read. With companies like ACX (they provide titles for audible.com), small business owners have a lot of opportunities to get the word out about what they’re doing if they don’t have the specific skills to assemble the parts. It’s nice to collect the extra revenue too.

      Glad you’re not reading and driving, by the way :-).

  4. Amy Putkonen
    June 16, 2013 | 1:36 pm

    Let me clarify! Audible are audio books so I actually don’t read and drive! lol… So I LISTEN to them in the car.

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