Many people become frustrated when their attempts at marketing seem to fall on deaf ears. They think they must be doing something "wrong." So they stop marketing. Unfortunately, that's just about the worst thing they could do. The reality is that marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. The marketing you do today may not bear fruit for months or even years.
For example, this month I have been working on several client projects. Two clients first heard of me in January, another in May. Yet no one was ready to work with me until now.
Here's another example. This morning, I got an email from a company that makes horse barns (Horizon Structures). I have a dream of someday owning a horse. Although I have plenty of pasture, we don't have a barn. So one day, I did a ton of online research, ran across this company, and requested a catalog and their newsletter. They promptly mailed the catalog and I've been getting newsletters from them on a regular basis. You wouldn't think that a newsletter about barns would be interesting, but it is. I almost always click through to their Web site and read more about the latest barn designs. They have testimonials all over the site and many of the people who buy the barns say they "tell their friends about their wonderful new barn."
It's easy to see why this company is doing well selling a large-ticket item that people buy maybe once or twice in their lifetime. They have taken the notion of marathon marketing to heart. I'm not ready to buy a barn right now, but when the time is right, I'll get in touch with them and get a quote.
So you may be thinking "marketing books is different." Obviously I can't work on book layout for a client until the book is done, and you don't want a barn until you have a horse. But books benefit from the same type of long-range thinking. For example, our book Web Business Success always sells best in the late summer and fall. People suddenly realize, "gee my Web site stinks" or "wow, I need to add ecommerce," and they finally decide they need to do something about it before the holidays. Because we consistently market the book, people know about it when they finally are ready to buy it.
People only buy when they are ready. No matter how fantastic your marketing efforts, you can't sell a horse barn to someone without a horse, or a book on building Web sites to someone without a computer. But that person may plan to get a horse or they may get a computer. Consistent marketing gets their attention and lays the groundwork for a future sale.
The fact that marketing is not a sprint is also why you must be wary of all the "get rich quick" courses you find online. A gigantic binder of CDs filled with interviews with gurus isn't suddenly going to make everything you do sell magically without any effort on your part, particularly if you are trying to break into a new marketplace or niche.
No matter what you're selling online, whether it's books or barns, you'll need to set up a good Web site and put a lead-generation system (newsletter or autoresponder) in place. All of these things require effort. If you can do them yourself, it will take time. If you can't do them yourself, it will cost money.
The main key is that you must market. It may not pay off immediately, but if you market consistently, create excellent products, and offer good customer service, you'll be rewarded in the long run.
Learn About the Web Without the "Geek Speak"
Learn what you need to know about setting up your own business Web site in our book, Web Business Success: the Entrepreneur's Guide to Web Sites That Work. The book is written from the business-owner's point of view; not the nerd point of view, so it's free of "geek speak" and jargon. As a business owner, you want to be able to understand what your Web developer is telling you (and possibly not telling you). Educate yourself so you can make smart decisions about your business Web site. You can purchase Web Business Success from the publisher, Logical Expressions or online book retailers like Amazon.com.