Laura Lake, a marketing consultant with The Balance, defines marketing as “the process of teaching consumers why they should choose your product or service over your competitors.”
To begin an effective marketing campaign based on this definition, we must start assigning terms. We do this by asking a lot of questions.
- Who is my consumer?
- Believe it or not, the more narrow your vision of consumer, the more effectively you can serve them and tell them (via marketing) how to get what you have.
- Take a minute and write a character sketch of the person who reads/receives your work.
- What is my product?
- Again, narrow your focus and be specific. Trust the Lord to guide you in this process
- Instead of saying, “I write good things” try this: “I write inspiring novellas where Christian middle school girls are the heroines in tough situations.” Or, this: “I write about how mature women can form multi-generational Bible studies based on Titus 2.”
- Now, have a pile of mission-minded novellas/poems/short stories/articles/books/blog posts available for your consumers.
- Why should my audience choose my product over my competitors?
- As Christ-following writers, our competitors are not other Christ-following writers. We have a unity in the Spirit. Never forget that. Our true competitors are the “other” voices in the world.
- Your readers should choose your stories because they answer a question, solve a problem, or meet a need in a way that reflects Christ. Your readers should choose your stories because they tell the Truth. Yes, Jesus is the Truth. Yes, He is that compelling.
Once you clearly identify the answers to these three questions in a succinct way, you are ready to move on to the process of marketing.
If you have an unlimited budget, hire a marketing firm and let them do the work for you.
If, however, your budget is a tad modest, then take a lesson from this humble beginning:
In February 1973, eight women met for two hours in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. They pooled their money to pay for qualified childcare, they ate, they did something creative and they had a short devotion. They called themselves the Mothers of Preschoolers and continued to meet together based on the premise that “mothering matters”. Decades later, MOPS still ministers to thousands of women both in the US and abroad. They started small and grew according to their abilities, learning to meet needs and overcome challenges along the way. Most of all, they weren’t afraid to share this new community treasure with others.
A wise process to follow, and one that models the story of the faithful servant in Matthew 25: 14-30.
The Faithful Process:
- Begin with what you have been given. (The who, the what and the why from above)
- Work according to your abilities. Is it better to begin with five customers and make sure they are completely happy, or with 500 and let a few slip through the cracks?
- Trust that good things are shared and encourage that sharing with those you trust.
- Give praise where praise is due.
One more nugget …
Let’s say that you have a fantastic book. The structure is perfect, the characters are classic, the Truth is clear and powerful. You started your marketing push by giving five readers one book each and you asked them to write an honest review. From those reviews, a hundred people read your book and ordered ten copies each. But they never received their books because of a computer glitch. They sent you an email, but you were so busy you couldn’t take the time to follow up on the problem.
Writing Prompt: Sally is a 30-something educator who has planned a special journaling class after school for at-risk kids. She has identified the kids, advertised well, and secured sponsors for the event. The entire community is awaiting the results of this crazy venture; they want to see her fail. As if the social pressure isn’t enough, a snowstorm is scheduled to blow through. Write Sally out of trouble and throw in a transformed student by the end of your story.