Where Does Book Publishing Fit Into Your Marketing Strategy?


Book publishing is the only promotional tool that:

  1. You can create based on what you already know and have. Simply collect your old reports, brochures, employee/volunteer training notes and even presentation notes and you will have enough information to sketch the rough outline of your book. If you are a talk show host, public speaker, or someone who just really knows what you’re talking about, you can always partner with a ghostwriter who can take your recordings of your message to produce a book or even have your ghostwriter interview you to get the content for your book. Your best promotional tool is already in you.
  2. Has an established, automated and integrated industry behind it.  500+ year old industry behind it that is constantly evolving to find more ways to mass produce and promote your product-your book-for you,
  3. Can attract partners and investors to help you remix the promotional tool-your book-into hundreds of other tools at little or no cost to you. Businesses, Hollywood producers, large non-profits, and even everyday people who recognize the value in your book routinely give money, access to potential buyers and the credibility of their name towards promoting books and turning them into TV shows, movies, conferences, seminars, mastermind groups, live courses, online courses, at-home courses, a DVD series, a CD series, e-books, audiobooks, instructor guides and almost 100 other tools.

But in spite of being the promotional tool that just keeps giving, how does it fit into your overall marketing strategy for your business or nonprofit?

Let’s start by looking at this infographic of the marketing funnel to help us understand the overall process. 

“Economy Watch” featured the image above in an article about marketing and sales in our new age of technology.

The marketing funnel on the left shows the five stages that potential customers must travel through to become your customer.

  1. Awareness: During this stage your marketing is geared towards making sure people know that you exist.
  2. Consideration: Now potential customers are learning more about what you do and starting to consider buying your product/service. For membership organizations, this can be the time when potential members are considering joining.
  3. Conversion: This is the point when potential customers  actually spend money with you and become your customer, or decide to become members of your membership organization.
  4. Loyalty: Think about your favorite grocery store’s loyalty rewards program, because this level of the marketing funnel is all about keeping customers/members happy so that they stay.
  5. Advocacy: When those happy customers/members are willing to tell others about you, they have become your advocates who bring awareness about you to new people.

The sales activities on the right introduce the sales related lingo for each stage of the marketing funnel. To help give these activities a little more life, let’s pull examples from Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” financial literacy empire.

The Robert Kiyosaki Marketing Strategy and Sales Activity Example
During a promotional call for Steve Harrison’s Radio-TV Interview Report, I heard Steve share the following background information on Kiyosaki’s empire and then later saw a video taped presentation by Kiyosaki that supports Steve’s more in dept explanation.

Although many of us know him because of his international bestselling series “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” Robert and his wife began sharing the “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” philosophy through financial literacy courses in their community. After dwelling on the teaching power of an experience, Robert had the idea to create a game that could teach people how to make financial decisions like an investor. He calls this $195 game “Cashflow.” (It’s a great game, you should play it online for free sometime at RichDad.com.) So in the following example, keep in mind that the real product he is selling is the game “Cashflow,” not his books.

Now let’s take a look at the sales activity for selling this game:

    1. Lead Generation: “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” is a controversial message that points out the lack of financial education in the school system and shares how his rich dad was a mentor who did not get higher education but managed to accumulate millions by owning real estate and businesses, and his poor dad was a well-educated and well-respected man who worked for the Department of Education in Hawaii yet struggled financially. Every successful brand always sells a story, but for Robert Kiyosaki, his story is sold in a 200+ page book that brings in money whether customers buy his game or not. The promotion of the book is what creates awareness about his more expensive financial literacy program, and the distribution companies and book stores and marketing teams help promote the book and the name that make it easier for his company to make the sale later.
    2. Lead Qualification: Those who invest the $15-$20 in the “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” book are now qualified leads who are reading his story and considering whether or not that want to agree with the message. For those of you who have not read any of Kiyosaki’s books, each book opens and closes with offers to go to his website and download a free report -where you will see promotions for the game-and at least one page in the back of the book that features a picture of the board game and describes the benefits of playing the game to retrain the way you think about money. The book does the entire sales pitch for the company, and if you value the message, you will consider the offers or take advantage of the free reports by giving up your email address and joining a mailing list where you will receive additional learning materials and special offers until you are ready to buy or leave the list.
    3. Closure: This is the point where you convert to a “Cashflow” buyer. If you are anything like me, the “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” message is one that you cannot easily forget, and if playing the free online version of the game gets you hooked, you may opt to buy the real deal so you can share the experience with your family.
    4. Portfolio Management: After being in the “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” sales funnel for a while, you will undoubtedly be introduced to the other services from the “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” portfolio in anticipation of your appetite for more. These include invitations to free seminars in your area where you are introduced to $200-$2,000 financial literacy and investment courses, and maybe even an invitation to join their $5,000+ offer for personalized help through their one-on-one coaching program. But if you are truly interested in learning more about how to think like Rich Dad, then you are quickly becoming loyal to their message and would be likely to buy these services. Keep in mind that these services are not widely promoted to the general public. The book is promoted to the public, and once you become a qualified lead by buying the book, they know that you are considering their message and only then will Kiyosaki’s company begin introducing you to these higher end learning opportunities.
    5. Relationship Management: There are opportunities for the highly motivated and successful students to join the Kiyosaki financial literacy company and travel to host seminars and maybe even teach courses. This is a highly personal relationship with the Kiyosaki brand-a paid role too. And even if you do not advance to this level, it’s likely that you will begin referring people to the book and other “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” products because of the impact they had on you. This also means that you are becoming part of the word-of-mouth marketing strategy to generate more awareness and introduce others to the marketing funnel.

What all this means for non-profits and businesses looking for a place to fit a published book into their marketing strategy
To quote Robert Kiyosaki, your “book is the ultimate business card.” It explains your message and provides an low-tech easy reference that can be easily shared with others.

It is:

    1. Created based on what you already know-Kiyosaki’s book was based on the same message he was already sharing in his financial literacy course and his game “Cashflow.”
    2. Has an entire industry dedicated to promoting it-Kiyosaki’s book was originally self-published, but after advertising in Steve Harrison’s Radio-TV Interview Report, he landed an interview on Oprah that helped him sell 100,000+ copies. His book sales helped him attract the attention of a traditional publishing company that paid him to allow them to print and distribute his book.
    3. Can attract partners and investors to help you remix the promotional tool-your book-into hundreds of other tools at little or no cost to you-Kiyosaki now offers free seminars, paid courses and a coaching program that are all based on his book’s message. If you visit his website, you will see the names of some of his partners who have helped him develop new teaching tools. Kiyosaki even has a spin-off book series titled “Rich Dad’s Advisors” that highlights books by experts like Blair Singer, Diane Kennedy and Michael A. Lechter to talk about being successful at sales, the tax laws that the rich legally take advantage of and the legal side of protecting the intellectual assets you choose to invest in. These partnerships are part of what makes the “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” brand so valuable.

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Final thought
When used strategically, your book is a promotional tool that can create qualified leads for your key product/service offering while creating passive income. It’s one of the best investments you can make.

Now here’s a question I would love to see you answer in the space below:
Can you think of at least one additional product or service you could create related to your book?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 


  1. By Henripontes (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
  2. http://www.economywatch.com/in-the-news/web20-marketing-sales-tool-alignment-13-12.html#

Danielle Fetherson

Danielle helps aspiring authors become published authors. She believes that everyone has at least one book on the inside of them that can make a positive impact on someone else's life. If you have been thinking about writing a book, learn how to start your book today with the free resources at DanielleFetherson.com.