When you are pre-testing a niche book it’s one thing to have a list to mail to, it’s even more important to have something worth mailing, to see if they will buy what you want to sell.
Of the three items you will send to each recipient, nothing is more important than the flyer. Beyond its professional appearance and impeccable spelling and grammar, it must tell precisely what the buyer can expect to receive—and why they should go through the hassle and expense of buying it.
The flyer is one page long, black on white. It must answer all the logical questions the reader might ask. (You can add a line that says “details” followed by a website link that tells much more. But don’t rely on the recipient even seeing that line, much less linking to it. Presume that they will respond only to what is in front of their eyes.)
In a moment you can link to and I will describe a copy of a sample flyer like one I might send in my mailing. Yours, like it, probably should include the book title prominently located; some promotional copy, a table of contents, sometimes a book cover, some bio information about the author (less likely, a photo), a satisfaction guaranteed box, and the critical details about the book format, price, size, number of pages, ISBN number, date of availability, and perhaps that website link for more information or details that I just mentioned.
Mostly, I’m going to focus on the benefits the buyer would receive, why its contents are critically needed now, any unique features it contains (first of its kind, first in this easy-to-use format, cutting-edge information, author is a top expert, and so on).
Take care when you compose the flyer because the test only tells you if the respondent will buy what you promise on its page. They are saying yes or no to a book with the title and contents shown, at that price, that size, and fulfilling those promises. If you decide later that you want a different title or price or slant, you’ll have to conduct another test!
In other words, I would invest about $500-700 to see if the chiropractors contacted would pay $149 dollars (or more) to buy the information and the hope that flyer promised or implied. If nobody or only a few responded positively to my first test, I might use the 200 names left to test a different book title, redesigned contents, or different prices, but that gets to be risky business. My first flyer should be the best I can do, then I’ll be able to test it a second time with the rest of the 500 names I have.
I only have one side of an 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper from which to determine if I should invest thousands of dollars and months of time!
What follows is what my flyer for this chiropractic-directed books looks like. (The text usually enlarges if you double-click on the image.) I’ll also describe its contents in case they are difficult to see or comprehend.
Imagine the flyer being divided into two columns and that there are four islands of copy in the first column and five in the second. Let’s number each island 1-9.
#1, at the top of the column on the left, would be the book’s title, in solid bold type. This is usually the most prominent wording on the page. Here it says, centered and in bold type, “Standard Marketing Procedures for Chiropractors.”
Below the title, #2, comes the benefits text. We began by saying “Let ‘Dr. Ted’s’ sixth SOPs book walk you through …” and continue for two paragraphs that tell what the book contains, why the buyer should want it, and how SOPs are used to improve the practice’s marketing.
Next down, #3, a Table of Contents with the six key elements the book contains and explains.
The last “island” in the first column, #4, is a short biography of Dr. Ted V. Johnson, this book’s imaginary author—in our case, me! (Incidentally, Dr. Ted’s rather heroic virtues came from other chiropractors picked randomly in Google listings!) Your bio or bios, however, must be accurate and should support the author’s authority to write the book. This, incidentally, is the most challenged item in any book review or flyer.
At the top of the right-hand column, #5, is a mock book cover. It needn’t be fancy nor the final cover but it must include the title and the author, and probably some form of related artwork (this was plucked from my Windows form designs). Incidentally, because the two titles sort of run parallel on my flyer, I might have put the cover as the ninth, or last, item, for balance. The cover is here mostly to reaffirm that what you are selling is a book.
Below the cover, #6, is an open-topped box, a sort of cover continuation, that explains the CD that accompanies each printed book.
That’s followed by what I call the “facts box,” as #7. It needn’t be run in large type but it must contain the vital info that bookfolk seek. In order, it tells how the book is bound (here, a white 3-ring binder), and its cost all in the top line. (Note that this is where you change the price on the respective A-E mailings.) The next line explains anything else included with the book. Here, the accompanying CD with 55 SOPs.) Line three gives the physical book size (8.5” x 11”) and the number of pages, in this case 140. (You can guesstimate but in a bound book make the page total divisible by four.) Then the ISBN number. (This needn’t be accurate if you don’t have an ISBN yet; just put the correct number of digits down, 13.) The fifth line down tells when the book is available. BRAND NEW! says all. And the last line tells at which web page the buyer can find more information. (This webpage should be legitimate in a real test, though here it’s simply an unclaimed page.)
A good quote telling why a buyer needs these words also makes sense, so that is #8.
And you always want a SATISFACTION GUARANTEED box, saying what it says in #9, although very few will ever return the book. Particularly if you make it even better than their expectations!
What are the most important elements on the flyer? Certainly the title is number one, then (2) cover, (3) contents, (4) benefit copy, (5) authorship, and (6) cost and size. When the book is paid for by a firm or institution, benefits probably move up to second place.
Two more points.
Your test flyer could be two-sided but I advise against it. Many will never turn it over, and many more don’t want to read (or even know) that much. Plus, it costs you more to print.
And there is no reason for the testing flyer to be multi-colored unless the cover is so spectacular that it is the strongest selling tool. One might use pastel or colored paper if that is consistent with the tone of the book, but black ink on white paper is probably safest and certainly the least expensive.
That’s it for the flyer. In the next blog, #11, I will describe (and show) the postcard that will also be part of the testing packet. (We just saw the note that accompanies the flyer and postcard in the last blog, #9, of this 12-blog series.) The entire process will be summarized in Bundle Blog #12.
P.S. The entire niche publishing process is, as you might imagine, fairly comprehensive, so I published a book that goes into it in step-by-step detail. It is Niche Publishing: Publish Profitably Every Time.