Following on the heels of this concept is the third law, which says It is better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace. Wait, what? Yeah, that doesn't sound right but it is. The closing of a sale takes place in a customer's mind, not out in the marketplace among the competition.
It really doesn't matter in a critical way whether you're #1 or #2 if you're first in a customer's (prospect's) mind. For us Indie Authors, this feels wrong. We all want to be #1 on the very top of the Bestseller's lists. We think that's the apex of success, but it's not necessarily. If you want to write and sell more than one book for more than one week (or one day) then you need to understand that the "Top 100" are all potential "#1" spots.
What matters is what your readers see in their minds as the "best" choice, not what Amazon or the New York Times or any other "list maker" claims is the best. Capture the reader's mind's eye and you have captured the sale.
That's the 4th Immutable Law of Marketing: Marketing is not a battle of products, but one of perception. This is another one of those subtle differences between two seemingly identical points. You may or may not be the best. You may or may not be the first. You simply need to be perceived as such by your prospects and you will have won the battle for their mind.
Now the hard part to accept: You cannot change someone's mind. They will perceive whatever idea they have entrenched in their mind. You can persuade them to change their mind themselves but it's easier to simply appear, fully-formed, in their minds, displacing what was there. Blast it away, as though you're carrying out a demolition and construct your new idea in its place. The trick is to do so in a single blow.
You cannot change their thoughts for them. No matter how much money or time or energy you throw at it, the marketing problem remains that the person must make the choice to change their own mind for themselves. You need to give them the reason why they should bother. It's a motivational question, not a sales question. This is the subtle point that marketers have struggled with for years.
Prospects see and hear -- and reject -- new ideas all day, every day. Why do we reject some and accept (even embrace!) others? Perception. One idea is perceived as stupid or ridiculous or pointless while another is perceived as holding great promise for...something the prospect wants. The things may all be identical. It's how they are presented that differs. In 2011, most of us have heard the expression Ries made famous, Perception is everything. But do you know what that means? Why it's true? Let me quote from the book (3rd Law):
This sounds counter-intuitive for an author, but think about it. The most popular authors who remain in dominant positions in the market today, blasted their way into the public consciousness as "overnight sensations" years ago. They didn't slowly acquire market share; they broke out from the pack from what appears to have been Day One.
I've mentioned the concept of the "breakout novel" before and I confess, I'm still struggling to get through the buzzword-heavy salespeak in Maas's book so that I can find the "meat." This is one of the biggest differences between the Ries/Trout books and other marketing books. Ries/Trout cut to the chase right away. They blast through all the hype and just deliver the message.
That's what we need to do as Indie Authors. Come up with a unique and special way to describe your particular style of writing and focus on entrenching that idea in the minds of your prospective readers. Don't worry about all of the other things you "should" be doing unless or until you've captured the minds of your readers.
Once you have a firm and unique position in their minds, it's up to your book's story to hold it. Assuming you deliver on the promise of your unique and special snowflake, your position is yours for the life of the prospect's mind. Unless or until you start delivering (publishing) books that deviate from your promise, you'll be first in their mind whenever they want what you are selling.
The key isn't the selling. The key is defining what you're selling - and doing so in the prospect's mind. And that's going to lead well into Law 5: Focus (The most powerful concept in marketing is to own a single word in a prospect's mind.) which I'll discuss next Monday.
I guess I've already told you what's next in this Monday Marketing series. Tomorrow on the Tuesday Tip I'm still discussing Twitter but I'm going to back up a second and review the Basics before I delve into automationi tools, starting next week.
Coming on Friday, of course, we have 3 more freebies to offer so be sure to stop back for a look.