Wondering Whether to Trust Review Trust?

We all know that testimonials are a huge part of converting leads to sales. The social proof of someone else saying, “Yes, this person offers excellent service,” takes a tremendous burden off our shoulders.

It doesn’t matter if the item being sold is a product, service, book or talk. What other people say about you matters…

Review Trust - increase salesThere’s a new service called “Review Trust” that allows you to capture those reviews from your shopping cart and website to display them in 10 unique ways where and how you want.

In the past, we’d evaluated other services like this (namely, TrustPilot and Feefo) and found that for the average small business owner, they were cost-prohibitive. TrustPilot runs $299/month for its entry-level package, and Feefo doesn’t even list its pricing although another review site said that its lowest package was £99/month.

If you’re an author, speaker or entrepreneur, unless you’ve got a 6-figure enterprise going, that’s an awful lot of money to shell out each month for reviews.

However, while Review Trust is still in its launch phase, there’s an unlimited lifetime access offer. Once it’s over, though, this service will only be available as a monthly subscription. So if you’re interested in it, our recommendation is to get it now!

Why?

Reviews Offer Social Proof

  1. 70% of people say they look at reviews before making a purchase.
  2. 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site that has product ratings and reviews.
  3. Reviews increase consumer trust by 12x.

Imagine being able to sell your book on your own website and displaying customer reviews prominently on your book listings?Review Trust book reviews

Why Review Trust?

With Review Trust, asking people for reviews, testimonials and other forms of feedback is simple.

  1. You create a “campaign” for each product you want to request reviews for.
  2. Connect the campaign to the shopping cart system you’re using.
  3. Indicate the type of testimonial you’re looking for (text, audio, video or a combination).
  4. Define a sequence of up to 3 emails to send to the buyer asking for their feedback.
  5. Customize the widget you want to use (there are 14 different types to choose from and a variety of configurations for them).
  6. Implement the widget on your website.

As orders are placed in your shopping cart, the purchases trigger the email follow-up sequence to prompted buyers for a review after they’ve had a chance to enjoy their purchase.

You can also upload names and email addresses of individuals you want to send review requests to as well. For instance, we’re starting by asking past and present clients to write a customer review for our publishing services through Emerald Lake Books. To do that, we’re uploading that information into Review Trust, which will send out emails requesting feedback to the people in our list.

Once a review is written, we can see and approve them to be displayed on our site.

It also affords us the opportunity to address any negative reviews that may come in as well, so it will double as a customer service portal.

We have control over the order in which reviews are displayed so that we can show the most helpful ones first, too. We can even feature certain ones to give them a little extra visibility.

Our Conclusions

Honestly, we see so many different ways we can use this tool to build our business that we’re excited to receive our first reviews. And we’re happy that we got in on this during the launch period because it’s a tool we anticipate using for a long time to come…

That isn’t to say that this system is 100% perfect. We’ve already provided some feedback to the developers on changes we would like to see. (For example, there’s no functionality to send yourself a test email so you can see your email sequence in an email client before sending it out to the world.) But the nice thing about being in early on a launch like this is, we get to help shape the future of the product.

I will admit, there have been other systems that we missed getting in early on. (I still kick myself for not buying WebinarJam when I had a chance to grab the lifetime launch price!) Our conclusion with Review Trust is… Don’t wait! Get it now. You won’t be sorry.

The Science of Pricing Your Books Correctly

I’m often asked by authors how to choose the right price for a book, and there are a number of factors to consider.

The infographic from blog-growth.com (below) shares some of the science behind pricing items (whether big ticket or small). But how does that translate to books? [Scroll to the bottom to find out.]

So, how does that translate to books?

Well, let’s start with the formats you want to offer your book in. I often recommend making it available in at least 3 formats. It’s up to you whether it’s eBook, paperback and audiobook or eBook, paperback and hardcover, but give the prospective reader 3 choices.

As with bracketing, you’ll notice that people will tend toward the moderately priced item.

When you reduce the formats offered to only two, as shown in the decoy pricing segment, people gravitate toward the lower cost option (typically your eBook).

While that’s not a bad thing if you can make up the difference in price by an increase in volume, it’s still something to be aware of. (Amazon offers a Kindle pricing suggestion tool that analyzes the best price point for your book based on the volume of sales for similar titles at various price points.)

I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed that The Magic of 9 only tested 4 and 9. I’ve seen some great activity around 7 as well, especially when it comes to courses, and would have liked to have seen that included in the equation. You’ll have to decide if you want to test that out yourself or not.

As far as Deleting the Free Plan goes, that has bearing on the age-old discussion around whether KDP Free Days are a good idea or not. By itself, I tend to think not. However, there are some great strategies that can be used to leverage the visibility of a free book in order to lead new readers into other purchasing decisions. So, done right, the free offers do have a place in your marketing strategy. I just wouldn’t recommend keeping your offer free for extended periods of time unless there’s some other monetization strategy behind the free content.

What are your thoughts? What jumped out at you about this infographic? Is it in line with what you’ve experienced yourself, or have you seen differing results?

What’s Your Social Selling Index?

Do you use LinkedIn as a means of building your business? If so, LinkedIn’s new Social Selling Index (SSI) may be of special interest to you.

You might have heard the term “social selling” before. But if you haven’t here’s a quick definition.

Social selling is when sales people use social media (LinkedIn especially) to interact directly with their prospects. Sales people provide value by answering prospect questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.

LinkedIn’s new Social Selling Index (SSI) measures the 4 key elements of social selling.

  1. Establishing your personal brand by completely filling out your profile and sharing content regularly through status updates, blog posts and engaging with the content of others.
  2. Finding the right people to add to your network by using available search tools to identify better prospects in less time.
  3. Engaging with insights LinkedIn provides, so that you can discover and share conversation-worthy content so that you can create and grow relationships.
  4. Building relationships to strengthen your network by finding and establishing trust with decision makers.

Your profile is rated daily based on each of these elements to give you a score, as well as recommendations for improvement, and an idea of how you rank in comparison with others in your industry and network.

To view your own SSI rating, visit your Social Selling Dashboard on LinkedIn.

You’ll see the breakdown among the 4 different elements, with scores for how well you’re doing with each. A perfect score is 25. If you have anything lower in a given area, it means there’s room for improvement!

Need some help figuring out how to improve your score? We offer two LinkedIn Mastery courses on Udemy, one on Creating an Awesome Profile and the other on Growing Your Network.

You’ll learn enough in these two courses to significantly shift the needle for all 4 elements of your SSI rating.

And for our readers, we have a special offer good through the end of August.
Use the coupon code “SSI2015” to receive 25% off of either course.

Creating_an_Awesome_Profile_course_listing Growing_Your_Network_course_listing

If you find that your SSI isn’t as high as you’d like, consider taking these courses, ask questions in the Discussion area, and let’s see if we can’t improve your SSI.

Happy Networking!

11 Reasons Why Writing a Book is Good for Business

Emerald Lake Books logoHave you ever wondered how to make a bigger impact than you already have?

For many business professionals, time is the rate-limiting factor. You can only connect with so many people in a given number of hours. So how do you take things to the next level?

Well, there are a number of different ways.

Speaking is one of them, and something I do a lot of and enjoy, but it’s not for everyone.

Creating videos is another. Video content is easy to share, simple to create, and has the potential to make a viral impact, but it requires some technical ability.

Blogging is another means of connecting with more people with less effort, yet it requires steady website traffic.

So there’s no one magic bullet. You’re better off if you try to implement a mixture of all of these.

But there’s one more thing I’d recommend, assuming you have it in you. There’s writing a book.

Not everyone is cut out to be an author. It’s time-consuming, hard work and can take months or even years to pay for itself.

However, for those who do take up the challenge, writing a book can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

Here are some of my top reasons why I think becoming an author is good for business. [Read more…]

An Interview with Brian Jud, Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales

This month’s Featured Author interview is with Brian Jud, an incredibly resourceful author who is extremely active in the publishing world. As an industry expert, he conducts monthly Book Marketing 201® webinars for the Association of Publishers for Special Sales, an organization that he is the Executive Director of, as well as conducting the Book Marketing Monthly® webinars for CreateSpace. He also is co-owner of the Premium Book Company and owner of Book Marketing Works.

Brian Jud - Association of Publishers for Special SalesSuffice it to say, Brian eats, sleeps and breathes publishing and book marketing. I have often been amazed when in conversation with him at how his mind works, and all of the valuable insights and resources he has at his disposal.

I had the pleasure of meeting Brian in a social setting a couple of years ago, where we enjoyed talking about books, writing and the publishing industry in general. At that time, he was still very active in an organization that he’d started, the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. As a newbie in the midst of writing my first book, I aspired to be at that level someday and Brian was gracious with his knowledge and advice.

That’s no less true today. Brian regularly speaks at writers’ conferences and other industry events, as well as providing consulting services, and focusing his efforts on more lucrative and “out of the box” sales activities related to book marketing and promotion. [Read more…]

Using Active Engagement to Get More Book Sale Leads

Using Active Engagement to Get More Book Sale Leads

Every author’s goal!

As an author, you are also an entrepreneur. You created your own product (your book), and now you have to sell it.

Selling books means finding readers and encouraging them to take a chance on your words. In the marketing world, those same readers would be called “leads,” and the best way to generate more leads for your book is to use active engagement. Here is how you do that.

Personalize Your Marketing

Personalized marketing is where you tailor your marketing efforts to one specific individual at a time. That probably sounds like a lot of work, but it isn’t that complicated. Those emails you get from GoDaddy or Living Social every day, the ones that greet you by name? That is an example of personalized marketing. The coupons you get at the grocery store after swiping your member’s card? Those are examples of personalized marketing. [Read more…]

The BookBub Experience

Geraldine Evans Today’s guest post is by Geraldine Evans, a British writer of police procedurals that contain a lot of humour and family drama. She and I met in LinkedIn’s Book Marketing group when she shared her experience using BookBub, a site that alerts interested readers to limited-time free and discounted ebooks matching their interests.

I’ve used BookBub to find new reading material for a couple of years now, but had wondered how it works out from the author’s perspective. When Geraldine shared such a comprehensive review of her experience, I asked her if she’d be willing to do the same thing here for you.

I know there are a lot of numbers involved and that sometimes you’d prefer to avoid those, but they’re worth delving into. So, sit back and enjoy! I promise you, it will get those creative juices flowing.

Are you considering paying for an ad for your book with BookBub? What are you waiting for? Go for it! You’re likely to find it’s worth every penny. Yes, it’s expensive; it was the cost that held me back. Well, that, and the comments on kboards.com/Writers’ Café. According to many members on that forum, getting your book accepted by BookBub was about as likely as flying off on Richard Branson’s spaceship.

But my book was accepted on my very first application. No, I’m not a well-known name. No, I don’t have hundreds of reviews from a dedicated coterie of readers. And I’m definitely not sleeping with the management! And the book for which I wanted the ad is in the mystery/thriller genre, one of their most popular categories. So I had lots of competition.

But, what I think may have worked in my favour is that I was willing to be flexible on my choice of date for the ad. Perhaps, too, the fact that I write mainly in series was also a no-brainer for them. Maybe they assumed I’d be only too willing to pay for further ads for each of the other books in my 15-strong Rafferty & Llewellyn series. They wouldn’t be wrong about that as my experience with them was very positive. [Read more…]

An Interview with Jim Stovall, An Extraordinary Man

As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of Jim Stovall’s. I read his book recently, The Millionaire Map, and it became my inspiration for this Featured Author series, among other things I’m planning for 2014.

Front Cover_Millionaire Map_Jim StovallI’ve already reviewed his book on this blog, and I strongly recommend you pick up a copy of your own to consume. (If you’re interested in possibly winning a copy, read to the end!)

Now I figured it’s time to introduce you to the man himself too so that you can see just how incredibly extraordinary he is. I think you’ll agree that the map Jim is able provide is one many of us would like to follow in one regard or another!

Despite being blind, Jim Stovall has been a National Olympic weightlifting champion, a successful investment broker, the President of the Emmy Award-winning Narrative Television Network, and a highly sought after author and platform speaker. He is the author of 25 books, including the bestseller, The Ultimate Gift, which is now a major motion picture from 20th Century Fox starring James Garner and Abigail Breslin. Four of Mr. Stovall’s other novels have also been made into major motion pictures.

Steve Forbes, president and CEO of Forbes magazine, says, “Jim Stovall is one of the most extraordinary men of our era.” [Read more…]

5 Ways to Encourage Readers to Buy Books from Your Website

If you’re like most authors, you want to write your book more than you want to sell your book. Promoting books may not be your passion, but it is an integral part of being a successful writer. After all, if people don’t buy your book, what was the point in writing it?

Here are 5 things you can do to sell more books from your website.

5 Ways to Encourage Readers to Buy Books from Your Website

Writing books and selling them online are two very different skills.

1. Give Away a Chapter

One of the best things you can do when trying to sell your book is to give away a chapter for free. By making the first few chapters available on your website, you will not only draw traffic to your site, but you can also create a sense of intrigue about your book. Give potential readers a small taste of what you’re capable of and they’ll be much more likely to come back for the whole meal.

2. Have It Your Way

Make sure that visitors to your site know the various formats your book is available in. Everyone has a favorite book format. For me, it even varies based on the type of book I’m reading, and whether or not I personally know the author.

Letting readers know that your book is available in their favorite format helps in the sales process. [Read more…]

Self-Publishing: Here for the Long Haul or a Passing Trend?

Just as the Internet sent the music industry reeling and gave talented, but unknown, bands the ability to produce, create and promote their own music, the Age of Information has transformed the publishing industry as well.

As soon as authors found the ability to begin creating and marketing self-published books, the publishing industry was shocked to find it had realized too late that it was operating in the Age of Self-Publishing.

Self-publishing - here to stay?As a result, the publishing industry as we knew it is in a downward spiral and will need to find ways to adapt quickly if it’s going to ultimately survive at all.

The Digital Death of Print

Almost immediately following the mainstreaming of the Internet in the late ’90s, the newspaper industry saw steep and rapid declines from which it still has not recovered. Online news aggregators ushered in an era of dramatically lower advertising revenues for news dailies, having a significant impact on their bottom lines.

In the same way, the book publishing industry also felt the immediate and irreversible crush of digital readers, eBooks and the extraordinary ability for authors to take control of their own books.

While YouTube allowed savvy comedians and video producers to reach their audiences without any middleman, authors can now make their own way in the world with the right guidance and know-how. [Read more…]