What does marketing your darling small business have to do with the book series that has sold over 70 million copies worldwide and set the record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time, surpassing the Harry Potter series? If you’re a savvy marketer, a lot.
Why has this book, the 50 Shades of Grey become such a phenomenon and what are the learning for us as entrepreneurs?
Word Of Mouth Is Still King
The success of 50 Shades has largely been attributed to a group of mommies (it was called Mommy Porn) who made the book an overnight sensation simply by telling each other about it. I remember going on a vacation last year to the Bahamas and seeing a copy on virtually every lounger by the pool. In your small business, what are you doing to generate this same word of mouth? Are you doing different things than everyone in your industry (remember my friend Trevor who coached at a trade show from an Ikea puppet booth?) Are you telling people about the new and exciting things you’re implementing in your business?
One of the major contributors to the unprecedented success of a book in the erotica genre amongst the masses was the invention of e-readers. When people don’t know what you’re reading, you can read anything, anywhere, anytime. What about you as a small business? Are you highly visible and accessible or hiding out in your living room?
Tap Into An Existing Fan Base
I remember reading Twilight while I was breastfeeding my 4 year old and how I became a diehard Twihard after that year. What I didn’t know was that the 50 Shades Of Grey trilogy was developed from a Twilight fan fiction series. Fan fiction is a collection of stories about characters or settings written by fans of the original work, rather than by the original creator.
As a business, have you niched in a way that allows large groups of your bullseye potential target markets to congregate together? Are you intercepting self organized groups or trying desperately to create your own because you don’t HAVE a defined and self organizing niche?
You’re on your own with this one.
So when you look around you at every turn and see successfully marketed phenomenon like the 50 Shades Of Grey, what do you take away and apply for your own small biz growth?