Dec. 1, 2021

How to Best Market with a Simple Formula

How to Best Market with a Simple Formula

Do you want to know how to market your book with a simple formula?
Listen as Mostafa Hosseini, creator of The Simple Marketing Formula shares his marketing wisdom to market your book the right way to get new customers, make more money, and stand out from the crowd.

Do you want to know how to market your book with a simple formula?

Listen as Mostafa Hosseini, creator of The Simple Marketing Formula shares his marketing wisdom to market your book the right way to get new customers, make more money, and stand out from the crowd.

In this week's powerful episode "How to Best Market with a Simple Formula" you will discover...

What you need to know to differentiate sales and marketing

How to create a one-page marketing plan

The biggest marketing mistakes and how to avoid them

And a whole lot more...

Get more gems from Mostafe and other guest experts, when you become a Book Marketing Premium Member



Susan Friedmann:         Welcome to Book Marketing Mentors, the weekly podcast where you learn proven strategies, tools and ideas and tips from the masters. Every week, I introduce you to a marketing master who will share their expertise to help you market and sell more books. Today, my special guest is Mostafa Hosseini. He helps coaches and consultants create and implement their one page marketing plan in three days or less. Mostafa is a serial entrepreneur, business coach, founder of Persyo Inc. and creator of The Simple Marketing Formula and The Simple Offer Formula. He's been coaching and consulting for 11 years, helping businesses in various niches and industries grow, scale and become more profitable. He's also the host of Daily Confidence for Entrepreneurs podcast, where he recently interviewed me. Now we're turning the table so Mostafa, what an absolute pleasure it is to welcome you to the show and thank you for being this week's guest expert and mentor.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Pleasure is all mine. Thanks for having me. Looking forward to our conversation.

Susan Friedmann:         Well, let's start off with marketing challenges. I know that it's not necessarily an area that entrepreneurs know that much about. First of all, how would you introduce marketing to them?

Mostafa Hosseini:         Marketing to a business, the way I introduce it is like water to a flower. Without water, your flower will not grow and you need enough water to continually grow your flower. You can't put too much water on your flower, you cannot give it to a little, you have to just give it enough. It's the same for your business. You need marketing for your business to help it grow and scale and bring in customers because without it, you have no business.

Susan Friedmann:         I think there's a misunderstanding between sales and marketing. Can you give us that distinction? Because when I talk to my authors particularly about it, it almost becomes synonymous. It's sales and marketing rather than two separate different disciplines.

Mostafa Hosseini:         They are separate but they're not mutually exclusive, there are overlaps. You do marketing activities to attract leads. Once they come in, your sales team takes care of closing and interacting with them to close the sale and bring in customers, actual paying customers.

Susan Friedmann:         And I love that metaphor that you used or analogy you used in the beginning with the flower and you've got to keep on watering it for it to grow. And as you rightly said, that's the marketing. You've got to keep watering that plant. Talk to us about some challenges, some top marketing challenges that you find happen. Most of our listeners are entrepreneurs, they're solopreneurs, what do you find are their biggest challenges when it comes to marketing?

Mostafa Hosseini:         Over the years that I've been talking to a lot of business owners in different industries and niches, the number one challenge, their marketing challenge is knowing what to do for marketing. And so they usually don't know what to do to grow and scale their business and to bring in customers. That is usually the number one challenge. Some of the other challenges have been getting a positive return on their marketing dollars. People spend a lot of time and money in different marketing avenues and some of them have a hard time getting a return on it. That's another challenge. Those are the top two that I've come across over the years.

Susan Friedmann:         Well, I'd love to go down that route of these marketing avenues that often entrepreneurs don't get a return. Well, what kinds of things are you referring to there?

Mostafa Hosseini:         Most of the time what is happening is people are spending time on multiple different lead generation strategies and nothing is really working the way it's supposed to at any given time. For example, they spend time and money on Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter. They do say one on one meetings and they do networking. They do a whole bunch of different things but they're not focused and they don't really have a strategy. That's why they're not getting a positive return on their investment because they're not trying to master one avenue and one strategy and get that to work and then move on to something else.

Susan Friedmann:         Let's talk about a strategy. What might be a common strategy for a small business owner, an entrepreneur?

Mostafa Hosseini:         A strategy is a broad term. It's a series of things and the way you do things that becomes part of your strategy. The way you deliver your service, the way you find customers, the way you position yourself, there's a whole bunch of different pieces in through your strategy, but it starts with identifying your target market. One, who exactly is your target market? And then what do you do for them? That's step number one of your strategy. There's obviously way more than that to it but that's step number one. If you don't have a target market and if you don't clarify what you do for them, most of the time you'd be up in the air.

Susan Friedmann:         That's really interesting because I just did a marketing session on selling books in bulk. And the key is exactly what you said, that they have to know the who and the what. Who's their niche market? Who are they going after? And then what is their message? What are they actually selling? And so much for the authors is wrapped up in their book but people think that they're just selling books and it's not, as I'm sure you agree that it's like it's information, it's the value that that book can offer people. The who and the what are critical.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Absolutely.

Susan Friedmann:         You've got a simple marketing formula and you talk about a marketing plan in one page. People write books on marketing plans and you've got the one pager. It blows my mind. Talk to us about this marketing formula, this one page or are we talking two different things here?

Mostafa Hosseini:         The reason I created the one-page marketing plan was the fact that I ran a marketing agency from 2010 to 2018. We were doing a lot of things for a lot of different people and our resources were spread thin with our activities. I came to a point where we were doing too much to too many people, were trying to please too many people. And then I realized that I'm doing too much and I need to simplify everything. The one book that helped me quite a bit with this was The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch. And then I read Essentialism by Greg McKeown. And almost right after reading these two books, I came up with Simple Marketing Formula. I was thinking that what are the 20% of the marketing activities or the things that we need to do that drives 80% of results? We came up with a six step process that goes onto our one page marketing plan and I'd be happy to share the steps with your audience if that's okay.

Susan Friedmann:         Oh, I'd love for you to do that because I think, and listeners please, I hope you can take notes and if you can't, listen to this and there'll be a transcript of this but this is valuable information. Marketing is very near and dear to my heart, anything to do with marketing I just like, ooh, wonderful. It's music to my ears.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Beautiful.

Susan Friedmann:         Please share.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Step number one is setting your goals, knowing exactly what you're trying to get. For example, if you're selling books, you need to know how many books you want to sell, how many people you want to reach or another KPI would be how many reviews you want to have on your books when you sell.

Susan Friedmann:         And let's go to KPI because I don't want any jargon that people don't necessarily know what it means.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Absolutely. KPI is key performance indicator.

Susan Friedmann:         Key performance indicator.

Mostafa Hosseini:         And then you track the performance of your activity by that. For example, you say, "I want to sell a 100,000 copies of my book and I would like to have 5,000 reviews," say on Amazon. Then you are very clear on your goal and you know exactly what you're going for. That's step number one because if you don't know what you're trying to get and what you're trying to achieve, then achieving what you don't know is impossible.

Susan Friedmann:         Now that was a very ambitious goal.

Mostafa Hosseini:         I'm just making numbers up.

Susan Friedmann:         I know, I know. I'm just pulling your leg. I'm pulling your leg here.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Because last time we spoke, you said in one transaction you sold a quarter million copies of your book.

Susan Friedmann:         Half a million copies.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Half a million.

Susan Friedmann:         Yes. Let's get the numbers right.

Mostafa Hosseini:         I was just taking it easy with a 100,000 but I'm sure you've got strategies that you could help people do.

Susan Friedmann:         Absolutely.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Similar results. Step number two is your target market and what you do for them. Exactly who do you serve? And what do you do for them? Once you make that clear finding customers, getting referrals, serving them, them finding you and the rest of it becomes much, much, much easier. That's step number two, target market and what you do for them. Step number three is your offer. What are you offering to these people? In what package? In what pricing? What does it look like? What is your first tier offer? What is the second tier offer? And then what is your third tier offer? What does your offer funnel look like?

Susan Friedmann:         Okay. I think we're going to have to dissect that. Let's spend some time dissecting what exactly that means, the first tier, the second tier, the funnel. I never want to assume that our listeners know what we are talking about.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Sure thing.

Susan Friedmann:         That's why I like to simplify it. Dumb it down as much as possible.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Absolutely. The first tier would be you get people to buy your book and read it. Now, inside your book, there could be a download or a live webinar that people could attend to learn more about what you do and how you can serve them. Buying the book becomes the first tier. Attending the webinar becomes the second tier. And then maybe you have some sort of services or coaching or software or different packages on the backend of your webinar, which becomes your third tier offer.

Susan Friedmann:         Yes. That might be something that you sell after your webinar. This might be a free webinar and at the end, you're saying, "Hey, if you liked what I offer, that I've offered you this information for free, here's the bigger package that you pay for."

Mostafa Hosseini:         Absolutely. Either they book a time with you to have a one on one conversation with you or they click to buy whatever you're offering. That becomes your offer. Once we have the goal, the target market and the offer, then we need to set up our strategies for lead generation. How do we find prospects and leads? That becomes our lead generation strategy. Then we need to figure out our lead conversion strategy, which is step number five. Once I find prospects and people that are interested in my product or service, what is the step by step process to turn these people into an actual paying customer? That's step number five. Then step number six is customer retention. What am I doing to keep my customers, have them come back? You repeat business with me and more importantly, give me referrals.

Susan Friedmann:         Okay. We've got setting your goals, making sure that you've defined your target or for me, your niche market, then what are you offering? And then you went through those different tiers, those three tiers of possibilities. Strategies for lead generation, let's talk a little bit about that. I think you mentioned that people try through Facebook or other ways, maybe Google ads or Facebook ads. What ways have you found that are good lead generators?

Mostafa Hosseini:         I am not particularly attached to any one lead generation strategy. My system is, or my a strategy is that I ask a few questions. Which one do you like the most? Which one do you have experience with the most? Which one do you have someone that could do it for you? Which one do you have previous good experience with? And there are few more questions that we ask to identify the one lead generation strategy that would work for me because what works for me doesn't necessarily say work for you. Let's say that I like to work on LinkedIn. After asking the questions and doing assessments, there are multiple different lead gen strategies. Let's say that I'm going to use LinkedIn to sell my books. Then what we do is we start looking through LinkedIn and see, all right, what are the strategies to generate leads and promote my book on LinkedIn and find customers through LinkedIn?

Susan Friedmann:         What I really liked about what you just said was what works for me might not necessarily work for you. And this I find is a big challenge often with authors because they see another author who's done certain marketing activities and it worked for them. They think automatically just because it worked for them, it's going to work for me and that is not the case. I really like what you said. I think that's a key message here is that you're not comparing apples with apples, you're comparing an apple with an orange potentially.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Exactly. And you're going to have to give them a try. It's going to take some time for you. And if you're lucky you would just get it on your first try, which I hope it happens. But normally you're going to have to try a few different strategies and see what actually works. Which one do you like? Which one is producing results? Which one is actually profitable? And there's a few questions to ask to make sure that this is it.

Susan Friedmann:         That reminds me that marketing is an inexact science.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Absolutely. It's a dynamic world. And so the second part of that is which would be a tip, might be a writer downer is get one strategy to work for you before you move to the next strategy. Get say LinkedIn to work for you and bring you leads while you're sleeping then move on to say Facebook or Twitter or some other strategies that's speaking and whatnot and there's a ton of strategies out there.

Susan Friedmann:         Yeah. Yeah. There are many different strategies but you're absolutely right. Is otherwise because if you're mixing them up, if you're trying all different things, you don't know which is working and which isn't.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Exactly. And one big mistake that people make is they don't give a strategy enough time to prove itself and or enough time to optimize it and improve it so that you do see and reach optimal results.

Susan Friedmann:         Okay. That is another interesting avenue to talk about, is that time for it to prove itself. Is there an optimum time to consider? What are we talking here when we talk about time?

Mostafa Hosseini:         I hate to say this but I don't think there's an optimum time because it all depends on how much effort and time and money you're putting into it. Normally a good lead generation strategy takes about six months to a year to get it up to speed, to optimize it and make it work. It doesn't happen overnight.

Susan Friedmann:         Interestingly enough, that when I talk about this with my clients, is that in order for us to really delve deep into finding the right people, either to speak to or to sell books to, it's going to take time. I don't believe there are any really silver bullets, magic bullets in marketing. If you know some, please tell us because we'd love to share them. Don't keep them to yourself.

Mostafa Hosseini:         There is no shortcut. What I'm sharing with you is the shortcut. This is the 20% of marketing that actually delivers 80% of your results. What is one lead generation strategy that you got to master and get it working for you? That's it. It's simple.

Susan Friedmann:         It's just finding that one.

Mostafa Hosseini:         And it takes time. But if you stay focused, you're a lot more likely to find it versus you're not focused.

Susan Friedmann:         I would agree with that. Now you talked about mistakes. We love talking about mistakes on this show. What other mistakes do you find that small business owners, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs make when it comes to marketing or even putting together a plan?

Mostafa Hosseini:         The biggest mistake is they don't make a plan to begin with. Less than 3% of business owners have a goal. That's very small. Less than half of those people actually have a plan. That's a very big mistake. And I always compare a business and building a business to building a house. You see, when you want to build a house, what you do is you design the house, you do the blueprints and the maps and everything and you know exactly what you're going to build. Then you constantly check the blueprints of the house and you build it by spec. Would you agree?

Susan Friedmann:         Yes.

Mostafa Hosseini:         And if you don't have the plan for your house, you can only imagine what kind of mess we're going to get into. Any house that is built in a city that is going to get insurance and the rest of it has a plan. And without it, they're probably not going to get insurance. And you probably would not put your family under a roof that was not properly designed. It's the same with a business. You got to plan it out. Here's a very big mistake. I ask business owners, "Do you have a plan?" They say, "We're not big enough to have a plan." That's a big mistake.

Susan Friedmann:         There's no size. Whether you're a one person operation or a 20,000 person operation, you still need a plan.

Mostafa Hosseini:         That's kind of like saying, "I'm going to design my house when I get to second level or when I build the roof." It's no different.

Susan Friedmann:         That's funny. One thing I talked about, which I find with many authors is they spend so much on bringing the book to market and then there's no money left for marketing. Have you ever come across that situation?

Mostafa Hosseini:         The answer is yes. I see a lot of people that have spent a lot of time on startup costs, buying a whole bunch of stuff. In this case, spending a whole bunch of money on publishing the book or creating the book and when it comes to marketing, there's just no money left. And for what I know, the marketing starts the moment you have say the name or the cover designed.

Susan Friedmann:         Correct. I knew somebody who had a cover designed and the book didn't come out for two years but he was selling it.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Oh, they pre-sold the book. Thousands of copies.

Susan Friedmann:         Yes, absolutely. When it did come out, as you say, he'd already sold several thousand copies and people were on tender hooks, when are you bringing this book out? When are you bringing this book out? I want this book.

Mostafa Hosseini:         There's some anticipation built there. Absolutely. That's the way to go. I am a big fan of the lean startup. We want proof of concept first before we attempt anything.

Susan Friedmann:         Now I've heard the various numbers with regard to percentages, with how much you should put aside for marketing. What's your take on that more in terms of a percentage rather than actual dollars?

Mostafa Hosseini:         Minimum 10% of your revenue goal. If you have a $100,000 goal, your marketing budget should be a minimum of $10,000 to get there.

Susan Friedmann:         That's a good one. And that's what I'd heard between five and 10.

Mostafa Hosseini:         In the beginning, you're going to need more money. And if you want to put less money, you're going to have to put in more of your own time or other people's time, which your time is worth money as well.

Susan Friedmann:         And that's an important point as well, is that, should you even be doing some of the things, especially if you don't know how to do it? I'm currently listening to a book called Who Not How by Dan Sullivan. And it's brilliant because I'm one of those people who likes to try and figure out how to do something. That's not necessarily good use of my time when there are people out there who can do it a lot better and quicker in the long run, cheaper than I could, spending time trying to work out the how.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Absolutely.

Susan Friedmann:         What about other mistakes you've come across.

Mostafa Hosseini:         The biggest mistake that I see with people that have been around for a while and they have a list of customers and somewhat of an established business is that in about 98% of the cases and people that I've talked to, they do nothing for client retention and customer retention. They're just ignoring their existing customers while they're out there actively hungry for leads and new customers in the market while ignoring their existing customers and their existing or past list. That's a very big mistake.

Susan Friedmann:         Talk to us about client retention because I think that's really important and what you said, because it's like, oh, I spent all this money. I've got these leads and I'm selling and I'm selling and I'm selling. And then all of a sudden things start drying up. Or as in the case that we just went through, or we're still going through to a certain extent, the whole COVID situation where anybody who needed to be in front of an audience, couldn't be in front of an audience anymore. Talk to us about some strategies for customer retention.

Mostafa Hosseini:         The main strategy is to stay in touch with your customers. It's as simple as that. Now how you do it, it's totally up to you. For me, I like to call my customers. I like to call my list and have a one on one conversation. You could do it via email. You could do it via social media. You could do it via a postcard. The task is to stay in touch so that they know you haven't forgotten about them and then you show that you care about them basically. Do your people care about stats?

Susan Friedmann:         I'm sure my analytics do.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Sure. I'll share a quick stat here.

Susan Friedmann:         A quick stat.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Absolutely. On average you lose about 64 to 68% of your customers if you don't stay in touch with them because they perceive that you don't care about them. And quite frankly, if you care about them, you would stay in touch with them.

Susan Friedmann:         For instance, my staying in touch is that I do my podcast once a week.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Yeah, that's one way.

Susan Friedmann:         And that goes out. It goes to my list. Now, would you put that down as client retention?

Mostafa Hosseini:         That's an activity that helps with client retention for sure. That's you're nurturing your list. You're providing value. You're sending them content. You're staying in touch. You're saying that, "I'm producing content for you and I care about you." Absolutely, yes.

Susan Friedmann:         Okay, good. Least I feel as I'm doing one thing right.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Yeah. Yep. It's a good thing. If you can figure out the retention rate for your audience on your podcast, then it tells you how good of a job you're doing.

Susan Friedmann:         Okay. We'll look at those stats, not something that I gravitate to but I know it's important and I get asked that, especially the open rate, for instance, on my emails and then the click through rate. I know that all of that is obviously important because if I'm sending it and they're not opening it or not clicking through, there's a disconnect somewhere and I've got to find what that is.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Absolutely. And so at the end of the day, growing your business and finding leads and getting referrals through customer retention is between six to eight times easier than new lead generation.

Susan Friedmann:         Yeah. I've heard that.

Mostafa Hosseini:         So much easier. Because of the fact that they know you, they like you and they trust you, they have some sort of connection with you versus a new person that has absolutely no clue who you are, now you're trying to sell them something.

Susan Friedmann:         My colleague, LeeAnn Webster talks about email with heart. And the fact is that there are some people who have her on the mailing list and the only time she hears from them is when they want to sell her something. And she really does not like that at all. She talked about it when we did the interview, it's not the right, if you're just going to your customers to buy something, then it's like, do you really care about them?

Mostafa Hosseini:         Absolutely. I have some vendors pretty much the only time that I hear from them is when my credit card bounces. That's it.

Susan Friedmann:         Yeah. They're only interested in the money. Mostafa, if our listeners wanted to find out more about you and your services and you know how to get a hold of this one page marketing plan, how can they do that?

Mostafa Hosseini:         I'm sharing the link to download the template of the one-page marketing plan. Feel free to download the template. Then if they wanted to join us at Simple Marketing Formula to complete the plan, they definitely could. Otherwise the template is yours. You could do what you want with it. And you can find me on social media if you search my name Mostafa Hosseini and or if you go to

Susan Friedmann:         Fabulous. And I'll put all of that in the show notes.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Thank you.

Susan Friedmann:         So that people sometimes if on the treadmill or whatever they're doing, they're mowing the lawn, having dinner or breakfast. People listen whenever they can so it's not necessarily convenient to write things down. That's why I love to put it in the show notes for everyone. And Mostafa, as you know, we always with the golden nugget. What's one thing that you want our listeners to take away?

Mostafa Hosseini:         If you guys want to see results immediately and I define immediately as a matter of getting leads and new sales either between today or in the next several weeks, can I share a nugget about that?

Susan Friedmann:         Oh, absolutely.

Mostafa Hosseini:         Here's what you do. Find a list of your existing customers and call them up one by one. Say, "Hey, it's me. I'm from this company. How is it going? I'm just calling to say hi." Introduce yourself, say hi and have a friendly conversation. Sometimes you'd be surprised how people, they thank you for thinking of them. And sometimes they say, "Oh my God, I've been thinking about calling you because I've been wanting to do business with you," or, "I have a referral for you." Now we have a friendly conversation about how business is going, how life is going and the rest of it. And if all is well and you asked a question of, "Is there anything I could do for you?"

                                    Again, a lot of times people will say, "Yeah, well I need a book. I need my book done. I need a website. I need some marketing. I need some coaching," whatever it is that you're doing. And you can also perhaps not on the first call but on second or third call, you can also ask for a referral. Do you know someone that we could do business with? And you'd be surprised how many people actually do. When we do this, we have between 10 to 30% conversion rates on these calls.

Susan Friedmann:         Fantastic. And you're not necessarily calling them up with the intention of selling them anything. It's just sincerely just that friendly call and say, "Hey, I'm thinking of you just wanted you to know that."

Mostafa Hosseini:         You're absolutely right. The intention is to stay in touch and say, hi. You're not calling them to sell. Now if they want to buy, I'm not going to say no to them but I'm just calling them to say hi and say, "Is there anything I could do for you?" Notice I'm not saying, "Hey, I got this offer. Do you want to buy my stuff?" I'm just saying, "Is there anything I could do for you?"

Susan Friedmann:         Perfect, fabulous. Well, that is a real golden nugget. Thank you. Mostafa, thank you for sharing your wisdom. And I know that we're going to have more wisdom over in the premium member site so I'm going to bring you over to that studio shortly. In the meantime, thank you all for taking time out of your precious day to listen to this interview and I sincerely hope that it sparked some ideas you can use to sell more books. Here's wishing you much book and author marketing success.

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