How I wrote marketing strategy for startups book in 2 weeks

December 26, 2019

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Paul Onu

Founder of SuperBI

Tell us about your book

Book name: Marketing Strategy for Startups

Store listing: Amazon: (eBook and Paperback): click here

Marketing strategy has evolved tremendously over the years. In this era of unprecedented technology innovations which has impacted greatly on how businesses operate, building a marketing strategy requires deep knowledge of modern trends in video content, social media stories, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), BIG data and data-driven marketing.

In this book, the core marketing concepts are explained in a very simple, easy to understand format, at the same time blending in the modern digital marketing strategy which is key to survival of modern startup businesses and entrepreneurship. The book is basically a startup guide to modern marketing concepts and strategies.

Have you made any sales yet?

Yes, on the 9th December, 2019 I sold first copy of the book (paperback copy)! The purchase was done from amazon.de, I felt so excited earning that first dollar!! Made 11.06EURO but that felt like a million, not just because of the money, but more because it’s the ultimate validation I have been waiting for all this while. A vote of confidence on my book!

Please tell us about yourself

As an introvert, writing has always been my best form of expression. I have always had the entrepreneurship zeal all my life. Always thinking about the next venture to undertake. I also engage my friends and acquaintances with my ideas a lot, I write my points before I engage and write after I engage, I note down the feedback or whatever I learnt from the person. No matter how trivial. I engage a whole lot, not afraid to risk idea sharing because I believe ideas are a dime a dozen. I listen very well and absorb whatever information I get, just like a sponge.

I will not bore you with story, just to create this required context, I will use bullet points.

  • Academics: B.Eng. Electronic, MBA no certifications and nothing much in-between.

9to5

  • First Job: Software developer (J2EE) building and managing school management portals and e-commerce platforms.

  • Second Job: Software developer for Telecoms value added services.?d. Third and current: Telecoms Marketing and Strategy. Phase-gate model Product development

Side-gigs

I maintained my passion for software development and Startup product launches. My side-gig roster below:

  • 2010 – 2015: First Startup company - Focused on Mobile Apps and Games. Had fun developing games and apps for Google Play and Appstore. This helped me purchase my first little apartment.

  • 2016 – present: other Startup companies - Focus on web applications. Worthy mentions include:?• Areeyaa (discontinued) – name derived from “Ariya” which means party/fun in local Yoruba language. The application was supposed to help users find venues for their parties and events.

  • SuperBI : Business Intelligence tool that enables local businesses to collate customer feedback, generate insights and make better business decisions.
  • Marketing blog : a blog to offer marketing and strategy tips and experiences to Startup founders.

How I come about ideas for apps, games, blogs, SuperBI and other web applications – office meetings, daily interactions with colleagues and friends - taking notes of idea or point. Tactfully using my siblings, colleagues, friends, wife as brainstorming partners.

What motivated you to write the book?

The first major motivation for the book was my younger brother Emeka Onu. Computer Science graduate with a brilliant tech background. Expert in NodeJS and ReactJS, hustling endlessly, knows everything about every noteworthy Startup, tools, or tech gossip.

However, he had an obvious knowledge gap - marketing and sales. We had loads of sibling arguments involving tech ideas and business, however, in all, I always ended up giving him some valuable marketing lessons. This now made me think, why not write a book on marketing strategy focused on startups. And that was how I started putting the book together. The theme, approach and subsequent topics were influenced by this desire to educate startup founders who like Emeka, are very knowledgeable tech-wise but know close to nothing about marketing strategy. I chose the pragmatic and practical approach. Almost like a guide-book, explaining the core marketing theories behind modern marketing trends and concepts.

A key motivation to write the book was after I attended the 2019 YCombinator school. I interacted with other Startup founders. The talks and teachings were in line with my book-thought-process, the startups were hungry to learn how to sell. Tech is readily available but marketing strategy was an obvious knowledge gap.

Another key motivation was my product – SuperBI. I kind of just wanted to document the journey to making and selling this product. A lot of the book content came from my interactions with people in the course of building and launching this product.

How did you go about writing and publishing the book?

July 14th, 2019: Published the first eBook version on 3 major stores listed below:

a. Amazon Kindle

b. Draft2Digital

c. Kobo

I had already been writing related topics on my blog so within 2 weeks of making up my mind to start writing the book, I collated the key posts and edited them to suit the book objective. The first edition was not a finished work, obviously.

However, I left it for a few weeks, while I kept working on SuperBI and noting down ideas and more concepts. I had another light-bulb moment again around December 3rd, 2019 and I spent the whole day updating the book.

December 3rd, 2019: Launched the version 2.0.0. also launched the Paperback on Amazon. I was over the moon with joy because for the first time, the book looked the part!

Book cover I didn't like what I got from the graphics illustrator whom I hired to illustrate the book so I used the default MS Word book cover. This didn't cut it. After 2 different cover attempts, I stumbled on Amazon cover design (free service) while loading the Paperback version of the updated book, and that came out lovely. See page 1.

Publishers – to put it succinctly, I had a migraine worrying about this and figuring it out eventually made me so happy!?Publishing the first version were purely on eBook. Checked all possible platform and was able to publish on:?a. Shopify - which I later pulled down after 3months cos it was costing me 29$ monthly on zero revenue. The subscription model is not the best for me at this time.?b. Kobo – I uploaded the eBook. The store runs on revenue share. Which is perfect for me right now.?c. Amazon Kindle – first publication was eBook also based on revenue share, distributes to other affiliate partner stores as well.?d. Draft2Digital – same as above 2 platforms also distributes to other different platforms.

I stumbled on Amazon Paperback while updating version 2.0.0 (same day, December 3rd) and I loved it. The model is awesome, the customer orders, Amazon prints and deducts the cost of printing from the customer fee. Then we share revenue on the balance. I like this model because I don't have to worry about cost of printing or logistics.

I started a campaign on Twitter campaign after the version 2.0.0 update - Amazon paperback was published. I used the paperback cover as campaign image and interactions have been awesome with so many Post LIKES and Twitter followership. Spent less than $100 so far and then…. I SOLD a copy off Amazon.de on the 9th of Dec 2019!

How did you fund the book project?

I bootstrapped the work.

  • Did $100 LinkedIn campaign on the eBook version 1.0 (Shopify store) and result wasn't good (zero sales and very low traffic to store).

  • Paid $70 for book’s graphics illustration. ?• Twitter campaign budget for version 2.0 is 100$ running for over a week now (set at $10/day).

  • Plan to continue Twitter campaigns and other organic posts on Facebook, Linkedin, Product hunt, my Blog , Twitter, IndieHackers.com etc.

How long did it take you to write the book?

As already detailed above, I had the book materials in so many places especially my blog, so within 2 weeks of making up my mind to write, I had the version 1.0 ready. Though rough and uncut, but a worth while work according to my friends and colleagues that proof-read it.?My plan for future is to continue to improve d book. Write other books and of course, put all my energy into making http://superbi.co/ a successful product.

WHAT KEY CHALLENGES DID YOU ENCOUNTER

  • What to write - more like best approach and what problem to solve. I never wanted to write just-another marketing book.
  • When and to write- Working 9 to 5 + managing a home of a wife and 3 young sons is a difficult job already, I needed to write all d time. I have always slept by 10pm and woken by 5am daily. I never lose sleep on anything. But then because I use every minute of my wake-time. Always make short notes using my phone, paper, laptop or whatever is handy at d moment.
  • How and where to publish - Find ways to publish. I started with eBooks then I stumbled on Amazon Paperback zero pre-publishing fee model. They take cost of publishing from customer fee. The Author won't have to part with any fees. And even when the author wants to get a copy, he can get Author's copy at cost of printing and of course shipping only. Awesome I must say…
  • Marketing was the last major issue - First of all I started this as a hobby and a passion and that helped me to persevere. I write for fun! I had a long-term mindset - build my personal brand, write a good book, bootstrap and one day people will notice me and my book(s). Never have a short time mindset! You get desperate and frustrated.