This might not be popular. It might not be what marketers are after. But it’s true.
It’s the power of small.
I’m writing this from an author’s perspective, but the principles apply to anyone in business who has to market something.
As authors, we don’t like those three words (power of small) too much. We’d rather have the power of big, the power of bestseller, the power of fame. Yet, everyone starts somewhere. In order to have a sustainable career beyond the fluke of one-shot-wonders, we have to understand the importance of small decisions over the long haul, of being faithful in little things so that when we’re entrusted with a bigger platform, our ego won’t be too big to fit on it.
What does it look like to embrace the power of small?
Here are ten things you can use today to start your tribe building.
1. People first. This business is full of people. Some are big names. Others are unknown. Treat both the same. Remember how very small this industry is and don’t burn bridges.
2. Be thankful. Whenever someone does something for you—writes a review, introduces you to a friend in the business, blogs about your book—be thankful. Write or call your thanks. Consider every sweet thing that comes your way as a gift.
3. Reach one. As authors we can tend to think globally, particularly how many people will read our books or hear us speak. But really, it’s about reaching one, treating each person as special. Don’t despise reaching one.
4. Trust the crowd. If you’ve created an amazing book, trust that word of mouth people will eventually holler about it. Of course, do the best you can by letting folks know about the book, but then sit back and observe what cool things happen because other people have taken initiative.
5. Work hard on your home base. Michael Hyatt in his book, Platform, talks about creating an amazing home base for readers to find you. Your home base is your website. Create it with your reader in mind. How can you bless them? What can you give them? What will be the benefit to them when they come to your site? Find ways to captivate them. Build an email distribution list so you have permission to bless them more. This gig is not about you; it’s about the tribe you build.
6. Build trust. You can’t buy loyalty or trust. You can simply be loyal and trustworthy. Don’t spam your tribe members. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
7. Trust God. Ultimately, He is sovereign. He is the one who builds your career. Your job is to be faithful, to do what former singer Keith Green penned, “Just do your best, pray that it’s blessed, and He’ll take care of the rest.” Do the work, but then take your hands off it.
8. Live in adventure. The joy in building a platform and finding a tribe is anticipating the cool things ahead. If we simply view marketing as a task, we’ll miss the excitement of what God will do. See it as an adventure, a great anticipation of what God will do on your behalf.
9. Watch the negative talk. I’ve been guilty of being too out-there with my negative talk. Yes, this is a difficult business. Yes, you will have setbacks. But go back to the place you were called. If God hasn’t said stop, then rest in the fact that He wants you to keep going, no matter what the setback. See your job as a writer as a privilege, and keep your written and verbal disappointment in check.
10. Be generous. This gig isn’t just about you. Find time to promote others. Be generous. Open doors for people just beginning. Mentor new writers. In giving back, you’ll find joy.
I’ve found more joy in my marketing efforts the past six months because I’m refocusing on reaching one at a time, and realizing that small is good. Rest there. Be faithful in small things. And anticipate big things in this grand adventure called publishing.