How Mari Smith uses graphics to build lasting relationships with readers

Posted January 9th @ 8:03 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Graphics play a major role in helping Mari Smith build lasting relationships with readers, as shown by the example at left.

Mari Smith’s The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable networking Using the Social Web, not only provides a detailed, up-to-date look at harnessing the power of social media.

Mari’s book also provides numerous examples of best practices for authors looking for ways to build lasting relationships with their readers.

Background and reader bonuses

As a long-time Mari Smith fan, and the author of an earlier book on relationship marketing that stressed offering bonus content to book buyers and readers, I read Mari’s book with heightened interest.

A couple of things immediately jumped out at me:

  • A willingness to share. The first thing I noticed was Mari’s willingness to share quality information without requiring e-mail registration. Anyone who wants to can freely download a 30-page sample chapter from her New Relationship Marketing.
  • Worksheets without arm wrestling. More important, Mari has created a series of worksheets to help readers implement the ideas and strategies she describes in her book. Often, premium reader content requires registration, but Mari practices what she often preaches and trusts her readers.
  • No compromise graphic design. Often, reader bonuses are put together at the last minute, using rudimentary word processing skills. As you can see from the worksheet example, above–shared with Mari’s Permission–the utility of the worksheet is enhanced by clean, simple, and uncluttered design. A quick glance is enough to show that Mari understands the role of design in projecting a professional, “I care!”, image.

“Best practices” for organizing book contents

In addition to providing lots of detailed, actionable advice, The New Relationship Marketing teaches several important lessons about content organization that even experienced authors can learn from.

Mari Smith obviously invested a lot of time planning and organizing The New Relationship Marketing from the reader’s perspective before beginning to write. This is particularly obvious from the book’s table of contents:

  • Introduction. What I like about the introduction is that it sets the stage by addressing the 2 questions many readers still puzzle over: “What is the New Relationship Marketing? and “Why is it Crucial in Business Today?”
  • Part 1: Relationship Marketing Basics. The 3 chapters in Part 1 are also candidly address reader concerns and fears. Chapter 3 is an example of Mari’s empathy for the real world concerns of readers,‘ “How to Stay Connected, Yet protect Your Time and Privacy.” That’s a masterpiece of a title!
  • Part 2: Nine Steps to Significantly Growing Your Business Through Relationship Marketing. Again, in Part 2, the chapters are organized around reader needs, such as Chapter 5: Become an Authority Through Quality Content.
  • Conclusion. The conclusion provides a perspective on continual adaption as technology changes.

The Big Takeaway

The New Relationship Marketing’s table of contents illustrates the importance of going beyond the obvious when creating a table of contents that will do more than sell books….one that will be lasting relationships with readers.

Instead of organizing The New Relationship Marketing around the primary social media tools– i.e., Chapter 1, Twitter; Chapter 2, Facebook, Chapter 3, LinkedIn, etc.–Mari Smith wrote around her readers and their needs.

As a result of this reader orientation, The New Relationship Marketing doesn’t just deliver–it over-delivers and, in so doing, builds lasting reader relationships.

What are your takeaways from Mari Smith’s The New Relationship Marketing? Does it make sense to “go the extra mile” to provide readers with well-designed bonus content and a table of contents that revolves around their needs? How do these lessons relate to your writing goals and the relationships you want to build with your readers? Share your thoughts, below.

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