Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Somewhere in my permanently backlogged RSS reader, there’s a feed from Seth Godin’s hyperactive marketing blog. It turns out that Seth has a new book coming out this fall, and he’s come up with a new way to promote it. A promotion so clever that—before you could say “act now”—I was signed off, paid up, and anxiously awaiting further news.
Here’s the necessary context: the new book is called Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, and it’s all about “groups of people aligned around an idea, connected to a leader and to each other.” The main argument of the book appears to be that the web makes it easier than ever to find and participate in your tribe, and this in turn uncorks no end of opportunities for marketers and other tribe-interested folk the world over.
But who cares what the book is about. I bought it because of the promotion.
Here’s the invite from Seth’s promotional message yesterday:
I’d like to invite you to join a members-only tribe. A tribe for marketers, for leaders, for those focused on building communities or creating products or spreading ideas.
This online community will live on a site we’ve created that will feature blogs, forums, social networking, comments, photos, videos and a job board. And it’s by invitation only until October. Spots are limited and early members get privileges and bragging rights.
Members get a password and the privilege of meeting each other, posting thoughts, connecting to big ideas or projects and more.
The catch is you have to pre-order Tribes and send Seth your proof of purchase in order to get a password to join this new online community. “It’s not about selling more books, of course,” says Seth. “It’s about creating a small hurdle to get the right people in the door.”
Genius. Here’s why:
• Who doesn’t want to be “the right people.” (Where do I order my copy?)
• The invite is time-limited and creates an incredibly effective sense of urgency. (How soon can I buy?)
• The invite appears to offer real value—an exclusive online community of like-minded folks. (I’d be crazy not to buy this. These are my people.)
• The promo proves the central argument of the book—tribes good, join one now—as well as a minor argument that the most powerful tribes are those that are not open to everyone. (This guy’s really on to something. Do you take Amex?)
We spend a lot of time at Turner-Riggs working on strategies for better book marketing, and this is as nifty an idea as we’ve seen recently. Months in advance of publication, Seth has engaged his community of interest (the term we use around here for “tribe”), cranked up the pre-sales for the book, and seeded the marketplace with lots of good word of mouth. I’m in the tribe, if only to see what happens next.