The Merely Mortal Marketer Reading List

Book installment at MHCSo if you’ve read my About page, or if you know me at all in real life, you know that I have an actual, honest-to-goodness day job.

No, it’s not all dreamy walks on winter beaches and stoically avoiding all unnecessary human contact.

I mean, a person’s got to eat.

So I work at HubSpot. Which is one of those ultra-groovy hipster startup companies in Cambridge, with the ping pong tables and the air hockey and the whatnot. We make internet marketing software, which means we mostly teach people how to do online marketing. I’m the resident writer and editor, which frankly is a pretty sweet gig.

Before I did that, I was a freelance consultant. I mostly worked with authors and artists and nonprofits and local small businesses, helping them navigate the treacherous waters of online marketing. Blogging, SEO, Facebook, Twitter, Google AdWords… all of that malarkey and more.

This means that I still get the occasional phone call, asking me if I still freelance.

And I don’t. And it kind of breaks my heart, because I really really like doing it. But it’s ridiculously time consuming, and I have a pretty time-consuming fulltime job as it is, and frankly I’ve been trying to use all of my remaining spare time to write sexy historical romance novels instead.

Long story short, I love Twitter and Facebook, but I love sexy British men in cravats just an eensy bit more. Sad but true.

So I’ve been working with some guilt over here, because some of you have asked me recently for help, and I’ve pretty much said no. I am nothing if not a people pleaser, so I’ve been trying to come up with a compromise.

Here’s what I’ve got.

The thing of it is, most of what you need to know is out there. The basic stuff is online, in some of the better blogs. The more advanced stuff is in books, increasingly in downloadable eBooks rather than traditionally published books, simply because the landscape of online marketing changes too quickly for traditionally published books to keep up.

The hard part isn’t finding it, it’s knowing what’s good. What’s useful. And leaving the rest behind.

So I thought, well that’s something I can do. I can try to help out my authorial and artisanal and small businessy pals by occasionally pointing out the stuff that I think is pretty darn useful for regular folks trying to market themselves online. Most of the people I know would rather read a book than do anything else anyway, so if I can’t consult, the least I can do is recommend a good book or two.

Because I’ve always worked with nonprofits and small organizations and artists and authors and such, that’s the audience I’ll generally have in mind when I review stuff like this. If this sounds like you, and you think you’d be interested in occasionally hearing about pretty useful stuff like this, then cool. I’m gonna start mentioning them just a little bit more often over here.

If not, I hope you don’t mind too much. This will only be an occasional thing, and I’ll get back to the dreamy winter walks and the antisocial behavior again next week, if not sooner. I swear.

The Merely Mortal Marketer Reading List – Episode 1

First a disclaimer. The eBook I’m discussing here was written by my co-worker and friend, Diana Urban. She gave me a free copy for review purposes, but I seriously wouldn’t be reviewing it now if I didn’t like it. I’d have just tucked it under my bed and pretended I’d lost it, or something. Because I’m smooth like that.

Stand Out On Facebook (eBook)

Let’s face it, Facebook does not make life easy for its users. They are constantly changing how things work, are often frustratingly loose with their privacy controls, and rarely make it at all intuitive to find your way around. Add to that the extra complication of trying to manage a Business (or “Fan”) Page on Facebook, and you’d be forgiven for occasionally wanting to toss your laptop out of an upper floor window.

This eBook walks you through a month-long bootcamp of setting up and running with a truly effective Facebook Fan Page that gets results. It’s not for the casual user, though — if you’re scared off by the idea of getting just a little technical with your bad self, then this might not be the book for you. But if you’re willing to try some new tricks, and if you’re already familiar with the basics of running your own blog or website, then this eBook can definitely take you where you need to go.

What I like about this book is that is breaks it all down into manageable bits. The author only asks you to do about a half hour of work each day, and at the end of one month you’ll have a Facebook page that would rival those of many, many major brands. Seriously, it’s almost worth buying this book just for the screenshots of the Big Name Facebook Pages that get so much of this stuff very, very wrong. Makes you feel pretty darn good about yourself, if you ask me.

It’s pitched as “the P90X of Facebook” and I can see why. You’re promised a pretty sexy bod at the end of a not insignificant period of work. And your muscles are probably going to hurt a little, especially after week two. But if a sexy Facebook bod is what you want, and if you’re willing to work a little for it, then that is exactly what you will get.

The month-long program basically goes like this:

  • Week One: Set up your Facebook Fan page
  • Week Two: Set up a Like-Gated Tab, complete with Offer and Thank You page
  • Week Three: Start promoting your Page
  • Week Four: Start some advanced Page promotion (including FB ads) and analytics to track your progress

It comes down to this: A lot of people worry that the time they spend promoting their businesses (or their books ::cough cough::) on Facebook is just wasted time. And you know what? For most people, it is.

It’s hard to do it right. It’s especially hard to achieve a critical mass of Facebook Fans and then figure out how any of this translates into actual sales and revenue. Most people never get there. Because it takes some extra effort and some insider know-how.

This eBook gives you a simple, step-by-step roadmap to finding actual, measurable success with your Facebook fan page. Whether you’re trying to promote your business or your book, you can get there by following this guide.

Stand Out on FacebookThe book costs $49. But considering all of the knowledge and sound advice that is packed into it, I’d call it a bargain. Compare it to how much a consultant would cost for the same amount of time, and you’ll see what I mean.

It includes several detailed templates that do some of the more advanced work for you, which is a nice added touch. And at 80+ pages, it’s no small thing. Lots of screenshots guide you through each step, and some very helpful cheerleading starts and ends each section.

Again — this is the book for you if what you want is abs like Jillian Michaels. If you’re just looking for the Facebook equivalent of a nice, soothing neck rub, then maybe it’s not the book for you. But even a nice, soothing neck rub is getting tough to find on the internet. Trust me. I’ve tried.

Stand Out on Facebook
By Diana Urban

As with any review I do, there’s no monetary benefit to me in return for this review. I don’t even use affiliate links, because they make me feel squicky. If you’d like me to review your book, hit me up on the contact form and I’ll take a look. If I like it, I’ll review it. If not, we can still be friends. Deal? Deal.

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