Suze Orman's "Women And Money"

17 February 2008

Give It Away Give It Away Now: Suze Orman’s E-Book Promo

by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Influencer Marketing Instructor…

She’s a money management wizard who’s pretty damn savvy about marketing. Of course, it helps when you team up with the greatest media mogul of our times.

Last week on the Oprah Winfrey show — a.k.a. Nirvana for writers — author/financial consultant/TV show host Suze Orman announced that she would give away downloads of her new book, Women & Money, on Oprah’s website for 33 hours. The result: 1.1 million downloads!

Wait, you might be thinking, is Orman insane, giving away her work for free? No, just brilliant. She knows that she’s more than an author: she’s a rising multimedia brand en route to becoming the next Oprah. Giving away her book might hurt her print sales, but look what it accomplished:

  1. It scored serious publicity: You don’t see too many other financial writers getting this much coverage in popular media. This stunt accomplished far more than a few book reviews (or even a Super Bowl ad) would have, particularly with this target market.
  2. It boosted high quality (interested) traffic to Oprah’s website: Is there a stronger word than boosted? Exploded? Bazooka’d? Over 1 million people in 33 hours. It’s amazing the servers held up. Orman and Oprah must now be BFF’s. And if you’re trying to accomplish anything in marketing, Oprah is a wicked good friend to have.
  3. It promoted Orman’s TV show: Orman is not exactly major network material… yet. She appears on CNBC. C-what? Exactly. This giveaway will boost awareness of her show, future viewership, and higher advertising fees. Ultimately, it could score a deal with a major network.
  4. It won brownie points from her audience: Says Orman, “This was not about getting people to buy the book, but getting them to read it, and that was the intention behind this offer.”
  5. It promoted the print version of her book: Not everyone wants to read an entire book on a computer monitor, so the dead-tree version will continue to sell. Proof: Women & Money is currently the #2 Bestseller on Amazon. Readers who like the book will also recommend it to their friends or buy it as a gift, and they might check out Orman’s other published books and her future publications, as well.

Would this work for any author? No. It works for Orman because she has other properties to promote: her TV show, speaking engagements, CD’s, DVD’s, financial kits, etc. She didn’t invest her brand into just one medium, which enables her to sacrifice sales in one area.

(Note to authors striving for obscene wealth: books are just the starting point. Think of yourself as a brand.)

And as noted, this wasn’t much of a sacrifice. While some hopeless business drones still view marketing as a wasted expense (see “Silicon Valley startups”), a financial professional like Orman knows that marketing can be a powerful investment.

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Freddy is the Founder & Creative Strategist of Atomic Tango. He also teaches graduate-level marketing communication courses at the University of Southern California (go Trojans!), shoots pool somewhat adequately, and herds cats. Freddy received his BA from Harvard and his MBA from USC.

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