Different strokes for different folks

Tips for Entrepreneurs: People with money prefer audio books.

Bookstore 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Bookstore 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
How do you learn, and does it matter? It does if you intend to make money selling your information to your audience and customers! I’m sharing with you an important secret: how to double your income when selling information or entertainment to your audience.
Do you read books? If you do, you are a member of a segment of society that likes to acquire new knowledge via the written word. Many, if not most people like to learn via reading (like you are doing right now as you read this column). However, there are other groups of people who learn from different kinds of media. They turn to sources other than the written word for business or enjoyment. Is one form of learning better than another? No, but knowing how you, and your audience, prefer to learn does matter.
Think of the “books on tape” folks. The publishing houses don’t publish audio-book versions of their favorite books for fun. They do it because there is a large target market of people who, for whatever reason, choose not to read but rather to absorb knowledge by listening. Studies show people listen to audio books while traveling, exercising, relaxing, cooking, cleaning, gardening, crafting, walking a pet, etc. Other studies show that people whose jobs involve repetitive manual tasks, such as having to concentrate while doing the same thing over and over and over again, also use audio books at work.
People who have a difficult time reading for various reasons – dyslexic, blind or some of the elderly – also like audio books. Still others actually learn better through hearing information rather than reading it. You’d be surprised how many people prefer to listen to books. But trust me, popular authors would not spend precious time recording the entire book narration if the profit stream wasn’t big enough to make it worth their while.
But surprise, surprise, many people actually do both. They listen and they read. And to do that they buy both the print and the audio version of books. And if there is video, they will buy it as well!
The American Psychological Association reports that the primary customers for audio books are frequent book readers who see audio books as a way to “read” more while pursuing other lifestyle activities simultaneously. Most importantly, they are well-educated and have higher incomes than “regular reader” non-listeners. Not surprisingly, they tend to also be older (30-plus).
See? It’s not just that some people buy books and some people buy audio books. Notice the words “the primary audio book customer” is paired with the words “higher incomes.” This means if you want to make more money and attract an affluent buyer, you will create audio products as well as written ones.
So if you write a book and you don’t consider the other formats, you’ll be leaving a lot of money on the table because people with money prefer audio books. If you want to get more revenue streams, you need to seriously consider creating these audio formats to sell as well.
Don’t do it just because the affluent prefer them. People with more money may buy your audio book, but there are also people who buy multiple forms of the same thing; whether they have money or not, that’s how they spend what they do have. There are books that I have both the audio and print versions of because I like to hear the audiobook version and then skim the print version when I want a refresher. I also attack books with a highlighter and corner folds whenever I see something that is particularly interesting. This means that past buyers of your product on your customer list are fantastic candidates for a special offer of another format of the thing they already have!
(On that note, here’s a tiny but valuable piece of advice: Whenever you print something, a product of any kind, always add the following two words on the package: Volume One. There are people who want full sets of information and will search for, and buy, every book or tape in a set!)
It’s horrifying to see how many businesses miss very similar possibilities and who ignore the product types that lead them to the more affluent customer – the one they want to ultimately target if they want to sell their goods. (For instance, if you were selling something toward the low-income market, then advertising in Cigar Aficionado would probably be a bad idea because the targeting is all wrong.)
Even when you advertise in a newspaper or online, the thought needs to be: “Who am I trying to reach? What is the message they need to hear?” If they are educators, there needs to be teacher-speak. And if you are targeting parents, you need parent-speak. Use the wrong speak in the wrong ad and the target market will ignore you! If you are selling tours to Syria, this paper is probably the wrong place for you to advertise – no matter how wonderful your ad would be.
Issamar Ginzberg is a business adviser, marketer, professional speaker and rabbi who has been published in more than 50 business publications.