web design

Selling A Book By Its Cover

A Book By Any Other Cover…

They say you cannot tell a book by its cover but do not ever doubt that you can sell a book by its cover.

You cannot judge a book by its cover. Evidently you can sell pile of them though.

You cannot judge a book by its cover. Evidently you can sell a pile of them though.

This screen shot depicts the overall sales of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice based on five different cover designs and spanning 20 years. This provides a clear look at the power behind design, marketing and understanding the current market.

Sales for this literary classic hit a small peak of sorts in 1995, but overall remained fairly low until 2009 when it surged in popularity netting more than double the sales in a single year.

Why? What happened in 2009?

The Great Pride & Prejudice Surge Of 2009

The Pride & Prejudice film was released in 2005. Which means that this probably did not factor largely in to the 2009 releases success. If anything one would have expected a surge in sales to occur within the next year.

Instead we see that four years later, in 2009, demand for this novel more than doubled within twelve months. What was it about 2009?

Every market surge has a history. There may be many contributing factors to a sudden sales onslaught but one can always trace the reasons. This can often be a complicated process and one may wind up with many dead ends before coming to a reliable conclusion as to the cause, but there is always a cause.

In the case this surge in 2009 it is not so complicated. Have a look at the cover that sold so well.  The cover couldn’t be the sole reason could it? Design doesn’t make that much of a difference right?

Wrong. It is all in the design. The 2009 release happened to coincide with another novel series which just happened to be gaining steam at the time. Perhaps you have heard of it. It involved an angst ridden teenage girl and her love affair with a vampire and a werewolf.

The Twilight Saga had recently become a huge hit. It had been hitting the theaters and was discussed everywhere.  Low and behold if we look at the cover design of the re-release of the Twilight series what do we see?


Well now look at that. Something familiar about those colours and the overall feel isn’t there? What an odd coincidence…

Make no mistake. This was 100% intentional and from a marketing and sales standpoint, it was brilliant. The brains behind the 2009 publication of Pride & Prejudice knew their market. They knew the consumer zeitgeist. They knew what people were reading and they moved on it.

Does Pride & Prejudice share any similarities with Twilight? Well the lead character is a girl and Mr. Darcy is a bit of a wolf… but otherwise to lump these two into the same category would likely cause Mrs Austen to roll in her grave. Yet the design of the book managed to subtly do just that. The four books published in the Twilight series used three key colours and several basic design elements. This is obvious when comparing the four of them side by side as we do in the image above.

The demographic that Twilight was marketed to had, had their eyes trained – trained to look for this specific colour combination and style, thus any other book with similar traits would automatically grab their eye. What is more, the design team behind the 2009 version of Pride and Prejudice increased its book size to match the size which Twilight was published in. The result was a book that looked, for all intents and purposes, like it belonged to the Twilight series – one that could sit beside them and not look out-of-place.

Customers would be looking through the shelves of books and their eyes would automatically flicker what they knew and recognized. Perhaps some of them even thought this was a fifth edition to the series.

This is the essence and foundation behind branding and that is exactly what went on. Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series was branded with a very obvious aesthetic look. 2009’s Pride and Prejudice printing simply hopped on that band wagon and rode its coattails to success.

Design & Sales.

All too often there appears to be an underlying disrespect for solid design work. Few people – especially in the small business market place – realize the increase in sales that good design will get them. Instead the see the price tag that comes along with it and they balk at it. They cut corners, call in favours, hire rookies or try to do it themselves with all the “free online tools”. The result is shoddy and unprofessional design.

Graphic and Web design needs to be rooted in technical and artistic ability as well and an understanding of what is working in the industry today.

As we see in the example above, knowing the market and understanding design trends play a huge role in design success.

It is simple and it is truth. Good graphic design increases sales. Good design is worth the price. 


Transition Marketing Services. Our passion is educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how were doing or if you have any questions. TRANSITION MARKETING SERVICES – Small Business Marketing Specialists.


Online Marketing: Why Social Media is Good, But Not Enough


Are all of your eggs in one basket?

In the past three years there has been a whirlwind of marketing activity surrounding social media. Marketing Agencies across the globe have been embracing it, Brands have been utilizing it to create “Brand Advocates”, and small businesses everywhere have been flocking to it.

Social Media has to some degree turned marketing on its head and yet while many of the same core principles remain, Social Media, as any other marketing tool, has its own peculiarities and specifics.

It is an excellent tool for brands and businesses of all make, model and size and we have vouched for it innumerable times on this blog alone.

Social Media, however, it is not the end all be all and it is not a stand-alone method for your business. Every business needs to marketed in a manner that is specific to their industry and their customer base. This is especially true for SMALL BUSINESS.

This type of marketing has a couple of different faces and a names, but for sake of simplicity we will refer to it here as “NICHE MARKETING

Work Smarter not Harder

Work Smarter not Harder

Anyone operating a small business can tell you that profit margins can be tight and as such, marketing budgets can be even tighter. The small business owner must market smarter, not harder. They cannot afford to waste even nickles on anything that won’t generate sales leads and potential.

“The small business owner must market smarter, not harder”

Niche Marketing.

Niche Marketing is not simple, but it is also not as complicated as many fear. What it really boils down to is knowing who to market to. What is interesting is that many times the audience you should be targeting is not necessarily the one you would first assume.

Here is an example from our own personal experience at Transition Marketing last year.

“A Surprising Local Demographic”

We sat down with a real estate agent locally to asses their situation. They were doing well, but were ready to make the next big leap in market share. Living in the Okanagan, there is a large amount of vacation property available. Many would assume between that and local young families, that the dominant target market would be obvious.

It turned out that in the specific region we were dealing with, the most untapped market was in fact a split between older retiring citizens (65+) and elderly population looking to downsize.

Now of course. one does not necessarily want to rely solely on Social Media to chase down a target market such as this. Greater success was made using the medium most accessible to them – printed advertising. Newspapers, buy & sells, coffee shop readers and so on. Quaint, archaic perhaps, but effective and by utilizing this relatively inexpensive medium, we were able to address an often overlooked demographic to great success.

Niche Marketing is all about specific, focused efforts to reach a specific audience. To do so, one cannot rely on “blanket strategies” or “mass marketing“. Likewise Social Media is an excellent tool, but it cannot stand-alone. It is a resource best used in conjunction with other efforts. This may include more traditional avenues such as print, radio and video, or networking events such as trades and sales shows.

There is one area that all Niche Marketing has in common. One that in this day and age cannot be overlooked… a website.

A website is a necessity, not a suggestion.

Fishing for leads is great... if you have a place to land them. That is where a website comes in.

Fishing for leads is great… if you have a place to land them. That is where a website comes in.

It is the 21st century, the year 2013 and businesses that want to success need to recognize the importance of an online presence.

Online searches are the primary means of locating businesses, products and services and online searches while on the move (mobile) are quickly becoming the norm.

Consider these recent statistics:

    • By 2015, mobile internet usage is projected to overtake desktop usage. (Microsoft Tag)
    • Mobile traffic increased to over 16% of overall web traffic. Mobile web traffic increased 27% in 2012. (Marketingland)
    • Mobile data traffic globally in 2011 was 8 times greater than in 2010. (Econsultancy)
    • At time of report, there were 6.8 billion people on the planet. 5.1 billion of them owned a cell phone. (Search Engine Watch)
    • 70% of all mobile searches result in action within 1 hour (Social Media Today)

    • Use of mobile search has grown by 500% over the past two years.(Econsultancy)

    • Average smart phone usage almost tripled in 2011. (Econsultancy)

    • 50% of all local searches are performed on mobile devices. (Microsoft tag)

If your business does not have a website, how many sales leads are you missing out on? Search engines do index some social media material, but these search results do not come close to touching what the indexing and results that a good website will provide. Here is an example:

I am on a lovely vacation to the south Okanagan Valley with my family. The Okanagan is considered a bit of a tourist hot-spot and many of the local Okanagan businesses benefit from the summer tourism surge.

I have a little spending money and I am looking to sit down and enjoy a nice meal locally with my family. After that I think I will take in some of the local entertainment and maybe do a little shopping.

But where do I go? I suppose I could use a Yellow Pages directory… if PayPhones were still a thing. Let’s face it, I have my smart phone so I am going to just pop in a Google search and see what comes up.

Will it be your business?

Social media has been proven to increase SEO (Search Engine Results) for websites. By using a combination of Social Media WITH a website, you are increasing you websites opportunity to be viewed and (if you are using Social Media properly) you are also engaging your customer base.

Social Media is in itself not a stand-alone marketing strategy. It is a tool to be used in conjunction with more foundational marketing. Its use in online marketing is only truly effective if you have a website.

“Fishing for leads is great… if you have a place to land them. That is where a website comes in.”

If marketing is fishing than consider Social Media to be the fishing line and your website to be the boat. Social Media can reel in leads, but where will you direct them for further information?

Websites are a home base. A place where customers (should) be able to get everything they need to take action immediately. Whether they get there by search engine, referral, social media engagement or other… the website is where they need to land.

Okanagan Small Business Marketing

Transition Marketing Services is a small business marketing firm in the Okanagan. Our passion Small Business Marketing. Educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how we’re doing or if you have any questions.