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Episode 302: Re Perez on Using Pre-Launch Bonuses to Boost Pre-Orders

Mar 11, 2020

Re Perez is a seasoned Brand Strategist, International Speaker, Author and CEO of Branding For The People.

He's also someone I met last year and adored from the get go.

As the founder of a leading branding agency that builds and manages brands for funded startups, high-growth entrepreneurs, Inc. 5000 fastest-growing companies, and expanding small to midsize businesses around the globe, Re's shared his insights at numerous conferences.

And with his book, Your Brand Should Be Gay (Even If You're Not), he's sharing them with you.

He also shares, in this interview, the strategy he used to increase pre-orders—namely offering a series of bonuses to anyone who ordered ahead of time. His strategy—offering consulting calls with him and his team to those who ordered multiple copies—resulted in the book launching to #1 immediately.



Anna David:                  04:57                Hi. So here we go. I would like to say Re, your book as I am looking at it, is the number one new release in home based business advertising. Did you know that?

Re Perez:                      05:09                I saw that on Friday. My team was like, Whoa, I guess it is that easy to get Amazon bestseller.

Anna David:                  05:16                No, it's not that easy. It's that you're that great. Stop. So, okay. I am so delighted to be doing this because I adore you. We met, I guess it was probably like six months ago that in passing that weird, you passed me a note, you essentially pass me a love note, is what happened in the hallway of Genius Network. And then we connected again in San Diego, and I just, I just adore you. And you've got this book that is currently out and it is called Your Brand Should Be Gay, Even if You're Not. So tell me about this book.

Re Perez:                      06:03                Yeah. So if you think about it, I'm actually leveraging the book as an opportunity to teach people about the power of branding. I mean, it's bold, it's courageous. It can be polarizing, maybe offensive to some. It can be inspiring. It peaks your curiosity and it grabs people's attention. Like how many, how many pink books do you see on the bookshelf, right?

Anna David:                  06:32                I think in the Sex in the City Era, there were maybe a few. You do not see them by men A, this may be a historical thing.

Re Perez:                      06:38                That's right. Yeah. Yeah. So you don't see it. You don't see it a ton. And you know, and so obviously the, I'm a brand strategist and wanted to really use this book as an opportunity to teach all the elements of great branding. And at the same time it you know, I happen to be a gay man. Not that it's something that I wear on my sleeve all the time, but interestingly, you know, it's people sort of get it. They kind of expect, they know that I'm branding. For people who do know, they know that I'm gay. And if you didn't know then well, okay, now you know but I could have meant the word the association happy, right. I could've meant a million things, but see that's the power of branding, the power of language, word association, etcetera. So if anything you know, I wrote the book to sort of teach more about branding and everything, and I do tell a little bit about my personal story in the book. But really it's a book about the art and science of creating an authentic brand.

Anna David:                  07:52                That's the very meta thing is in doing this bold pink cover in saying your brand should be gay, you are giving them a lesson before they've even picked up the book basically. Right?

Re Perez:                      08:03                Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Anna David:                  08:06                You can use it. I was going to say you could use it as a blur, but I just looked on your Amazon page and you have maybe between 65 and 7,500 blurbs. So I don't think you need anymore. But you know, and I think that it's really interesting because it's like, you know, I know you through Genius Network and I didn't know anyone gay was in Genius Network. And so we were chatting in San Diego and I was like, Oh this guy's really intimate and then you told me, you're kidding sort of. And I was like, Hey, can I ask is he gay or is that just the title of the book. So, and we, so you, as we've talked about your book, what I think is really interesting and the reason I do this show is I have an equal number of sort of people who come from traditional New York times bestselling books that they're doing with like Harper Collins and Simon Schuster, and then my marketer people. And it is such a perfect amalgamation cause it's this soup you need both. So you having such a history in marketing and branding, how did you approach this book?

Re Perez:                      09:10                So I decided to do a, you know, sort of a hybrid approach where it is, it's self published, I am working with Lioncrest Publishers. But it's self published and you know, as opposed to ghost having a ghost writer write your book. It was really important to me and particularly since this book is around brand authenticity, it was really important to me that it was written in the voice and it was also written by me, right. It would be completely inauthentic if I had a book around authenticity and I started just pawned it off to for someone else to write. So, you know, through a collaborative process with my scribe, I you know, I was interviewed and I got a lot of stuff out of my head, which, you know, this is my first book. I'm usually more of a speaker. I think I'm great in that sort of format of communication, but writing necessarily wasn't or if I do write, I write like a consultant, you know, like a writer, a strategist and so forth, but not as a book author. And so that took a little bit of a process for me to learn how to write as an author, in this book format. And I kept one thing in mind, which was what, how can I translate these concepts into terms that we'll engage people's interest and that would be meaningful and understandable by them.

Anna David:                  10:42                And then when it came to the launch, how did you approach this, you know, you have all these years in branding and marketing and did you say, I'm going to approach this? Like it's a project, like it's an event. Like did you, how did you look at it?

Re Perez:                      10:59                Yeah. So you know, I wish I could say I had like the science behind it, but I sort of treated it like any other project and at the same time, so for me branding and also this book writing this book was both a linear and a non linear process. That's how I approached branding. It's like linear, there's like certain steps that you have to take and you kind of have to look at things as like a, as a system. So the way that my brain works is I kind of look at things as a whole. I look at things systematically and so, okay first, yes I needed to sort of create a strategy. Why, what am I trying to achieve with this book? And then actually writing, you know, creating an outline and then writing the book and then editing the book and then, you know, all those sort of linear steps. But I treated it like a project that probably unlike many authors or maybe like many authors I haven't spoken to quite a bit, but I needed to begin in a term a lot of us like to use, is like I needed to be in flow and writing the book and I'm sure everything is in the editing right now, but it's kind of like write something and then edit it. I just, for me, I just needed to like sit with the computer and have no distractions and sort of just type it out and get my thoughts down. I did have a little perfectionist syndrome going on initially and then I learned to kind of put that aside and not worry about trying to write it perfectly the first go round. I just needed to get my thoughts down and tell a story as if I was writing to a friend or a client.

Anna David:                  12:36                Yeah, yeah. I know. I was just talking to my students about this last night. It's like, it's so tempting to just keep going back and back and back and revising and reworking and you can just get stuck in that endless soup. I have a book I started working on 10 years ago and I'm still in it. You know what, that book's never going to see the light of day cause it's just like you'd go back and but so what do you want this book to do for you? What made you say at this point in your career, I am going to a do a book because I want what?

Re Perez:                      13:05                Yeah, so a couple of things. One, so the way that I'll frame it is there are some sort of business goals, I suppose. Then there are some personal goals, right? And so for me the business side of things, I really want to be able to impact and reach more people who aren't necessarily ready or need a little bit more nudge in convincing before hiring me or any other branding agency for that matter. Maybe it's not with our [inaudible] really sort of educate more people about branding. So that when we do talk with a potential client that they're already been primed and understand sort of what is it that we're really talking about if they haven't seen me speak on stage. Right? The second thing is from a business perspective is I really wanted to sort of set the record straight because there's a lot of books out there on branding and they come from different purviews. So what I mean by that, that the, you know, there's some branding books that are written by marketers. There's some branding books that might've been written by people who worked in house at say Starbucks or Coca-Cola or whatever. They had an in house branding perspective or they were a CEO of a company and they built a big brand, and nothings wrong with those.

                                    14:33                But I think having someone that worked at some of the top global branding firms and now running my own agency for the past 10 years, someone who's worked as a branding strategist across many different industries, I think that lends itself to a certain way of thinking about branding, a more holistic approach to brand building. And then the personal reasons I wanted to create a sort of, kind of want to create my own legacy, my own mark. And you know, I think for me, knowing that my thinking and my ideas and strategies and the work that I've done to help private clients, you know, I think knowing that I've helped other people and I'm going to say this, that most people might think it really is just to acquire clients for branding. And that's a piece of it. But I really think the message in this book is around authenticity because my whole life's journey has been around being completely comfortable and confident as my authentic self. And so I think it's a bigger message whether you're an entrepreneur, a business owner, if you're like in school or you're, you know, in the workforce your own personal identity and image and everything about you should be authentic. And I think more and more people should live a more authentic life.

Anna David:                  16:03                See, that's super interesting. So it's like, it is lessons, but there's this personal theme throughout. So it's a bit of a hybrid business book and memoire, you would say.

Re Perez:                      16:15                Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I do tell a little bit about my story in there because here's the thing, it's like we connect with the, with brands through stories. And so, yes, why am I credible person to teach about branding? Sure. I have the branding background, but it's, people ask me all the time, why are you so passionate about branding? And you know, I talk about this a little bit. When you say memoir, like I talk about my own struggles as a kid and growing up, and like many of us, it's like, how do we fit in and how can we balance between fitting in? And not being the same, you know, so fitting in doesn't necessitate being exactly like everyone else. It's still allowing yourself to be different and you need being okay with that.

Anna David:                  17:10                Right. In terms of this goal of educating potential future clients about what you do, what is your plan? Do you have, okay, so this book is going to come out, I'm going to send out copies. This is who I am, do you have a list of who you're going to send it to you? How advanced is your plan for what your goal is with this book at this point?

Re Perez:                      17:32                Yeah, so interestingly, I've branded so it's a multilayered approach is the first part to it, right? And so I have happened to have the opportunity to brand some influencers and some people with big audiences. And so there's sort of saying, Hey, you're in the book. Would you be willing to also promote it and share it with your community? And because of my relationships, because I've really built my business on relationships. I mean authentic relationships, not a relationship where like, Hey, what can I get from you and what can you get from me? It was like, Hey, I just built great friendships and relationships with people. And they're like, Hey, yes, of course I'm willing to promote. So that's one vehicle, right? Getting people to promote your book. And then secondarily is like I have my own audience, my own list of people who I have been following for the years who have seen me speak, I'm promoting to them. And then there's social media. So I have some people that have been following me for years, but they might not be on my email list cause that's not their preferred communication.

                                    18:33                But they follow me on social and sort of, we covered the main ones, like Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. And then interestingly, the other part of this, we are just wrapping up our preorder, we're officially launched February 25th. So by the time you listen to this, this interview might be after launch, but we've actually had some people that are saying, Hey, I have an audience or I run a mastermind or I run a group of a client group and I'd like to buy 75 copies for my people. Right. And then I also hired a book launch marketing team who's been pitching me on podcasts and stages. And yeah, you know, I don't know if it's okay to say this on your podcast, cause it really depends on this interview, but I, I'm actually talking with a lady who works at TEDx, wants to have me talk on their stage.

Anna David:                  19:36                So amazing. Amazing. You haven't done a TEDx yet?

Re Perez:                      19:39                No. It will be my first one.

Anna David:                  19:42                Let's go back. I loved all of these things. So let's go back to these relationships. So people will say, and I don't know if this has happened to you, I will get emails from people I do not know, who say things to me. Like, Hey, would you blurb my book? This is why you should blurb my book. Will you support me? And it's clear they've never read any of my books, but they want help and support. And that is the absolute worst way to do it. But what if someone who's listening is like, great, I want to know influencers. I want these relationships. How did they go about developing them?

Re Perez:                      20:14                Wow. You know, I wish I could say I had a course on it. I mean, I think, you know how do they, so the question is, how does one who doesn't have a relationship with an influencer invite them or ask them to be an influencer? Well, here's the thing. This may or may not apply to everyone, but I'll just offer up this from my perspective. I think one way to sort of get into the ecosystem of an influencer is be a client or customer or follower. Like you said, buy your books, right? Read up about you and know enough about this person and to draw a genuine connection. But that's one way is to be a customer or a client. And you know, if you're called to it, right? If you know, if so I'll say that. The other way is to say no enough about the influencer and maybe offer something of value that doesn't require a price tag. So you're like, Hey, I'm a big fan of your work or I know enough about your work. I'd like to find a way to co-create something and collaborate with you.

                                    21:26                Here's how I can add value if this is something that you're interested in. So that's always one way, you know, obviously I'd say do it, do it judiciously, and do it strategically because people can sniff out when you're just like, Hey, trying to offer something of value because they know you want something in return. If you're offering something of value, offer something of value. I remember watching this Gary Vaynerchuk video once and it just kind of stuck out to me and I think it was when he was launching his book. He's like, yeah, sometimes people will say, Hey, I want to offer something of value for you. I'm going to give you 10 copies of my book. And you know, like, you know that's cool and all, that sounds like a give, but that's not a gift because you don't know what's a value to that person. They may not want your book. Right.

Anna David:                  22:11                Yeah. And it's amazing how much power, just even commenting on their Instagram, writing back to their newsletter list, just saying, Hey, I'm here, review their podcasts. Like, it doesn't have to cost money and it doesn't have to cost a ton of time. You'd be amazed how people start to know you. Even, you know, Tim Ferris is not going to notice if you do a podcast you know, review, but other people will. So I think it's about targeting who is realistic to notice you and how can you serve them in a non-manipulative completely authentic way. Right?

Re Perez:                      22:52                Totally. And I just thought of a third one and I know just subconsciously do this. And here's obviously since I'm a branding person, Anna, so for me it's about branding is so much more than your logo and your tagline and all that sort of stuff. It's about sort of the ethos and what you believe and what you stand for. And so at the level when you're connecting with an influencer, one way to sort of connect with them is if you had sort of shared values, a shared ethos, it's like, Hey, your brand is committed to, I don’t know ending hunger or your brand is committed to sheltering homeless people. And if that's a big part of your brand, find a way to connect with them based on their mission and their purpose and whatnot. So it doesn't look, it's coming out of left field. Right? So that's sort of one way to even just frame, that doesn't necessarily give you exactly the, the how to get in front of them. It gives you, when you get the opportunity to get in front of an influencer, how to better connect with them.

Anna David:                  23:58                Yeah. It's you know, and something else you mentioned, you did mention that a lot of these people are in your book. Now, obviously you don't put them in your book in order to have them promote it, but Hey, it's not a bad idea either. You know, it's whoever's listening, it's your book to write. I did that recently, you know, and you could call it manipulative or you could just call it me experimenting. I just realized, I was like, I'm going to mention this person in this book so that when this book is out, I can say to them, Hey, you're mentioned in this book. I mean, it's not a terrible plan.

Re Perez:                      24:32                It's not. And you know, it's interesting cause that there's, we have a long list of clients that we've had the fortunate of working with. And not everyone made the cut in terms of the book. It wasn't because I was like, Oh, let me try to get this person in because they're an influencer. That's certainly a play for sure. But there's some people that I've mentioned in the book that I didn't ask to promote and I didn't, but I wanted to sort of share the love and share their story because it was relevant to the topic. It was relevant to the book. And so I've worked a lot with what is, what's going to be a good book and what's the right case studies to share that is appropriate with, you know, topically what's relevant to share. And then I went with that and it was like, by the way, you're in the book if you want to promote. Awesome. No pressure either way. And I think that's been my GoTo Anna, just with a lot of different things. It's like if you're called to it, do it. If it doesn't work with your promo schedule or your, you know, whatever, then no pressure. I'm good.

Anna David:                  25:37                Right. What about, you know, what you did, which I think is really interesting and it was really effective, is you have prelaunch bonuses. Is that, is that actually what the term is? You know, basically if you, will you walk us through how you set that up and what that is.

Re Perez:                      25:53                Yeah. Thank you. I forgot that's a big part of it. So we, so with the book marketing team we were like, okay. So there's a whole play of trying to get, so because I decided to do the not the New York times bestseller or Wall Street Journal sort of play. The focus was to sort of get the Amazon bestseller, right. And to drive traffic to Amazon sales. And so when I worked with this book marketing team, what was great about them is that they said, well that's awesome for Amazon, but what's great for your brand. And then we started to look at Omni channel marketing of how can we get your book trending across the different book publishing platforms, and also how can create a preorder opportunity where people can buy. And we didn't [inaudible] to Amazon, we basically focused the book on the hard cover copy. So it was like, all right, people can preorder the book. It's hardcover for 22.95 is what the list price was. And that if they bought one book, they would immediately get the first three chapters delivered to them digitally. So if you think about it from a marketing perspective, that also gives us an opportunity to engage and connect with people who preorder the book because now we have their email address, we can engage with them, should they choose to, you know, continue to subscribe and follow. You can't do that on Amazon, right?

                                    27:28                And then if you buy five books, then we had an offering that we sell on our site for $1,500. It's a brand audit. So if someone was like, Hey, can you audit my brand? We charge $1,500 for that. But if you buy five books at 22.95, that's a pretty good deal, right? Where you can get a free brand audit from my company. And then we've had some people that bought 25 books or more. And if someone's going to buy pre-order 25 books in support of our pre-launch I was going to offer a consult with me, privately with me, and that value is up to $3,000. And you and I both know like, you know, we don't just necessarily give our time away for free. So my time is as valuable as everyone's time, right? So there's a $3,000 value for somebody who buys 25 books. That's the way of thanking people to preorder. So that one, five, 25, the books we've been pre-ordering, that's been great and we've been promoting that. Created our own landing page for it. There's components that go into a landing page about the book, the people who've endorsed it, what this book, what are they going to get out of the book? And then a very clear call to action on here's how to preorder.

Anna David:                  28:49                And it's set up so that they can buy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, wherever they choose to basically. Right?

Re Perez:                      28:58                Not yet, not on the preorder page. So this preorder page we collect the payment.

Anna David:                  29:04                Oh, interesting. Okay. And so if somebody wanted to replicate that, is that something where they would have to set up a Shopify? Do you know how they would do that or did your brand, did your?

Re Perez:                      29:18                So, my internal team handled this sort of set up the shopping cart for us to be able to collect information on that. But you know, everyone has their own sort of different shopping cart. But the takeaway here is whether or not you use the tools that we use or if you have, it's sort of Infusion soft or Active Campaign. I don't even know if they collect payment. We use Stripe and Thrive cart those are the tools that we use. But the whole point was, it's through our merchant services and then tomorrow, so we have a long list of people who pre-ordered. Then tomorrow we'll be able to fulfill on all those books, depending on which book platform we're going to deliver it on. So we have international orders. So obviously, you know, so my team handles all of this. I might be talking out of turn here in terms of what actually happens, but I know enough to know that the fulfillment is going to be all happening tomorrow and I have a little bit more control in terms of or more say in terms of where each of those books get fulfilled through, whether it's Amazon, Barnes and Noble, whatever.

Anna David:                  30:31                And what if someone is listening now and is like, well, wait a minute, I want a, I want a brand audit with you. Is it too late? Is it only pre-launch?

Re Perez:                      30:41                It's only for pre-launch. We don't have, that may change. We're getting some great reviews on it, but that may change. This specific preorder was involved my time. But as we start to sort of get this book out in the hands of more and more people, we might resurface those bonuses. It just may not involve my personal time, if you will.

Anna David:                  31:10                And the goal of that, you know, per your launch team was to get it trending, was it to kick. Once you know a site sees lots of preorders, then they order more. Like what was the actual goal behind that method?

Re Perez:                      31:25                Yeah, well, at a macro level, it was to be like, Hey, what's good for your brand? So just to show trending in these different platforms is far greater than just saying, Hey, I made Amazon bestseller. So that's one. And then the other goal is to be able to have an opportunity to take people who've pre-ordered your book and have an additional opportunity to create value for them and engage with them. Because when you just buy an Amazon, I have people that tell me, Oh my God, it's so awesome. I just pre-ordered your book on Amazon. I have no way of knowing who and no way of thanking them, sending them an email or even engaging with them to offer up some bonuses. So at least this way we're able to expand our audience, our list, if you will. And then, you know, like I said, for the brand in terms of showing trending across the different book platforms cause then eventually it'll be easier to go and pitch to different media outlets and saying, Hey, look, this book is trending across all the different categories and trending across these different book publishers.

Anna David:                  32:37                And did you have any lead magnet in the book? Is there any way that people can find you in the book or is that just through the prelaunch?

Re Perez:                      32:47                Yeah. So depending on who you know, who's listening in on the call, the term lead magnet is definitely, you know, a way for, you know, you're providing something of value and it gives you an opportunity to connect with them. So yeah, we have in the book a lot of great information and then in the sort of action steps if they wanted to go deeper. So for example, one of the lead magnets that we have is you know, one of the top three questions that I get a lot is what should I call my company? What should I name my product or my program or service? And so naming is a discipline within itself, within the branding discipline. And so we have a whole chapter on naming and then we have some action steps and some tools on here's what you need to do to sort of brainstorm names. And then, by the way, if you wanted more and more in depth report on naming, go to this link and you can download this naming blueprint.

Anna David:                  33:44                Right. So it's all organic, it's all designed to educate the person and also give you an opportunity to reach out in the future because you already know they're interested in that topic. And so, we have to get close to wrapping up. Tell me why, what is something that is in this book that people couldn't find out anywhere else? Why do they need to get this book?

Re Perez:                      34:13                Hmm. gosh, and I only can pick one, right? I think on this particular book, I lay out a very simple process for not just creating a brand but being your brand. And so, you know, for me, branding really it's a way of living. And approaching everything that you do and where most branding books might teach you the tactics. I do start with sort of the mindset around branding because when you shift your mindset around branding, it amplifies all the things that you're going to do on a tactical level. So I kind of walk you through the art and the science of building an authentic brand.

Anna David:                  35:15                And it circles right back to the title is the lesson. I mean, that's exactly what you are doing with this book. So Re, this has been so awesome. Thank you so much during your launch for making the time to do this. Everybody listening, please go get Your Brand Should Be Gay, Even if You're Not. The art and science of creating an authentic brand. And you should get it, not just on Amazon if you want, but you also can get it on or in the many places so that we can keep trending everywhere. So thank you. And if people want to just find out more about branding for the people and more about you, where can they go?

Re Perez:                      35:58                Yeah, well it's just and it's branding for, not the number four. So, and then also a pretty good centralized easy to remember URL would just be And then of course there's social media. You know, Instagram is Branding for the People. And there's Facebook. And so connect with us in whichever platform you prefer and we look forward to, you know, connecting with you and sharing all that we can about branding and the power it can have on your business and your life.

Anna David:                  36:31                Awesome. Awesome. Thank you. Love you. Thank you.