What’s the difference between a Guidebook and a Tip Book?
Over and over again at events where I speak and with clients I coach, I’m asked, “What’s the difference between a Guidebook and a Tip Book?” It seems the definition of the word “book” was dramatically complicated by technology and marketing. In this post, I discuss the difference between these two types of “books” with regard to the formats, goals, and uses.
Basically, guidebooks and tip books are related family members, like siblings. Therefore, they come from the same roots, but have different personalities.
First, the guidebook is the youngest, smallest of the siblings. Its purpose is to live on a website. A guidebook is not designed to ever get published. The guidebook isn’t designed to get printed, although some readers may print it out on their own paper.
The guidebook gets read by potential clients coming to the website to download it. This book is designed for the writer to attract and gather people’s e-mail addresses and other contact information. This allows the website owner the opportunity to develop a “fan base” database. The business person can then communicate with these contacts and send out invitations to participate in events and other offerings.
The guidebook is the top of what is called a “marketing funnel.” It attracts potential clients and turns them from cold calls into warm calls for marketing purposes. At the end of a guidebook there is a call to action where, if the reader so chooses, they can travel further down the funnel to interact in some way with the business owner.
Remember, the primary objective of a guidebook is to draw in prospects and build a database list for marketing.
A guidebook is for potential clients to stick their toes into the shallow end of the pool with regard to what the service provider knows and offers, while a tip book is an expanded, deeper dive to highlight the business owner’s expertise.
A tip book is published and printed. It can be uploaded to book seller sites and sold if so desired. The purpose of a tip book is an added marketing tool. Tip books are sometimes now referred to as an “expanded business card,” or “the new business card” because it is a leave behind much like a brochure or flier of the “good old days” that used to get left with prospective clients after a sales call. A tip book is not a new concept, just a new format.
Even though a tip book provides slightly more in-depth information than the guidebook, it still does not give the potential client all the insights, processes, or tools necessary to solve any of their needs on their own.
Generally, a typical guidebook is about 20 to 30 double spaced 8 ½ by 11 pages, with graphics on many of the internal pages. A tip book in its finished form is often a small format size of about 5 by 6 and contains about 100 to 120 pages of text and graphics. These books can cost the author a dollar or two to produce and therefore are cost effective as a give-away. A broad stroke statement I’ll make for consumers to understand is that any book that is less than 190 pages found on book sale sites is a business marketing tool.
Both the guidebook and tip book are important tools for business owners to use based on marketing goals. While these books are often the hallmark of nonfiction writers, these books can also be used by fiction writers to market their books, but that is a story for another day.
To sum up, the guidebook and tip book are both in the book family. The guidebook is like the younger and smaller sibling, while the tip book is like the older and bigger sibling. They are related but with different purposes and different goals.