Book marketing is very difficult for most authors. This is especially true in a digital marketing environment, which in many ways is a mirror or reverse image of how marketing is done in the traditional way. Effective book marketing is not just telling people about a book.
Book marketing is telling readers about your book in such a way that they will like what you say SO MUCH it will cause them to TAKE ACTION – stand up, go to their computer, do an Internet search, hit a buy button, share their personal information, use their credit card, share what they found with their friends, pass the word on to others, become a fan. That is book marketing. It is both an art and a science. It is a completely different, very specific and dedicated discipline.
There are a zillion great authors out there who never got a chance. They ended up languishing in obscurity because they did not get their book marketing right. Conversely, there are many horrible books that have been wildly successful because they did get the book marketing right. You must find the balance between great writing and great book marketing.
That being said, here are the top 10 ideas authors will want to consider:
1. IT IS NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO SELL – IT IS WHAT THE READERS WANT TO BUY
While most authors believe their book should be read by everyone, that is a VERY weak message. You must instead carefully slice that ‘everyone’ group into smaller segments if you hope to have any chance at all to be successful. Here is a quick example: If your book is aimed at females age 18 to 80, that’s the total market profile. You will want to cut that very large group into smaller segments:
Females 18 to 25
Females 26 to 55
Females 56 to 80.
Why? Market segmentation allows you to create a much more powerful, very targeted and specific message for a particular group.
2. BE REALISTIC IN YOUR EXPECTATIONS
1/2 of 1% is a rule that most marketing people assume. In other words if you want to get 1 response, you must get in front of 200 people. If you want to get 100 responses, you must get in front of 20,000 people. So it is important that you be realistic about the effort required. Book marketing success requires huge numbers. But that doesn’t mean you must work harder – instead, you must work smarter.
3. PUSH VS PULL MARKETING
Push marketing is when you send a message to others.
Pull marketing is when people find you.
Today’s Internet buying audience is a PULL audience PERIOD. It is permission based. The Internet buyer will often outright reject PUSH marketing messages.
Push marketing strategies do not work well in the Internet environment. If you insist on doing this you will likely just end up talking to yourself. You will get some takers but the response rate will be very low. Is that how you really want to spend all your money and all your time – chasing around uninterested buyers?
4. SOCIAL MEDIA
Unfortunately most people use social media as an advertising tool. Social media is not an advertising tool and people do not spend time on social media because they want to shop. Social media as a sales tool generally does not work. However it can be used as a tool to create awareness. This requires a very specific and different approach to social media.
What is your goal? If your goal in marketing your book is to feel good or get attention in the form of likes or followers, social media can help perhaps. But if the your goal is to create sales – an exchange of money – you will likely need to change your approach to social media.
Suffice it to say that social media can be used as an awareness tool IF IT IS SHARPLY OPTIMIZED for the target audience segments you have identified. If you use social media to put out endless “buy my book, buy my book” messages people will simply ignore those posts and again you end up talking to yourself. You might feel good because you are very busy, but it’s possible to be very busy doing the wrong things.
Today, every book written is available at the click of a mouse. Buyers are searching the Internet for books in huge numbers and the next book is just one click away. For that reason your branding approach is vitally important
Your branding approach must be sharper than the hundreds of thousands of authors competing for those buyerdollars. Your brand and branding language must clearly communicate WHY that buyer should choose your work and NOT one of the other 14 gabillion books just one click away. If you don’t communicate the right ideas – clearly, with the needs of your target audience in mind – other authors will and they will sell their books to these buyers.
If you look like everybody else, if you sound like everybody else, if you say the same thing everybody else is saying, if you use jargon like ‘quick read’ or ‘page turner’ you are going to appear to be like everybody else. Nobody wants to buy a book that is like every other book. Readers want to find something that is new, exciting and very different. That is where the brand and branding messages come in.
Media such as radio and television used to be very important in regards to selling books. It is still VERY important IF DONE THE RIGHT WAY. People use the Internet to get information – period. The Internet has opened up radio and television to nearly everyone, but a major error is that most Internet media outlets are very low quality and have very few listeners or viewers. If you are on an outlet of poor quality or low listenership, no media appearance will not mean much. If you’re on a larger outlet but have a weak branding message that too will accomplish very litte. Don’t do media unless you are confident, have a sharp message and have a rock solid approach. REMEMBER AGAIN – IT IS NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY – IT IS WHAT YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE WANTS TO HEAR.
Sales are made at the website. While we know that people do not buy books at the website as a rule, it is at the website that the buying decision is made Your website should be the central conversion point.
A website is not a brochure – it is a store and it must function as a store. Convincing the visitor to hit the buy button is no small task.
It is on your website that everything is tied together – branding, positioning, credibility, benefits language, non-threatening calls to action – everything. And you must understand how people deal with websites – eye flow studies and conversion strategies, etc. Unfortunately many authors just put up a homemade website, do zero optimization and feel that’s good enough. Not so. Ask anyone who has done it.
Don’t have a website? Pages on social media or book sites are not a store – not even close. These are just informational pages.
Web sites must be optimized to draw organic traffic from the search engines, where your buyers are looking, and they must be sharply designed to convert those visitors to book buyers.
8. STRATEGY, STRATEGY, STRATEGY
There is a reason why companies and corporations higher marketing firms and or advertising agencies. Marketing at a professional level is not for the uninformed. And unfortunately there are many out there who will take advantage of the uninformed. It is necessary to develop a razor sharp strategic approach to all phases of your book marketing plan. This goes far, far beyond just putting books on Internet booksites or throwing up a web page.
Unfortunately many people tend to look for the easy way out. There is no easy way. There is no one-size-fits-all plan that will assure success, so don’t fall for that. Every target audience, every segment is different. Every book is different. Every book marketing strategy must be tailor made and sharply optimized for the target audience. Listening to the advice of those who have little experience, or hoping to find the easy way to success, will simply cause one to fail faster.
9. BOOK MARKETING IS A BUSINESS
Book marketing is a business, and is often a difficult business. There are two investments you must make. 1). An investment of time and 2). an investment of dollars.
However it is not the amount of time spent, but the length of time invested. Results will not happen overnight. This holds true for authors actors, rock stars, attorneys, plumbers, and real world business owners. You will not become successful overnight.
It is completely unrealistic and rather silly to feel think that anything, including your book, can be marketed without an investment of money. You will not have to spend a lot of money but you will have to spend some money. While it is not necessary to spend huge amounts of money it is necessary to invest the amount required to achieve the goal. You must use common sense, be wary and do due diligence on everything that comes your way for consideration.
10. USE THE RIGHT TOOLS
One of the most important questions asked by people new to marketing is “Which tools should I use?” That question is not easily answered, as every book is different, every audience is different, and people will respond to different messages depending on the buyer profile. There is no best tool. They are all good in some respects and they are all bad in others. How can one decide?
You must know your target audience and segment that audience. This will lead you directly to the tools you should use to market your work to that particular market segment. Don’t twitter to grandma and don’t run newspaper ads if your target audience is not reading newspapers. If you have not clearly identified your target audience segments you will end up spending a lot of money on things that will never work.
It does not make sense to decide on a tool in advance and then get frustrated when the results are not there. Grandma will likely never respond to a twitter post and you can’t force teenagers to read magazines. If you think your entire audience is on a certain social media site you may be in for a very unpleasant surprise. Again knowing the target audience will tell you specifically which tools you should use, and which message you should send to that particular target audience segment.