You have worked long and hard to finish your book; you have quite naturally fallen in love with the finished product. It is consumed your time, emotion, resources and energy in the process of perfecting it. The sad truth, however, is that not everyone else is going to be as excited by it on that big release day!
Book Marketing as a Football Game
That’s where strategically planning your marketing will help keep your head from sending you in the wrong direction and potentially destroy the one opportunity you have to maximize that first, best impression for your book. This kind of reminds me of a football game! Armed with a strategic game plan you have the opportunity to really “crush” the competition with your campaign; without it – you will be at a competitive disadvantage before you even get started.
The following tips are designed to help you create a strategic approach that will help you make best choices, stay focused and experience the results you desire.
First Things First: Know Your Audience
This comes essentially from Marketing 101, but as an author, how do you make this distinction? Do you start with what you know about the message you want to deliver, or do you start with certain identifiable characteristics of your potential readers? Take a few minutes and ask your self a few of these questions:
- What is the average age of my customer?
- What is their career or industry?
- How much money do they make?
- What’s their highest level of education?
- What are their biggest fears?
- What is their most pressing issue?
- What issues really get them passionate?
The list could be endless; it is up to you to know the questions you must ask, as it becomes relevant to how well you get your book noticed. It is also important that you can quickly respond to those questions, for without the answers, your trek will be unnecessarily difficult and the results could be dismal.
If you really don’t know, it might be a good idea to test the waters, using a popular survey tool, Survey Monkey. Clarity about what is a seemingly small piece of information is HUGE in terms of the value to you in what you write and how you market it.
Getting Close and Personal With the Money
I have never forgotten a major question I had when I first started my clothing design company, “What is a benchmark for the amount of money to schedule for marketing and advertising dollars?” I had an instructor tell me there was no benchmark, that a business owner had to make that decision based on other relevant business factors. I disagreed then, and I disagree today – primarily because the unfortunate thing that occurs is that when push comes to shove and times get tough – these monies seem to be put on the back burner and much to the sacrifice of the business owner, the potential revenue generation and the life of the business! Those people who continue to market during all economies are the business owners who continue to experience success.
I did ultimately find a figure I could believe in and feel right about promoting. Between 10 and 13 percent of expected total sales is a good rule-of-thumb, but if you are just starting out or have no sales history, use the most comfortable, conservative figure possible – just don’t think you can grow your business or effectively experience high sales of your book without it!
Exactly HOW Will You Market?
There is a phrase that has long stuck with me, “When you have more time than money, you spend what you have the most of!” What that says to me is that even if you feel you have a low budget to market… finding a way to creatively market yourself you must! The following ideas fall into the category of creative marketing resources that will not put a huge dent in your wallet, but will certainly consume goodly amounts of well-spent time.
- Banner Ads
- Online Video, etc…
Once you have decided on the “channel” you are most comfortable with utilizing, take time to create a daily or weekly schedule of how you will mix and match your messages – consistently – to each media source.
The Fun Part – Creating the Message!
The message that you create and how you deliver it is the largest determinant of your sales numbers. When you first started deciding who your potential audience might be, you decided who they were, made some demographic choices and decided how your message would solve the biggest problem they might experience!
Not so long ago, there was a “features and benefits” process of delivering a marketing message to a target market. With each passing phase of technology, buyers become more savvy and no longer need to be told what the “features” of your product are. All they are really interested in are the results they can and will expect. It is still necessary that you know the features – you just have to present them as benefits or results. For example, if your reader follows the message in your book and you know they will experience a “faster solution” your marketing message must expound not on that feature, but on the benefit your reader will experience by finding that “faster solution!”
This process makes copywriting a bit more difficult, but I can guarantee you, if you want to gain the competitive edge… if you want to experience accelerated growth in the sales of your book – promoting results and the underlying benefits of those results will give you that edge
Test the Waters
Marketing dollars are precious; they should not be wasted. The best way to manage those dollars is to test your campaigns. No, it is not time consuming and an added expense! (I actually get that argument on occasion.) What if you didn’t quite get the message crafted in such a way that really drew your reader market? What if just a little tweak in the title, the subject header or the ad copy would make a huge difference in your results? Would you not want to know that in advance and spend a little time and far less of your marketing budget up front to know it? Most of the time all that is required is to set up two separate sales pages – based on the information you gained in doing your “survey.” Shoot those two pieces out to a sample population and see which one gives you the better results!
I have actually heard of authors who give the book two or three different titles and promote each one equally; over the course of time one will naturally out-perform the other and more focus can be placed on marketing to the better-drawing title. Nothing ventured… nothing gained.
Invest in Your Success
In today’s economy it is a given – money is tight. However, if you are really sensitive to the market, you will also see that people DO purchase whatever they really want – regardless the economy! If there are any temporary sacrifices you can make for a longer-term gain of being successful with your book sales – take it! Invest in you, your book and yourself in the early days just prior to and just following the release of your book. It will make a significant difference. Good books sell like a virus – the more you promote them and the more popular they become, the more they tend to sell themselves. The pragmatic approach then would be to do that quickly by investing heavily up front to accelerate that viral motion so an overall smaller investment will allow the book sales to support future marketing efforts.
Strategic planning is not the cup of tea enjoyed by many people, but two things stick out:
- It is not necessary to do it yourself; there are professionals who can quickly lead you through the process.
- Statistics support that 30% more planning provide roughly 80% greater results; a trade-off that just makes good sense!
I trust these six quick and easy book marketing strategies will help you get your book noticed! If there is a burning question you just HAVE to have answered, that email is firstname.lastname@example.org.Anna Weber, Encouraging you to live beyond your “dreams” of being a successful author.