Top tips for authors who sell online.

My target market is SOLOpreneurs and professionals who seek to strategically share their “legacy message” by putting their Voices in Print. The primary marketing vehicle of this market is the Internet, so the focus of this article is relative to selling online. However, as a primary best business practice, the information provided can be successfully applied even when there is no web presence.

Predict Buying Behavior

Predict buying behavior

As an author, when you make the decision to sell online, spend your marketing dollars on the buying behavior you can predict; the method used to acquire any buyer greatly impacts the potential lifetime value of that customer. Knowing that 50-60 percent of all online purchases are one-time transactions, and accepting that fact, will help prevent you from wasting marketing dollars trying to change a buying pattern that is probably not going to change! However, to modify a buying pattern to your benefit, it is crucial you have a continuity program in place to contact all customers shortly after the first purchase… creating a strategic connection for future sales. You might choose to publish only one book, with the intent to increase your credibility as a speaker or trainer.  Future sales coming from that one book might be workshops and training manuals… knowing what your buyers want will help you strategically create those future products and services.

Create Loyal Buyers

There is a philosophy in the coaching and personal development industries that calls for building a sales funnel of increasingly expensive products and services, stemming from the belief that a low priced entry product will give your audience a taste of what you have to offer. Then, by teaching customers to trust the perceived added value you bring, as a successful author you can easily encourage them to purchase additional products and services – at increasing price points.

Although there is merit to this philosophy, there is also a prevailing human behavior that average customers actually buy down over their lifecycle. If you look at this pragmatically, you can determine how this knowledge would impact future publishing efforts for information products you might decide to create, and whether you want to take specific action to influence this behavior.  You can also use this information to identify early on those who take the “cheapest” route with their first purchase, and possibly have no significant future value to you as a customer. There are a few key actions authors should take when making this decision:

  • Mine your database and identify your VIP customers.
  • Study your database to strategically create powerfully responsive marketing campaigns.
  • Swim with the tide by responding to specifically identified customer needs and buying behaviors.
  • Recognize when a customer ceases to be a customer.
  • Know your customers – intimately.

Use Strategic Action Steps

  1. Use an existing Customer Database or create one.
  2. Create a log of the various activities in which you engage your customers: purchases, blog comments, downloads of complimentary items, testimonials…
  3. Rank each customer by how long ago they engaged in each particular activity in 30-60-90-180 intervals, or as is otherwise standard for your product or service.
  4. Assess your “activity pyramid.” Keep in mind it is not uncommon to see the ratio of 1:10 of recent to not so recent transactions.

The real concern here is that to be successful as an author, you simply must know what is going on, and what you are going to do to make a shift in that ratio. What strategic action can you take to modify buying behaviors, and how can you maximize your revenue in the process?

Engage in Q&A

Do you know what prompted book purchases? Do you know whether they were stimulated by the most recent marketing campaign when a compelling message was fresh – or was it stimulated by something that you sent out months ago, and the buyer is just now “ready” to respond?

VIP buyers

Knowing this one simple defining factor allows you to strategically predict future purchase behavior. You would take one of two actions, the first being to provide your “best customers” with VIP discounts to stimulate new transactions. The other action, working with “slow responders” requires you would, instead, send out an opportunity to download a new complimentary report, or a chapter from a newly released book – hoping to shift their loyalty and increase their potential lifetime value.

What can I do to support you?

My mantra is… always, encouraging you to engage in specific, life-altering activities that will provide you with long-term sustainable benefit.

With that in mind, perhaps the best way to support you today is to offer a data form, either in Word or Excel that will help you assess your customers… a “plug n play” if you will, that will help you take a definitive action in getting to know your customers. If you would like that, please email me at and put Customer Activity Log in the subject/header.

Support your growth as an author by signing up for the RSS feed on this blog so that you don’t miss any of the upcoming posts. It is easy to delete them should you not consider them valuable; it is more difficult to build the habit that keeps you coming back for information that can significantly transform how you build your business.

What can you do to support me?

You can share this blog post with other business owners or aspiring authors who you feel might benefit from knowing what next action steps to take!

Anna Weber

This may seem simple, but you need to give customers what they want, not what you think they want. And, if you do this, people will keep coming back. ~John Ilhan
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