Five bite-sized points about the ins and outs of marketing your book

1.) Take care not to limit the reach of your brand by declaring that certain tools “don’t work.” All marketing tools are meant to be used as part of a complete strategy.

2.) If a tool has been tested, other factors could prevent it from working on an individual basis. Look to the marketing strategy.

3.) Sales are generated by multiple instances of contact between the product and prospective buyers.

4.) The sole purpose of any marketing tool, from social media to a blog to a book trailer, is to give a prospect another means of recurrent contact with the book.

5.) Don’t play favorites. Use any and all tools available. The greater the scope of your marketing efforts, the wider the reach of your brand.

 

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One thing I always hate to hear in regards to authors’ marketing efforts is “_____ don’t work.” Ads don’t work. Book trailers don’t work. Blog tours don’t work. Forced sales at gunpoint don’t work. You see it a lot with small press publishers, too. They get set in their ways, try one thing once or twice and when they don’t see quantifiable results they form a permanent opinion. The more operative conclusion should be, these things don’t work for me. Then they should ask themselves why.

It must be a little awkward for them when an indie author uses a blog tour to climb up the Amazon bestseller list. This also implies that all those new book trailers hitting Youtube each week are just authors throwing their money away. And that Jon Land Facebook ad I clicked on the other day which, by the way, linked me to his books’ trailer? Total fluke.

The problem with this kind of thinking isn’t with any one marketing tool. It’s with the marketing strategy as a whole. Don’t blame the tools.

Let’s back away from book publishing for a second and talk about sales in general. No matter what industry you’re in, one sales concept you see over and over again is how many touches it takes to sell your product. A touch can be anything from sending a personalized e-mail to a phone call to a potential buyer seeing an ad for your product or reading a blog about it. The more direct and personal, the better. Selling boats takes seven. At my last job as a marketing representative for State Farm, the average sale for an insurance policy took six. Sometimes these insurance touches stretched over a one to three year period. These are minimum numbers. Eight to ten touches is pretty common to sell a high dollar product. It’s not even selling, really. Marketing is just a fancy term for relationship building.

As an author, you’re in luck. Selling a book only takes a about three touches. Now think about your marketing strategy in terms of touching each of your potential buyers at least three times. If a prospective buyer watches your trailer, the odds of them buying based on the trailer alone are pretty slim, even if they like what they see. But then maybe they read a friend’s tweet the next day about how great your book is. They probably still won’t buy it, but now you’ve got them second-guessing their stubbornness. Maybe they’re missing out on something good, they realize. But, meh, they figure they missed out on that whole Apple stock opportunity a few years back, so passing on your book is no big deal. That’s when you unknowingly go in for the kill, because the next day they read a guest blog you posted and they go, “GOD, okay, I’ll buy it. It’s only a few bucks, anyway.” Thus a little baby sale is born.

Tons of marketing tools are available. The “trick” isn’t to find which tools work and which don’t. There’s no silver bullet here. Writing off one or another as useless will only limit the reach of your brand. The goal in marketing a book should be to have as many means as possible for the book to hit that coveted third contact with readers. Granted, don’t buy Facebook ads until your name is as recognizable as Jon Land’s, but your plan should still include those ads for when you reach that point. Don’t tour three blogs then stop because your sales don’t jump. Tour a hundred, so blog readers are more likely to stumble onto three different ones. If you can afford it, buy a trailer so someone who’s already been touched twice has another way to receive the third. Use any and every smart, tested tool available to you. It could be the first touch or the third, but the more places it might jump out and smack readers, the faster that third touch can happen.