What is the best marketing strategy for writers who write stories or books with religious overtones?
Are you a book author?
If you are, then I know how hard it is for you today to market your book with the unbelievable competition in almost every industry. For established book authors who already have a following, it won’t cause much of a problem. However, if you’re publishing for the first time, it will require some effort to get the ball rolling, sell more books and build a solid base of fans who’ll help you promote your future books.
Since I specialize in online/social media marketing, I’ll be covering online strategies that will help you sell more books.
Does Marketing Principals Change With The Nature Of Your Book?
Do you think that the web 2.0 has changed old marketing principals?
I believe that marketing principals remain always intact no matter what tools get introduced into the market. The reason why many people fail at marketing their products and services is because they give too much focus to the tools and forget about the basic principles that marketing is build upon!
Marketing principals don’t change with audience, marketing messages do! (ClickToTweet)
I believe that all human beings have the same psychological structure. The only thing that changes is the expression of those psychological needs. This is where targeted marketing messages come into play. Whether you’re writing a Sci-Fi book, marketing book or a story with religious overtones, the marketing principals remain always the same, what changes is the right messages that your audience are inspired by. This will lead us to what I think the most important marketing strategy of all time!
Study Your Target Market From Cover To Cover
You know why most businesses fail?
Let me tell you this. It’s because they fail to show up at the right place, to the right people and in the right time. No matter how great you think your book is, if you fail to let the right people know about it, then you’re going to end up with only one fan, YOU! We’re in a very crowded market where “Build It And They’ll Come Doesn’t Cut It Anymore”. The secret to successful marketing is definitely understanding your target market: demographics, psychographics, interests…etc.
What Can Market Research Provide Us With?
1- It can tell you exactly where your audience prefer to spend time
If you learn for example that your audience like to spend some time everyday on Facebook, then that’s exactly where you should be. If you learn that they spend too much time in book libraries/stores, then your book should definitely be on the shelf. If you learn that most of your audience shop online (or have a Kindle), then “hint”, you know where your book should be!
2- It can give you lots of insights on your audience interest
Market research can give you in depth data of what your audience is interested in. If you learn that one of their main interests is religion, then books with religious overtones will be the best fit for them. A platform like Facebook can easily help you target those people depending on their interests, demographics, gender…etc.
3- It can tell you what you should say
I believe that you can convince people only using logic, but when it comes to affecting their buying decision, you need way more than that. It’s emotion that lets them buy anything. You can try to convince them of the great feature your product or service has and it won’t make a difference in their buying decision, but once you start talking about annoying problems and how your product/service can help them break free from them, then, and only then, they will buy your product.
Whether you’re writing an instructional book, a biography, a motivational book or a story, the same principals apply. Your messages should be consistent with your target audience perception. Tell them what inspires them, speak their language (use their words), tap into their interests…etc. The more data you gather about your target audience, the better your targeting will be and the more sales you’re going to make.
There are dozens of other insights that market research can give us about our audience, but I think you got the point. To learn more, check out my post untitled “Market Research”.
There are also many tools out there (like TitleZ) that will help you gather data about book trends, insights and ranking for every category.
Now How Can I Sell More Books Online?
Many people think that this is the most important thing when it comes to marketing books. I can tell you that no matter what “NINJA” strategies you’re going to be using to market your book, if you fail to understand your market, none of the strategies that we’re going to discuss will make a difference. Keep that in mind!
1- Put up a website
This step is mandatory. The first thing that you should do before you start marketing your book is to buy a domain name of your book’s name (I use NameCheap for that “Affiliate link”). Next, you should host that domain name if you don’t already have a hosting account (I use BlueHost for my websites). Bluehost has a one click install script that helps you install a WordPress website is seconds. Once you install WordPress, choose a theme for it (you’ll find many free ones that are suitable for book authors). Your website is your central hub where you should send people to learn about you and your books. It’s true that you can send them directly to Amazon, but the conversion won’t be the same, especially if you’re sending social traffic. Once you have your website up and running, then, and only then, you should start your marketing!
2- Give them a free chapter
If you really believe in your book, then you should give away a chapter for free. This free chapter acts like the free consultation that many service providers offer. They know that if they can get you to show up at the free call, they will eventually convince you to buy their services. Also, people who offer products (software for example), give you a trial of their software for free. They believe that if they can get you to use their software, you’ll eventually end up buying it because it’s so helpful.
The exact thing applies to book authors. If you succeed at getting them to read your first chapter, they have no other option but to close that open loop and buy your book, especially if you do a good follow up (through email or social media).
3- Get it on Amazon
Online publishing is really huge right now. Many people think that if you publish your book digitally, it will lose its flavor. I can tell you that this is not true. Some people like to read hard cover books while others prefer reading through their iPads or Amazon Kindle. I believe in repurposing your content as much as you can to reach a wider audience. Some people publish blog posts, do a video of the same content, send a short email newsletter that summarizes the blog post and then record it as a podcast and put it on iTunes. You may think that this is a waste of time, but I can tell you that it isn’t. Some people like to read blog posts, other are more visual, other drive a lot and they need the podcast format, others don’t have the time to read through your blog post and they only need action tips… you got the point.
Your book deserves better. So make an ebook version out of it and put it on Amazon. The great thing about Amazon is that they have a ranking score for books. The better your book performs, the higher it’ll show up in their appropriate category and the more sales you’re going to make!
4- Leverage positive reviews
Testimonials and reviews are still one of the best tactics to increasing conversion. You can either ask for reviews or just get the ones on Amazon. Social proof is a very powerful influencer when it comes to buying decision. Your job is to make sure that you get those reviews in front of your potential buyers whether on your website or across your social channels.
5- Email marketing is very powerful
You can combine the 1st and 2nd strategies to make the best of email marketing. You can give away your free chapter as a gift that people receive once they optin to your newsletter. There are few who will buy from the first message, but others might need some convincing through your email funnel to decide. This is also a very powerful strategy long term, because you’re building a list of targeted people who you can advertise your future books to.I use Aweber for all of my email marketing!
6- Get interviewed
This is by far the best marketing strategy that can land you sales of your book very fast. However it depends on 2 main factors:
• The target blog/magazine/website
If you do the wrong targeting, then your efforts will be spent for nothing. It doesn’t matter if the blog receives thousands of hits daily if your potential buyers don’t hang out there. Traffic and audience size of the target blog is obviously very important, but the other ingredient is targeting.
Compile a list of potential websites that will help you spread the word out about your book and start contacting them for an interview (preferably video or audio interview because people will connect with you deeper and faster this way).
• Your message
As I told you before, your message can make or break the deal. I see many people get excited by all the sales they hear other people get from these interviews, but once they do it, they wake up next day with very few visitors to their websites and no sales at all!
I don’t want that to happen to you!
You could target the right audience on a big website and you still don’t make any sales. The key of whether you get people to take that next action and follow the link to your book is in the right message!
Marketing in general relies on 2 very basic principles: Traffic and Conversion!
The great thing about interviews is that you don’t have to get traffic to you. Instead, you go where the traffic is (websites with big audiences) and your job becomes only converting that traffic into customers. Leveraging the following of other people is your most important way to market your book, especially if you’re on a budget or in a HURRY!
If you noticed lately, Tim Ferris’s book called “The 4 Hour Chef” got banned by 700-plus bookstores nationwide. Because he has such a good relationship with bloggers, I saw him do interviews on many blogs like: Yaro’s Entrepreneurs-Journey.com, Derek’s SocialTriggers.com, Pat’s SmartPassiveIncome.com…etc. This clearly shows you how powerful this strategy is!
7- Reach out to bloggers and other book authors
You don’t always have to do interviews to market your book. You can sometimes give a free copy of your “ebook” (to reduce the cost :)) to bloggers and authors who you have a good relationship with. They will be more than happy to promote your book to their audience. Also, Make sure you offer a fair affiliate commission, especially on ebooks, for every sale they generate for you.
Many book authors prefer Twitter over other social platforms for a very good reason, because of Twitter’s audience!
This is obviously a long term strategy and it won’t land you instant sales. However, it’s necessary to have a following on Twitter so it becomes easier to market your future books. The great thing about Twitter is that it has a very unique type of audience. Reporters, bloggers, writers and I assume book readers make a big portion of this platform’s audience, so it’ll be wise to reach out to them using this platform asking for a guest appearance or an endorsement.
9- Start a blog
I know that blogging is a long term process that needs lots of time and effort, but I can tell you that the long term results are pretty rewarding.
Consistent blogging brings search engine traffic, traffic that you can convert into book sales. If you’re just starting out with blogging, then don’t expect it to affect your book sales, because it probably won’t. It’s a long term strategy that will give you a steady stream of income once you have significant numbers. Targeted traffic is expensive, and blogging seems to be the least expensive and most solid way to get it. I’ve seen many people make 4-5 sales through their blogs each and every day without doing anything. That might not seem like a big deal, but if the book costs $25 and assuming it’s an ebook (no printing fees), you’re going to end up with a full time income without doing anything besides updating your blog with helpful content. Blogging helps you break free from all the marketing insecurities so you can focus most of your time writing awesome books!
An example for that would be Jeff Bullas. He recently launched his book (Blogging The Smart Way), and almost each time he writes a new post, at the end he promotes his new book. I don’t know the right figures for him, but I bet he’s doing really well
Advertising is one of the fastest ways to getting traffic and sales. Although it won’t probably get you a positive ROI for your printed book, it will with the digital version. I can think of 3 effective ways to advertise your book: Google Adwords, Facebook Advertising and banner advertising (I know what you think of the last one :)).
I know that testing advertising campaigns may require some money at first, but once you hit positive ROI, your job will only be scaling your results.
Let’s say that you charge $25 for your ebook. If you spend $15 advertising your book before you make a sale, then you have a positive ROI (assuming you don’t have additional fees). If you spend $1500 advertising, you’re going to make $2500 (that’s $1000 that is absolutely better than 0)!
Advertising works better if you mix it with the email marketing strategy I mentioned before. You shouldn’t direct people to your purchase page. Instead, drive them into an optin page where they can get a free chapter, and then you know the story…
11- Do contests
When it comes to book launches, contests work like CHARM!
Whether you’re using Facebook , Twitter or any other platform for your contest, make sure that your offering complements the theme of your book. If you offer an iPad as a gift, than everybody will enter, and you’ll end up with a bunch of people who don’t have the least interest in your book!
Offer them your book for free in exchange of them sharing the link with their network. Offer them a free consulting session if you sell instructional/how to books. Offer them a complimentary book of another author (preferably a famous one) for free.
12- Do a promotional video
I don’t see many people do this today, but I believe that this strategy is one of the most powerful ones when it comes to book launches. If your book holds and inspirational message in its theme, then a good video will spread like wildfire!
I know that there isn’t probably a secret sauce for videos to go viral, but if you really understand your market, then you know what moves their emotions. Whether it is a book with a religious overtone, inspirational biography of a great person or an exciting story, the more your video connects with viewers on an emotional level, the more it spreads, and the more awareness and sales you’re going to make.
If you want more tips on how to launch and market your book via social media, check out Michael Stelzner’s article about his process of launching his own book. It’s pretty useful
If you’re already a book author (or co-author), let us know what worked for you better in getting the word out of your book and making more sales. If you’re writing a new book and you have a question about how to market it, don’t hesitate to put it in the commend section below. Good luck!
Image Credit: Silicon Prairie News