—Guest Post by Joan Stewart of PublicityHound.com—
Contact information is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about book sales. But what if someone needs 50 copies of your book but wants to call you to negotiate a bulk price? Will he find your phone number on your website within 10 seconds? Or will you make him search for it until he becomes so frustrated that he leaves?
What if a reader, who never buys anything online, wants your book and prefers to pay with a check? Will she be able to find your mailing address?
If a journalist is writing an article on deadline and wants to email you to ask for a quick interview, how long will it take her to find your email address?
Almost every author struggles to sell books. Yet 9 out of 10 miss the most important lesson in Author Marketing 101: You must make it easy for people to find you by including your contact information everywhere.
For almost two decades, I've been interviewing authors and writing articles on my blog, in my email newsletter and on high-traffic sites like BookWorks. Almost every time, I'm forced to dig through layers of a website, or do a Google search, or hunt for the authors on social media, or email someone who I think might know them.
When I've had enough, I bail out. Readers, buyers, and journalists will too. Without easy-to-find contact info, you're losing customers, potential readers, and publicity.
3 Common Excuses and How to Avoid Them
If I'm lucky enough to finally reach the authors, I'll sometimes ask why I couldn't find contact information on their websites. This is what I hear:
"I don't want phone calls in the middle of the night." (Use Google Voice.)
"I don't want people to know where I live." (Rent a post office box.)
"I don't want my email address harvested by spammers." (Use a secondary email address or find a better way to reduce the amount of spam you manually remove from your inbox.)
15 Places to List Your Contact Information
Use this as a checklist to remind yourself to include your contact information everywhere until it becomes second nature.
1. On Every Page of Your Website.
Yes, every page. Some visitors enter your website on internal pages. Your phone number, email address, and mailing address should be in an easy-to-find place—either at the top or bottom of every page. If that's impossible because of the way your site is built, make sure it's on the homepage even if you have a "Contact Us" page.
Include clickable buttons to your social media sites too.
2. On the Same Page as Your "Contact Us" Form.
If you use a contact form, that's fine. But also give your email address so visitors have the option of emailing you directly from their own email program. I've used these forms many times at other websites and sometimes receive no reply.3. In Your Email Signature.
Include your full name, company name, shipping address, office phone number, optional mobile number, and optional Skype number. You can also include a short teaser about the free content you offer on your website in exchange for someone's name and email in your opt-in box or subscription box.
4. On Business Cards.
Contact info should appear in at least 12 point type so people don't have to squint or use a magnifying glass. Ditch the Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL email addresses. You must look professional, and your email address needs to include your domain name. Even if you don't have a website yet, you can buy a domain name for about $10 a year and connect it to your email account.
5. On All Marketing Materials.
This includes flyers, posters and those large banners you use when you're renting a table at a trade show. I kicked myself when I bought a trade show banner and noticed that I forgot to include my phone number on it.
6. On Your LinkedIn Profile.
Big changes are on the horizon for LinkedIn users. As of this writing, there are at least six places you can still include contact information, even if you don't upgrade to a paid account:
- On your header photo. Connect with me and you'll be able to see how I did this on my LinkedIn profile.
- Under the "Contact Info" button when you're editing your profile. For SEO value, I also include keywords when linking to my three websites.
- At the end of your Summary. It's against LinkedIn's rules to use include contact in your headline next to your photo.
- On your Company Page.
- At the end of Pulse articles you publish to your profile.
- In the "Additional Info" section of your profile.
7. On Header Photos and Profiles for Other Social Media Sites.
Think Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc.
8. In Your Goodreads Profile.
The world's largest book review and book recommendation site also lets you take advantage of its Author Marketing Program.
9. In Your Author Media Kit.
Readers, journalists, bloggers and others might access individual materials from your Media Kit. That's why your contact info must on all of them:
- Author bio
- Book press release
- Sample interview questions
- Contact information sheet
- Cheat sheet or checklist
- Speaker one-sheet
10. In Your Amazon Author Central Profile
I include my email and phone number high in my profile so it doesn't get cut off, and again at the end. Use all the space Amazon allows to explain more about your expertise, your books, and your business.
11. On Your YouTube Channel
- Video descriptions are a perfect place for contact information because YouTube lets you use up to 2,000 characters.
- On your header photo
- Within videos on your channel.
12. In Your Book.
This seems like a no-brainer. But most books I buy lack contact info. Include it in the front or back of the book and on bookmarks.
Some authors I know write thank you notes and slip them into their books, near the back, reminding readers who liked the book to review it on Amazon. Tell your printer you want small notepads that include your logo and full contact info.
13. On All Invoices and Packing Slips.
If you use a fulfillment house, give them these instructions.
14. Within the author resource box at the end of articles like this one.
If space is limited, use your email address instead of a phone number.
15. Within Your Email Newsletter.
Your newsletter is a powerful marketing tool, especially if you mail regularly.
Once you're aware of all the ways you can make it easy for people to find you, you'll start noticing places you hadn't thought of, particularly when you visit someone else's website. Have I missed any? If so, share them in the Comments.
Publicity Expert Joan Stewart, aka The Publicity Hound, works with authors, speakers, experts and business owners who want to self-promote and create thousands of dollars in free publicity. Subscribe to her snack-size email publicity tips delivered twice a week to your inbox and receive her free cheat sheets "89 Reasons to Send a Press Release" and her "Top 10 Free Tools for Free Publicity." Contact her at JStewart@PublicityHound.com or 262-284-7451.
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