Not to state the obvious, but authors need readers, so your marketing efforts should be focused on cultivating reader relationships. As BookWorks' new Reader Relationships expert, I'll be sharing simple, effective ways to do just that
It's All About Your Readers
The way I see it, marketing is not about you and, to be honest, it’s only a little bit about your book. Ok, it is quite a bit about your book, but your book still is not the most important thing.
What is the most important thing? Your readers.
Let’s first look at a little marketing 101. Marketing is not sales, and the two should not be confused.
Sales mean converting prospects, in this case, readers who are interested in your book, into buyers. It’s the final step in a long process.
To start, a reader or book buyer first needs to discover your book exists. Then they have to learn things about it that convince them they want to take a closer look—like what type of book it is and what it’s about. Once they have developed some interest they need to be convinced further that it may be worth their time and money. A great cover and reviews play an important part here.
In marketing circles, this process is given the acronym AIDA - Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action.
Action is when the prospect/reader actually buys. Everything before that falls under marketing and if you do it right, the sales part is easy and almost inevitable.
So if you are trying to sell when a reader is only just becoming aware of you, you’re not thinking about your reader. Instead, you’re thinking about your need for a sale. Unfortunately, that’s the biggest reason why marketing fails, because you’re not acknowledging where your potential customer is in the buying process. It’s also the main reason why marketing makes you feel icky because you are trying to cold sell to someone who has not shown any interest in you or your book yet.
Need an example? Let's start with those dreadful auto DMs on Twitter!. If someone starts following you on Twitter, that is not a good reason to send them information about your book and ask them to buy a copy or to review it.
Think about how you find new people to follow on Twitter; often it’s because Twitter suggests people to follow and after reviewing their bio you think they may be interesting. You are tentatively saying you’d like to get to know them better. You’re not saying you want to buy from them. Unless you’re a big retail brand, it’s unlikely that someone decides to follow you on Twitter because they want to buy from you, so don’t immediately try to sell to them.
If you want to get comfortable with marketing and see an improved ROI, start thinking about how to warm up your readers gradually.
Slow Down to Speed Up
I know that doing things gradually may not be what you want to hear, but it is the fastest route to success.
Many authors resent the time that marketing takes, particularly if they have to lose valuable writing time to it and even more so if they're not seeing their efforts reflected in sales.
But effective marketing doesn’t need to be a time suck and authentic marketing, where you put your readers first and deliver value, will not make you feel overly promotional or icky.
I often see authors approaching marketing in a tactical way, trying to do everything and be everywhere. They come to me exhausted and fed up because they have done All The Things and yet they don’t appear to be getting anywhere. The marketing treadmill leads nowhere but to burnout and overwhelm, frustration and disappointment.
The answer is not to do more—more social platforms, more tools, more time spent on marketing—but instead to consider doing less.
Be Strategic, Not Tactical
Choose fewer tools and tactics but learn to do them well. Rather than blast ten different social platforms with the same message, choose just one or two platforms and get into real conversations. Think about your overall plan for where you want to end up and be strategic about how you will get there.
Your Readers Have the Answer
Above all else, think about your readers. Identify exactly who they are and learn everything you can about them.
When you know your readers, so much else will fall into place, such as the right copy to use, the social platforms to be on and what to blog or email about.
If you take the time to develop authentic relationships with readers, be of service and provide value, the reward will be loyal fans. This is how you build an author platform, which will underpin all of your long-term marketing activity.
If you have been going in circles wondering how best to market your book, stop and listen to your readers. They will tell you what to do.
Next: How to identify your readers
I hope this post has started to get you thinking differently about book marketing, but I understand there is a big difference between knowing and doing. That’s why I’ll be following this with more guidance on exactly how to identify your ideal reader and learn more about them.
When you form real connections with readers you will notice a return on your efforts. Join me and I'll show you how—one step at a time. Remember, we’re slowing down to speed up.
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