I hear this a lot, business owners and authors who just want to run their businesses or write. They hate marketing and often don’t know where to begin. I get it, believe me. Marketing isn’t easy especially if you still have a full time job (i.e. running the business) or you’re just starting out writing and have a million other things you need to do (like write your next book). The challenge here is that if you don’t market, no one will know about you.
The simple act of hanging out your shingle or putting your book on Amazon does not a marketing plan make. This is one of the biggest reasons businesses fail – great ideas, but a lack of marketing. So what’s a newbie marketer to do? Well the good news is it’s deceptively simple!
Build your fan base
Fans, and Super Fans in particular will really help you to market your business or your book. Businesses need fans, they need that word-of-mouth and by focusing on building this fan base, you’re also working on something that will help you for years down the road. So how do you build this fan base? Businesses need to connect with everyone who buys your stuff, and incentivize them to review it or to give you feedback. We do a survey on SurveyMonkey once a campaign is over and ask for specific feedback on their experience and we reward these prior customers by entering them in a monthly drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card to incentivize them. For authors, I talk a lot about putting a letter in the back of your book, something engaging, inviting, something that encourages readers to contact you. Building a loyal base is worth its weight in gold and if you really want to not spend your life marketing your books, then you must invest in the fans that find you organically.
I know how tedious this is, but if you only pitch five bloggers a week that’s twenty new blog pitches in a month. And it does add up. If you have something like a book or product that can be reviewed, a nod from a blogger can get you some great visibility and you should always pitch your product or book consistently to bloggers, readers, Amazon reviewers, etc. If you not sure how to find them. Check out these links for a list of bloggers you can pitch: http://bookblogdirectory.com, https://bookbloggerdirectory.wordpress.com.
If you have a non-book related product, try these links – the first one which links to BlogHer is a great resource because mom bloggers are a fantastic network to get into: http://www.blogher.com/network or http://www.blogarama.com.
Boost your Amazon visibility
It’s hard not to venture onto our blog without seeing a post about Amazon Optimization. Yes, I’m a huge fan of it but not just because I wrote a book about it, but because it works. If you want Amazon to (almost) market your product or book for you, you must check your keyword strings and categories. If you have single keywords replace them with actual keyword strings.
Blog & Social Media
I get that this is a turn off for most business owners (especially if you’re just starting out and really strapped for time) as well as authors. You already have so much going on and now I want you to blog and be on social media, too? Well, yes but don’t overthink this. Be interesting, or be funny, or share a glimpse behind-the-scenes of your business or your life as a writer. The blogs don’t have to be long, in fact some of the best posts aren’t. But they should be interesting, insightful, and even funny, if being humorous is your thing. How often do I want you to blog? Well twice a week, once at a bare minimum. In terms of social media, keep in mind that it’s not about being everywhere but everywhere that matters. If you only have time for one site then do just one site. Post one piece of content a day, that’s it. It literally takes less than 5 minutes, and it’s free. Engage, build fans, and network. Whatever you do, whether it’s one of these things or all of them (rock star!) do it consistently. One blog post every once in a while, one social media update or one pitch to a blogger will not move the needle but done consistently this will have an effect on your success. All of these things are easy to work into a schedule. If you wrote a book or you’re starting a business, you owe it to yourself and your dream of being successful to do something, even if it’s at the smallest level.
Start a Newsletter
Now I’m adding another thing to your to do list? Yes, but newsletters will pay off in big ways. A newsletter – with an opt-in on your website – can help you stay in front of your audience over and over again. While having a newsletter may seem very 1980’s, it’s actually one of the best ways to keep a consistent conversation going with your consumer. No one can see every single social media update that you put out there, but if they’ve opted into your newsletter they’ll know what’s going on. You may not have anything to put in a newsletter but start one anyway. Just put the opt-in on your homepage and give them an ethical bribe to encourage sign ups. So, a free chapter of your book, a checklist, or a monthly drawing.
The thing is that big success often starts out with small effort. The key is being consistent. Consistency, in anything, will get you to where you want to go. And it’s also the 80/20 rule – you don’t have to be perfect all the time. Sort of like that diet gurus who say: if you only eat right 80% of the time that’s half the battle. You do not have to become a marketing machine, but you do have to do something. Even if you hire a marketing firm, you should always be engaged in your own success!
Author: Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. Follow on Twitter @Bookgal.