May 3, 2017 • Aerio Staff
In determining the most effective ways to reach customers and cultivate new readerships, publishers are facing unique challenges today. But actually, digital marketing has opened doors for both publishers and authors: have you realized that you can now tap right into the very devices readers are using to buy and read books? Email is more “curated” in that your message can rise above the noise. Even for books in print, email marketing can be a powerful method for getting sales as people also order books in print from phones and tablets. This presents a major native retail opportunity that you shouldn’t miss out on.
Search marketing and pay-per-click are helpful, but a VentureBeat study found that for every $1 spent on email marketing, it generated a $38 return on investment (ROI). This is because someone who voluntarily gives you their email is far more likely to give you their money than a person who follows you on Twitter or gives you a Like on Facebook.
Selling books isn’t like selling an ordinary product meant to solve some everyday problem. You need a genuinely interested readership which only comes from building your list organically. Buying lists of emails just isn’t going to work.
Here’s what you can do to fuel that kind of organic growth and get signups who are genuinely interested and engaged.
Depending on the focus of your imprint, you can offer a free excerpt of one of your books that leads into an automated email campaign getting subscribers to buy the full version.
You can also offer a small e-book (20 pages or less) as a “sweetener” that answers some burning questions related to your imprint’s subject matter but leaves enough unanswered that the reader is left wanting more. Checklists, cheat sheets, quizzes, and other short-form content are also incentives that pique potential subscribers’ interest and can get them to voluntarily sign up.
Quite often, people don’t listen to an author because they’re an expert. Rather, they’re experts because people listen to them. For instance, many people who’ve written top-selling books about food aren’t necessarily nutritionists or chefs. But they created something that spoke to their audience and established trust: or at least, generated interest.
Publishers and authors need to work in tandem when it comes to establishing trust to the point that readers want to stay in the know about the author. Create content related to your brand that readers will be searching for. You can also let potential subscribers know how frequently you send newsletters that could feature content from or about their favorite authors and the topic areas they are known for.
Authors need to demonstrate their capability by publishing content on related platforms and websites with large readerships (such as Avvo for attorneys and Search Engine Land for digital marketing.)
In the internet age, it can be challenging for works of fiction to rise above all the noise out there on social media, book websites, and so on. To get people hooked into the story, publishers must do more than advertise: follow people on social media likely to be interested and engage with them when they post about books. Go on forums dedicated to the genre and create content based on what the members are talking about.
Fiction authors need to interact in person more than non-fiction authors, like setting up booths at conventions, attending book clubs, and joining groups for fiction writers. Other writers will support one another and sign up for each others’ mailing lists. This is also effective: by cross-promoting one another’s work via email and social media, their interested readers are likely to to sign up for your list as well.
Building up a mailing list is key to successfully selling to engaged readers. These are people who are genuinely interested and can’t wait to read and share your books!