7 Book Marketing Strategies to Watch For in 2019
The end of the calendar year is a good time to revisit your book marketing strategies.
It's the perfect time to consider what has worked well for you and be honest about what didn't. It's also a great time to think about new ways to reach potential readers and book buyers!
Social trends and consumer habits evolve with each passing year; if you want people to buy your books, your marketing plan needs to evolve too. As 2018 wraps up and we look to the coming year, here are the top book marketing trends to expect in 2019:
1. A Strong Emphasis on QUALITY Content Marketing
Although content marketing used to be somewhat of a sideshow, it's not going anywhere. However, the strength of your content marketing depends on the quality of your content, not just churning out as much as you can.
Consumers are already on information overload, so make sure your content stands out and offers something of value. Be choosy about the content you create, where you publish it, and always strive for excellence. Whether you're writing blogs, reader guides, book reviews, social media posts, or something else - make sure it's value-add quality content.
2. More Importance on Your Brand and Author Platform
There's more competition than ever within the publishing industry, and therefore more pressure to have the pieces of your online presence look professional and cohesive. Your brand is more than the fonts and colors you use on your website (although that's part of it). It's the words and images you use, your personality, and a consistency across ALL your platforms. Check out these author branding tips from Publishers Weekly:
- Picture it. Visualize what you want your brand to communicate to your readers.
- Covers Matter. Be sure your book makes a good first impression. The cover should match the genre and look professional.
- Be consistent. Your message and delivery should be the same on your author website, Facebook page, book jacket, etc. Consistency builds trust.
- Delight your audience. It's not enough to produce a good book anymore; you have to write (and design) a great one that satisfies your readers.
- Keep improving. Consider any criticism you receive thoughtfully and act on it when warranted.
- Be honest. Be ethical about your marketing and don't promise what you can't (or simply don't) deliver.
- Be nice. Strive to maintain an author brand that other authors want to emulate.
The success of your book marketing plan will depend on the author brand you've built, so make sure you're putting enough emphasis on your brand and platform.
3. More Sophisticated Targeting & Personalization
If you want your sales and marketing efforts to stand out and really capture attention, personalization is key. Make use of inbound marketing and data analytics to send carefully crafted communications to targeted individuals at the most opportune time.
Think about all the unwanted emails you received in 2018 that you wish you hadn't. How many went directly to the trash bin? Which ones did you open and why? Consider pulling and analyzing reports from your email marketing platform indicating who is reading your emails, who is deleting them, who is engaging with them by clicking on links, etc.
As social platforms continue to evolve, so do their targeting capabilities. LinkedIn has even come out with dynamic ads that can be customized to feature your LinkedIn profile and photo. Dynamic ads can help you:
- Target your audience
- Promote content
- Promote live events such as your book launch, reading, or stops on your book tour
- Attract new readers and book buyers
Bestselling authors are already using sophisticated targeting tools to engage the right readers and book buyers at the right time, and you should too! Advanced technologies like data collection/analysis and dynamic ads can help you provide a more personalized experience for potential readers - and separate your author signal from all the random book marketing noise.
4. Rise in Voice Search and Visual Content Search
Voice searches have steadily increased over the past decade and according to Andrew Ng, co-founder of Google Brain, half of all internet searches will be voice-activated by the year 2020. Similarly, visual content searching has been increasing since the year 2000 and due to an increase in content, this is a trend that will continue.
Voice recognition technology allows users to search Google using voice command instead of typing. This is not only easy and convenient, but when Google updated their voice search technology with Hummingbird in 2013, they developed more robust search capabilities by incorporating semantics. This means that Google's voice recognition technology can now interpret the intent and context of a user's voice search. Is your mind blown yet?
Another advancement in Google search is the usefulness of visual content. For example, when you search for recipes, you're going to see not just the recipe but beautiful photos of what the finished product looks like. Similarly, you'll see actual brain scans if you search for neurological disease, live sports clips when you search for NFL scores, and - here's the exciting part - photos of your book cover when users search for your book. They'll likely also see your author photo, screenshots of your author website, and video clips from your live events.
Here are some book marketing ideas that will help you take advantage of these alternative search habits in 2019:
- Utilize current SEO best practices.
- Conduct voice searches on your own content to ensure its displayed accurately
- Follow metadata best practices.
- Combine images & videos with written content.
- Link your podcast recordings to visual content such as your author website or Facebook author page.
- Create a short book trailer and tag it appropriately.
- Take videos at your live events and post them with storied content.
- Always caption your posted photos.
- Use appropriate keywords on your author website, in Facebook ads, and elsewhere online.
Consider optimizing your content to align with these changes in search habits. Google can learn user voices and habits, including book searches and purchases; if your content is optimized for voice and visual image search, you'll be more discoverable and sell more books in 2019.
5. Chatbots Will Become More Prevalent
One of the hottest marketing tips for 2019 is to add chatbots to your marketing plan. Just like search habits are changing, so are the ways people want to communicate. Messenger apps are now more popular than social networks, showing the rise in chatbot popularity.
Chatbots allow consumers to communicate via artificial intelligence to find out more information about your book, ask questions, and even purchase your book with just a few clicks. Authors can use chatbots to:
- Ask readers for book reviews
- Increase your number of followers on social media sites
- Save time and money
- Promote and sell books
Consider creating chatbots to meet readers where they are and communicate in the way they prefer.
6. More Transparency around Security and Data Privacy
Are you concerned about your own data privacy? The answer is yes! And so is everyone else, including your current fans and potential readers. With the digital age comes easy access to digital information that has, unfortunately, led to an increase in hacks and security breaches.
When you are collecting readers' personal information to build your target lists, be sure to use reputable platforms that take security seriously. Cheap shortcuts can lead to hackers getting their hands on personal information about consumer habits that aren't meant to be shared. It's your responsibility to carefully collect, store, use, and protect the information you receive about your readers through your marketing processes.
Remember to communicate how seriously you take that responsibility to your readers any place you ask for their information. Transparency earns trust. Don't even share email addresses without express permission and post a disclaimer on your author website that you do not sell or share this information.
7. Increase in Micro-Influencing
When you think about how to market books, your first thought might be to go big or go home. But in 2019 it might be better to think less is more. Consider reaching out to a micro-influencer - someone with a small but active following who promotes specific products and brands to their audience.
Micro-influencers use the same concept as influencer marketing, but on a smaller scale to produce more authentic engagement. They are typically individuals who have cultivated a dedicated and active social following.
Considering the competition from big publishing houses, who sometimes even pay to have their books placed strategically in national bookstore chains, the value of a skilled micro-influencer can do wonders for authors. For example:
Consider approaching micro-influencer bloggers who publish “To-Be-Read” lists and have dedicated and active followers. You might not get The New York Times to review your latest book, but ten bloggers who each have 1,000 enthusiastic followers, plus reviews in a few local papers, can go a long way in introducing your book to the very people who are going to buy it.
Now that we’ve introduced you to the hot book marketing trends to look out for, you're ready to jumpstart your book marketing plan for 2019, right? If you're feeling overwhelmed, here's a quick summary to help you optimize your marketing strategy:
- Assess and analyze your current marketing strategy – what’s working, what’s not.
- Keep the good stuff and stop doing what hasn't worked.
- Stick to best practices regarding SEO and keywords.
- Generate quality content; no fluff!
- Hone your author brand and author platform.
- Target your marketing actions to the appropriate audience.
- Get familiar with chatbots and voice searching.
- Produce quality visual content and link it to your written content.
- Make sure your readers' private information is safe.
- Hire (or barter with) a micro-influencer.
The new year is right around the corner, making now the perfect time to revisit and revamp your book marketing strategies. As always, take advantage of the services provided by Aerio and all the helpful, free content available through our Blog. There's always something new (like these book marketing tips for 2019!) to either motivate you or help you with the next step in promoting your books. Happy New Year!