Do You Know Your Target Audience?

Who is your target audience? I am continually surprised at how many authors have trouble answering this question. So many authors have a burning to write a book, yet they fail to identify whom they are writing their book for.

“Everyone” is not a target audience. Neither is “all Christians.” Your target audience is the group of people who will benefit the most from what you have to say. Maybe it’s those Christians who want to start seeing answers to their prayers. Maybe it’s single moms who are weary of fighting the parenting battle alone.

Knowing your target audience not only makes your writing stronger and clearer, it helps you market your book effectively to this group of people. When considering their target audience, authors and publishers should look at things like:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Economic status
  • Relationship status
  • Spiritual level or interest

If you are writing Christian books, then a subset of “Christians” is your primary target audience. A new study shines an interesting light on the ethnic diversity of this community in the United States.

A recent report by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) states “The American religious landscape has undergone dramatic changes in the last decade, and is more diverse today than at any time since modern sociological measurements began.” In fact, the organization’s 2016 American Values Atlas found that one-third of all Evangelical Protestants in America are people of color.

About a quarter of Americans (26%) self-identify as evangelical. Around two-thirds of these evangelicals are white (64%), while 19 percent are Black, and 10 percent are Hispanic, and the remaining 6 percent are Asian, mixed race, or other ethnicity.
Interestingly, the study found that half of evangelicals under 30 years old are nonwhite (50%). So, younger generations of evangelicals are even more ethnically diverse than the population taken as a whole.

What does this have to do with your target audience? It most likely means that your target audience is more ethnically diverse than you might have considered. Additionally, the younger the audience you are targeting, the more ethnically diverse it is.

Knowing your target audience allows you to promote your book to the group of people who have the most interest in your message. Knowing specifics about this target audience allows you to tailor your marketing messages and material to effectively speak to this group of people. If you want to be successful in promoting your books, then make sure your marketing materials are speaking to your target audience.

Related Posts:
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Micro-Target to Get Results

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Photo courtesy of Tamarcus Brown.

How to Gain More Readers for Your Books

All authors face the one same challenge: Finding readers for their books.

All sorts of gimmicks exist to lure customers to purchase products. Advertising experts even study which words and phrases work best for grabbing people’s attention. Tested Selling Institute and Word Laboratory Inc. looked at words and phrases salespeople could use to get customers to buy. They discovered a few magic words that tend to grab attention include:

  • New
  • Advice
  • At last
  • Truth
  • Love
  • Facts you should know

Advertising legend Robert Collier believed that writing advertising text was like a science. He used the studies done by Tested Selling Institute and Word Laboratory Inc. and applied their findings to printed advertising. Collier’s own research revealed that the word “how” in an advertising headline appeared to be the most useful word in improving the success of an advertising piece.

Each of these words reveals that people are searching for answers. People want practical solutions to their problems. They want to improve their lives.

I frequently say that marketing is simply letting people know that you have the answer to a need in their life. If you publish books, your book meets a need in someone’s life.

We all know that advertising is expensive and often does not have a very high return, especially for books. After all, people need to see and hear about a product multiple times before they decide to make a purchase (with the exception of impulse buys). So, what other marketing techniques can authors use to grab readers’ attention?

Enter content marketing. Content marketing is about sharing information that educates, inspires, and entertains readers. Content marketing allows an author to develop trust with an audience so that these people buy the author’s books.

If you are interested in learning more about content marketing and how you can use this powerful tool to grow the audience for your books, I encourage you to watch my new on-demand seminar Grow Your Audience with Content Marketing. This 40-minute seminar will walk you through six practical steps for sharing content on a regular basis to grow your audience.

As always, these on-demand seminars are free for Members of Christian Small Publishers Association. Other publishers and authors can access this seminar, Grow Your Audience with Content Marketing, for just $15 online at https://mcbuniversity.selz.com.

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Market Your Book as a Gift

It may feel early, but it’s not. Christmas items are already beginning to pop up in stores. Christmas is the biggest gift-giving holiday in the United States.

Experts report that 25% of books are purchased as gifts. Children receive many of these books as gifts. Studies show that 43% of the books purchased as gifts are for children ages 12 and under.

 

Christmas will be here in no time. It’s not too early to begin promoting your book as a great gift. Consider running a Christmas special on your book to encourage people to buy it as a gift this year, especially if you have a children’s book.

You can remind your fans and followers that books make great gifts. Following are six reasons books are great to give as a gift.

1. Books Don’t Go Out of Style.
When you buy someone a book, you don’t have to worry about whether it is in fashion or not, whether it is the right size or color, and whether the recipient will actually wear it or not. Because, they won’t be wearing it, they will be reading it.

2. Books are Affordable.
Books usually cost anywhere from $6 to $20. There is a book for every budget, so you don’t need to break the bank to give someone a great gift.

3. Books are Life-Giving.
Books are life-changing. Additionally, studies show that reading a book reduces stress and that those who read regularly live longer than those who don’t read much. If you give a Christian book that encourages the reader into a relationship with God, then you help someone have eternal life.

4. Books are for Everyone.
There is a book for every age, gender, and interest under the sun. As long as a person can read, a book exists that will be of interest to them.

5. Books Last.
Books last and last. You don’t use them up and they don’t wear out. They can be read again and again.

6. A Book is a Gift You Can Open Again and Again.
Every time someone opens that book you give them, they are re-opening your gift.

Sadly, the average amount of time Americans spent reading for personal interest on weekend days and holidays fell by six minutes to just 21 minutes per day over the past decade. So, one additional reason to give books as gifts is to encourage reading.

Promoting books as great gifts and your book as a gift to your friends and fans not only benefits you and your book sales,it also benefits the larger book community. Promoting books as gifts benefits every author and encourages people to read more.

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Call for Nominations for the Christian Indie Awards

As the number of independently published Christian books grows, vehicles are needed to bring awareness and give recognition to these books. The Christian Indie Awards is one tool striving to do just that.

The Christian Indie Awards are sponsored by Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). These awards are open to any small publisher or independent author who has published a Christian book. To be eligible to nominate a title, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Books must be Christian in nature, promote the Christian faith, and intended for the Christian marketplace.
  • Books must be published with a 2015 or 2016 copyright and released for sale in 2015 or 2016. New editions of previously published books are eligible. Reissued editions are not.
  • Books must be printed in English and available for sale in the United States.
  • The nomination of a title must be made by the publisher or author of the book.
  • Eligible publishers must be small presses or independently published authors with revenues of $450,000 or less per year.

The award is offered in 14 categories. To nominate your title visit the Christian Indie Awards website at https://www.christianaward.com. Nominations are accepted through November 15, 2017.

Discover four great benefits of wining a book award. Watch this video:

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Authors Profit From Encouraging Children to Read

Every author and publisher should be concerned about literacy and developing a love of reading in young children.

Whether you write for children or not, encouraging children to read benefits authors writing for any age. After all, children grow up to become adults. Children who love reading grow into adults who enjoy reading for pleasure and personal growth.

Sadly, the number of American children who say they love reading books for fun has dropped almost 10% in the last four years, according to a study of children in the United States by Scholastic. The study found that only 51% of children said they love or like reading books for fun, compared to 58% in 2012, and 60% in 2010.

To help promote literacy and encourage reading, the airline company JetBlue has partnered with Random House Children’s Books to develop a program called Soar with Reading. This program places vending machines that dispense brand-new, free books for kids aged infant to 14 years. Kids are allowed to take as many books as they are interested in from the vending machine with no strings attached.

I think what Soar with Reading is doing is fantastic. I would love to see a Christian organization provide a similar program featuring both wholesome children’s books as well as books that draw children to God. Fortunately, you don’t need to start a program on the scale of Soar with Reading to provide children free books that point to God.

A couple years ago, my community association installed Little Free Libraries in my neighborhood. I make sure that these little libraries constantly have a supply of good Christian books. It is one way that I can spread the Good News message and encourage reading.

You, too, can do your small part to promote the love of reading and share the Gospel. If you write and publish children’s books, why not share them with children via Little Free Libraries in your community? You can find a list of these library stands near you on the Little Free Library website. Be aware though that not all little libraries are registered on the site. I know the ones near my house are not.

While placing free Christian books in Little Free Libraries is for the primary purpose of encouraging reading and drawing children to a relationship with God, you can also use this activity for promotion. If you have a large number of Little Free Libraries near where you live, let your local community newspaper know what you are doing. If the newspaper picks up the story, the article will not only bring you publicity, it will also continue to encourage reading, and inform the community about Little Free Libraries.

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