The Five Steps of Effective Marketing

If only marketing were as easy as writing the book.” These words of lament were spoken by an author who was struggling to market her book.

I agree. Marketing takes work—lots of work. It also takes time and some money.

However, understanding the five steps to effective marketing, based on E.M. Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations Theory, can help you better focus your marketing efforts.

5 Steps of effective marketing

Step 1:  Knowledge

First people have to be introduced to you and your books. They must know about the books you are offering. It’s about name recognition. It takes repeat exposures before people notice and retain information about your books. Getting known in a saturated world is not easy. If you run an online ad for a book and that ad receives 5,000 impressions (meaning it is shown to 5,000 people) only six people will remember  seeing the ad.

Step 2:  Persuasion

Just because someone knows about your books does not mean that they will buy them. You have to persuade them that doing so will improve their life. Zig Ziglar said that there are five obstacles to every sale: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, and no trust. You must overcome these obstacles to persuade people to buy your books.

Step 3:  Decision

Once someone has the knowledge of your books and the persuasive reasons to buy them, the next step is decision. The person must decide to purchase your books. Sometimes people decide “yes”, sometimes they decide “later”, and sometimes they decide “no”. You can encourage people to make a “yes” decision by giving them the urgency to act now. One technique to create urgency is to offer a limited time sale.

Step 4:  Implementation

Implementation involves carrying out the decision to buy. Once the decision is made, the person must carry it out. Yet buying in and of itself is not the end of the marketing cycle. The second part of implementation is for the buyer to read the book.

Step 5:  Confirmation

This is the final step in effective marketing. It is an important step. Confirmation is when the buyer reads your book and becomes a fan. Because they become a fan, they help spread the word about your book to their family and friends. Remember, word of mouth sells books. Confirmation from buyers is what grows your marketing cycle. The buyers tell others who then come to knowledge of the book, increasing your marketing reach, which grows your audience.

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Does Your Response Time Meet Expectations?

This winter, I needed my chimney cleaned. I have a wood burning fireplace and have no desire to experience a chimney fire as my neighbors did a few years ago.

Does Your Response Time Meet Expectations?

I attempted to call the service that had previously cleaned my chimney. I got a recorded message that encouraged me to request the service online. So, I did. Then I waited for a response… and waited… and waited.

Fed up, I called a different service. I would have engaged this service provider, except their quoted price was astronomical. I decided to try the first service again, and had much better luck on my second try.

When looking for someone to clean my chimney, I had a handful of options. As a result, I circled back around to the one that had a poor response time—mainly because I had used them before and knew they charged a reasonable fee and did a good job.

However, if I had been contacting an author or a publisher about a book I was interested in, I most likely would have moved on to another book that provided similar information. Why? Because when it comes to books, I have hundreds to thousands of options to choose from.

If you are an author or publisher selling books, your response time matters.

Studies show that people expect a quick response time, even with emails. In fact, one-third of all Gen-X and Boomers expect a response within an hour of sending an email.

If you fail to meet a customer’s expectations, they tend to feel annoyed or frustrated. Studies show that companies that respond to inquiries within one hour are 60 times more successful than those who take 24 hours or more to respond.

If you want to be more successful as an author or publisher, then make sure that you are responding to inquiries in a timely fashion. You can learn more about how to do that in the infographic below.

Infographic

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How Responsive Are You?
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Networking Is Easier Than You Think

What’s the best way to land a job? By networking.

networking is easier than you think.

Often getting a job is all about who you know and who knows you. That’s why LinkedIn is so popular. It lets professionals network online and expand their connections.

Good marketers also network. Most good opportunities come from making a connection with someone who has connections that will help you.

Networking for book marketing is simply making connections with others to find new opportunities to grow your audience and sell more books.

I am sure you have heard of the Six Degrees of Separation. This idea is that all people are six (or fewer) social connections away from each other. Meaning that you are six introductions away from any other person on the planet.

According to this belief, it follows that with networking you will be able to find any opportunity you are looking for. You just need to ask.

  • Do you want to speak in schools? Ask the people you know if they have contacts at local schools who you could talk to.
  • Do you want to speak at conferences? Ask the people in your life to introduce you to the women’s or men’s leader at their church.
  • Do you want to do an author event at a library? Ask authors you know who they have contacted to do an event.
  • Do you want more book reviews? Ask your social circle if they know anyone who would be interested in reading your book in exchange for a review.
  • Do you want to partner with a nonprofit? Ask your current network if they know of any nonprofits doing the kind of work you want to partner with.

Many people are averse to asking. Meaning that they feel like they are imposing on others if they ask.

Ask and you will receive

Jesus said, “Ask and you shall receive.” Of course, Jesus was speaking of asking God.  Yet the principal is true for asking others for things we desire. If we don’t ask, we won’t receive.

There is no shame in asking. For the most part, people want to help others—and that includes helping you.

You probably have a larger network of people to ask than you realize. Your network includes:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Neighbors
  • Church community
  • Colleagues and coworkers
  • Followers on social media
  • Members of the groups and associations you participate in

Lean on these people. They are your support system. Use them to expand your circle of connections, then enjoy the new opportunities that open up for you to expand your marketing reach.

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Photo courtesy of Geralt.

Are You Engaging the Five Senses with Your Book Marketing?

I have a favorite Chinese dish that I love to order at Chinese restaurants. Sadly, few restaurants carry this dish. When I find one that does, I savor every bite of my meal.

Market Your Book with the Five Senses in Mind

As humans, our five senses are powerful. Not only do they keep us safe, they also keep us informed. Did you know…

  • Your eyes are capable of processing 36,000 pieces of information per hour:
  • You can smell about 10,000 odors.
  • 80% of what we experience as taste is actually smell.
  • 90% of a young child’s knowledge is attributable to hearing background conversation.
  • Being touched can reduce stress, by lowering levels of ­hormones like cortisol.

We use our five senses on a daily basis to make decisions. The psalmist encourages us to “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”  He understood that we use our senses to inform our decisions—including what to purchase.

As an author, you can play to these five senses when selling your books. Take each one into account as you craft and market your books.

Sight

Make a positive first impression. Make sure your book cover is eye-catching and your title can be easily read. Ensure that your book cover is not too cluttered. Our eyes need white space to frame what we see.

Hearing

Speak the language of your target audience. Even in the written word—such as your book description—write in a manner that the reader can “hear”. Use common phrases and points of view that your audience is accustomed to.

Smell

People can “smell” a fake. So, don’t be phony. Be transparent and authentic. Don’t pretend that you are perfect or know everything. If you smell fishy, you won’t develop trust with your audience.

Touch

We only allow people we trust to touch us. Trust is a necessary ingredient in selling books. Establish trust with your audience because you cannot succeed without trust.

Taste

Know your audience’s preferences. The better you know your audience—their beliefs, interests, and desires—the more effectively you will communicate with them.

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Photo courtesy of Pablo Merchán Montes.

The Responsibility Rest on You!

I recently had a conversation with a Christian author. This gentleman makes his living through writing. He does not have another job. He supports his family through the sales of his books.

The Responsibility Rests on You

This author is traditionally published. He waxed eloquently about the changes in the Christian book publishing industry and how they have affected him. He reported that his publisher, a large Christian publishing house, no longer bothers with hiring a sales rep to sell their books into bookstores. Almost all their efforts are focused on selling books directly to consumer—and they largely leave this up to the authors.

Gone are the days when an author could find a publisher to bear the weight of the publishing and publicity costs for a new book. Now, the vast majority of the marketing falls on the author’s shoulders even when the publishing company foots the bill to publish the book.

One of the authors that Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) recently represented at the NRB Convention was published by a traditional small publishing house that is a member of CIPA. This first-time author’s book had just been released, and she was excited to be at the show.

Christian Indie Publishing Association

The author showed up without a clear understanding of how she was going to promote her books or where she needed to be when. She told me that she thought the publisher, who was also attending the show, would lead and she would follow. However, her publisher was busy networking and taking care of other business.

This new author said, “I should have taken the time to better prepare before I came instead of expecting my publisher to do it for me.

It doesn’t matter if you are traditionally published or self-published. The responsibility is yours.

If your book is not selling as well as you would like, look no farther than yourself. Ask yourself:

  • What am I doing on a daily basis to market my book?
  • What more could I do?
  • Which marketing activities are bringing most of my sales?
  • What new marketing strategy can I try?

John Kremer wrote a book called 1001 Ways to Market Your Book. If you need ideas, just consult the book. It has more ideas than you could ever implement. If you want ideas and specific resources for reaching more Christian consumers, my book, Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books, will provide you with plenty to keep you busy for a long time.

Yes, the responsibility for marketing and selling your book rests on your shoulders. But, remember, that you rest on Christ. Partner with him. Do what you can and trust that he will multiply the work of your hands for the glory of his Kingdom.

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Author: Are You Doing These Marketing Activities?
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Photo courtesy of Adi Goldstein.