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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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.

Related Posts:
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Photo courtesy of Pablo Merchán Montes.

You Have Seconds to Make a Good Impression

Whether we think we do or not, we judge stuff all the time. Studies show that we decide within the first four to eight seconds of meeting someone what we think of that person.

The same is true for you and your books. When viewing your book cover, your website, or any of your marketing material, readers will immediately be drawn to your book or turned away.

You have seconds to make a good impression

In a recent study, researchers from the University of Houston recorded the electrical brain activity from 431 gallery visitors last year as they explored an exhibit of works by conceptual artist Dario Robleto at the Menil Collection, near downtown Houston. The results were remarkable.

The study found that the brain is quick to judge. Shown an artwork for the first time, be it a landscape painting, a portrait or an abstract rendering of almost any style, people usually make a snap judgment of its aesthetic appeal. Brain-wave recordings suggest that the neural calculation takes 200 to 330 milliseconds, about as long as a photo flash.

This research suggests that when people view creative work, they know right away whether they like it or not. Your book’s cover is a piece of artwork.  People will make a snap judgment of its aesthetic appeal. This quick decision will determine whether they pause to learn more about your book or move on to the next image or book.

Marekting Designs

Recently, I consulted with a new ministry that is opening its doors in a couple months. The ministry was putting together a brochure about their services.

The prototype I was shown was a trifold brochure that looked like it was from the 1990s. I pointed this out to the ministry and suggested that they use a newer design of a card stock two-sided flyer that is more modern. I knew that many people viewing the trifold brochure would be put off simply by the dated design.

The same is true for books, website, and marketing material. Technology is rapidly changing. With these changes, the design of book covers, websites, and marketing materials is also evolving.

To be most effective and make a good first impression, make sure that all your marketing designs are modern. Remember, no matter how great your message or brilliant your book, you must hook people in the first initial seconds of exposure to win them over.

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Photos courtesy of Ryan McGuire and FreePik.

Just How Important Is an Author Platform?

Go to any writer’s conference and you will hear the term “Author Platform” tossed around.

Just how important is an author platform?

Just how important is an author platform?

I have met more than one author who felt led to write a book. These authors began to write what was on their hearts. Then they attended a writer’s conference and heard from agents and editors that they needed a platform in order to be considered for publication by a traditional publishing house.

Many of these authors went home and threw themselves into developing a platform. They worked hard on posting on social media—sharing pictures, creating memes, and posting videos. Some developed the number of followers they were looking for, others did not. Most would agree that their focus became their platform and their writing took a back seat.

A few of these authors ended up receiving contracts for their books from a traditional publishing house. Most did not. Many ended up self-publishing.

Does an author platform guarantee book sales?

Here’s the rub. Most experts agree that the number of followers on social media does not translate to book sales. In other words, there are authors who have thousands of followers on social media, but they aren’t selling thousands of books.

Social media is just that—social. Just because someone likes what you post or followers you on social media does not mean:

  • That they read books.
  • That they buy books.
  • That they read books in your genre.

What’s the best way for an author to build a platform?

An author platform is not so much about numbers as it is about adding value. When you offer something that resonates with a group of people, they will buy what you are offering.

At a recent writer’s conference, I met a gentleman who told me that his wife has been battling cancer for the past decade. During this time, she has written a gratitude blog. The purpose of the blog was twofold. She wanted to remind herself to be grateful in the midst of her suffering, and she wanted to encourage others to count their blessings no matter what they are going through.

An editor at a Christian publishing house discovered her blog through social media. She began to read the posts. The result was that the editor offered this woman a book deal. Why? Because this woman was sharing a message that people desperately need.

Instead of trying to win as many followers as you can on social media to build your platform, focus on your message. Write what is on your heart. If it resonates with people, they will read it and come back for more.

By the way, I will be presenting Three Things to Do Before You Publish at the Write Stuff Conference in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, March 14. If you live in the area, I invite you to sign up for the conference.

Related Posts:
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Photos courtesy of Hugo Ataide and John Hain.

Double Your Book Marketing with This Little Trick

What would you think if I told you that you could double your marketing efforts with just one little move?

Double Your Book Marketing

It is possible—and indie author David Winters has done it.

David recently published a “making faith real” book for men. Exercise Your Faith: Defeating the Lies Men Believe examines thirty plus lies that can derail effectiveness and steal satisfaction.

Playing on his title, Exercise Your Faith, David decided that using a healthy, fit male as the image for his book’s cover would have the most impact in drawing men to the book. David happens to have a friend who is a fitness guru and owns a gym.

In a brilliant move, David asked his friend Nick Singer if he would like to be on the cover of his book. Of course, David’s fitness friend said yes. After all, who wouldn’t want that type of exposure? Who wouldn’t want to be able to talk about their fame from being featured on the cover of a book?

Exercise Your FaithBut, the exchange was not been just one-way. In being featured on the David’s book cover, Nick Singer became invested in the book.

Nick is a Christian. He wants to serve God and further His kingdom. To that end, he got onboard with helping David promote the book.

One of the marketing activities that the two have done together is to hold the book launch party at the Nick’s gym Fitology. At the launch party, David and Nick did a double book signing. The fitness guru signed the cover (since that is where he is featured) and David, as the author, signed the interior of the book.

So, in addition to selling books to people who know+like+trust the author, David is also able to sell books to people who know+like+trust his friend Nick, the fitness guru.

In case you don’t do math, two people promoting a book to their respective audiences means double the book marketing.

Do you want to sell more books? Then, consider who you might feature on the cover of your next book.

After all, in giving someone celebrity status by featuring them on your book’s cover, you will invest them in the sales of the book.

Related Posts:
Why Would Someone Buy Your Book?
How to Sell More Books
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Photo courtesy of Jill Wellington.