Three Tips for Selling Books to Millennials

Maybe you are wondering “Why so much emphasis on Millennials?”

Millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000, form the biggest generation in U.S. history, even larger than the Baby Boomer generation. Millennials are moving into their prime spending years, and, as such, command a good percentage of purchases, including book purchases. Therefore, it is important to understand what drives this generation and how to best reach them with your marketing message.

Do you want to sell your books to Millennials? Then consider these three characteristics of this generation and adjust your marketing accordingly.

1. Millennials are readers.

Reports from the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) and Pew Research reveal that individuals aged 18 to 35 outmatch other age groups in the number of books purchased and read each year. Millennials are also more likely to visit a library than other generations. A study by Pew Research found that 53% of Millennials used a library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months.

This is good news for authors. However, just because Millennials read does not mean that they will read your book. Keep in mind that Millennials are also socially conscious. They aren’t so much concerned about the product, they want to know the back story. When marketing to Millennials share with them the back story to your book. Hook them with the uniqueness of your book and its message and how it relates to the things they are most concerned about.

2. Millennials are social.

This generation is connected via social networking sites such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. This is their primary means of communication. This generation knows what their peers are reading and purchasing. Social influence is a big factor in what Millennials choose to purchase.

However, Millennials are not fans. They want to be active participants. They want to be part of the conversation and have influence. To reach this group, you need to show up where they hang out on social media. Join the conversation and invite them to interact with you. Respect their intelligence and ask for their input.

3. Millennials are bargain shoppers.

Millennials get marketing. They grew up with it. They are smart and don’t fall for the usually marketing tricks. Millennials want bargains. Over half (57%) compare prices while shopping. This generation wants maximum convenience at the lowest cost. After all, they have huge student loan debt.

When selling your books to Millennials, offer them a bargain. Give them a coupon or discount that they can make use of.

Have you had success in reaching Millennials? If so, I would love to hear what has worked for you.

Related Posts:
The Goal of Advertising
Millennials: A Substantial Market
Are Millennials Buying Your Books?

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Photo courtesy of Zachary Nelson.

The Goal of Advertising

Most independently published authors shy away from paid advertising for their books. After all, paid advertising sometimes gets a bad rap. It’s usually expensive and the benefits (sales reaped) often don’t equal the money spent.

Interestingly, a new survey from Clutch, a B2B ratings and review firm, found that advertisements influence 90% of consumers in their purchasing decisions. That makes advertising a powerful tool.

The survey also looked at which advertising mediums consumers found the most trustworthy. People find traditional advertising mediums (TV, print, radio) more trustworthy than digital advertising (online, social media).

In addition, this survey revealed that Millennials are more likely to make a purchase after seeing or hearing advertisements than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. About 81% of millennials surveyed (those ages 18 to 34) made a purchase after seeing or hearing an advertisement in the last 30 days. The survey also found that Millennials trust advertising more than older generations.

This is good news for authors seeking to reach Millennials. If this younger generation is your target audience, you may experience more success with paid advertisements than those authors trying to reach older generations.

 

The truth is, for advertising to work the following must happen:

  1. You have to use the right vehicle to reach your target audience.
    Your target audience must match the target audience of the newspaper, magazine, website, or radio show where your advertisement is run.
  2. You have to convey the benefits of your book in your ad.
    After all, advertising is all about persuasion.
  3. You have to have repeat exposure for people to be convinced.
    People need to see or hear about a new product seven to twelve times before they decide to purchase. And it’s important to advertise through multiple mediums to engage consumers.

This quote by Mitch Leigh sums up what the purpose of advertising is:

“You can’t make money on advertising; you just have to seed the clouds. What you’re after is word of mouth.”

Whenever you decide to use paid advertisement, remember that your goal is to ultimately generate word of mouth for your book. You want the few people who purchase your book through an advertisement to love it so much that they tell all their friends and acquaintances about it. For that to happen, your book must be compelling.

Related Posts:
10 Book Advertising Ideas for the Physical World
How Visuals Affect Purchasing Decisions
Are Millennials Buying Your Books?

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Photo courtesy of Ben White.

Distribution is More Important Than You Think

For years I have been saying that distribution is key to increasing sales for your book.

Distribution increases the likelihood that your book is available where someone prefers to shop, making it easy for them to purchase. We are an immediate gratification society. If we don’t find what we are looking for right away, we will take the closest substitute.

Now a new study backs up what I already knew to be true. Wilke Global discovered that there was a lack of research on what consumers do when they are unable to find a particular product in both the brick-and-mortar and online worlds. So, the company embarked on a focused study in 2016 to learn more.

A few key findings from the Wilke Global study show that distribution is fundamental in winning with consumers. These findings include:

  1. Half of consumers (48% in 2016 and 49% in 2017) reported that they would buy another brand if the product they were searching for was not available on the shelf of the grocery or drug store where they were shopping.
  2. When faced with a product they don’t find at their retailer of choice, relatively few consumers seek to complete their purchase online (7% in 2016 and 10% in 2017). Basically, if a consumer sets out to buy a product in a store, they don’t readily make the shift to purchasing that product online if they can’t find it in the store.

While well over half of all books are now purchased online, some consumers are still brick-and-mortar book purchasers. What this research confirms is that when these readers hear about your book and can’t find it in the bookstore of their choice, they will  buy another book on the same topic that is available in the store instead.

This is why distribution is so important for small publishers and independently published authors. Simply having your book available on Amazon.com is not enough to reach all readers. If you book is not available for purchase in multiple online and brick-and-mortar bookstores (even for the store to order it when a customer asks) you are losing out on sales.

The Wilke Global study also discovered that consumers who purchase online are not terribly likely to visit the brand website (only 8% in 2016 and 6% in 2017 did so). Instead people shopping online generally start with Amazon, Google, or Walmart to find the product they are looking for.

As an author, the more places your book is for sale, the more sales you will catch. Make sure your book is in established book distribution channels so you don’t lose out on sales.

Related Posts:
How to Get a Book into a Christian Bookstore
What Authors Can Learn From Shopping Behaviors
Global eBook Sales are Within Your Reach

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Photo courtesy of Rhys Moult.

The Rule of Seven

I recently watched the movie The Founder. This movie tells story of how the fast-food chain McDonald’s grew to be an impressive success. While the man who grew the restaurant chain to be an American sensation—Ray Kroc—was not an outstanding example of Christian character, we can still take a lesson from his life.

In the movie, Ray listens to a motivational album in his hotel room. The album recites something that Calvin Coolidge is known for saying:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Later in his life, Ray attributes his persistence as the largest contributing factor of McDonald’s success.

This notion of persistence is not new. After all, Jesus spoke about the success of persistence in his parables. One parable Jesus tells about the benefits of persistence is recorded in the book of Luke. In this parable about the Persistent Friend, Jesus says, “I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.

Jesus follows this up by saying, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10).

I think many independent authors give up too easily. They forget that it requires persistence to have doors opened.

Rick Frishman, one of the authors of Guerrilla Marketing for Writers, has what he calls the “Rule of Seven”. Rick has found that it takes an average of seven contacts to acquire bookings for an author. This might be a booking for an author signing event, an author speaking event, or a radio or television interview.

Rick says that the most important part of promotion is follow up. Without it, you can take away the pro and just have motion.

Persistence is required for successful book promotion. Keep the Rule of Seven in mind when you seek promotional opportunities. Remember that you have to ask more than once, and that pleasant, persistent follow up is required for success.

Persistence pays off. So, I encourage you to keep knocking; keep asking.

Related Posts:
Are You Expecting Fast Results?
Is Your Audience Growing?
Are Your Book Sales Struggling?

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

 

How Readers Discover Books

Do you recommend books to your family and friends? Have your family members or friends recently recommended a book to you?

Studies show that the number one way people discover books is through recommendations from family members and friends (including co-workers). Last year, Penguin Random House conducted a survey to find out more about how people discover books. Below is the Infographic that compiles the findings.

One of the more interesting findings in this study is how many people discovered a book via Goodreads. If you are not yet active on this book networking channel, I recommend that you join and benefit from this powerful tool that connects readers and books.

Related Posts:
Book Discoverability
Is That Information Necessary?
Trends in Book Discovery

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.