Are You Making It Hard?

Recently, I went to Best Buy to help my teenage son buy a computer. He had worked hard and saved his money to buy a special gaming computer (he is a typical teen). We chose Best Buy because they had a sale on the computer and also offered a student discount. We went to our local Best Buy because I believe in supporting retail stores and because my son wanted his computer sooner rather than later.

As we were at the register ringing up the purchase, I inquired about the student discount. The sales clerk told me that I had to apply for the discount on their website. I asked him if we could do it in the store. He told me that I could use my cell phone to make a Best Buy account and apply for the student discount.

I asked the sales clerk what the point of coming into the store was if I had to “apply online” for this discount and the store did not offer a way for me to do this in-store (i.e. a kiosk with a computer for such purposes—or a store clerk willing to assist me in doing this). I pointed out that Best Buy was making it hard for me to make an in-store purchase, ensuring that I would, instead, make my next purchase online.

Retail stores in America are struggling. They are struggling because people are buying more online. But, they are also struggling because they are not providing good customer service. The Editor of Christian Retailing recently wrote that she stopped at a chain Christian bookstore to make a purchase. She asked the sales clerk where the biographies were located and was told “in the back of the store”. She contrasted this experience with shopping at Publix grocery store where the sales clerk will walk you to a specific aisle when asked about a product and point it out.

This whole experience made me think about building a platform and selling books. What are independent authors doing that might be “making it hard” for potential customers to give their email or buy a book? Here is my conclusion.

1. Buying Books

We make it hard for readers to buy our books when our books are only offered for sale in a few select places. Not everyone shops on Amazon. Some people actively avoid Amazon because of its practices. Others want to support Christians, and so prefer to buy books at Christian outlets. Still others want to support authors, thus preferring to purchase books directly from an author or publisher.

Are you books for sale in multiple channels? Can a reader easily find your book in his or her preferred shopping venue? If not, you are making it hard for people to buy your book.

2. Collecting Personal Data

Most authors are working on building a platform. This means that you are trying to collect email addresses so that you can communicate directly with readers and potential readers on a regular basis to build trust and increase loyalty. Collecting email addresses is great, but if you are asking too much information, you are making it hard and losing out.

Studies show that the more information you ask of people in exchange for a freebie, the greater the drop out rate. When building your email list, all you really need is a first name and an email. Don’t ask for more. Make it easy, not hard and you will grow your email list faster.

Are you making it hard? I hope not. Ease and convenience drive more sales.

Related Posts:
Don’t Make It Hard
Selling Books in an Overcrowded Market
How to Become a Best-Selling Author

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Photo courtesy of Vera Arsic.

Enhance Your Marketing with Bonus Content

Recently, BookBub ran a compilation of New Year’s Resolutions from bestselling authors. Each of these resolutions focused on what the author is planning to do in 2018 to more effectively market her book.

One author’s resolution stood out for me. I thought it was worth sharing.

Debbie Macomber is an extremely successful American author. She writes romance novels and contemporary women’s fiction. Six of her novels have become made-for-TV movies and her Cedar Cove series of novel was adapted into the television series of the same name. Many of her books have been on the New York Times bestselling list.

I am seriously impressed by the extras she provides her readers. Here is what she said on BookBub:

“I have always been an author that wanted to do more, something extra above and beyond. In many of my books I have included a recipe used in the book, a knitting pattern or anything to enhance the reader’s experience of connecting to the story while reading the book. Something little, not a lot, but that has garnered big results. I have also built up my reading list by expanding on the experience while reading the books by providing town maps, character lists, and newspaper articles surrounding the series. In today’s digital world, I often offer themed recipe and holiday cards for readers to print and use as well as desktop wallpapers. Each book has a Pinterest page associated with it to help inspire readers to connect to the story in as many ways as possible. Since these efforts have allowed me to engage more with my readers, I’d like to create more of these types of assets in 2018.”

I think this concept of bonus content is worth exploring further. Let me break out for you the type of bonus content that Debbie Macomber gives her readers:

  • Themed recipes
  • Knitting patterns
  • Maps
  • Character lists
  • Newspaper articles related to her story
  • Desktop wallpapers
  • Dedicated Pinterest Board for each book related to topics in the book

Whether you are a fiction or a nonfiction author, you can take a lesson from Debbie Macomber. Providing your readers with bonus content is a great marketing tool. Bonus content rewards your readers and enhances a connection between you (the author) and your readers.

I encourage you to follow Debbie’s example and make one of your goal’s this year to create bonus content to enhance your marketing efforts.

Related Posts:
Sampling: An Effective Marketing Tool
Association: A Powerful Marketing Tool
Your Number One Marketing Tool

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