Print or Digital? No Choice Required

Black or white. Hot or cold. Night and day. Rich or poor. Digital or print.

When approaching marketing, many authors have an either-or mentality. They either invest in digital or they invest in print.

Print informs our digital activity.

The most successful book marketing is not an either-or mentality, but a both-and mindset. Print and digital work together to bring the best results.

A popular journal for church leaders recently switched to a digital-only format. Previously, the journal had been mailed to subscribing church leaders. With the switch the publication is now only available for reading online.

In moving to a digital-only magazine, it would make sense that the entire process would become digital. In other words, subscribing church leaders would be reminded to read the online journal via their email.

However, the creators of this publication knew better than to embrace an either-or mindset. They knew that switching from a print publication to a digital publication would cause them to lose a number of readers unless they embraced a both-and mindset.

So, instead of moving to all digital, this publication decided to mail print postcards to subscribers each month to remind them to read the latest edition of the journal online. Then, the publication polled their subscribers to find out what they thought of this new model: a postcard reminding them to read the publication online.

Magazine

About 1,000 subscribers responded to the poll and 92% reported that they were fine with the postcard reminder to view the latest issue of the publication online. Only about 8% reported that they preferred the print copy mailed to them.

Here is the takeaway lesson from this situation:

Print informs our digital activity.

Have you noticed that signs and billboard include URLs? Have you seen URLs in other printed ads? We don’t live in an either-or world. We live in a both-and world where what we see in print influences what we do in the digital world.

What does this mean for book marketing?

Just like authors and publishers must embrace both-and for producing books in both digital and physical format to reap the most sales, so too, you must embrace this mindset for marketing. Use print to drive readers to purchase your books in the digital world. Combine both print and digital marketing strategies for the best success.

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Print Is Not Disappearing
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Photos courtesy of gillnisha and stevepb.

One Technique for Requesting Book Reviews

“Dozens of good book reviews are a must if you want to sell print books or ebooks and create mountains of publicity.”  ~Joan Stuart, Publicity Expert

Book reviews help sell books. This is why I frequently talk about the importance of book reviews in marketing a book.

How to Ask Readers to Review Your Book

One technique to acquire more book reviews is to ask your readers to review your book. You can do this by including a plea in your email newsletter that you send out to your subscribers (those people who have signed up on your website to receive your content).

I recently received the following request from an author in my email box. It is a plea for his readers to write a review of his book on Amazon.

I am sharing it with you as a sample of what asking for reviews in your email newsletter might look like.


Dear Email Subscriber Name:

If you have a few minutes, I am asking for a favor. 

Book reviews on Amazon are important for many reasons including:

  1. They help potential buyers make their decision to buy a book based on the words of a reader. It is not just the number of stars that are given but the description of some of the content of the book.
  2. They help the authors to know how their book was understood and received which will improve the writing of their next book.
  3. Amazon uses the reviews and the number of reviews in their algorithm which they use to market books. The more good reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote the book and show it more often to potential buyers.

Now the favor! There are currently 10 reviews on my book “name of book” I know many more have read it.

I need at least double that number of reviews.

If you have read my book and have not yet written a review, I am asking you to write a review now. Just a simple sentence or two in your own words is fine.

It will take less time than it has taken you to read this email. 

Just click this link to leave a review (Amazon.com link to book’s page).

If you want to leave a review and have any problem, email me and I will try to solve the problem.

Thanks in advance!

~Author name


If you need more reviews for your books, ask your email subscribers as this author did. People like to help others out. If you let your readers know that writing a review helps you out, they will be more willing to do so.

Did you know that book readers cannot post a review on Amazon.com unless they have an Amazon account and have spent at least $50 on Amazon? You can read more about Amazon’s rules for posting reviews on the retail website.

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Book Reviews Are Social Proof
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Photo courtesy of JESHOOTS.

Awards Make a Difference

Before the FDA, the Good Housekeeping Institute existed. Since 1990, this team of engineers, scientists, analysts, and products experts have rigorously tested products so that Americans can rest assured they are not wasting their money.

Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval

Appearing on everything from cookware to computers to clearing supplies, the Good Housekeeping Seal of approval says that consumers can trust the product to deliver what it promises. The Good Housekeeping Seal has been around for over 100 years because it works. People trust it.

Studies show that seals of approval, awards emblems, and best-seller stickers all make a difference for consumers. Maybe you are wondering just how much of a difference they make when it comes to selling books.

Interestingly, a study done by BookNet Canada in 2018 looked at what influences book buyers’ decisions to make a purchase. This study found that award emblems were just about as influential in influencing a purchasing decision as a book’s cover design.

Numerous studies have indicated that cover design is important when choosing a book to buy. But, just how important?

The BookNet study found that 6.9% of book buyers ranked a book’s cover design as the number one influencer in their book purchasing decision. Awards and bestseller stickers or badges were reported as the number one influencer in book purchasing decisions by 6.5% of book buyers in the study.

Award Stickers Influence Buyers

This means that six or seven out of every hundred people will buy a book because it sports an award or bestseller sticker.

If you have been skeptical about whether a book award really makes a difference in selling a book, you can now put that question to rest. The study by BookNet Canada showed that book awards do make an impact on readers book choices.

If you have a quality book, money spent on book award entry fees is not wasted. I believe it is smart use of your money to designate a portion of your marketing dollars to entering book award contests.

There are numerous contests to enter. You can find a list of Christian book award contests at www.christianbookaward.com. A longer list of book award contests with religious categories can be found in my book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books.

In addition, nominations are still open for the 2020 Christian Indie Awards. You can nominate your Christian book published in 2018 or 2019 at www.christianaward.com.

Related Posts:
What Influences Book Purchasing Decisions?
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Photo courtesy of Sophieja.

How to Get People to Read Your Emails

The world is now mobile. Studies show that 67% of email is opened on a mobile device.

This means that if you have an email newsletter that you send to subscribers—and every author should be using this marketing technique—your email needs to be mobile friendly. Email subject lines and the first few lines of text render differently on mobile devices than they do on computers. Adjusting your emails to accommodate these differences can encourage more of your email recipients to read your emails.

Remember, just because someone has subscribed to your email list does not guarantee that they will read your emails. I encourage you to follow these 8 Tips for Making Email Campaigns Mobile Friendly to increase the open and read rates for the emails that you send.

Tips for mobile-friendly email campaigns

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What Shoppers Want

I am a coupon clipper. Every Sunday I go through the ads in the newspaper (yes, I still get a print newspaper) and clip the ones that I think I will use. I put these on my refrigerator so they are handy when I go to the grocery store. Sadly, half the time I forget to grab the coupons on my way out the door to the store.

Could offering coupons for your books spur more sales?

Clearly, extreme couponing is not for me. My intentions are good. It’s my follow through that needs some work. Usually, I remember I forgot the coupons about halfway to the grocery store. At that point, I don’t feel like going back to get them. So they sit unused  on my refrigerator.

I am not alone in coupon clipping or in using them (although I could improve in this aspect). Recent research by Inmar found that shoppers today are driven by the use of coupons. According to this research:

  • 60% of shoppers reported using paper as well as digital coupons.
  • 28% of shoppers reporting using paper coupons exclusively.
  • 13% said they use only digital coupons.

Coupon use is regular and ongoing for many consumers:

  • 42% of surveyed shoppers reported they “always” or “usually” use digital coupons.
  • 37% said the same about coupon inserts from the Sunday newspaper.

It’s clear that consumers see value in coupons. In fact, 80% of consumers in the Inmar study reported that coupons changed their behavior in some way. This raises the question: Could offering coupons for your books spur more sales?

Offer coupons

There are many ways you can use coupons to sell your books. You can offer a digital coupon in your email newsletter. You can offer a coupon in a print mailing such as on a postcard. You can even offer a coupon at a live event where you are selling your book.

Giving consumers what they want is a great way to encourage them to buy your book. Creating a coupon is not difficult. Free online services like Send a Coupon make creating a coupon easy. Send a Coupon allows you to create free coupons that you can email or tweet to your followers.

Try it. You might reap a few more sales just by giving out coupons.

Related Posts:
Use Coupons to Promote Your Books
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Marketing Tips to Reach Each Generation

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Photo courtesy of Nathan23.