Expecting Fast Results: What A Mistake!

We live in a fast society. A Boeing 787 can fly around the world in 42 hours and 27 minutes. With Google Fiber, Internet connection speeds reach up to one gigabit per second. FedEx allows you to have a package delivered the very next day to almost any location in the world. China’s new Fuxing bullet trains travel at 350 km/h (over 200 m/hr).

We have become so accustomed to fast, that we expect it. Except not everything delivers fast results.

This is true of promotion and marketing efforts. Rarely, do these activities deliver fast results. After all, research shows that it takes on average:

  1. Seven to twelve exposures of a product before a person decides to purchase it.
  2. Nine months of regular blogging to develop a strong, loyal readership base.
  3. Seven contacts to secure a media interview.

I recently received a call from a woman who heard about a book that Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) represented at the CBA Unite International Retail Show last summer (in July 2017). The woman had recently talked with a gentleman who attended the show and told him of her need. He informed her that he had seen a book that met her need in CSPA’s booth at the trade show last summer.

The woman looked up CSPA on the Internet and gave us a call. She did not know that name of the book, but was able to tell me her need and I immediately identified which book the gentleman was referring to. I gave this woman the information on the book and the contact information for the publisher.

It has been six months since the 2017 CBA Unite show. Six months after viewing a book, a show attendee told this woman about a book he saw at the show that met her need.

Here’s the deal. Marketing activities usually don’t reap fast results. However, they do reap results for those who are patient.

Even though word spreads fast in today’s digitally-connected world, personal word-of-mouth can still take time. At the right moment, when faced with a need, a product or book is remembered and passed along.

Remember, marketing is all about exposure. It’s about introducing people to your books so that they know they exist. Your job is to get the word out. God’s job is to bring the harvest.

I have always said that promoting a book is a marathon, not a sprint. So, keep marketing. Keep spreading the word that your book meets a need that someone has. It may take months, but the people who need your book will hear and respond.

Related Posts:
Are You Expecting Fast Results?
The Rule of Seven
Are You Competing in a Marathon?

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Are You Using Videos in Your Marketing Efforts?

In 2017, 90% of the most shared content on social media was in video format. The increase of video online is phenomenal. Check out these statistics:

  • 55% of people watch videos online every day.
  • By 2019, global consumer Internet video traffic will account for 80% of all consumer Internet traffic.
  • 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others.
  • Companies using video enjoy 41% more web traffic from search than non-users.

Not only are people watching videos online, businesses are finding that videos are effective in selling products. Here are some more statistics that back up this claim:

  • 90% of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision process.
  • Including a video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%.
  • After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online.

Videos are a powerful marketing tool. Should you be using them? Yes.

Creating videos to use in your book marketing campaigns can be a challenge, especially if you write fiction. Other than creating a book trailer for your book, what type of content should you put in your videos?

Interestingly, Curata, a content creation company, found that the top three most effective types of video content are:

  1. Customer testimonials (51%)
  2. Tutorial videos (50%)
  3. Demonstration videos (49%)

Here is the good news. Every author can create the most effective videos—customer testimonials.

Customer testimonial videos don’t have to be fancy. They can just be a quick 30 to 60 second video of a reader talking about how great your book is. Just like this testimonial video for my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace.

Getting customer testimonial videos doesn’t have to be difficult. With a Smartphone camera, you can take them and your readers can create them. Here are three quick ideas to help obtain customer testimonial videos on your book:

  1. Film your friends or family members who love your book sharing their thoughts.
  2. Ask your readers to film their review of your book and share it with you.
  3. Hold a contest with a great prize (like a gift card to a restaurant) and make the entry requirement be that readers share a video of themselves raving about your book.

Make videos a part of your marketing plan for 2018. Start today. Get one or two video testimonials from readers that you can share on your website and on all your social media channels.

Related Posts:
Creating a Book Video Trailer
Using Videos to Promote Your Book
How Visuals Affect Purchasing Decisions

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Do You Believe in Your Book?

I recently heard about a woman who loves to write. People who read her manuscript tell her that her book would sell. The writing is phenomenal.

Because this woman does not have a platform and would be a first-time author, others encouraged her to indie publish her book. One indie publisher actually offered to publish it for her.

However, the woman declined. She did not like the idea of having to promote and market her book. She did not want to do all those activities. Instead, she wanted someone to do those for her.

She found a company that told her they would publish and market her book for $10,000. They showed her how to start a Go Fund Me account to have people give her the $10,000.

Here is the irony. It takes promotion and marketing to get people to fund a crowdfunding project. So, whether this woman wanted to admit it or not, she had already begun to promote and market her book—the very thing she was opposed to doing.

If you are like this woman and don’t like the idea of promoting or marketing your book, consider this question:

Do I believe that my book has the power to help someone change their life for eternity?

Marketing a Christian book is a lot like sharing the Gospel. How will people hear and believe unless you tell them?

It’s not “send someone else” but “Here I am, send me.”

You won’t spread the Gospel if you don’t believe it is true and has the power to change people’s lives. The same is true for your book. You have to believe in your book, that it has information that people need to improve their lives to be able to promote it.

Here is another way to look at it:

  • Would you send ten emails to turn a person away from bitterness to forgiveness?
  • Could you push yourself to do a radio interview if you knew someone listening would seek treatment for their addiction and be restored to God?
  • How many restored marriages is a book signing worth?

Here’s the deal. When God is in an activity with you, it’s not your power, your strength, your genius that is driving the results. It’s God.

Marketing your Christian book is not about promoting yourself. It’s about promoting a message that the God of the Universe entrusted you to write down and share. It’s about spreading the Gospel and bringing light to a dark world.

Related Posts:
Are You Expecting Fast Results?
The Influential Power of Books
Quality Workmanship

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Photo courtesy of Ben White.

Making Smart Use of Your Marketing Dollars

The number of books for sale every year grows exponentially. Add to that, the books previously published don’t vanish. With digital and print-on-demand technology, books remain available for sale in the cloud indefinitely.

Consider these numbers of books published independently from just four years:

  • 2016: 786,935 books
  • 2015: 727,125 books
  • 2014: 599,721 books
  • 2013: 460,064 books

This means that each year about a half-million books get added to the existing books available for sale. So, this year, there will be another half-million more books competing for readers’ attention.

Since the reading rate in America is holding steady (and has been since 2012), while the number of books is growing exponentially, this means that the ability to attract any given reader’s attention with your title diminishes exponentially each year.

Any time competition heats up, the cost to compete increases also. For example, it is becoming more expensive to reach readers with both Facebook Ads and Amazon Ads as these ads have gained in popularity. Again, thousands of Indie authors, along with traditional publishers, are using these ads and competing for readers’ attention.

The folks over at Written Word Media put it this way:

“The upshot of this increased competition is that authors will have to spend significantly more time on marketing to maintain the results they saw in 2017.”

The CMO of Reedsy, Ricardo Fayet, predicts that as Indie publishing becomes more competitive and requires more and more business and marketing skills, many Indie authors will experience marketing burnout.

I believe that it is more important than ever for Indie authors to be connected to an association or group that provides them support in their efforts. Staying on top of trends and making smart use of your marketing dollars is a must moving forward.

If you are an Independent author or small publisher producing Christian books, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is a resource for you. Membership is just $90 for the calendar year and provides you great return value including:

  1. Cutting-edge information and training on marketing your books.
  2. Cooperative marketing opportunities to save you money.
  3. Discounts on advertising and other services.
  4. Free title uploads and revisions for IngramSpark.

Here is the deal. If you are publishing a book via IngramSpark, the cost to upload your title (print and ebook) is $49. If you find mistakes and upload two revisions, that cost is another $50. So, the cost to print and distribute your book via IngramSpark ends up costing you a total of $99.

Instead, you can double the return for that money by joining Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). With your membership, you will get your book printed and distributed via IngramSpark for free plus get all the other great benefits of membership with CSPA.

It’s better than a two-for-one deal. Don’t miss out. Join CSPA today at http://www.christianpublishers.net.

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Are You Looking for a Formula?
Five Trends Authors Should Know for 2018
Your Book: A Needle in a Haystack

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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?

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Photo courtesy of Zachary Nelson.