Email Rules the Marketing Kingdom

Email marketing is a highly effective marketing technique. As an author, I encourage you to build an email list and send out regular updates to your list.

Email is known for generating sales. If you are not using email marketing, you are missing out on a valuable marketing tool.

The infographic below lists 10 Dos and Don’ts for a Email Marketing Success. I think the following statistics from the graphic are particularly interesting:

  • About 53% of email are opened only on mobile devices.
  • Personalized emails are known for delivering 6x higher transaction rates.
  • Emails with a single CTA (call to action) button increase clicks by 371%.
  • 35% of recipients open emails based only on the subject line.

Email dos and don'ts

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You Have No Excuse!

I frequently receive random questions from authors. These come to me through email, voicemail, and social media.

You Have No Excuse

I get questions like:

  • I’ve written a book. Do you have any advice for me?
  • Do I need to register my book with Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data?
  • Can we talk so I can find ways to increase my book sales?
  • I am writing a book. Can I have it listed under both Christian fiction and regular fiction?

I am somewhat dismayed at how broad these questions are. Often, these are questions that whole books and seminars are devoted to answering.  It is clear to me that most of these authors have not taken the time to:

  1. Educate themselves about publishing and marketing.
  2. Connected with a writing or publishing group, since they are sending their question to a random organization or person with whom they have no connection.

There are plenty of books and seminars available to independent authors today. These books and seminars teach new authors everything you need to know about publishing and marketing so that you can be successful.

In addition, there are numerous groups and organizations dedicated to serving independent authors. These organizations also provide the information and resources that authors need to be successful.

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) not only provides our Members with free webinars, we also inform them of other organizations providing training that are relevant to publishing and marketing Christian books.

For example, CIPA Members have free access to a two-day virtual book selling conference in September put on by another publishing association. Often, the educational opportunities provided by CIPA and other organizations are worth more than the Membership dues.

If you are an independent author, I encourage you to take advantage of as many webinars as you have time for. After all, success follows learning.

In fact, here are two FREE webinars that you can take next week.

How to Effectively Promote Your Self-Published BookWebinars
Sponsored by MAI
Wednesday, August 26 at 8:00 AM CDT
Register by clicking HERE

Marketing & Publicity
Sponsored by Ingram
Wednesday, August 26 at 10 AM CDT
Register by clicking HERE

I encourage you to sign up for these webinars. You really have no excuse not to have the knowledge you need to successfully publish and market your book—all it takes is a little investment of time and money.

By the way, Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) is still running our Summer Membership Special. You can join CIPA now for just $120 and receive Membership through December 2021!

Join today and receive the information and resources you need to better publish, market, and sell your books.

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Photo courtesy of Tumisu.

Are You Giving Up Too Soon?

At Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA), we recently received this notice from a Member:

I got two email notices and a postcard, but I still kept forgetting to renew my membership until today. Life gets past me sometimes.

Life Gets Past Me

Stop for just a moment and take note of this message.

This individual wanted to renew his membership in Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA). He was a repeat customer who knows and likes the benefits of membership.

Yet, he still failed to act in a timely fashion even with multiple reminders to act. He stated in his message that “Life gets past me sometimes.”

Contemplate this for a moment.

If this individual, who was motivated to act, needed multiple reminders to remember to act, how many more times do people who are less motivated need to be reminded?

Often it takes exposure over time with multiple reminders before people act. The same is true for buying your books. Many may hear about your book for months or even years before they finally decide to buy and read it.

We are all busy. We are all inundated with more information than we can handle.

Back in the 1940s—long before neuroimaging confirmed it—Edgar Dale, an American Educator, developed the Cone of Experience, which predicts how much people remember. Dale thought that people retain:

  • 10 percent of what they READ
  • 20 percent of what they HEAR
  • 30 percent of what they SEE
  • 50 percent of what they SEE and HEAR
  • 70 percent of what they SAY and WRITE
  • 90 percent of what they DO.

Edgar Dale Cone of Experience

This means that you can reliably predict:

  • Only 10% of people who READ about your book will remember it.
  • Only 20% of people who HEAR about your book will remember it.
  • Only 30% of people who SEE your book will remember it.

To increase this percentages, you need repeat exposure. Each time a person is exposed to your book, the more likely it is they will remember it and act to buy it.

Don’t get discouraged. Don’t give up. Persistence is required in marketing.

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Photo courtesy of Flood G.

Is Your Text Causing Cognitive Overload?

I have a confession. I know that podcasts are extremely popular. However, I have not been able to bring myself to jump on board.

I rarely listen to podcasts. I am a very busy person (as are many Americans). In my opinion, podcasts just take too long to serve the “meat.”

Is your text causing cognitive overload?

If I want information on a topic, I find reading easier. With reading, I can scan an article or web page and find the important information I am looking for. With a podcast, I am locked in to listening until the meat is finally dished out—which is usually most of the way through the podcast.

I am not alone in scanning or skimming when reading to find information. Research shows that 79% of people scan a web page, while only 16% read word-for-word. Interestingly, another study found that people scan email newsletters similar to web pages.

Too much information results in cognitive overload. Today, we have more information in front of us than ever before in the history of the world. As a result, we can easily become overloaded with information, causing our brain to not work as efficiently.

In an effort to reduce our cognitive load, we scan information. This results in more efficient processing of that information by the brain.

Is your text scannable?

Reading a book is different from reading web copy, marketing copy, or emails. When people choose to read a book, they are making the choice to read word-for-word. When people seek specific information, they scan to find what they are looking for.

To engage more people, it is important that all your marketing material can be scanned easily so that your important points stand out. Marketing material includes:

  • Blog posts
  • Website copy
  • Book descriptions
  • Book back cover copy
  • Author bios
  • Online and print advertisements
  • Author media sheets

Text becomes more scannable when it is broken up. In your marketing text, don’t use big blocks of text like you do in a book. Instead, focus on breaking up the text as follows:

  • Use headings and subheadings.
  • Pull out points and make them a bullet list.
  • Keep your paragraphs short.
  • Highlight keywords.
  • Put your most important point first.

A good rule of thumb is that your marketing materials should contain half the word count (or less) then when writing conventionally.

Armed with this information, I suggest that you revisit your marketing material to ensure that it is not causing cognitive overload.

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Photo courtesy of Silviarita and Geralt.

5 Book Publishing Trends You Need to Know for 2020

The year 2020 is now in sight. It’s important to take stock of where you are and where you want to go periodically. A new year provides a great chance to do just that.

The five book publishing trends for 2020 presented here are meant to help you take stock of your publishing and marketing activities so that you can remain viable and effective for another year.

Book Publishing Trends

1.  Self-Publishing Will Continue to Skyrocket

 Self-publishing is showing no signs of slowing down. Between 2016 and 2018, the number of self-published print books increased by over 400,000 each year.  Here is the breakdown:

  • 2016:  657,062
  • 2017:  1,060,821
  • 2018:  1,547,341

The majority of these print books—1,416,384 in 2018—were published through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. Amazon allows anyone to produce a print or ebook through their service free of charge. This means that anyone who wants to publish a book now can with no entry barrier.

Since 80% of people surveyed feel they have a book inside them, the number of self-published books will continue to skyrocket as more people learn that they can actually publish that book inside of them easily and at no-cost.

Marketing Takeaway:

As the number of books published rises, the number of book choices readers have increases. “Choice overload” is real. In fact, a recent study found that 42% of consumers admitted to abandoning a planned purchase altogether because there were too many choices. Authors who want to sell books will have to convince people to choose their books over all the others available.

2.  Audiobooks Will Continue Their Rise in Popularity

The audiobook format is booming. Over the past few years, the number of audiobooks produced has increased, the revenue from the sales of audiobooks has grown, and more people are listening to audiobooks. This trend shows no sign of slowing down.

According the Audiobook Publishers Association (APA), there has been double digit revenue growth in audiobooks year over year for the past seven years. U.S. audiobook sales in 2018 rose 24.5% from the previous year.

Audiobook Listening on the Rise

Audiobook listening is also on the rise, as supported by data from The Infinite Dial 2019, which shows 50% of Americans age 12 and older have listened to an audiobook (that’s 144 million people). This is the first time that audiobooks’ consumer penetration has reached the 50% mark, up from 44% in 2018.

Marketing Takeaway:

Do you need to get on board with audiobooks? If your books are selling well in print and digital format, making these titles into audiobooks can help you reach a broader audience and bring in more book sales and revenue.

3.  The Competition for Reading Time Will Continue to Be Fierce

Reading faces stiff competition for consumer attention from other entertainment activities. According to The NPD Group, nearly three out of four consumers in the U.S. reported reading a book or listening to an audiobook in the past six months. Even though there is plenty of reading going on, NPD survey respondents reported reading roughly 9 percent less this year than they did last year overall.

This downward trend is not going anywhere but down. With the ease of watching video, many people are turning to this medium for their entertainment. In fact, Cisco predicts that 82% of all consumer web traffic will be video in 2020 and Wyzowl says that 79% of consumers currently prefer watching video to reading about a product.

So, while the number of books self-published has increased exponentially, the amount of time people spend reading is decreasing. This means that finding readers for your books keeps getting more difficult.

Marketing Takeaway:

 Every author should be involved in literacy efforts and promoting reading. You should be recommending books—other than your own—to your audiences as well as reminding your audience of the incredible health benefits of reading.

4.  Discoverability Will Be Increasingly Challenging

Gone are the days when authors easily found readers for their books. The number of books available on any given topic is astounding. The challenge to get a book to rise to someone’s attention in this field of fierce competition has become increasingly challenging.

In addition, the sharp decrease in organic traffic to websites from engine searches is not going to be reversed. Google will continue to capture the majority of their engine searches, keeping people on their own sites. The increase in voice search via smart speakers means that the number of options given for search terms will continue to decline. Comscore research estimates that in 2020, half of all internet searches will be through voice.

Marketing Takeaway:

Successful authors will be those who actively build an audience who trusts them. Building such an audience takes deliberate marketing that includes media exposure through multiple books, social media presence, speaking engagements, articles in print and online publications, and podcast and radio and television interviews.

Save our Planet

5.  Emphasis on Green Initiatives and Sustainability Will Increase

The price of paper has been rising over the past few years. This is because the demand for paper products keeps increasing. e-Commerce has driven the demand for cardboard packaging—a paper product. Increasingly people are becoming concerned about the sustainability of forests due to our paper consumption.

Most American paper products come from Canadian forests. Between 1996 and 2015, more than 28 million acres of these forests were logged, mostly through clear cutting. New trees will take decades to mature. To work toward increasing sustainability for paper, a few companies are beginning to innovate with producing more sustainable paper products and greener packaging.

One company in Australia has developed books made from stone. Karst notebooks are made by mixing ground slate stones with a small quantity of resin (a type of plastic)., These notebook pages feel like paper, but are waterproof and tear-resistant. The books are fully recyclable, biodegradable, and carbon neutral.

 Marketing Takeaway:

Many consumers, especially Millennials, want to know that businesses they frequent are socially and environmentally conscience. These consumers prefer to purchase from companies that are using some of their profits to help make the world a better place. As an author, you can address this concern with your readers by choosing to give a portion of the proceeds of your book to a good cause.

I encourage you to make one of your New Year’s resolutions to never stop learning, but to continue to grow in knowledge and tools to be effective in your publishing and marketing efforts. As one step to keeping that resolution, I invite you to join Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA).

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