Are Your Marketing Messages Sticky?

Can you finish these catchy advertising slogans?

  • Snap! Crackle! … (Rice Krispies)
  • When you care enough to send … (Hallmark)
  • It’s the real … (Coca-Cola)
  • Melts in your mouth, …. (M&Ms)

These messages are sticky. They stick in your mind. That’s why you can complete them. It is not just the sheer repetition that helps you remember, it is also that these slogans are catchy.

Every marketing message competes with thousands of other marketing messages. Having a message that is sticky is necessary to stand out and grab people’s attention.

In their book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, Chip Heath and Dan Heath present six principles that make a message stick. They are:

  1. The message is simple.
  2. The message is unexpected.
  3. The message is concrete.
  4. The message is credible.
  5. The message is emotional
  6. The message is a good story.

I would add that making your message bold also increases the stickiness factor.

For example, Hallmark’s slogan is “When you care enough to send the very best.” That is a bold statement. They are saying that their cards are the very best!

Some practical types might object. They might say, “DaySpring cards are better.” However, some marketing messages are just an opinion. You can boldly assert your book’s promise or your opinion.

If you want your marketing message to stick, your marketing slogan for your book needs to follow one of the six principles presented in Made to Stick and also be bold.

One of the marketing slogans I use for my book, Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace is:

The essential guide for marketing Christian books.

One reviewer recently made the following statement, which is much bolder and more likely to stick:

The Bible of marketing Christian books.

Play around with your marketing messages. Don’t be afraid to make a bold claim. A simple, bold statement is more likely to stick than just a simple or unexpected statement.

Related Posts:
Persuasion in an Age of Information Overload
What Is Your Promise?
Marketing Is Murky

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Why Would Someone Buy Your Book?

The number one reason people buy a book is because they have a connection to the author. This connection can come in a variety of forms:

  • They personally know the author.
  • They have heard the author speak.
  • They have read other books by the author.
  • The author is an influencer they listen to, watch, or follow.
  • They have a friend or family member who has recommended the author or book.
  • A publication or organization they trust recommends the book.

Sometimes people buy books they discover in a bookstore or online because they are looking for a good read or a book on a particular subject to help them with a problem they have. However, the majority of the time, people purchase a book because they have some type of connection to the author.

Are you making connections with readers?

I recently heard a speaker say that there are four reasons people will do business with you. These four reasons are:

  1. They like you.
  2. They trust you.
  3. They find you competent.
  4. They believe you have integrity.

How are you doing on these measures as an author? Are you likable? Are you providing potential readers with competent, trustworthy information that can improve or enrich their lives in some way? Are you a person of integrity?

According to, one definition of connect is to associate mentally or emotionally. Do you want to make a connection with readers so that they buy your books? Then associate mentally and emotionally with them.

An easy place to start connecting mentally and emotionally with potential readers is through social media. Join the conversation. Spend more time responding to others and being empathetic to their needs. Develop a connection before you bring their attention to your book and what it can do for them.

Remember, Jesus often asked people “What do you want?” when they came to him. He did not assume that he knew their need. He asked them to tell him. Once they told him, he provided. Follow his example.

Related Posts:
Are You Selling or Connecting?
The Key to Selling Books
Are You Making This Connection?

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Marketing is Murky

There are many good marketing principles and techniques—think product, price, place, and promotion. When promoting a book, I recommend that publishers and authors follow sound marketing practices. However, there exists no proven formula for ensuring sales.


Consistently the top reasons cited by people for buying a book are:

  1. Because it is popular—in other words, the book is a bestseller and everyone is talking about it.
  2. Because a friend recommended it.
  3. Because the reader is already familiar with the author.
  4. Because they read an excerpt and enjoyed it.

The first three on the above list are hard to control. However, all authors have the ability to provide the fourth item on the list—a free sample of their book.

Of course, the problem of how to get your free sample in front of readers is sticky. You can place the excerpt on your website and let your follows on social media know it is there. You can list it on all your marketing materials as well. Additionally, there are plenty of websites around the Internet that allow authors to place stories for readers to discover. These are all great ways to try to get readers to engage with your book.

However, I believe a valuable avenue for getting an excerpt in front of potential readers is to turn your excerpt into an article. Then offer this article to magazines and bloggers for free.
This is something that I have done with my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace. I would love to tell you that every article or guest post I have done has resulted in lots of book sales. Sadly, this is not the case.

Surprisingly, sometimes I will do a guest post from my book on a website that I am sure will draw lots of sales, and it doesn’t happen. Other times, I will post a blog on a website expecting not much to come from it and end up being surprised. This recently happened. I offered a guest post to a blog that was looking for articles on book promotion. I didn’t expect much to happen. That month, my book sales quadrupled.

So many authors want to know that any given promotional avenue will reap benefits. There are no guarantees in marketing. Sometimes one avenue will reap many benefits for one book and none for another. The key to successful marketing is to use a variety of avenues to promote your book.

In your marketing efforts, remember the top reasons people buy books. Be sure to have an excerpt potential buyers can read and expect to be surprised!

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Social Media Tips for Authors

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, a publisher of books for children, recently launched a how-to video series on using social media for their authors. These fun, short videos give some nice tips for using social media.

Authors have mixed feelings about social media. Some think it is a waste of time, while others think that it helps connect them with readers and spread the word about their books. One nice thing in Eerdman’s videos is that they make it clear that social media itself does not sell books. Other marketing is still required. Rather, social media is a tool that can augment your other marketing strategies.

Watch this how-to video on Twitter by Eerdman.

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Each chapter in my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace starts with a Marketing Fundamental. These marketing principles are useful reminders to authors and small publishers when promoting books.

Recently, I have been playing with putting these marketing fundamentals into photos for posting on Pinterest, Google+, and Facebook. Studies show that social media users love images. One way to subtly promote your books is to put key principles, phrases, or statistics into photos and post these on your social media sites.

Marketing Fundamental 14

To makes these engaging photos with quotes, I downloaded free photos from StockVault. Then I headed over to PicMonkey, a photo editor, and typed in the Marketing Fundamentals. The final result is what you see here!

Using photos to re-purpose material from your book for use on your blog and social media sites is one good way to promote your book. Engaging photos help you gain a larger presence on the Internet, giving you exposure to more readers.

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