Have You Given Your Book Feet?

The newspaper article headlines read:

Fire chaplain drives 300 miles to leave crosses for Jacksonville victims

He’s left crosses at Ground Zero in New York City, in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Dallas after a gunman ambushed police officers, and most recently, after the school shooting in Parkland.

Have you given your book feet?

Another headline reads:

Chaplain, Impressed By Pittsburghers’ Strength, Offers Comfort At Synagogue Memorial

With a simple greeting and wearing a navy-blue coat that reads “Chaplain” across the back, Bob Ossler is a constant these days.

Triumph Over TerrorChaplain Bob is the author of Triumph Over Terror, an eyewitness account from a first responder at Group Zero on 9-11 that recounts the questions, fears, struggles, and sacrifices of the families and workers overwhelmed by despair. Bob knows how to give his book feet. Bob is a chaplain with a heart for victims of terror. He lives out what he believes and his book goes with him on his journeys.

Books are inanimate objects. They cannot move or talk on their own. You, the author, must give your book feet.

You may not have the mission or ability to travel as far and wide as Bob does, but you can still give your book feet. You may not be as extroverted and easily able to talk and pray with people as Bob is, but you can still give your book feet.

You can follow Chaplain Bob’s example to give your book feet. Like Bob, you can take your book with you wherever you go, broadening your book’s audience and reach.

  1. Know what need your book meets and who struggles the most with this need. This is your target audience and the people you should focus on as you take your book with you. Bob knows that his target audience are people impacted by terrorist activity.
  2. Always have a copy of your book near. Carry them in your car. Carry your author business card or bookmark featuring your book in your purse or wallet.
  3. Look for opportunities to connect with others around the subject matter of your book. Bob travels to places that have experienced terrorist activity. He brings hope to victims through prayer and kind actions. In this way, he is connecting with others around the subject matter of his book.
  4. Don’t be shy about your actions. If you, like Bob, are doing something good for the community, let the local news know about it. People need to be encouraged and having good-will stories reported encourages people. It can also bring attention to your book.
  5. Share your actions and your book’s journey on social media. Chaplain Bob readily shares on social media about the people his book has touched, about responders and victims he admires, and about his care for those who are impacted by terrorist actions.

Here’s a recent Facebook post from Bob sharing about his book.

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Photo courtesy of Ian Baldwin.

Why You Should Use Micro-Influencers

Last Sunday, the pastor at church mentioned a book in his sermon. He even went a step further and said that if the congregants had not read the book, that he recommended we do. I thought the book sounded interesting, so I acquired a copy.

That, my friends, is micro-influencing at work.

micro-influencers

Micro-Influencers

Marketing with micro-influencers has recently become a hot topic. Social media has given rise to a new brand of micro-influencers, but smart marketers have always worked with micro-influencers.

A micro-influencer is anyone with a smaller audience (it’s a relative number). These include:

  • Bloggers
  • Podcasters
  • YouTubers
  • Church leaders
  • Ministry leaders
  • Community leaders
  • Librarians
  • Retailers
  • Professors and Teachers

Why Micro-Influencing Works

Micro-influencers are more effective than any other category of influencer marketing. Why? Because people trust recommendations over advertising.

A study conducted by Nielsen in 2015 found that 80% of respondents said that they trust opinions or recommendations of family and friends. Often the audience of a micro-influencer considers these people as part of their trusted circle.

This is why another study found that nearly one in three Christians have purchased a Christian product after hearing about it in a sermon in a church, while only one in six having made a purchase after hearing about a product on the radio. This study demonstrates the difference between micro-influencers (pastor) and macro-influencers (radio).

The key with micro-influencers is not the size of the audience, but how much trust these individuals have with their audience. The micro-influencer may only have an audience of 200, but if that audience is highly engaged with him, then his recommendations carry clout.

audience size for influence marketing

Micro-Influencer Marketing

Targeting micro-influencers is a marketing strategy that authors can adopt. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Give review copies to micro-influencers to increase the likelihood that these individuals will read and recommend your book to their audience.
  2. Authors with an audience (think social media following or newsletter subscribers) can partner or collaborate with other author micro-influencers for cross-promotional purposes. For example, authors with books in the same genre can pool together to create a multi-book giveaway with each author promoting the giveaway to his or her own audience.
  3. Ask a micro-influencer to write a guest post for your blog. The influencer will then let her audience know that she is making a guest appearance on your website and her followers will visit, exposing you and your books to a new audience.
  4. Partner with a ministry that focuses on people who would benefit from your book’s message. Be a sponsor for one of the ministry’s fundraisers or events in exchange for some promotion for your book.

Remember, micro-influencers are not just online. They are also present in the physical world. Partnering with micro-influencers both online and in your community can bring increased awareness and sales for your books.

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Photo Courtesy of Ben Konfrst.

Tips for Selling Books from Your Website

Do you sell your books direct from your website? If so, pay attention to these important findings from Cyber Monday shopping.

On-line shopping is growing. One of the fastest growing trends for online shopping is the buy online, pick up in-store movement. Fifty percent more people used this option on Cyber Monday 2018 than in the previous year.

Shopping using smart phones is also growing. According to an online shopping data report by Adobe Analytics, people spent 48% more shopping from their smartphones on Cyber Monday. In fact, purchases made from smart phones on Cyber Monday amounted to $2 billion. This is the most revenue ever to come from smart phones in a single day.

Interestingly, taking a closer look at the data report by Adobe Analytics, the report states:

 “Large retailers ($1 billion or more in annual e-commerce revenue) saw 6 percent higher conversion rates on smartphones. Smaller retailers, offering more specialized products, were better at getting shoppers to close sales via desktops with 7 percent higher conversions.”

Whoa. Stop right there. For a while now, the trend has been mobile. Experts have been telling us that every website needs to be responsive for mobile devices as well as desktop computers. Yet, this research from Cyber Monday shows that smaller retailers—people like you—had a higher percentage of people purchasing from their websites via a desktop computer this past Christmas season.

If you sell books from your website, your main focus should be on keeping shoppers on your site. After all, conversion—converting a visitor to a buyer—is what drives sales.

Here are a few tips to keep shoppers on your website:

1. Have the books you are selling front and central.

Make the products you are selling easy to see and find on your website. Don’t bury them. Include clear descriptions for each book so readers know what the book is about and how it will benefit them.

2. Make the prices clear.

One study by Corra found that 33 percent of shoppers hate when prices aren’t up front. Make sure that the price of your book and the cost for shipping is easy to find and see.

3. Ensure ease of purchase.

Studies show that for every extra click a customer has to make to finish a purchase, a business loses 50% of shoppers. Create a streamlined buying process on your website.

4. Allow customers to contact you.

The same study by Corra found that more than half of all shoppers wanted to have the option to live chat on a website when they ran into a problem shopping. Of course, most small publishers and independent authors don’t have the resources to provide this on their websites. However, you can provide a phone number. This allows customers to feel confident that they can talk to a real person if they run into a problem.

If you sell books from your website, use these four tips to improve your visitors’ shopping experience, and maybe, just maybe, you might sell more books.

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Photo courtesy of Bru-nO.

Effective Marketing to a Declining Reading Populace

The number of people who do not read a single book in a given year is growing. In 1978, that figure was 8%. In other words, only 8 out of every 100 people did not read a book during the year. Now that number is closer to 25%. This means that one out of every four people in the United States has not read a book this year.

Most people agree that the trend toward reading less has grown considerably since the advent of the Internet. Today, with streaming services, experts are beginning to believe that many people are replacing their desire for good stories with binge-watching TV shows and movies rather than reading fiction books. After all, studies show that people are spending more and more time engaged with content on services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

Interestingly, this trend is not only effecting adults. North Carolina, that state where I reside, spent more than $150 million dollars on a third-grade reading campaign designed to get children to read at grade level. Yet, after five years of administering the program, no improvement was made in the number of children who could read at grade level by the end of third grade.

The lack of engagement with books is a societal issue. I have been dismayed to see not only Christian bookstores fail, but church library associations close their doors over the past few years due to churches no longer hosting lending libraries. Reading is not a priority for our society.

How does an author trying to sell books succeed in this environment?

It’s a good question and a tough question. Many industry experts point to two ways that authors can work to stand out and make a difference with readers.

1. Make It Easier for People to Find Your Book

There are millions of books available for sale. It is easy for any given book to get lost in the mass of books for sale. Two ways that you can ensure your book is easier for people to find is to make sure it is available in multiple venues and it has relevant keywords embedded in the metadata.

If your book is only available for sale on Amazon, you are missing out. Not everyone shops on Amazon. Your book needs to be available in all the online bookstores. Distribution is important. The more places your book is listed for sale, the more likely people are to find it.

Knowing what keywords readers use to find books in your subject area is also important. Making your metadata (book’s description) rich with these keywords helps ensure that readers will be able to find your book.

2. Create Content that People Need

Every book meets a need. What need does your book meet? Why do people need to read your book? Sharing content from your book and ancillary content geared toward helping people solve the problem that your book tackles will help you attract readers. Free content of interest and value is one of the best ways to develop trust with an audience.

Share your free content that meets a need on your blog, in your social media posts, and in your email newsletters. This free content does not have to be written. It can be in podcast or video format. Use whatever format helps you engage your audience. As you develop trust with your audience, they will seek out your book.

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Nine Tips to Improve Your Marketing

Everyone wants a formula. Just like 2+2 equals 4, we want to know what to add or subtract from our book marketing plan to sell the most books.

Sadly, no formula exists. Much of marketing is trial and error. It’s finding the message or the vehicle that best connects with consumers in your target audience. However, there are a few tips from psychology that can help push consumers toward buying a product.

Check out this infographic by Connext Digital that shows How to Use Psychology to Improve Your Digital Marketing Campaigns.

Using Psychology to Improve Your marketing

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