Two Strategies for Creating Effective Marketing Messages

Most authors love words. We love to string words together to make powerful and memorable statements. Words create emotions in people and can move them to action.

Many authors are intimidated by the idea of marketing. Yet, marketing is simply using words to draw people to your books. Good marketing is about finding the right words and phrases to hook people to action—either finding out more or buying the product.

Create Effective Marketing Messages

Words, of course, are not enough. Which words you choose and how you present these words are both important.

1. Choosing Marketing Words

There are many websites that provide marketing phrases that have worked successfully for marketing campaigns. You can use the information gleaned from studies and experts to help you craft marketing messages that draw readers in.

Some of the most effective marketing words and phrases include:

  • Sale
  • Best Seller
  • New
  • Guaranteed
  • Hassle-Free
  • Value
  • Proven
  • Act Now
  • For a Limited Time
  • You Deserve

2. Presentation of Marketing Words

Words are not enough. Your presentation of these words matters when it comes to creating marketing messages. The places you use marketing messages include:

  • Your book’s back cover
  • Your book’s online description
  • Your book’s website
  • Your blog posts
  • Your online and print ads
  • Your other marketing materials
  • Your social media posts

All these messages should contain words that draw potential readers in, but they also need to be easily read and easy to skim. In other words, dense paragraphs and long descriptions are best left for your books.

A study out of San Jose State University found that the new normal in reading is skimming, with word-spotting and browsing through the text. The study found that many readers use an F or Z pattern when reading. With these patterns, readers sample the first line and then word-spot through the rest of the text.

Your marketing text must be easy to skim so that skim readers will comprehend what you are saying. When we skim read, we don’t grasp complex issues. Therefore, it is important to keep your marketing messages short and simple. Include headlines and bullet points to allow for easy comprehension for skim readers.

Remember, your marketing messages are supposed to entice people to want to learn more about your book. So, present your marketing words and text layout in a manner that will engage your potential readers.

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Are You Using Video?

Some friends of mine own a custom jewelry making business. They have long had a presence on Facebook, but have recently been dabbling with Instagram for more exposure.

They told me that, to their surprise, after posting a video of one of their employees doing a funky dance in their warehouse, they had a spike in sales. One customer even wrote them and told them that she had been following them for a while, but after seeing the video, she had to buy one of their products.

My friends were perplexed. They reported that the video had nothing to do with their jewelry. I commented, that it may not have showcased their jewelry, but it showcased their workplace culture and was authentic.

I then explained that consumers crave authenticity. They want to know who they are doing business with. The video of an employee dancing showed their clientele the human side of their business.

As an author, you can take two lessons from my friend’s experience.

1. Use Video

Video on the internet is extremely popular. Everyone is watching videos. Video on the Internet is extremely popular. Everyone is watching videos. In fact, Cisco predicts that by 2020, 82% of all consumer web traffic will be video.

Video has become an important part of people’s shopping experience. Consider these statistics:

  • Almost 50% of web users look for a video before visiting a store, says Google.
  • Wyzowl says that 79% of consumers prefer watching videoto reading about a product.
  • And Hubspot says that 43% of consumers want to see more video content this year.

If you have not yet jumped into videos, try using some video in your marketing this year. You can post videos on your blog and in your social media posts.

2. Show Your Authentic Self

People want to know you, the author of the book. So, show them your true self in your videos. In other words, make some informal videos that show your personality and likes or dislikes. Tell a story, even one that is not related to your book’s content.

To make your video attractive and draw people to your books, keep these three tips in mind.

  • Grab attention fast. Studies show that the first 8 to 10 seconds of your video determines whether it will be watched to the end.
  • Keep it short. People are busy. Videos that are one to two minutes in length are more likely to be watched all the way through.
  • Include a call to action if you can. You cannot insert a link into a live video, but if you are using a prepared video, include a link to your website at the end.

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Are You Using Videos in Your Marketing Efforts?
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Photo Courtesy of Drew Graham.

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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Not Everyone Uses Social Media

She was young, pretty, and a reader. I immediately knew she read a lot because she had three paperback books stuffed into her purse.

I wasn’t snooping. Honest. Her purse was open and the three books were sticking slightly out. They were crammed in spine down, so I could not discern the genre.

As I talked with this Young Adult just starting out on her life’s journey, I discovered that she does not fit the Generation Z mold. She told me that she is not on social media and she does not watch television. It’s not that she’s not tech savvy. She takes online college courses and met her boyfriend online.

Yet, here is a young adult who is not hanging out online—and she reads. Why am I pointing this out? Because it is important to remember.

Not everyone uses social media. Not everyone gets the majority of their information online. I am pointing this out because I want to remind you that a comprehensive book marketing plan includes both digital and physical marketing.

Most likely you don’t have a large marketing budget for your book. As a result, spending time creating content online and posting it on your blog and social media sites, as well as sharing it through email, is where you focus your attention.

That’s a good strategy, but you won’t reach all your potential readers this way. A better strategy is to include some print marketing.

There are still print newspapers, print magazines, and print fliers and postcards. These are all good ways to broaden your marketing reach to those who prefer print.

Expanding your marketing to include print venues does not have to cost you a lot of money or time. Start local. Focus on local newspapers and magazines that reach your target audience. Every community has these.

You can find local newspapers by keeping your eyes open as you go about your community. Often public libraries and grocery stores have a spot for free local newspapers and magazines. You can also use an online newspaper search engine like the one at www.usnpl.com to identify local newspapers.

Magazines and newspapers are always looking for fresh, interesting news. Be creative. Send a press release to your local magazine editors and newspaper journalists featuring you and your book. However, make sure your press release is not just about you writing a book. It needs to have something newsworthy such as a local cause your book is supporting, how your book ties into local history, or even an interesting journey you took to research your book. Tie your press release in with an upcoming local author appearance for better results.

Including traditional marketing with your digital marketing efforts will broaden your reach and help you secure more readers for your books. After all, not everyone uses social media.

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Photo courtesy of Miguel Runa.