Are You Using AIDA to Hook Buyers?

So tell me quick and tell me true, or else, my love, to hell with you!
Less – How this product came to be.
More – What the damn thing does for me!

So ends a poem on advertising by Victor Schwab titled “Tell Me Quick and Tell Me True”.

Poor language aside, these lines sum up some good advice on marketing and advertising copy. Providing more information does not guarantee that the recipient will get your message. Sometimes using fewer words has a greater impact. Keeping your words lean makes them clearer and more memorable.

One model widely used in marketing and advertising can help you be more direct and clear in your marketing communication. The model covers the four steps consumers move through in making a purchase decision. The model is:

AIDA:  Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.

AIDA represents the four areas your marketing messages need to cover to move a customer to action. Here is a breakdown of the process:

  • Attention: Grab potential reader’s attention by using words that are important to them.
  • Interest: After you have their attention, then you want to build their curiosity. The goal is to keep them engaged to move them to the next step.
  • Desire: Tell your potential readers what is in it for them. Whet their appetite so that you fan desire to read your book. Convince them they want to read your book.
  • Action: Finish with a call to action. Tell the interested reader what to do next—buy the book, read the first chapter free, etc.

Any marketing graphic you create about your book for your website, social media, catalog, magazine, etc., should contain all four of these elements. Consider this Coca-Cola ad.

The picture of a young happy couple grabs your attention. The term happiness grows your interest. Then #openhappiness grows desire. The idea that you might be able to actually drink a bottle of coke and feel happy creates a strong desire. An explicit call to action is missing in this advertisement, but it definitely is implied: “Buy Coke, drink it, and you will feel happy.”

You can easily implement AIDA in your marketing materials starting with your book cover. Make sure that your book’s cover (your #one marketing tool) draws people’s attention and creates interest and desire.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Mars.

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Book Buying Trends in Canada

Our northern neighbor Canada likes to emphasize that they are different from the United States. After all, Canadians are not “Americans”. The most popular sport in Canada is ice hockey. Canadians use the metric system. The legal drinking age in Canada is 18 years. Shoes are not worn inside the home. The quasi-national dish in Canada is poutine—fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy.

However, in many ways, Canadians are similar to Americans. After all, they speak English (for the most part). They drive their cars on the right side of the road. Both countries were founded on Judeo-Christian ethics. And Canadians read books, most of which are published in the United States. The top-selling books in the United States are often the top-selling titles in Canada as well.

I like to pay attention to the Canadian book market because I think it frequently mirrors the U.S. book market. A recent report on the Canadian book market by BookNet Canada reflects the input of over 2,000 book buyers and sales data from 4,700 book purchases.

In addition to breaking down sales performance for books in over 50 subject categories, BookNet’s report also covered what drives book purchase decisions and where Canadians buy books. Following are two nuggets from the study.

Book Purchase Decision Factors

The BookNet study asked respondents to identify the reason for their most recent book purchase (either for themselves or as a gift). Close to half of all respondents (55% for self-purchase and 46% for gift) reported that the reason they purchased the book was “reading for pleasure”. The second strongest book purchase motivator was self-help/improvement.

Interestingly, Canadians purchased more adult nonfiction books (32%) than adult fiction (26%) in 2017. While close to half of all books bought in Canada last year were children’s books (40%).

Where Canadians Buy Books

Online book purchases accounted for 52% of overall book sales in 2017, an increase of 5% over 2016. The most frequent brick-and-mortar place that Canadian residents purchased books was in retail chain stores, which made up 26% of book sales. Only 9% of book sales were made through bookstores in Canada in 2017.

The trend in Canada is clear, and the same trend is evident in the United States. The percentage of books purchased online continues to grow while the percentage of books purchased through bookstores continues to dwindle. As the percentage of books “discovered” in stores dwindles, your marketing focus must shift to aiming the majority of your promotional resources directly at your target audience and increasing online discovery of your books.

Related Posts:
Fresh Insight into Book Buying Behavior
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Photo courtesy of Daniel Joseph Petty.

Is Social Media a Waste of Time?

“I have heard that social media is important for authors to use in promoting their books, but does using it really help authors sell more books?”

The independent author who asked me this question did not use social media. She had heard that it was important, but she wanted more evidence that spending her time and energy on social media would help her sell more books.

Sadly, I could not give this author hard and fast evidence. While 90% of marketers say social media is important to their business, according to The CMO Survey up to 80% of marketers said they were not able to measure a return on their investment. Basically, a lot of marketers—authors included—are investing time and energy on social media, yet they cannot definitively say doing so has helped them sell more books.

The Harvard Business Review conducted 23 experiments over the past four years. They wanted to know whether attracting and engaging followers on social media leads to increased sales. The researchers focused on Facebook since it is the dominant social network. Here is what they found:

  1. The act of following a brand on Facebook does not affect a customer’s behavior or lead to increased purchasing behavior.
  2. Seeing a friend like or engage with a brand on Facebook had no effect on purchasing habits of other friends.
  3. Boosting or advertising brand content to followers can have an impact. When a brand paid Facebook to display two posts each week to their followers, they found increased participation or spending.

Here is my takeaway from this research.

1. Social Media is about building an audience.
Authors should use social media to build a following, an audience. Don’t expect your social media posts to translate into book sales. Instead, the purpose of your social media posts should be to drive your audience to your website where you can convince them to sign up for your email newsletter. Email newsletters have a much higher conversion rate (engaging recipients to buy your book) than social media posts.

2. Enhancing your social media efforts with advertising provides the best return for your time and energy.
For the best return on your social media efforts, paying for advertisements shown to your followers on social media sites will help increase sales. In other words, social media use combined with paid advertising is the most powerful combination for encouraging your followers to buy something.

So, to answer the question whether social media really helps authors sell more books, the answer is: Not by itself. Social media alone is not enough, you must combine your social media efforts with other marketing efforts—including purchasing advertisements—for your invested time and energy to pay off.

Related Posts:
How to Make Your Social Media Efforts More Fruitful
How to Effectively Use Social Media for Your Book
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Photo courtesy of Damian Zalesky.

Are You Convincing Enough People?

As an author, your most important online presence is your website. Yes, your website—not social media, not Amazon, not Goodreads.

In fact, the purpose of social media is to get people to your website. The purpose of your website is to turn visitors into customers (people who buy your books).

According to research, 48% of people who enter a physical store buy something. However, on average, only 2 to 3 percent of people who visit a website purchase something. In fact, 96% of people who visit your website are not ready to buy. You have to convince them to purchase your books.

This is the purpose of your author website—to convince people to buy your books.

Experts report that when a visitor comes to your website, you have, on average, less than one minute to convince them to stay on your website. The longer visitors stay on your website, the greater chance you have of convincing them to either buy your book or sign up to receive your emails so you can continue to work on convincing them to buy your book.

The best way to keep people on your website is:

1.  Make sure your website loads quickly.
For every second delay in loading, you lose 7% of your potential visitors. Google analytics allows you to view your site load speed time.

2.  Have a compelling headline.
Your headline needs to be clear and draw your audience in.

3.  Give your visitors something to do.
Tell them what you want them to do. Make it clear. Large buttons that state things like:

  • Buy the Book
  • Download 10 Tips for…
  • Read the First Chapter

4.  Include a video.
Research shows that websites with a video of the product they are selling can increase their purchase rate by 144%. If you need an easy free video for your website, check out Bitable or Powtoon for creating a short video about your book.

Your website is your strongest tool for convincing readers to buy your book. Don’t overlook this important marketing mechanism. Use it wisely to convince your visitors that your book is worth their time and money!

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Bigger is Not Necessarily Better
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Photo courtesy of Vitaly

Are You Marketing Effectively?

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!”

This old saying still holds truth. It warns you not to put all your prospects or resources in one thing or place—lest you lose everything.

Is all your book promotion done digitally online? If so, you are guilty of placing all your marketing efforts in one basket.

Traditional media—radio, television, and print—is not dead! Do you still watch TV? Do you listen to the radio? Do you read print magazines and catalogs?

snail-mail-statistic

If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you can rest assured that your target audience is also utilizing these forms of traditional media. In fact, studies show:

  • Over two-thirds of Americans still read print magazines.
  • 23% of Americans still read a paper copy of a daily newspaper.
  • 48% of Americans listen to local radio.
  • 56% of Americans say receiving snail mail is a pleasure.

Yes, digital media is significant and you should be using content marketing and digital advertising to promote your books. However, don’t neglect print. Utilizing both mediums is a more effective strategy in reaching readers—and you’re not putting all your efforts in one basket.

Following are five easy suggestions for including traditional media in your book promotion activities.

1. Mail postcards to your customers announcing new books or specials you are hosting.

Snail mail is more expensive than an email blast, however, it has a higher open rate. The average open rate for opt-in email newsletters or updates is about 22%. However, the open rate for snail mail is closer to 70%. Surveys show that 79% of snail mail receivers act on direct mail immediately, compared to only 45% for email.

2. Advertise in a print catalog or magazine.

Interestingly, VistaPrint, which is a large online printing service recently began sending out print catalog of their products to customers. In the past, they have sent promotional mailings, but recently, they have added a print catalog. Catalogs are still powerful. All the major companies and book publishers still invest in print catalog. That is why Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) provides our members the opportunity to participate in a cooperative print catalog to showcase their books each year.

3. Send a select number of media pitches with your media kits via snail mail to local radio shows and print publications.

Of course, you don’t want to send all your press materials and pitches via regular mail—that would be too costly. However, send a few to local sources and track your responses. After all, 70% of people open most of their mail. If you hand address your envelopes, you will increase your chances of your pitch being read.

4. Participate in in-person events to promote your books.

There are many in-person events that you can attend to promote your books. From local festivals to book fairs to national book trade conventions. This is one reason that Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) provides our members with Trade Show Representation. We make it affordable for our members to attend in-person book events. Coming up in early 2017, members of CSPA will be able to attend the upcoming National Religious Broadcasters Convention with us to showcase their books and connect with media personnel and ministry leaders.

5. Print business cards and hand them out.

Business cards are still widely used. Every time I go to an event and meet people, business cards are still exchanged. A business card helps me remember the people I meet and provides an easy follow up reminder. When printing your business cards, I suggest that you include a coupon or a code for a dollar amount off the purchase of your book. Make the code specific for your business card, then you can track how effective your business cards are.

Overreliance on any one book promotional vehicle reduces your chances for success. Studies show that people need to hear about a new product multiple times in different ways before they are ready to act and purchase the product. The same is true for your book and your target audience. Use multiple vehicles for promotion, including both digital and traditional media, to increase your chances of success.

Related Posts:
Make New Friends, But Keep the Old
Paper is Not Going Away
Societal Trends and the Print Book

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