Are You Paying Attention?

The average person’s attention span is 8 seconds while a goldfish’s attention span is 9 seconds. goldfish Yep, you read that right. Goldfish, while carrying a much smaller brain, have longer attention spans than people.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, consumer attention spans have decreased significantly over the past decade. In 2000, the average person’s attention span was 12 seconds. In 2013, it was measured at 8 seconds.

This is important information to know if you promote books on the Internet. If you want to capture people’s attention, you must give them information in bite-size pieces that they can easily digest in a few seconds. This is why visual content (pictures, videos, infographics, factoids) have become so popular. Visuals can be easily consumed and shared.

If you are not yet mixing in lots of visual content in your online marketing efforts, check out these six reasons you should start using more visuals. Visual Content

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Email Marketing Still Important

In the song “Make New Friends, But Keep the Old”, the next line states “One is silver and the other gold”. Both gold and silver are valuable. However, gold is more valuable than silver. I think this idea is important to remember when it comes to marketing techniques.

With so much marketing emphasis on social media and mobile these days, it is easy to abandon older technology in favor of the new. Here is a word of caution. Older friends are gold, while newer friends are silver.

I think the same applies to marketing. Social media is silver. However, the older marketing techniques such as email blasts, mail campaigns, and good old fashioned in-person promoting and selling of books are still gold. Don’t throw them away.

BookBrowse, a website all about secular books, recently completed a survey of its 3,400 member reading audience. Here is part of what they found out:

  • 65% regularly use social networking sites, ranging from 95% penetration among 18-34 year olds, to 37% for those aged over 75.
  • Facebook dominates, followed by GoodReads. LibraryThing, and Shelfari trail.
  • Even though two-thirds use social networking, only 25% use it to keep up with websites. E-mail remains the preferred vehicle to stay in touch.

I think the last point means that readers still rely on email to stay up-to-date with the companies they like. While they may be fans of these companies on Facebook, they still prefer to receive emails alerting them to new products, specials, etc.

Email is still gold. Don’t abandon it yet. Use it to keep your customers and potential customers informed about your books, your authors’ events, and any sales or specials you are running.

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Are You Talking or Shouting?

Social media is hot. It is the number one activity on the Internet. Businesses are jumping on social media to promote their products.

Authors and publishers are doing the same. However, many individuals are using social media to try to promote products or services without understanding the fundamental difference between traditional advertising and marketing on social media.

With traditional advertising, businesses showed off their products. Think about advertisements that you have seen on television, heard on the radio, or read in magazines and newspapers or on billboards. Consider the direct mail postcards and flyers you receive in your snail mail box. All of these advertisements shout about the product. They all say, “Look at this.” and “Buy this product.”

Social media marketing does not use traditional marketing strategies. Social media is conversation-based.

Think of social media as a large social gathering, much like a party.

At a party, savvy individuals do not go up to strangers and say, “Hi, I’m an author and you should buy my book.” Rather, individuals engage in small talk and find common ground to converse about. If an opportunity presents itself, an individual will often divulge what they do for a living. If the other party in the conversation is interested in learning more, they will ask for more information.

That’s the way social media works. It’s a conversation.

If you are going to use social media to market your products, be conversational. Don’t shout about your books. Rather engage with others. Listen and respond. Add value to others lives by sharing information that is interesting and useful.

Once people have made a connection with you, then they will be interested in what you do. Only then will they be open to hearing about and looking at the books you write or publish.

Social media is not about showing off your products. It is about connecting with individuals. Connections build trust. Trust builds confidence. Confidence brings readers.

So be human on social media. Engage in conversation, share interesting information, and books sales will follow.