Have You Identified Your Target Audience?

If you aim at nothingyou will hit it every time.” ~Zig Ziglar

Are you aiming at a target audience? Or are you aiming at nothing?

When I consult for indie authors, I ask them to send me a list of their questions prior to the consultation so I can structure the time to best meet the author’s needs.

I have yet to have an author ask that I help her identify or refine her target audience. Most simply jump into questions about marketing. And yet, many have not spent any time distilling who the audience for their book is.

Here is the problem. You cannot develop an effective marketing plan without FIRST identifying your target audience. And, many indie authors fail to do just that.

Many marketing plans often fail for the following reasons:

  • Failure to identify target audience.
  • Failure to plan and execute marketing activities for multiple targets.
  • Failure to balance marketing activities to primary, secondary, and tertiary targets.

Think of your target audience as a target with a bull’s eye and expanding rings. The bull’s eye and each ring of the target represents a segment of your target audience.

A target audience is made up of a primary audience, a secondary audience and a tertiary audience. How does this look in practice?

With the recent growth in religious children’s book sales, let’s take a children’s picture book as an example. Let’s use a Christmas story picture book.

The primary target audience for this book would be children ages four to eight years of age who celebrate Christmas. However, children don’t buy books, so we need to include the parents in the primary target. Here is the breakdown of target audiences for a children’s Christmas picture book.

  • Primary Audience: Parents of children aged four to eight years who celebrate Christmas.
  • Secondary Audience: Grandparents and aunts and uncles of children aged four to eight years who celebrate Christmas who give Christmas-themed gifts.
  • Tertiary Audience: Churches, Christian preschools and elementary schools, and libraries.
  • Quaternary Audience: Collectors of all things Christmas.

Looking at this breakdown of audiences for the sample book, you can see that there are at least four distinct audiences for this book. Each audience requires a different marketing approach and strategy.

Identifying your target audience in this manner lets you prioritize your marketing efforts and expenditures. Of course, you will spend the most time and money on your primary audience. But you do not want to neglect your secondary and tertiary audiences.

Remember, the first step in creating a marketing plan is identifying your target audience. Only after you identify your target audience can you develop specific action steps to reach your audience.

Related Posts:
Do You Know Your Target Audience?
Get to Know Your Target Audience
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Proof! Author Platform Building Works

Do you have a moment? There is something I need to tell you.

Thus began the conversation I had with an attendee at the recent Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference where I was teaching. The conferee speaking to me had attended another writers conference I had taught at earlier this year. At that conference, I had taught principles from my MCB University’s on-demand seminars Develop an Audience for Your Books and Grow Your Audience with Content Marketing.

This conferee told me that at the conference earlier this year, I had given her two simple steps to follow to begin to build her author platform. I told her to write a blog post once a week and share it on social media. She reported that she had followed this advice and now she was on week 19.

I asked her if anyone was reading her blog posts. She replied that her friends were reading, commenting, and sharing her posts. I replied that this was a great start.

This conferee went on to tell me that a magazine had contacted her and asked if they could reprint one of her blog posts in their publication. She was delighted to give them permission.

Then an organization contacted her and asked her to come speak on her topic. She thought they would want to interview her on the phone when she contacted them, but they simply proceeded to set her up with not one speaking opportunity, but five. She shared with me that she assumed that her blog posts and website made them decide without an interview.

I was thrilled for this emerging author. Even before she has published her first book, she is getting published in a magazine and has received speaking engagements—without even seeking these opportunities out—all from building her platform through blogging and sharing what she has blogged.

I share this because it is encouraging feedback and it gives other authors hope. If you are writing about things that resonate with your audience and provide hope, people will respond. The efforts you put into building and maintaining your author platform will pay off.

If you are unsure about how to go about building your author platform, I suggest that you watch my on-demand seminar on Grow Your Audience on Content Marketing. As always, these on-demand seminars are free to Members of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA).

Related Posts:
Are You Developing an Audience?
Are You Using This to Build Your Author Platform?
Do You Need Marketing Confidence?

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Photo courtesy of Cytonn Photography.

How to Get More Attention for Your Books

When it comes to promoting your book on social networks, do you feel like you are wasting your time? You might be right… you really might be barking in the wind.

Recent studies show that social shares are way down. Recent studies by Buzzsumo and Shareaholic show that social sharing is way down. Due to algorithm changes on Facebook, social shares have decreased almost 50 percent in the past year.

Surprisingly, search engine discovery has made a comeback. In 2017, 34.8% of site visits were driven by searches, while only 25.6% of site visits came from social. Prior to last year, search lagged behind social.

So, how should you adapt your online marketing strategies to accommodate the decline of social shares on the Internet? Following are two strategies.

1. Share unique information that your target audience is interested in.

Don’t join the crowd. Often when a topic becomes popular, everyone jumps on it and adds their own two cents. This results in a large number of posts on a single topic, causing many to be lost in the crowd. So, while it is good to stay on top of the latest trends for your topic or niche, make sure your voice is offering something different that will stand out.

2. Write catchy headlines.

Whether you are writing headlines for a blog post, a video, a podcast, or other information you are sharing on social media, make your headlines stand out. When Buzzsumo analyzed 100 million headlines to determine which ones were the most successful in getting noticed and shared, they discovered that certain three-word phrases racked up the most likes, shares, and comments.

From their study, Buzzsumo shared the top 20 three-word phrases that received the most shares on Facebook. Check them out in the chart below.

The key to grabbing attention to garner social awareness and shares on the Internet is by writing headlines that grab attention. CoSchedule offers three great free tools to help you be more successful in writing headlines for blogs, subject lines for emails, and messages for social media to capture more attention for you and your books. Check them out:

Give these free tools a try. They can help you improve your messaging to gain more attention in the increasingly crowded digital realm.

Related Posts:
Grab More Attention With Your Titles
Is Social Media a Waste of Time?
Are You Grammatically Correct?

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Do You Know Your Target Audience?

Who is your target audience? I am continually surprised at how many authors have trouble answering this question. So many authors have a burning to write a book, yet they fail to identify whom they are writing their book for.

“Everyone” is not a target audience. Neither is “all Christians.” Your target audience is the group of people who will benefit the most from what you have to say. Maybe it’s those Christians who want to start seeing answers to their prayers. Maybe it’s single moms who are weary of fighting the parenting battle alone.

Knowing your target audience not only makes your writing stronger and clearer, it helps you market your book effectively to this group of people. When considering their target audience, authors and publishers should look at things like:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Economic status
  • Relationship status
  • Spiritual level or interest

If you are writing Christian books, then a subset of “Christians” is your primary target audience. A new study shines an interesting light on the ethnic diversity of this community in the United States.

A recent report by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) states “The American religious landscape has undergone dramatic changes in the last decade, and is more diverse today than at any time since modern sociological measurements began.” In fact, the organization’s 2016 American Values Atlas found that one-third of all Evangelical Protestants in America are people of color.

About a quarter of Americans (26%) self-identify as evangelical. Around two-thirds of these evangelicals are white (64%), while 19 percent are Black, and 10 percent are Hispanic, and the remaining 6 percent are Asian, mixed race, or other ethnicity.
Interestingly, the study found that half of evangelicals under 30 years old are nonwhite (50%). So, younger generations of evangelicals are even more ethnically diverse than the population taken as a whole.

What does this have to do with your target audience? It most likely means that your target audience is more ethnically diverse than you might have considered. Additionally, the younger the audience you are targeting, the more ethnically diverse it is.

Knowing your target audience allows you to promote your book to the group of people who have the most interest in your message. Knowing specifics about this target audience allows you to tailor your marketing messages and material to effectively speak to this group of people. If you want to be successful in promoting your books, then make sure your marketing materials are speaking to your target audience.

Related Posts:
Get to Know Your Target Audience
How to Gain More Readers for Your Books
Micro-Target to Get Results

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Photo courtesy of Tamarcus Brown.

Are You Limiting Yourself?

“This book is for men,” the author said to my daughter as she stood at the book display looking at his book.

“This book caught my eye because I like to travel,” my daughter responded.

“But it’s really for men,” the author countered. “It would make a great dad gift. It’s really for men.”

At that point, my daughter, feeling embarrassed for showing interest in a book “for men” walked off.

Later, she related this story to me. She told me that the book was a travel book with maps and a journal written by a male author. She stated that the author was actively discouraging her from reading his book, even though she was showing interest.

Clearly, this author knew his target audience—men who enjoyed travel. However, he was so tuned to his target audience, that he was limiting himself to “men only”.

Maybe he was not aware that women read books geared for men and that men read books geared for women. While this author may not want to spend his marketing efforts and advertising dollars on women, he could sell more books by keeping in mind that some women might be interested in his book. This mindset would help him keep from shutting out females who show an interest in his book.

One author at CBA Unite shared that she had written a book for young adult females ages 13 to 18. She, too, knew her target audience. However, she went on to say that many moms and dads also read the book. She stated that one of her best reviews was from a dad who read the book.

Knowing your target audience is important. It helps you hone your marketing message and efforts. However, don’t limit yourself to your target audience. After all, a target is just a place to aim.

You should encourage anyone showing interest in your book to read it because:

  1. God can speak to anyone he chooses to through your written words.
  2. Stereotypes are generalizations. They don’t apply to everyone.
  3. The person may be considering purchasing the book as a gift for someone.
  4. Even if your message is not for the person reading the book, they might recommend the book to someone they know will enjoy it.

Whatever you do, never discourage interest in your book. Don’t limit yourself. Keep an open mind when considering who might be interested in reading your book.

Related Posts:
Get to Know Your Target Audience
Are You Developing an Audience?
Which Mindset Do You Have?

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Photo courtesy of Oscar Keys