Many authors now understand how important a marketing plan and promotional tools (like an effective publicity service) are for selling more books. Here’s a general overview of various Internet Marketing strategies you can employ to help market your book:
- Author’s Website: There are two basic types of sites: author-driven and book-driven. Author-driven sites are seen more frequently — the website is usually www.[theauthorsname].com and it contains all their products and services. Book-driven websites center around the book itself; this type may be good for very content-rich, nonfiction books, or books that create some kind of a culture. (For examples, go to our Resource section at select “Build a Website.”)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): When someone goes to Google.com, for example, and types in your name or a term related to your book, where are you listed? Are you on the first couple of pages or do you need to click through 20 pages first? SEO is both an art and science; there are e-marketing companies that exclusively focus on SEO. (This top encompasses an entire field. You can use a program like WordTracker to determine the most effective key words, but you may want to hire a SEO expert to optimize and maintain your site.)
- Pay-per-click Advertising: This is one of the most cost-effective, trackable form of advertising on the Web. (Google’s Adwords program is possibly the best place to start. Visit their site, watch their demo and they start experimenting.)
- Email Marketing / E-Newsletters: This medium is essential to establishing and growing your platform as an author. In addition to building a general email list, you can deploy an e-newsletter targeting your area of expertise. If you’re in the business arena, this can be an effective way to generate new leads and sell books. (If you’re just starting out, you may want to check out services like Constant Contact and Vertical Response. If you’re more tech savvy a licensed program like ActiveCampaign’s 1-2-All might serve you better.)
- Discussion Boards: Always think about how to get people to come to your site, stay on your site, and frequently return. The “fresher” you keep your site, the more people will want to visit. Discussion boards and chats build a “community” aspect into your Web presence. Although this isn’t appropriate for every author, creating a channel for your readers and potential audience to interact and communicate with you and other like-minded individuals can be a rewarding and powerful strategy for platform building. (Ready to start building a community around your topic of interest? Here’s a few popular programs: phpBB.com and vBulletin.)
- Autoresponders: An “autoresponder” is an automatically generated email response that is triggered by a specific action. For example, when someone signs up for your mailing list or e-newsletter, an autoresponder message to thank the subscriber can be sent automatically. Additionally, you can create a seven-week email tutorial where a new message and assignment is sent out each week automatically. (The abovementioned email programs generally offer autoresponder capability.)
- Content Submission and Link Directories: Your book-buying audience is out there — what drives them to your site? There are tons of content submission sites on the web where you can submit articles and/or your Web link with a short description. Article submissions has quickly become a popular way of promoting your website and increasing your search engine positions. These articles and links may or may not lead to more traffic and sales on your site, but it’s just one more way to plant seeds. (For example, www.selfgrowth.com and www.ideamarketer.com— moresites are listed in the Resource section.)
- Affiliate Marketing: Most likely, however, you’re going to drive book purchasers from your site to Amazon.com (through their “Associate” program). The reason you want to utilize Amazon.com as opposed to servicing the orders yourself is because they are masters at e-commerce and have defined the online purchasing experience (especially for books). Most people are already comfortable purchasing books at Amazon.com which lowers the perceived risk for ordering your book. However, if you have an e-commerce-enabled website, you can create an affiliate marketing program where a referral fee is given for customers who come from affiliate sites. They earn a commission and you increase your exposure and customer base. (If you’re ready to launch your own affiliate program, you need to do your homework. There are numerous programs available with a wide variety of options and pricing. They all seem to have pros and cons.)
- Viral Marketing: Creating word-of-mouth buzz around your book can be challenging. Finding ways to make your book idea “viral” is unquestionably worth some time. If someone takes the initiative to subscribe to your mailing list, consider providing a “Tell a friend” feature so the subscriber can share your information with others.
- Digital Media: There are so many exciting new ways to present information on the Web. Can you create audio and video downloads for your site? Maybe you can put together an online tutorial or a Web seminar, highlighting the key principles or lessons from your book. New technologies are constantly becoming available to “edutain” your audience. (I’ve seen numerous marketers posting video clips on Google Video to get more exposure for their websites and services.)
- Distance Learning Programs: Perhaps the content of your book lends itself perfectly to a distance learning program. You can create a program that runs for a period of time (like 30 days or three months) and put together a series of modules covering specific topics. Each week you can email a different assignment that participants complete and email back or submit through an online form. Depending on your subject matter and how well you construct and market your program, this can be a substantial revenue source.
- Blog: A blog (from “web log”) is basically an online publishing tool, like a web-based journal, that provides a forum for you to communicate with your audience. Blogging can enhance your search rankings, but it may not be the best vehicle if you don’t already have a subscriber base. (If you’re just getting started, Blogger is an easy and free way of launching a blog. If you want a more professional blog with greater functionality, TypePad is the current program of choice.)
- AmazonConnect: Amazon.com’s AmazonConnect program has created an incredible opportunity for authors to communicate with their readers who purchase their books on Amazon.com. After creating an Amazon.com Profile with your “Plog” (product blog), your plog entries will show up on your book pages. Plus, your new Plog entries may show up on Amazon.com’s home page for those who have already purchased your book.
- Google Book Search: Google’s Book Search matches the content of your book with the users search. It’s a different way to get more exposure … and it’s free. (Sign up here and check out this success story.)
Of course, each of the above are big topics of discussion on their own. All of these elements can be included in your book marketing plan and promotion efforts.
We’ll try to cover them each in greater detail in other articles and on the blog.
The above article is an excerpt from the guidebook included in Everything You Need to Know to Become a Best-Selling Author.
About Scott Jeffrey
With an impressive client list including New York Times best-selling authors, speakers, and consultants, Scott Jeffrey is renowned for his ability to guide each client’s journey to the impossible—crafting their own adventure, zealously following their bliss and discovering their unique, meaningful contribution to the world. Scott is the master strategist behind Creative Crayon, LLC, a world-class strategic coaching enterprise and consultancy.
Scott is the author of Journey to the Impossible: Designing an Extraordinary Life, a Benjamin Franklin Award finalist, as well as the interviewer in the 10-CD audio program, Everything you Need to Know to Become a Best-Selling Author. He was the editor of Impossible Journeys.
Scott and his four-legged hiking companion, Yoda, reside in the mountains of upstate New York.
Find out more at http://www.bestsellingauthor.com