By mid-2014, self-published authors began taking home the bulk of all ebook author earnings generated on Amazon.com. Meanwhile, authors published by all of the Big Five publishers—Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster—combined slipped into second place, according to the January 2015 Author Earnings Report. As a direct result, more and more authors are in the driver’s seat when it comes to the sales and marketing of their books.
“I’ve received several emails via LinkedIn over the years from newly self-published authors who were promoting their books, trying to convince me to buy them. If you’re one of these authors, I genuinely applaud you for taking that important step toward self-promotion,” says Staflund, founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG), www.polishedpublishinggroup.com. “Unfortunately, 99 percent of the contacts you emailed never purchased your book because your message was flawed in one or, perhaps, all of the following ways.”
WIIFM: What’s In It for Me?
This is what all our customers are asking themselves, whether consciously or unconsciously, whenever they consider making a purchase: what’s in it for me? All salespeople need to be aware of the WIIFM acronym and be sure they’re answering that question in all of their marketing materials, in a clear and concise manner that speaks to customers in their language.
Being “clear” means telling them what’s in it for them in a manner that addresses their needs directly. Will your book increase their joy? If yes, how? Will your book decrease their pain? If yes, how?
Being “concise” means telling them what’s in it for them in as few words as possible. We live in an “instant soup” society filled with customers that want quick and easy solutions to their problems. Your materials are best received when someone makes up their own mind to review them—not when they've been interrupted by a long, drawn out, unsolicited email on LinkedIn or elsewhere.
And “speaking to them in their language” means communicating what’s in it for them in a manner that they will understand and appreciate most. Two of the marketing languages you may choose from are price-based marketing and value-based marketing.
TOMA: Top of Mind Awareness
Your target market is a fluid and ever-changing stream of old and new customers. You need to stay in front of them so that, when they’re ready to buy whatever type of book it is you’re selling, they’ll recall your book ahead of all the others. In the world of advertising and marketing, this is known as creating top of mind awareness.
Some of the traditional ways that businesses create top of mind awareness are to place regular ads on television, radio, and billboards, or in print media outlets such as magazines and newspapers. Repetition is the key to success in any advertising campaign, and this can get pretty expensive in these traditional arenas. We’re talking hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars per month to run enough ads to achieve top of mind awareness with the general public, depending on how large a trading area you’re trying to reach. Luckily, authors have a virtually free online alternative known as blogging that utilizes the power of keywords to draw people in from anywhere in the world that has Internet access. And, authors also have the benefit of free social media websites to super-charge those blogging campaigns.
An Attractive, Accessible Storefront
All your blogging and social media marketing efforts will be profitless unless you’re using those vehicles to consistently redirect people to the webpage where they can buy your book. Make it quick and easy for them to find the place to buy your book once they’ve read that compelling blog post or viewed that interesting tweet on Twitter. Make the page so attractive that they will want the book even more.
Convenient, User-friendly Purchase Options
Some people are more comfortable with online shopping than others. Where one customer may want to pay for a purchase using PayPal, another will prefer to pay via their favourite credit card. Some still prefer an old-fashioned “pay by cheque or money order” option. The more purchase options you can provide, the more convenient and user-friendly your online storefront will appear. It’s the equivalent of casting a much wider net to catch a greater variety of fish.
About Kim StaflundAs the founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG), www.polishedpublishinggroup.com, Kim Staflund works with businesses and individuals around the world to produce professional quality audiobooks, ebooks, paperbacks and hardcovers using a supported self-publishing business model. As a bestselling author and sales coach, she shows authors how to sell their books using all the effective traditional and online tricks of the trade. Staflund has a substantial sales and sales management history combined with over 20 years of book publishing experience within the traditional and new publishing markets.