It makes no difference what the style of marketing is or what the vehicle is. Effective marketing must include some key ingredients or it’s a waste of time and money.
First, what is marketing? In laymans language: it’s any message of any kind that you’re hoping to get a result out of.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a full page ad in a newspaper, a little square on Facebook, a TV commercial, content marketing through articles, a flyer you mail, a billboard, a Tweet, a YouTube video, a radio ad… Etc. The same “rules” apply…you need the same ingredients if you want effective marketing. How you achieve it is all that changes.
The desired results also don’t matter. You might want more sales, more “Likes”, more followers, more engagement, more email subscribers, more website visitors… Etc. It doesn’t matter. Without the key ingredients you won’t likely achieve your goals – with them you stand a much better chance.
So what are the key ingredients for effective marketing?
Headline – this is your hook. This is a few words that grabs their attention and words that will resonate with them, ideally on an emotional level. (It’s not the title of your book.)
Image – this is their first visual impression. Again it has to “speak” to them in some way, and again, ideally on an emotional level. (It’s not the cover of your book.)
Relevancy – this is where you make the ad about them… Not you, not the product… THEM. You may not like it, but right now they don’t care about you, your company or your product or… gasp… your book. So what will make them relate or connect with your book or a character?
Credibility – this is where they want to know why they should trust you. You got their attention, so now they’re suspicious about how you did that and they are looking for a reason to discredit you. That’s right. They don’t “want” to trust you or believe you. They want to keep moving and forget about you. Being genuine here is critical. Who are you to have written this book? What’s your catch? What few words can you come up with that will make their brain accept you?
CTA (call to action) – if you get them this far, give yourself a HUGE pat on the back, most don’t make it past the image. But, don’t put your feet up yet. If you blow the call to action you lose them. It must match their mindset and chances are that right now they’re mostly curious about when you’re going to screw up. DO NOT ASK FOR A SALE. Totally serious on that. Unless you’re Coca-cola and EVERYONE knows everything about you, never make your CTA a request to buy. (Authors….starting to see why your sales are so low?). Can some get away with it? Absolutely! And it’ll even work. But…for most it won’t work. The bonus is that even for the ones that it might work for, taking a gentler and softer approach won’t hurt them one bit. So why risk it? Just don’t do it. Ease them in, guide them along, gently reel them in one baby step at a time – you will see a much better conversion rate in the long run.
So what does this all mean as to the subject of your advertising or your marketing messages? DO NOT TRY TO DIRECT SELL YOUR BOOK!
Effective marketing is a process – you need to build relationships… you wouldn’t ask a stranger to marry you, so don’t ask a stranger (directly) to buy your book. Put the effort in to build your following, build relationships, get to know your readers (or target readers), invite them to be a part of your journey and give them a reason why they should want to be a part of it.
After they take action then you are basically continuing the exact same process as above in a different manner and each time the process will get shorter and lead them another step along the path.
Seems simple enough right? It’s not really a complicated concept. But here’s the trick… Now try and create all of that in 140 characters… YIKES!! Ok, to be honest, please don’t try to start there lol.
Start with the long format marketing first. Write articles… it’s your easiest point of entry and you don’t have to worry about length – long or short will work provided you cover the ingredients. Keep working those articles, tightening them up, tweaking them, extracting the gems out of them. With practice you will get better at them and you will start to see the 140 characters of gold within them.
If you’ve ever wondered why marketing firms charge so much, this is a big part of it. They are able to much more accurately and more quickly extract the key ingredients discussed above and package them into every form of advertising delivery that exists.
One other rule to keep in mind when creating effective marketing materials: keep it fresh and current. So you will want to create several different versions.
PS: I’m currently developing a membership site and a selection of courses that are geared towards helping authors and entrepreneurs develop their online presence and marketing strategies. I’d love to know what your #1 challenge is regarding marketing your book. You can email me on this topic at: firstname.lastname@example.org or join our Facebook Group and let’s start a conversation.
Tanya Jones (Thibodeau) is the owner and publisher of the Gateway Gazette, a digital media news source. Tanya has 12 years of experience in publishing and marketing and 25 years of experience in various business sectors. While offering marketing services is not part of her business model, she has spent a great deal of time over the last 12 years researching and learning about the ins and outs of marketing, solely for the purpose of being able to pass that knowledge on to help clients. This passion has expanded into a new venture called Panoptic Foundations where they teach entrepreneurs (including authors) how to create and maintain a thriving online presence, with ease, even if you’re not techie.