Summarising so far:
Using the Marketing Mantra
Attract generally; attract specifically; engage fully; provide more
anyone who produces anything can draw in their own customers and build a viable business — and this applies to writers too.
Through a thorough analysis of their target market and their own work, writers can make sure that they are attracting the right people, and are prepared to use the right tools in the right sequence to engage them.
One of the tools which makes a marketing strategy much simpler and more effective is the use of a ‘portal’ product — something which attention can be focused on which will give the customer a concentrated ‘dose’ of what to expect from the rest of the product range. In a writer’s case, this is a key book or story which, if sold to a reader, gives that reader the flavour and tone of the writer’s work as a whole, and encourages them to read more.
The above is a workable approach, an organic approach, to marketing. It’s a sales process which, if done correctly, moves people from being complete strangers to avid readers — and it has the added incredible benefit of having the reader do this entirely under his or her own volition. At no point do you have to get ‘salesy’; at no point do you experience the frustration of trying to ‘flog’ your book in a faceless marketplace.
How does it work from the public’s point of view?
First, the complete stranger signs up for your social media group based on his or her own tastes and preferences. They find your group through their own browsing, you don’t have to go out and look for them or persuade them to join — you just have to run a group full of interesting stuff. You’ve attracted them generally: they are now ‘warm prospects’.
Then, using observation, communication, balance, timing and a well-designed portal product, you get their attention specifically. You don’t have to ‘sell’ your book — you just have to drop it into the conversation at the right time in front of the right warm prospects. They will decide whether to get it or not.
Your carefully crafted and intriguing portal product then engages them fully.
At which point they turn back to you and reach for more.
Do this steadily, over a period of time, and you will build a viable machine which takes total strangers and transforms them into fans and superfans, all under their own steam.
Anything other than the above is in effect an attempt to short circuit the machine to try to jump from ‘stranger’ to ‘sale’ in one leap.
You can bombard the internet with ads in the hope of making that leap.
You can attempt to ‘direct sell’ by spamming social media every day.
You can try to hijack people’s news feeds by going on and on about your whole range of available works.
You can leave links all over the place in the desperate hope that someone, somewhere will click one.
You can do any number of things other than the workable approach described above. But if you notice, all these alternative approaches are labour intensive on your part — you can spend hundreds of hours and perhaps thousands of pounds or dollars trying to circumvent the organic approach, and if you actually get one or two sales, you will unfortunately probably conclude that all you need to do is ‘turn up the heat’ and waste even more time and energy to try and get more.
Or you can build the above machine, step by step, and spend a fraction of that time and energy gathering in an audience of warm prospects to whom you will be able to present your portal product from time and to time and get actual sales. More than sales: if you build the thing properly, with the right pieces in the right places, you will get fans and superfans — and that means not just one or two sales, but a following of people eager to buy more.
I’ll answer some more questions next time.