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The World of Marketing: Setting Up Your Stall

Imagine you’re an artisan, a wood carver, going to a town to sell some items you’ve crafted. It’s a well-known market town and has a huge square in which thousands of people set up stalls, hoping to sell their wares. Not knowing much about marketing, you set up your stall in a side street and start yelling out at passers-by in the hope that some of them will be interested in what you have to offer. By the time evening comes round, you find that you have made only two pennies from someone who bought one of your smaller carvings because they took pity on you. You then owe the town’s council four pennies for the stall, and so end up shuffling home after a long day, out of pocket and gloomy.

Being a stranger to the place, you never noticed that the street in which you set up your stall was called ‘Cordwainer’s Lane’ and was occupied mainly by rope-makers; further to the west was a wide lane for wood-carvers. This lane attracted hundreds of people specifically interested in wood-carvings, precisely because there were lots of other wood-carvers there and so they had more to look at, browse through and possibly buy. Had you set up your stall there, the chances of you selling more carvings would have been much greater.

It’s the same with your book. You can set up a ‘stall’ randomly on the internet and start shouting. But you would do much better to find the ‘street’ where people already predisposed to like your work are to be discovered — they have already made their way to that place specifically because they are interested in what you have to offer.

Yesterday, we looked at the Seven Circles of Marketing. These are:

1. Superfans — people who will buy and read anything you write.

2. Fans — readers who like and admire your work without being quite so fanatical about it.

3. Emerging fans — those in the process of discovering and liking your books.

4. Hot prospects — those readers who, through their past experiences with reading and their own tastes in fiction, are likely candidates for your work.

5. Warm prospects — readers who may be broadly interested in what you are writing.

6. Cold prospects — those whose tastes and prior buying patterns indicate that they are not likely to buy your stuff.

7. Everyone else — these people are never going to buy what you write.

In the wood carver’s case, the stall had been set up in the wrong place, where the only traffic flowing past it was formed of ‘cold prospects’, people more likely to be interested in rope-making than wood carving. Many book marketers waste a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to sell their books in the wrong ‘street’. What you want to do is find the street where your kind of book is already being sold. That’s where people already interested in your type of thing are hanging about, browsing and buying.

How do you do that? Well, the first thing you need to establish is ‘What type of book is yours?’ And that’s the first step in my Audience Location Service.

In the next in this series, we’re going to reveal your primary marketing tool. It might surprise you — but once you know what it is, it will make a lot of sense.

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