Book Marketing, Author Publicity, Branding

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Guest Post: How Authors Can Use Webinars to Sell More Books

How Authors Can Use Webinars to Sell More Books


By Gihan Perera

If you're an expert who has written a book about your area of expertise - or you're in the process of writing it - I'm sure you know already that it's not enough to just publish the book and wait for the money to come rolling in. You need to do more - much more - to promote it (if you want more sales) and you (if you're using the book for positioning as an expert).

Webinars can be a powerful tool to help you as an author. Here are three ways you can use them to help you as an author.

1. Market Research
Your readers are looking for you to help them with one or more of these four things:
  • Solve their problems
  • Answer their questions
  • Meet their challenges
  • Achieve their goals
The more your book does these things, the more successful it will be. Unfortunately, sometimes it's difficult to know exactly what readers want.
One way to find out is with a free Question and Answer webinar. You invite everybody in your network (and ask them to forward it to their networks as well), turn up on the day and simply spend an hour answering the questions that people ask. Don't promote anything; just answer their questions. You provide an extremely valuable service, and in return you discover exactly what your market wants to know.
I've seen people do this without any more structure than I've just described. But you can add a few extra features - and make it easier for you at the same time - in a few ways:
  • Invite attendees to e-mail you their questions in advance, so you have time to prepare your answers.
  • If you've already got some structure for your book (for example, you know it's in four main sections), arrange the questions in this same broad structure.
  • Record the webinar, and get the recording transcribed - this might even provide some new material for your book.
2. Bonus Webinar for Customers
To encourage people to buy your book as soon as it's launched, offer a bonus webinar for customers who buy it by a certain date.
In this webinar, you simply deliver a presentation outlining the main concepts of the book, answer reader questions, and perhaps even offer some bonus material. Don't worry about repeating some of what's in the book, because attendees will appreciate learning the information in different ways.
Of course, a webinar is just one of the many ways you can encourage "early bird" sales, but it has a number of advantages:
  • A webinar has a date attached, so this creates a natural deadline.
  • You can serve all these readers at the same time, so you don't have to limit the offer to a certain number of readers (as opposed to, say, offering a free 15-minute consultation to them).
  • The recording can become a product in its own right, which you can sell individually or as part of a bundle with the book.
3. Webinar Series
One disadvantage of a book is that it only gives you one point of contact with your customer. Most people won't read a book more than once, and very few of them will even read it in full even once!
You can address this by offering an on-going webinar series about the content of the book, either to customers only (as a bonus) or to anybody (as a promotional opportunity).
The purpose of your webinar series is not only to promote book sales - although it will do that anyway. It's also to continue positioning yourself as an expert, and to remain in front of your target market's mind, so that when they're ready to buy what you've got to sell, you will be their first choice.
Again, webinars are not the only option available to you. But if you're willing to make the commitment, they can be a very powerful option, because your attendees get to engage with you live.

Gihan Perera is an Internet coach for speakers, trainers, consultants and other business professionals. He's the author of "Fast, Flat and Free: How the Internet Has Changed Your Business". Visit http://GihanPerera.com and get free e-books, webinars and more.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Guest Post: How Can People Find You If They Don't Know You Exist?

Article at a glance:
  • People can’t search for you if they don’t know you exist.
  • Keyword searches return thousands of competing results.
  • Media exposure helps point people to your website.


It pains me to see the hurt and frustration of people who don’t understand why their wonderful book or their cool, new product isn’t selling well. Too often, they conclude no one is interested in their message or that their gizmo falls short.
That’s usually not the case at all; heck, it’s why I went into marketing and PR! The need to market new books and products has been around for, well, as long as we’ve had books and products. The only thing that’s changed is the new media options we’ve added to our strategies.
I was recently talking about this with Joe Thomas of Left Brain Digital, the web developer and marketing consultant who designed our new website and services many of our clients. He said he’s still surprised by the number of authors and entrepreneurs, both new and seasoned, who tell him “I just don’t get it!” when their books or products don’t sell.
Since Joe has a way of explaining things that always makes me laugh, I asked if he’d mind writing about this problem for The PR Insider. He readily agreed. So, here’s Joe:

How To Write A Happy Ending
Or … I Have A Really Neat-o Book or Product, Now Why Doesn’t Anybody Buy It?

I can’t even fathom the number of conversations I’ve had with new clients suffering from a severe case of “I Just Don’t Get It!” disease. The stories of why they wrote their books or developed their products are all different, but the endings are the same: They’re not selling diddly. Squat. Nada.
Before we get too far into the whys and why nots, let me warn you, I am not going to tell you what you want to hear. There’s no magic form for you to fill out to get instant access to my “Special Report,” nor is there a download of secret “For Your Eyes Only” information designed to get you on my mailing list. (My next rant is going to be about buying into the web marketing trap.)
Instead, I’ll go straight to the “why,” which is as complicated as it is simple: People can’t buy what they can’t find.
Most web marketing gurus will tell you that Search Engine Optimization can help direct potential customers to your book or product, and why you should hire them to get you listed front and center. I am not that guy. Oh, I believe in the power of Google, but there are major caveats:
  1. Search engines are great if you know what you’re searching for. Type in your name and/or book title into Google and look at the results. You may be at the top of page 1 and even have 22 different listings on the first and second pages. You may get the same results on Bing and other search portals. You might even show up first on Amazon.com, where your book is right there, for sale to the masses. But you’re still not selling many books are you? Here’s the tricky part: YOU know your name and your book title, don’t you? But, people can’t search out your name and book title if they don’t know them.

  2. People can search for my incredibly, fantastical keywords, can’t they? Well sure they can – and they do. Let’s assume for a second you have a book and it’s about Politics, Money, Religion, Employment or any number of topics. Now go to Amazon and type in your keywords – you know, Politics, Money, Religion, Employment … You just discovered there are 672,481 books using your Incredibly Fantastical Keywords, right? Now type in those same keywords along with your name and/or book title. Eureka! There you are. I now direct your attention to No. 1 above.
  3. Your website is totally gorgeous but it’s not getting you sales. The first part of this quandary is, LOOK AT No. 1, above. Are people actually visiting your site? Have you checked out your server logs to see what your traffic data looks like? You’re probably thinking your webmaster takes care of all that, right? Unless your webmaster is getting a piece of the profits from every item you sell, odds are he/she doesn’t really care. Let’s be honest here, you’re paying your webmaster whether you sell or not. Now, if your traffic data is showing that you’re getting a boatload of traffic but no sales, maybe you need to be more realistic about how gorgeous your site really is. Looking good and converting visitors into buyers are two different things. But before you start blowing up your site, go back and LOOK AT No. 1, ABOVE.
Here’s a bit of free advice: If your marketing plan to reach 100,000 book or product sales is based on people finding you without a clue who you are, keep your day job and forget about buying the fancy car with your profits. You need exposure. You need to get your name and the name of your book, product or business in the news – in newspapers (they all put their content online nowadays), magazines and e-zines and blogs. Get yourself interviewed on talk radio and TV, if you can. Get your social network sites up and active and build a following.
Plenty of people do it themselves. If you find that too difficult or time-consuming, hire professionals to do it for you. There are 5 hundred million thousand books and products for sale online. If you want folks to know what to search for, they have to know that you exist and what you have to offer.
And the happy ending will come.
********
Joe makes it sound as easy as 1-2-3, doesn’t he? OK, so maybe it’s not that easy, but if you’re motivated and willing to spend the time getting your name out there, you’ll see it’s very effective. Along with making people aware of who you are, media attention gives you credibility that you just can’t buy.
That’s what I would call a happy beginning!
Get it? :-)
Marsha
Marsha Friedman launched EMS Incorporated in 1990. Her firm represents corporations and experts in a wide array of fields such as business, health, food, lifestyle, politics, finance, law, sports and entertainment. She consults individuals and businesses on a daily basis and is frequently asked to speak at conferences about how to harness the power of publicity. Outside of the office, she is also the founder of a non-profit organization called the Cherish the Children Foundation. In 1996 the White House recognized her charity which sets out to raise awareness of the plight of underprivileged and foster children.
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Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Terminator's Book Platform

Regardless of how you feel about action movie star and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, authors could take a few cues from the Terminator. 

Arnold has always been a shrewd businessman.  He earned his degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Superior and put that knowledge to use in the 1970s, starting his own mail-order business.  He was a millionaire by the age of 30, long before he became a Hollywood actor.  That kind of money was unheard of in the world in the competitive bodybuilding at the time. 

Now he is putting his marketing sense to work again, on a new book that is due to be released in October.  Sure, Arnold is a celebrity, but that doesn't mean bestselling book sales are guaranteed.  That is why he is working on building the platform for his book early by getting potential readers involved in the production process for his book and by connecting to them through social media. 

Last month, Arnold and his publisher released the book cover and a synopsis of the book.  It was blasted out to Arnold's 2.4 million Twitter followers. 

The back cover photo is being left up to his Facebook followers, who will get to vote on which photo should be used.  He also launched a Pinterest page to solicit photo suggestions. 

I have mentioned previously in this blog that marketing a book should begin as early as possible, to help build buzz and word of mouth.  Getting readers involved in picking a book cover or an author photo is a great way of doing that.  Of course, you may not have 2.4 million Twitter followers, but authors should work on building a presence on social media the moment they decide to become an author, share the production process with readers, maybe even a sample excerpt or two and get them excited about the book. Do this successfully, and by the time the book is released you'll have an audience eagerly waiting to buy a copy. 


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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Guest Post: Sell More Books Using Center of Influence Marketing

 Today's guest post is courtesy of Lynn Baber, author of Amazing Grays, Amazing Grace and He Came Looking For Me.  You can find out more about Lynn at LynnBaber.net.   

Survey says…… most books are discovered through Center of Influence or Relationship Marketing.
AllBusiness is Personal
After my first business book was published in 1989 I started shopping a second title, All Business is Personal. Simon and Schuster was reviewing the proposal when I had an abrupt career change and left the board room for the barn. End of project.
The simple truth I hoped to communicate in All Business is Personal is that effective marketing is to individuals and not statistically defined groups. Whether the buying decision is for a stick of gum or a fleet of company cars, there will be some one who will approve the purchase order. That one person is the focus of successful marketing.  The simple truth of relational marketing has not changed one iota since 1989.
Authors quickly learn that selling a book is far more difficult than writing a book. Once upon a time I was a business consultant with an emphasis in marketing. Center of Influence (COI), or relationship marketing is an old concept that is becoming more and more relevant in the online world we live in.

Center of Influence Marketing

Simply put, COI is the process of identifying and targeting the people whom others look to for information, answers, and opinions. We live in a tribal society of sorts, where folks listen to the same music their friends do, read the same books as their peers, and share similar belief systems and spiritual leaders.
If you haven’t noticed the increase in tattoos you must be legally blind. Gender, age, and economic status appear to be irrelevant. Tattoos are the in thing. Why? Because the folks a man, woman, boy, or girl hang with or wish to emulate have tattoos. Skin art isn’t an expression of individuality but the desire to join the “tribe.

Market Your Book to Real People Not a Nameless Faceless Audience

The mechanism of Center of Influence marketing is simple. This is the place where I remind you that ‘simple’ is not synonymous with ‘easy.’
  • List the characteristics of one person who would most benefit from your book. Describe them in the most detail possible as if they were the protagonist in your new novel.
  • Research to determine who that one person (by name or description) would most likely look to for advice, information, and truth. Who would they trust? Which tribe do they belong to or aspire to?
  • Make a list of the folks (real people now) who are at the center of tribal influence.
  • Personally approach those people with an introduction, the offer of a review copy of your book, a meeting, or some type of further contact to at least get on their radar. If you don’t know the person establish a beginning and make it personal.

What Not to Do When Contacting Center of Influence Prospects

I love you and want to marry you. I want to raise children with you and grow old together.” – a note addressed to Occupant
Relationship marketing using generic terms and targeting is just as obvious and doomed to fail as a pledge of lifetime fidelity to Occupant. Social media only works when it is personal.
  • Don’t be impersonal. Learn about your COI target and his or her “tribe.” Do enough research to know why others look to them. Make your approach personal and relevant.
  • DO NOT send out a blanket email or letter to “Dear Center of Influence”
  • All Business if Personal. Ignore this truth you may as well quit now and use your books as fuel for toasting marshmallows. You must earn the opportunity to get a hearing with each Center of Influence unless you already have an established relationship.
The next step will determine the success of your book. Use your new relationship with each COI leader to get a review, speaking opportunity, or invitation to do an article for their blog, newsletter, or other media or group outlet. If the COI loves your book make it easy for them to share that discovery with the members of their tribe. If a COI does not love your book, ask why. Feedback from a tribal leader is a priceless gift for the purpose of refining your marketing plan.
Creativity is essential to writing a great book and equally necessary to market it successfully. If you have any questions please ask. I would be pleased to help you in any way I can.
Now go out there and find the movers and shakers who can carry your message to their tribes!
.
Click on the first two words of this post to visit the Goodreads Survey details. If you want more, check out this link as well  http://bit.ly/I3LHjQ
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Readers, Fans, and Evangelists

Today's guest post is courtesy of  Jim Miller.  Jim does a great job of helping authors find their target audience, and he also writes his own blog at http://aftertheinkdries.wordpress.com

Authors talk and think all the time about who is reading their books, but how often do you think about who talks about your book and who gets others to read it?

Gaining readers is only the first step of building an audience. A reader is merely someone who read your book whether they loved it, hated it, or were indifferent. If all you’re building is readers, you’re doing all the work yourself, one reader at a time. You can have success this way, but you can have more success paying attention to the other types of people you’re looking for.

Fans are people who love your book and talk about it. Evangelists are people who get others to buy it. Building up these segments of your audience is far more important than building readers alone. These people will be the army you need to grow your brand.

So how do you build fans and evangelists?

• The first step is to provide a place for fans to gather. If you don’t have a blog, start one. If you don’t know what one is, you’re reading one. The internet has no lack of articles to learn how to blog well, but here is a good place to start.

• Use your website and/or blog to let people know more about you and your message. If you’re a fiction author, you can write short stories or back stories about the characters in your book and post them here. Do whatever you can think of to give more to people who want more. Think about the things you like to read about famous people you admire and provide these things.

• Encourage anyone who comes to the site to post comments and questions, and respond to them. Readers think every author is famous, and the more they like your book, the giddier they’ll get about hearing from you. When they’re excited about hearing from you, they’ll tell all their friends that an author replied to their comment. They may post a link to your blog or website on facebook or on their own blog. You can encourage this by giving blanket permission to repost your posts if they give you credit, like I did with the tips on blogging from Ford Saeks. (If you haven’t clicked that link yet, it’s right here.)

• Wherever you go to speak or sign books, tell people about your blog and/or website, and encourage them to connect with you there. If you use projection slides with your presentation, put your blog or weblink on the last slide, and make sure it stays onscreen while you are taking questions from the audience.

• Always, always, always ask people to tell others. Obviously, I’m not talking about accosting strangers and asking them to tell people about your book. That would be creepy. However, whenever someone says something nice about your book, your knee-jerk response should be, “Thank you so much. Please tell everyone you know about the book. We’re trying to build an audience!”

• This is particularly true when people ask you when your next book is coming out. It is not uncommon for new authors to have 5 or 6 people ask this question and then try to put pressure on me to make their 2nd book happen. I can’t go to our acquisitions editors and say, “6 people have asked when the next book is coming out.” Their first question will be, “How many books have they sold?” If someone asks you when your next book is coming out, say, “As soon as we sell enough copies of the first one, so tell all your friends to buy it.” Some people will. Those are your evangelists.

• Reward your fans and evangelists in ways that are small to you but big to them. This could be anything from sending them a handful of bookmarks to naming a character after them in your next book. Some authors even use their blogs to workshop their future books. They share ideas or setting and plot points on their blog and work the feedback they like best into their writing. Be creative.

The crazy thing is that fans and evangelists don’t even have to be readers, necessarily. I’m a fan of Craig Groeschel, pastor of LifeChurch.tv. I interviewed him (skeptically, I might add) when I was the editor of a magazine that showed how churches use technology in worship. The more I heard his heart and heard his passion repeated through my interviews with the rest of his staff, the more I came to appreciate him. I’ve never read his book Chazown (that’s the Hebrew word for “vision”), but I like it because I’ve seen his God-given vision in action.

Even stranger, I’m an evangelist for Bill Hybels, another author who is pastor of Willow Creek Church. When I was 17, my dad gave me one of his books, and for 25 years now, I’ve called it “the best book I’ve never read.” The book is called Who You Are When No One Is Looking. The title alone convicted me and changed the way I look at the world. It has shaped my character again and again over the past 25 years, and I’ve told many, many people to buy the book. If you’ve never considered this issue or known who you should be when no one is looking, go buy the book and read it.

If you’ve done anything at all to build your audience, you have some fans and evangelists. Connect to them and watch how much faster your audience grows.

Comment below: What are some of the ways you’ve created fans and evangelists?
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