You wrote the book. The book is exceptional. Your masterpiece should be selling thousands, but it is not selling at all.What is wrong? Begin with: what are you doing toward marketing your book? People won’t buy what they do not know exists.
Confession time: the “nuts and bolts” of marketing are NOT my strength. I understand the essential place of marketing but I’m not good at it. There are at least two reasons I’m not good at marketing.
- To excel at marketing a person needs some abilities with graphics.
- It also helps to be focused on doing tasks at least a bit repetitive in nature.
I have someone help me with marketing. Of course, such help costs. For me, the cost is worth it.
How many billion times did marketers for Coca-Cola declare, “Coke is the real thing?” A creative marketer has the ability to repeat the marketing message from varied angles.
You will need to read someone else’s blog for “nuts and bolts” of marketing. My view of marketing is from 30,000 feet.
Marketing Options for an author include the following. Of course, there are other options as well.
Marketing should not ignore the use of hard copy mail. Yesterday our spring planting catalog arrived. Some would ask, “Why are they still sending such an archaic form of communication?” There are several reasons:
- Print still works! I bought five fruit trees from the catalog last year. I placed my order online but bought because I saw the trees in the catalog. The pictures of apples, pears, etc. caused me to feel I had to have those trees.
- People of a certain age are less likely to use social media or the internet. I’ve had some bit of time attempting to influence preachers. Suffice it to say, “Some people don’t check their email even one time per month.”
- Anything hard copy has the added value of being a “lay-about” piece. The value of this to North American Missions came through with the well received Director’s Communique. Like me, others put such material in a stack of stuff “to be read.” In time I will look through the stack of magazines and newsletters waiting “to be read.” By contrast, deleting someone’s email happens in an instant. The unopened email does not get even a glance. It may be my age, personality or learning style, but I don’t do well reading on-line newsletters or ads. By contrast, a hard copy item eventually gets at least a scan.
Don’t misunderstand, print cannot be your only approach. However, a nicely designed card announcing your new book and its benefits will generate sales. This is particularly the case if an opportunity is forthcoming for the recipient to make a buy. The opportunity can be at an upcoming conference. A card may also drive people to your website. I’ve not used direct mail or a simple catalog of all my books. I will again experiment with direct mail for an upcoming project.
Market to your e-mail List
These days a list with the email address of people interested in you and your material is like gold. How to grow your email list is a topic larger than this blog. But perpetually funneling people toward being part of your e-mail list is vital.
There are many options for partners that will host your email list. You can even do it yourself using a database. If your email list grows beyond a few dozen you will likely need some help.
At its best, an email partner helps you schedule, plan and carry out communication to your email list. The best such partners provide templates for newsletters and emails. Most will give you a way to “drip” your message to interested people. Everything costs, including having a quality email partner.
I did some research on my best option to handle my email list. Almost all such companies offer a “free” option for you to explore. Do take advantage of the “free” option to look around. The “free” option is usually for a limited time, or a low number of people on your email list. We used a different list manager at World Evangelism Center. It was effective, but my choice for a list manager and marketing partner was Aweber.
Aweber has broad options for sending many different varieties of email to your list.
- After a person signs up for a free ebook, they begin receiving emails. Each email introduces other material I’ve written.
- I also am able to send blasts about special deals or upcoming training sessions to those on the email list.
- Also, when this blog posted, a copy of the blog or a link to it goes to my email list.
Aweber has a huge array of resources. What I’ve described here does not touch the tip of the Aweber iceberg.
Advertising in Perspectives magazine developed by Paul Mooney, Tim Massengale, and Indiana Bible College (IBC) may help. IBC mails Perspectives for free to a readership broader than any single religious organization. While this can increase your sales, magazine advertising can be expensive. You should weigh the value of advertising in any magazine against potential sales.
Conference/Convention Video Marketing
Some conferences allow an author to buy a pre-service video ad. I’ve tried this a time or two. From an ego standpoint, it is kind of neat to see myself and the book I wrote standing 12 feet tall. But in my experience. it has not generated enough sales to pay for the ad. Such ads cost several hundred dollars.
Determine the value looks goes like this as you put sales and cost into perspective. A self-published author’s profit from selling 50 books at $16 is $440 (55% of $800). From the $440 an author must deduct the cost of editing, cover design, printing, and shipping. With everything factored in the “cheap” $200 – $400 video ad may not be worth the cost. The video ad may not have increased your sales at all. You make the decision on whether seeing a “12-foot video of you” is worth the money.
A better option than the video ad may be for you to be consistently present in the sales area explaining your book.
Attending an event that allows you to set up a sales display will increase sales. You also use such events to grow your email list. Aweber provides several easy ways to allow someone to sign up. At the event, you can motivate people to sign up for your email list by doing a giveaway. The more valuable the giveaway the more names added to your list.
While at an event, stay with your display. A static unmanned booth is ineffective. While I’m there meeting people I don’t do any “hard sell.” My goal is to be available to answer questions and sign a book if the purchaser so desires.
Sometimes you can attend such events at no cost. Be sure to follow the process to get permission to set up your display. Men’s and ladies conferences, camp meetings, and smaller church conferences are good for this purpose.
If you break outside any specific organization, the opportunity to increase your impact is huge. In the early stages of marketing a book, don’t ignore small events. Small events may be welcoming to an author, even giving time for you to make a 30-second sale’s pitch.
In time, I look forward to displaying my material at conferences beyond the organization I know. Those settings will be a great opportunity to make new friends and to learn what is working for other people.
If you are part of a group that would welcome my material in a display or would be interested in a “Not an Ostrich Church” Disciple-making workshop or one of my other seminars contact me. Under the right circumstances, Saturday seminars within a section or a group of even ten churches are available. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social media is a great place to make people aware of your new book. When you market on Facebook be sure to give your Facebook friends a link to buy your book.
I’ve explored using Facebook Marketing. It has powerful potential. The potential lies in being able to target who sees your ad. The cost for such ads is quite low. I’m still learning how to use Facebook ads. I’m not sure these ads have generated a significant number of sales. By contrast, Facebook marketing has worked well for marketing events, teaching sessions and other things at SpringfieldCalvary.church.
To date, I’ve not figured out how to make Facebook ads work to grow the carltoncoonsr.com email list. I’m confident that those who help me with marketing will figure it out.
Remember, marketing will require repeating the message until people pay attention. You won’t forget, “Coke is the real thing!” To convey their message, how many thousands of times and ways did you hear and see that message? As an author marketing your book, you have to say it more than once. Your social media marketing should include a mix of subtle and directed marketing.
Facebook Live Video
My best benefit with marketing on Facebook has come by using Facebook Live for a live webinar with “q and a” at the end. After several days of marketing on social media, the webinars have always had a worthy audience. In every instance, the webinars have also generated sales. There is also a residual value. A video of the Facebook Live webinar stays on your Facebook page for you to refer people back to through the year. You could also use it as a video blog on your website and post it to Youtube.
There is a lot of information in this post, and it is not even my area of expertise. Don’t refer to me as an expert. What I’ve tried to share are my experience and observations. I’d like you to learn from my mistakes.
My Questions and Needs
So, this not being my area of expertise, I’m interested in input from you on several fronts:
- What have you experienced with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram marketing? What specific behaviors have generated sales?
- If you’ve figured out how to use social media to grow your email list please share. Have any specific behaviors grown your email list?
- Maybe you can recommend a book, seminar, or any other resource to benefit me and the readers of this blog.
- Because of the Times in Alexandria, Louisiana happens next week. A super sale of four of my books will be available in a relatively limited supply at the White Steeple Book Store. Books that normally sell for $64 will be on the White Steeple shelves for $40. I’m making the same deal available online. This bundle would make an excellent gift for a friend, family member and for the developing preachers in your church. The books are:
- Daily Things of Christian Living – 7 things the New Testament teaches to do on a daily basis. Great teaching stuff here. Pastors Stan Davidson and Galen Thompson are among many who have taught this material.
- Questions Pentecostal Preachers Ask – Practical, pragmatic issues of ministry are addressed. This includes: How can you know if you are called? What to do when you “try out” for a church? How do you respond a person who wants to monopolize your time? How do I structure my pulpit effort in a way that helps me be effective?
- If Everybody Here Were Just Like Me . . . – what if everybody in the church understood what it means to be a great saint working together to make a great church? The New Testament teaches several things about the measure of a great church. Example: a great church is more like the church at Antioch than the church at Jerusalem. The Jerusalem church did not welcome the new convert, Saul. Antioch did. Saul would have been the equal of a member of the Hell’s Angels – and now he was part of their church. Again, this has been taught by several pastors. I taught this at camp meetings in Texas and Minnesota.
- Masterful Preaching – Restoring the Place of Good News Preaching – This tackles the idea that we do not preach targeting reaching the lost with enough consistency. I give you my own journey to this discovery. It includes some of my study processes and several model evangelistic sermons. From this, you can learn to make every Sunday a focus on the lost.
- Visit Carltoncoonsr.com for this super deal or to sign up for a free ebook.