When most people talk about marketing, what they’re actually meaning is promotion, specifically, advertising. We were raised in a time when promotion was a combination of radio, television and print advertising, perhaps supplemented by letterbox fliers (better known as junk mail). That’s how we found out about and were encouraged to try new products.
Large trade publishers still use some of these mechanisms, but they’re not viable options for most small press or self-published authors. And they ignore the rise of the internet and social networking. Social media, ereaders and print-on-demand technology, has forever changed the nature of publishing, as has the way publishers promote their product.
Unfortunately, the rise of the internet and the low cost of use has introduced new annoyances for consumers.
(Yes, that’s Monty Python’s enduring contribution to contemporary culture. Click on the link and watch the video if you’ve never seen it.)
So, how do consumers find out about new products in this internet society? The traditional methods of television and print still work, but are being supplemented by online advertising and social networking: Liking a brand on Facebook or Pinterest. But consumers are being overwhelmed by information, so how do you, as a producer, ensure the consumer finds out about your product?
Discovery is the new buzzword. How do customers discover a new product? How do readers discovery you as an author? The internet is both part of the problem (spam) and part of the solution.
There is ongoing debate regarding the effectiveness of internet marketing. Does it provide a return on investment? What role do influencers play? (Do we even need influencers? Aren’t brand advocates more important?)
Research shows that 92% of people rely on recommendations from people they know, compared to 36% who rely on advertisements on social networks.
So in order to persuade people to buy your product (read your book), personal relationships are key. People are more likely to act on a recommendation from someone they know, whether they know that person in real life or only online (I’m a member of one online forum where I’m sure people share more information than they ever would in real life).
And when it comes to promotion and spreading the word about your book, it’s easier to get help from people you know. But how do you meet people? Connect online. Build a platform. Come to the next Omega conference. Dates haven’t been set, but if you live in Australia and start saving $10 a week now, it will be affordable (us Kiwis have to save a bit more). Make it a priority, because it’s an investment in your writing and it will introduce you to a network of Christians who want to see you succeed.
Personal relationships are important. They might not be traditional face-to-face relationships (or even old-fashioned pen-pals), but they are still relationships. This network of people who feel they know you are the people who can help promote your book. But where are these people and how do you find them? These people are your platform, and that’s the subject of next week’s post.