This is a guest post by Ronita Mohan. Ronita is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic and design platform. She is an avid reader with an interest in mystery fiction, history, graphic novels, marketing, and diversity. Twitter: @Venngage
Top 8 Marketing Strategies Authors Can Use Now
The book market is a crowded and busy area—if you want to get noticed, and to sell your books, you need to get creative with your book marketing strategies.
And this is true for self-published authors as well as those being represented by agents and publishing houses. You need to ensure that your personal branding is clear, visible, and recognizable if you want to engage with the digital world.
Now, unless you have a marketing agency working on your behalf, as an author, it can be difficult to understand what constitutes a good marketing strategy, and how you can implement it to improve impressions and book sales.
In this article, we will look at eight marketing strategies you can adopt to begin actively engaging with the online community.
1. Create An Author Website
The digital sphere is the fastest and easiest way to get your work noticed. And if you want to capitalize on this arena, you need to create an author website.
There are a number of easy ways to learn how to make a website—you can create it on WordPress for free and use a theme that suits your personality and genre to design the look and feel of the site.
It is important to ensure that the site has your name as the domain name—and if somebody has already taken that name, you may have to get creative.
Your author website doesn’t have to be too detailed—a home page announcing your latest book, an about page with some details about you and what you write about, a page dedicated to your books, including links to buy them, and a contact page.
You should also consider having a blog (which we will cover in the next point), and this can be easily incorporated into the service with which you create a free website.
A website is essential for cementing your online presence and ensuring that your fans can find you. So, if you haven’t made a website yet, now’s the time to do so. If that sounds daunting to you, you can always hire Istomedia (Nicholas’ company) to help you with your new website. And if you’re looking for a professional solution with your own domain name, you can host your website on a number of different providers. Check out this review of some of the most popular domain registrars for more information.
2. Keep Your Blog Updated
Whatever you use to make your website, you will almost certainly have the option to create a blog alongside it, and you should definitely opt to have one.
Because even if you feel you can’t maintain a website, it is imperative that you have an author blog that is consistently updated.
Have a new book to announce? Write a blog about it. Thinking about writing a new book? You can blog about that, as well.
Your author blog is a great way to keep up engagement with followers, and to showcase your personality.
Blogs also help with discoverability—if you can work on your SEO (more on that in a bit), you increase your chances of ranking on Google and being found even through simple search terms.
Keeping a blog updated can be hard, and if you’re running out of ideas, I wrote about ways to keep your author blog fresh for Nicholas’ site which I hope will be able to help you.
3. Improve Your Site SEO
This is going to get a little technical, but bear with me. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is what helps people find your content and your website when they are searching on Google.
SEO has become one of the prime ways to increase traffic to your site, and it does require you to be a bit business-minded about how you approach writing your content.
The basics of SEO require you to choose keywords that are relevant to your writing but will also be something that people would actually search for.
This is a complex process but there are a number of growth hacking tools that will help you research keywords, find influencers, and analyze your website visitors so you know how best to create content that will appeal to your target demographic.
Among the marketing strategies we will be discussing here, SEO is probably the most complex but, if done right, it can result in an increase in eyeballs on your site, and potentially more sales.
4. Get Active on Goodreads
Goodreads is not just for readers—it’s a platform that can massively help authors connect with their audience and improve overall engagement.
If you haven’t already done so, claim your Goodreads author page as soon as possible. The process is fairly straightforward, and once completed, you can start filling in your profile, including your website, social media channels, and bio.
However, just being on Goodreads isn’t enough—you need to be an active member of the community. Add books that you are reading, review books, follow authors, and add friends.
You should also join communities and groups and post as often as you can in those forums.
For authors, a platform like Goodreads is invaluable—it will help people find you and your books and you can build lasting relationships within the writing community through the site.
5. Adopt an Email Marketing Strategy
Email marketing is a great way to reach people on a regular basis and tends to have a better return on investment than other platforms.
If you want to automate the work flow to send bulk personalized emails to your subscribers, you can use a marketing automation tool available in the market.
Include a sign-up form on your website (which is why having a website is so important!) and collect emails to add to your database.
And creating emails or newsletters doesn’t have to be complicated. Create attractive newsletters using customizable newsletter templates, which you can send as bulk emails using an email marketing tool like Moosend.
If you want to learn how to collect emails and build your email list from scratch, check out this great article by Omnisend!
Email marketing helps you keep your audience updated and ensures that you maintain contact with your followers regularly.
6. Start a YouTube Channel
YouTube is the second-largest search engine after Google.
If you want to be found, you should seriously consider being on YouTube to market your brand and your books.
On YouTube, you can share book trailers for your latest books, behind-the-scenes looks at the writing process, interviews with fellow authors, and host Q&As.
There are numerous things you can do with a YouTube channel to reach a larger audience, but with so many videos being produced, you should focus on optimizing your YouTube videos for SEO (yes, there’s that word again).
Strong video SEO will help your channel become more discoverable both on YouTube and on Google, and, as a result, will increase your overall content engagement.
7. Run Social Media Contests
As I had mentioned in my article about blog ideas, people love contests. The ability to win something by putting in minimal effort is what makes the digital sphere so much fun for users. Why not use that to your advantage when promoting your books?
You will most likely already have a social media presence. Leverage that by creating social media contests that are fun and engaging for your followers.
As prizes, you can offer copies of your books, a meet and greet with you, book-related swag, or discount vouchers with a bookstore.
Remember to keep the contest simple and shareable so you get more participants and more engagement.
8. Connect With Influencers
A fantastic way to get your book noticed by audiences you couldn’t organically reach is by enlisting the help of an influencer.
Influencer marketing has been gaining steam over the last few years, and though there have been some dips in the influencer market, this is a strategy that can have a positive impact on your promotional efforts.
You should research influencers in your niche and who may already have engaged with your books in the past. Offer them some incentive for partnering with you—free copies of your books, or something monetary.
Influencers can be a great way to improve your reach and to connect with new audiences, which is why this is a strategy worth looking at.
These eight marketing strategies can all be implemented with some planning and a little bit of hard work.
If you are planning to adopt these strategies, try and tackle them one at a time, instead of altogether, as that will ease some of the burden off you and allow you to examine which works best for you and which requires more attention.
By opting for these marketing strategies, you should be able to improve your reach, increase engagement with fans and followers, and eventually boost your book sales!
I’m getting a bit better at SEO, though it’s still pretty tedious! A ‘C’, and a ‘must try harder’. 🙁 I use Yoast, who never fail to point out where I’m going wrong with SEO. I think the https tag marks you out as a secure site for Google. They are hot on security. BTW I notice your emails have been going to spam. You need to tell your readers how to ‘whitelist’ your emails, I think. Must get and do it myself. 🙂
Sigh… Spam filters and I don’t exactly get along anymore. I’m in the process of installing an SSL on my blog, as it happens 🙂
All great tips, thanks! I need to get more proactive with SEO!
I’ve been thinking about it, too. Last week, an expert performed an SEO audit on my blog and has several suggestions (most of which have to do with installing SSL, by the way).