Over the past, few years I’ve talked to a lot of authors experimenting with marketing using tools like: blogs, newsletters, social media, direct mailers and bookmarks, convention appearances, etc. When something doesn’t work? They abandon it. Sadly, some of the tools they’re leaving behind have real, tangible value. Newsletters, for example, take a long time to build but have a potential financial reward that can be directly correlated to its design and content.
To these authors’ credit, they do their due diligence pouring through reams of data and getting feedback. I have never known an author who was not thorough. However, I would like to offer that there is a common reason why marketing tactics fail. It’s so simple, you may smack your head and say “Duh!” but it’s also something the data and sales will not tell you.
Marketing Efforts Will Fall Flat If You Do Not Have a Clear Call-to-Action
I mentioned last time that there is a difference between marketing and selling. Part of marketing, though, is also about setting defined goals. In other words, What do you want readers to do? Is your answer: “I don’t know?” Or it’s always: “Sell more books.” Then, you’re probably not getting mileage out of your tools.
There are several aspects of marketing that dovetail well with what an author does. Research is important, but that’s only one part of it. Brand awareness, in the form of producing and then sharing content, is another. The call-to-action integrates with every aspect of marketing, because it relates to the end goal or desire of what the marketer wants, but still gives the user/customer/reader something they want, too.
Sample call-to-actions are:
+ Read my article
+ Give me feedback
+ Click for more information
+ Share your thoughts
+ Shop my library
+ Buy for 99 Cents
These calls-to-action can take the form of a link or a graphic. Studies often show that the visibility of the call-to-action has a big impact on the success of responses. As I’m sure you’re already aware, one website design may vary wildly from another–even with the same content. Same goes for newsletters, bookmarks, etc. As others have pointed out here, the cover art on a book matters. For marketing? Good design is crucial to complement the call-to-action and the content. Sometimes a simple change (e.g. changing the color of a link or an e-mail newsletter headline) can increase results by up to twenty or thirty percent.
The other piece of a call-to-action is a reward for the consumer’s efforts. Marketers sometimes employ “funnel marketing” that takes the customer (or reader) through a series of steps for a reward. Sometimes, the larger the funnel, the more chances the reader has to abandon it. However, some marketers leave multiple pieces or items that they desire in each step, so for them? Any information is still valuable.
Regardless of how you integrate a call-to-action into your marketing for your books, the important thing is that you have one that is a) easy to understand b) visible without being annoying and c) offers something of value for both parties.
Without a clear call-to-action, your readers may still find value in what you’re providing, but you may not be happy with the results of your efforts.[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://howtowriteshop.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/MLV_Logo_Color_Small.png[/author_image] [author_info]Monica Valentinelli is an author and game designer who lives in the dark. Her hobbies include: tormenting her cats, designing jewelry, and hiking in the woods. In addition to her genre work, Monica has a professional background in online marketing with a strong emphasis on copywriting, web analytics, social media and search engine optimization. [/author_info] [/author]