Guest Post by Rob Eagar
As we face a new year, it's easy to feel overwhelmed with resolutions and the desire to improve upon last year's success or the lack thereof. But, sometimes the hardest part is placing proper focus on the right priorities. With a plethora of choices to market your message, it's easy to fall into analysis-paralysis. So, I've provided twelve marketing tips to prevent you from freezing up and get 2012 off to a great start:
1. Enhance your author brand
If you don't have an author brand, your first marketing move of 2012 is to start creating one. With all the voices competing for your audience's attention, you must stand out more than ever. A brand is what makes you memorable and communicates your value. Thus, make sure your brand is infused into everything you do, including any of your books, products, services, bios, social media pages, etc. If you’re struggling to create a brand, review these seven principles on my website (http://www.startawildfire.com/buildabrand.html).
2. Grow your newsletter list
If you don't have a regular author newsletter, start one today. I recommend inexpensive services, such as ConstantContact or MailChimp. If you already have a newsletter, maintain consistency and focus on growing your database. Encourage people to register by offering an exclusive resource only available to new subscribers. Give a prize at your author events to induce new signups. Ask people you meet for permission to add them to your database. Set a goal to add at least 100 new subscribers per month.
3. Launch new spin-off products
For every book, there are usually three or more spin-off opportunities you could offer. Yet, most authors fail to capitalize on these options. You've already got the content. Why not offer it in various formats that people prefer? For instance, turn your printed book into an e-book, audio book, or video study with participant's guides. Turn your novel into a theatrical play, movie script, or broader series of stories. By doing so, you can penetrate your audience deeper or entice a new section of your target market.
4. Seek high-profile endorsements
A great way to boost your expertise and credibility is to have well-known people publicly support you. So, start out this year by seeking to add at least 2 - 3 written or video testimonials from leaders who would be respected by your readers. Credibility is the foundation for trust, and trust is the foundation for purchasing your books or services.
5. Pursue bulk sales
No matter what kind of book you write, there is almost always an opportunity to sell it in large quantity. Bulk sales mean more revenue with less effort. For example, if you speak at events or conferences, ask the director if they'd like to buy your book or product for every attendee. Provide volume discounts as the quantity goes up. You can also garner bulk sales by creating a special version of your product that is unique to the customer, such as a custom cover, exclusive content, bonus features, etc. Don't overlook the lucrative opportunity to sell caseloads.
6. Create a media calendar
Most radio and TV producers get so many requests that they rarely chase authors down for interviews. Instead, they usually wait for people to contact them. Increase your ability to land bookings by setting up your own media calendar. Examine January through December, and list any holidays, occasions, or seasonal periods when your expertise would be desired. In addition, create a list of topics that you could speak about as an expert if those issues hit the national headlines. Write press releases and submit 2 - 3 months ahead of time. It's easier to get more media coverage when you plan ahead for it.
7. Use social media to promote your value
Twitter and Facebook are fully integrated into our society, but 90% of all social media chatter is idiotic drivel. However, this makes it easier for you to stand out by providing value, rather than inane comments and discussions. Use social media to give away more of your expertise than the year before. Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. You can't be seen as an expert if you keep your expertise under wraps. Give away free advice, articles, discounts, samples, resources, etc.
8. Attend a major conference in your field
Where do influential leaders and readers gather? At major conferences and events. If you want to meet them, you've got be in the same room rubbing shoulders. Pick at least one new conference and put it in your 2012 budget to attend. Technology is cool, but social media will never replace face-to-face interactions to build relationships and promote your book.
9. Say "no" more often
Who you are is more defined by when you say "no," rather than when you say "yes." Anyone can say yes to everything. But, they will wind up stressed out, watered down, and ineffective. It's better to be an expert in your field than a "jack of all trades - master of none." So, make a conscious effort to say no to projects that don't fit your brand or area of expertise. This can be emotionally difficult in the short-term, but wildly rewarding the long-term. Shut the door on selfish people trying to use you, products or books that aren't profitable, negative people who drain your energy, etc. With the time and energy you gain, you'll be better positioned to maximize the opportunities you encounter.
10. Raise your fees
Take a look at what you charge to speak, write, consult, or train, and consider raising your fees. Inflation is always going up, and if your fees aren't rising along with it, you'll soon fall behind. If your fees have stayed the same for the past two years, then your products or expertise can look stagnant. Assuming that you’re an author who is smarter and more skilled than you were a year ago, you should be worth more. Thus, raise your fees.
11. Set aside time now for vacation and rest
Many authors work tirelessly to write a book. In the process, vacations and periods of rest tend to get pushed to the backburner. This leads to burnout, stress, and lowered creativity. Instead, set aside vacations and downtime first, and make your writing schedule work around it. You will feel more relaxed knowing that a vacation is established, rather than relying on the crumbs of your schedule. I say this from personal experience.
12. Invest in your professional growth
Your marketing this year will only be as good as your knowledge and skills. And, you won't learn how to be a better marketer through osmosis. So, my final piece of encouragement is to invest in yourself. Don't look at professional development as an expense. You are spending money to make a lot more money. There are books, coaching programs, tutorials, and conferences available to help you improve your marketing. I've just launched several new learning opportunities for authors (for details, visit: http://www.startawildfire.com). If you want to increase book sales, then you've got to increase your marketing skills.
Don't let my list of 12 marketing moves overwhelm you. Pick a couple of the issues I've discussed and start on them this week. With focus and enthusiasm, your marketing can reach new heights in 2012.
About the Author
Rob Eagar is the founder of WildFire Marketing, a consulting practice that helps authors and publishers sell more books and spread their message like wildfire. He has assisted numerous New York Times bestselling authors and his new book, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire, will be published by Writer’s Digest in May, 2012. Find out more about Rob’s advice, products, and coaching services for authors at: www.startawildfire.com