I got a question recently from a fellow writer who wanted to know: What really works in terms of online marketing?
There are so many tactics out there, all of which work in various degrees, but if you’re a busy author, with kids and (in some cases) a day job, you want to hone in on the best strategies that will have the maximum effect.
Social Media Marketing
Everyone has a Twitter and Facebook account these days, but very few truly know how to use them optimally. The power of Twitter lies in reaching large numbers of people in your target market. Short, hard sell promotional Tweets do not work. Instead, concentrate on relationship building. Read up about using hash tags, this helps you to reach like-minded people who may be interested in your work.
Facebook is a great social networking tool.
I’ve made many wonderful, supportive ‘friends’ on Facebook. Because conversations are longer, meaningful relationships are easier to develop than on any other social media platform. The trick is to restrict your networking time to off-hours, so it doesn’t encroach on your writing time! Consider joining groups with large followings, so when you do post, you reach a larger group than if you just posted on your own wall.
Timing also makes a difference. I restrict my posts to once a day on both FB and Twitter, and usually in the afternoon, as that way I know I’m reaching my US market, who are online by then. Smart social media marketing can be very powerful, but don’t let it become an excuse for procrastination!
You need to have a website so you can build a list of fans. These are people that are interested in your books and want to be contacted when you release your next novel. These people are your guaranteed buyers. They’ve contacted you! To this effect, make sure a Contact Me button is clear and visible on your site.
Your website must also provide information on your books such as where to buy them, blurbs and positive reviews. If you plan to do blog posts and interviews have a media kit (containing a brief biography, your book info, publicity photos and your contact details) available for download. List any events or signings that you’re attending so your fans have an opportunity to meet you in person.
Interviews and Guest Posts
Research and follow worthwhile blogs, especially those in your target market. Ask to be interviewed by the ones you enjoy the most. The same goes for guest posts. Your aim here is not to make sales, but to build your brand, gain recognition and get your message out there where it will be picked up by search engines. Use key phrases particular to your genre, pen name or books in all your articles and interviews so they are easily picked up by online searches.
Take time to respond to your readers
Your readers are your biggest fans and your bread and butter. If you are lucky enough to get positive reviews, make sure you respond thanking them. Answer every email, tweet or post you get from readers and nurture those relationships. This can take a huge amount of time, but it’s worth it. Set time aside for this. Don’t let it get in the way of your daily writing routine.
Here I’ve covered what are probably the most effective marketing techniques for writers. As you know, there are many more options. Other avenues that may show good results are industry specific platforms such as Goodreads or Wattpad. Research these but limit yourself to one or two. Don’t try to be everything to everyone, it won’t work and you’ll simply dilute your brand and have less time for writing.
The key to effective marketing is niche marketing.
Take the platforms and techniques you enjoy the most and tailor them to your specific niche. Don’t try to please everyone. Restrict your marketing and promotional endeavours to your target market, which means knowing who they are and nurturing your relationships with them.
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