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June 19, 2014

Inbound Marketing for #Authors

by Donna Huber


Inbound Marketing
Inbound Methodology. Source: Hubspot

I've been applying for jobs recently and as most of my marketing knowledge comes from experience rather than an academic degree, I've had to do some research on industry jargon. One such topic is Inbound Marketing. It is what I do for clients, yet I didn't know the term. I found the above graphic to be quite useful in my interviews. When I first saw it, I automatically thought of authors. Many are doing some of these things, but like me, didn't have the background to fully implement it. So I thought I would take a few minutes to discuss how an author can use each step to convert strangers into fans (promoters). You may also want to read the article that accompanies the graphic on Hubspot (I also like their newsletters. They have some great templates available for free, which I have been using in my new position as Manager of Publicity and Development. )

Attract:

I'm pretty sure most authors area already doing this step to varying degrees. If you ask anyone veteran author how to gain exposure they are going to tell you that you need a blog and to be active on social media. Keywords is assumed with this advice. Keywords would be words people would search that could lead them to you. On social media they are often the hashtags you use. For example, if you are a romance author then you would use words that romance novel readers search for in your blog posts and social media posts: Romance, love, sexy, steamy, as well as titles of well known romances. 

Your blog content is shared through social media to attract the attention of strangers to you. Continuing with the theme of romance authors, an example of a blog post would be "10 Best Romances EVER". A post such as this would feature famous romances through history like Charles and Diana. Now you may be wondering what that has to do with your book. Once you have attracted a stranger to your site as a visitor, it is time for the next step.

Convert:

Your article on 10 Best Romances EVER has caused a stranger to visit your site. Now you want to keep them there and gather a little information on them. The best way is with a Call to Action

We are all familiar with the call to action of "BUY MY BOOK" and while certainly you want that option to be available, you may need to do a little schmoozing before that visitor becomes a customer. First, you will need to convert the visitor into a lead.

An intermediate call to action may be needed. This could be "JOIN MY MAILING LIST". This is different than subscribing to your blog (which would be another call to action to offer). I use Mailchimp for my newsletters and mailing list management. The sign up form you create can collect a bunch of details about the person. The more info you have on the visitor the better lead they are. Leads are people who have more than a passing interest in your content, otherwise they wouldn't have gone the extra step of filling out a form.

Close:

With the information you have gathered on your visitors, you have a solid list of leads. It is time to close the deal and make them customers

One way to make them customers is by emailing them a free extended scene or free chapter. This could be something that was edited out or maybe a scene from a different POV. The point is to whet their appetite for more of the story. Always include the call to action to purchase the book. 

If you are familiar with Google Analytics, tracking your visitors use of your site and how/where they come from and go to will help you tailor your actions to these leads.

Delight:

Once your leads become customers your work is not done. As you publish more books you will need to continue through this marketing cycle for each new title. But you also want your customers to become your cheerleaders. You want them to write reviews and talk about your books with their friends and families. The more customers you can transform into promoters the easier your marketing efforts will become.

How do you delight your customers? Don't forget them. Loyalty goes both ways. If you come out with a new short story or deleted scene to send to your leads, make sure your customers also get it. Also doing random giveaways of free books or swag that only go to your customers can be fun for them as well as keeping your newsletter up-to-date. You could also offer referral rewards. This will build your leads list while also delighting your current customers. 

Your Plans

Has your marketing been a bit like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks? Hopefully by using these steps you can form concrete marketing plans for each of your titles that will yield results.



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