Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Are You Part of Your Marketing Audience?

I stumbled across this blog post by Patty Jansen on Tuesday, and it got me thinking. It's titled "Why you are the biggest impediment to selling your books," and I recommend you read it. The gist is that authors may settle for poor marketing advice from their friends, or even follow their own tastes, without realizing that they're not part of their target audience and so aren't reaching them. Sometimes authors may be unwilling to experiment with their marketing techniques or be aggressive enough with their marketing. The point Patty ends up making is that you should pay attention to how successful people market their books, not how you want to be marketed to. I guess this is a new version of the Golden Rule: Don't market unto others as you want done to you.

Patty also concludes with the point that "You are not in your target group." I admit I find this line baffling. Aren't you supposed to write the books that you care about? Wouldn't that make you part of your own target audience? Or does she mean that you have to reach people with a certain set of behaviors you are unlikely to share? I imagine these are the people who not only like your book but are well-connected and are good at providing the word-of-mouth recommendations writers need. I'm still not sure what's the best way to target such people, though.

Are there certain marketing techniques you refuse to use? If so, what are they? Did you try them out before dismissing them?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Odd to think I'd not be my own target group - I wrote what I wanted to read.
I won't send out endless Tweets of 'Buy my book.' I won't even send out one. I follow some people on Twitter that seem to do that on an endless loop and it's annoying.

Sandra Almazan said...

Yeah, I found the wording strange too, Alex, since I also write what I want to read. With all the time and effort it takes to write a book, why invest it in something you don't like?

Patty gave a specific example of popups that appear right after you click on a website. I hate being asked if I want to sign up for something when I've barely had a chance to look at the site, but they're supposed to be very effective at getting people to sign up for mailing lists. I've been reluctant to use one, but now I think maybe I should try it for a couple of months and see how it works. Constant tweeting is definitely not considered an effective marketing technique.

Anonymous said...

Sandra, I don't know if this is going to stick because Blogger and I don't get along.

There are two different things: people who love certain books, and people who are sensitive to certain marketing techniques. You can shout in the wind all you want to "people like us" who want to read books *just like* we've written, but the truth is, I've found, especially in SFF, that these people are often impervious to any kind of marketing technique. What you're after when you're marketing is the subset of people *who actually click ads* and who actually sign up for mailing lists. Most of us don't. Do if you're marketing your mailing list to people like me and you who never click ads and sign up for mailing lists, then you're wasting your money.

I might comment more if I manage to get this comment past blogger within four tries.

Anonymous said...

OK, that seems to have gone through.

I meant "So", not "Do". I swear I'm the world's worst typist.

What I mean to say is that saying "I will never do XYZ because *I* don't like it" can be tremendously limiting. If you're marketing (for yourself or someone else) the only question should be: does it make a difference in sales? This can be hard to measure because a lot of things have long-term effects. If you try something, look at how people who are successful do it.

You won't, for example, ever see the Twitter marketers mix their personal and marketing accounts. These are two entirely separate things. A personal account is for chatting and posting cat pictures. A marketing account attracts marketing types. Completely different audience.

Something else: you could hate ads on websites and use an ad blocker, yet still be very successful at running Facebook or Google ads. In that case, you're obviously not part of your own target audience.

Sandra Almazan said...

Thanks for stopping by and explaining your point, Patty!

I am actually the type of person who does sign up for mailing lists of free/bargain books, which is why my TBR list will make my Kindle explode. I do pay for ads and have found them the most effective way to make sales. I'm only on a couple of author-based mailing lists, though. I do need to use mine more. While I do hate popups on websites, I'm now considering adding one to my site asking people to sign up for my mailing list. If I do that, I may offer them one of my stories for free--I just have to figure out the best way to handle that. (Perhaps with Instafreebie.)

Anonymous said...

On your author site, yes, it's not a bad thing. I also think it's a good idea to separate out your author site (where people come to learn about your books) and your blog (where people come because you might have something interesting to say about yourself or about writing), because they have different functions. Having a pop-up on a site where people come to see your books, and advertising a free book if they sign up, is *totally* fair game.

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