The soul of your marketing journey is Copywriting.
Copywriting is communication, it's actually telling the story of a product or service and inviting a potential customer along for the journey - or giving that individual a tool or weapon or advice they will need on their own journey.
It's logical to take up the study of copywriting in order to improve your sales. (My series of books in this area is hosted at Masters of Marketing Secrets, BTW.) Some even call it a "rainmaking" skill, as it's so rare to encounter someone who really knows what they are talking about in this field.
I'm not going to veer off in that direction - get the books I've published and study them for yourself - just know that it's something any marketer needs to invest in and master.
The essence of Marketing revolves around helping people on their journey - either to get going, or to continue on some part of the great life-cycle they are on. (See this final essay from Joseph Campbell's "Hero with a Thousand Faces" for a flavor of the individual journey we are each on.)
That one connection has been missing up to this point with all the greatest copywriters of all time. Only with the long study of this copywriting series above did it finally peek out and raise its hand.
Your bookstore is a shop all heroes visit.That's the approach to take. Either at the start, or somewhere along the way, you want everyone who has a journey involving your particular niche to stop in and buy the tools, weapons, manuals, or advice you have to offer.
Your job is to constantly rotate the merchandise and freshen up the displays so that every time anyone visits, they see something new and exciting which will help them overcome their next challenge.
You are offering individual books, in various shapes and sizes, and also packages of related materials, as well as collections of related books so they can buy them and improve their life and success-rate in living it.
No one book will make your fortune. More that you are offering a continuing service of enabling people to find what they are looking for within what you have been collecting.
Your storefront is virtual. You work from your own home. But people can visit your shop simply by pointing their browser to your address. This is why book publishing as a home business is a way to first get financially free and then get as rich as you want so you can do whatever you want with that money. Real freedom.
Display-tidying, stock-rotating, specials, and clearancesOverall, your shop has a theme. Like any business, it services a niche. That niche is something you are fascinated with personally - it's part of your own journey. You could talk about it endlessly and wake up with fresh inspirations about what you can do to help people find out more about it. You find yourself researching some detail or strategy or rabbit-hole which answers a question of "how come...?"
Within that niche is where you collect the books which you and others have written about your shop-theme. Then you tidy these up and publish them in all sorts of formats so people can have the type and kind they want. (Some want hardcopy books, others collect your book on their smartphone, others want video's.)
You mostly have all the tools to run your own shop already:
- We've already covered Leanpub, which will allow you to create packages for every individual book, as well as binders of related books.
- We've also covered Lulu, which will help you create almost any version of hardcopy book.
- You've read a story about iAmplify which will help you sell audio and video versions of the book online.
- I might have mentioned Kunaki.com - which will enable you to sell CD's and DVD's directly to your customers.
Within Leanpub (and I suggest you make them your central jumping-off point) you can create limited specials and also engage your customers with special emails just for them. So you can tell them when any given book has a new release or special, etc. You also have the capacity to reward them as affiliate salespersons when someone buys one of your books through their link.
iAmplify will do the same, although you can actually offer video's on Leanpub as part of your book packages, while you can only post PDF's to iAmplify.
You can also invest in other affiliate sites with digital offers, such as JVZoo and PayDotCom. (We'll get into how to incorporate these in just a bit.)
Now you're set to run your shop and market your wares to anyone who comes in.
The next question is how to get them into your shop.
Building all roads leading to your book-publishing businessLike Rome, it's possible to set yourself up as the center of the known universe for your particular niche. And that's the model to consider.
Book distributors are just outlying sales points which carry your books on a commission basis. You get paid if they sell. All these distributors also link back to your site.
Each ebook has links in front and back which send people to your site.
It's much like an octopus, where the different tentacles each bring food to the center. However, in this case we are giving even more value they closer they get.
Search engines are the same scene. Your site is optimized to ensure that the search engines get the data they need to rank you well for any search. As well, you also have posted material (such as videos and PDF's) to outlying sites which have links coming back to your central site.
On top of that, you are constantly adding new content to that central site (like your specials and updated merchandise displays) which makes your site interesting and new - so the search engine 'bots are visiting regularly.
That's how you get all roads leading to you as the top authority for your niche.
Arriving at your site is the start of another journeyYour site is specifically designed to get them to opt-in to other special offers.
You don't make real money off search engines. You get a small sum from someone buying one of your books and then visiting your site. Same for your promotional videos and PDFs. They each bring you people who are already looking for what you offer.
Your job at that point is to get them to opt-in for additional material in that area so you can communicate with them directly on the subject.
That additional material can be a no-cost (other than their email address) special report, whitepaper, manifesto, or even an ecourse delivered over time by an autoresponder. One of the most effective offers is to give them free access to a special collection of books or materials.
Once they have told you that it's OK to email them, then you can regularly market your specials and data so they will eventually opt-in to a paid membership - which is where your real income begins.
And you then get them to become part of the forum and also to become affiliates and get paid for recommending your books to others.
A book purchase is a one-time occurrence. Maybe they'll go and buy the rest of the series from that distributor. If they buy from your site, they can also get the binders and packages you've created on Leanpub. Or the video sets available on iAmplify.
What you want to do is to get collect their email address (into your autoresponder) which comes with permission to market to them. Then move them along with additional materials until they buy into your paid membership where you can really help them. Eventually, you get them to evangelize your books and get paid for doing so - as an affiliate.
That's the whole sales cycle, which some people call a "sales funnel" - but it's anything but. There is no one route, but many. And thats the way you like it, because more is better.
Look over those routes again:
- Search engines bring people to your site for information about books and those people can find distributors to buy books, or opt-in directly for no-cost materials.
- Distributors have your books and they sell them for you - income.
- Readers who follow the links in your ebooks visit your site and buy more or opt-in - more income.
- Buyers who opt-in to your free membership get exposed to timely specials and new releases - more income (and maybe reviews.)
- Buyers to opt-in to your paid membership pay you continually for access to low-cost materials and even better special offers - more income
- Buyers who evangelize about your books and offers bring you more sales - more income.
Variations on a ThemeDifferent uses of this are legion.
- Fiction writers will want to stay working on their next book. Having the email addresses of their hardcore audience, and using Leanpub to engage their readers in actually writing the book. (Meanwhile, they can buy your other books here, as well as special packages of extra "cutting room floor" material. And they can become affiliates.)
- Non-fiction writers can base their entire business on getting paid speaking and coaching gigs based on that one book. The site enables people to contact the author for these. Meanwhile, any blog posts can be converted via Leanpub into an upcoming release - and so continue the process. A paid membership and forum access allows inside information and for all your readers to become part of "the team."
- As we really covered above, small publishing houses can both publish PD and PLR books, but also help beginning authors with other services. (Like writing a book such as this one might generate prospects.)
The Core Marketing Efforts for Audience AcquisitionThere aren't all that many things to do, just lots of ways to do them.
For each book:
Decent cover - hire this if you need to, but get nice-looking covers which attract attention.
Description - The first sentence is the headline and needs to pull the reader into reading the second. The second needs to get the reader to read the next, or click "read more..." so they can read the rest of the description. Your description is an advertisment, and salesmanship in print. Again, hire this out if you want - or study the Copywriting Series, particularly Eugene Schwartz.
Price - Play around with these. It used to be that unknown authors on Amazon could get known by keeping their series at 99 cents. (Amazon has since changed their algorithms to make this more difficult.) Both Kobo and Smashwords have found that authors make the most money at $3.99 and get the biggest audience at $2.99.
Beyond that, you port to different formats and post these widely to sites which want that type of content.
- Videos - YouTube is the third-largest search engine. There are at least a dozen more sites you can post them to as well. Make sure you fill out your description well, and offer a link they can follow.
- PDF's - Doc-sharing is huge and is known to send more traffic to a site than anything else. Just don't be salesy. At least 8 big sites want you to share your PDFs from there.
- Audio - Podcasting is starting to find it's way into the mainstream now. Several sites will host your content for free.
- Graphics - Pinterest and other sites will accept your book covers and allow you links back to your site (like the landing page for the book with sales links.) There are also infographics, but these may not be worth the time it takes to create them, however popular they are currently.
Your book distributors also help with audience acquisition. The more books you have out there, which all link back to your site internally and wherever they are sold, will be your active envoys for acquiring more audience. The better the book, the more people want the next in the series.
Your ongoing marketing - launchesThere are a few people out there who recommend simply doing regular launches as a way of making income. These are usually built around a series of videos which come out and walk a person through the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) cycle to buying a package of materials and/or a paid membership.
Commonly, these launches are simply four videos, one for each step. But they can be a 30-day process, with that many days of content as an online course - which culminates in why they should buy a membership to get additional coaching and forum access, etc. They could also just be spread out over a couple of weeks.
The trick is to have a special limited-time offer at the end of them to get people to opt-in. (One of those Cialdini "Influence" tactics again.)
Properly done, they can build to rake in millions in sales, and at least 6-figures in actual income - all in a week or so.
But with a book-publishing business, you aren't limited to a certain product or a couple. You can create any number of special, limited-time offers for your binders and packages. The videos and podcasts you create as part of that any launch then become valuable products on their own, and can be collected into additional packages.
See how this just builds?
Start with your bestselling books and build a package around it and/or related books. Invite your readers to tell you what they would like in such a package (via your Leanpub or autoresponder emails)
If you have a deep backbench, then you have unlimited possible offers to provide as value to your readers.
While this is the broad strokes to your marketing scene, I'm not going into building websites and so on. This is just to get you excited about getting started on your own...