Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Other marketing stuff........

Firstly, let me remind you that I confessed to doing all of this too late. A lesson learnt. 

So, we had decided on a ‘launch date’ and I was playing catch up with the marketing to give the ‘launch’ every opportunity to succeed. I had also decided that, once the launch was completed, the focus of my marketing would be to establish a solid base of interest as opposed to just drive sales. I want to create a base for the next book. That is where I envisage maximising on the work I'm doing now. It's an investment.

I'm 50+ and 'Social Media' was pretty foreign to me. I knew of FaceBook, I know it and mobile phone texting will eventually be the death of verbal interaction, and I knew I didn't like it. I understood the need for a website as a 'web presence' if not the e-commerce solution of yesteryear. But I knew jackpoo about building, updating or expanding one. My knowledge of FaceBook was even less.

The website was my first priority. I wanted to establish an identity. Remember that by now I had pretty much completed Russian Redemption and already knew that there would be more books. So my decider was the availability of my preferred domain names. Even though I live in little New Zealand I wanted a web presence that would give the impression of being bigger than just one country so dot NZ, or dot UK or dot anywhere wasn't what I was after. I bought

Owning meant everything else going forward had to link, it was the start of building the 'brand'.

And it is about this time that me and FaceBook became mortal enemies. (Sense of the dramatic please) I had to get in bed with the Devil AND make it my friend. I'm not sure we're 'friends' but we are getting along a whole lot better now. I had to learn from scratch, and with the help of my son and some late nights, and one or two expletives, I managed to get a working knowledge of the beast that is - FaceBook.

Anyway, with some word of mouth and some 'sympathy friends' I managed to add a few 'FaceBook Friends' to the FaceBook account and it kind of built from there really. This is an important exercise, you will want these contacts.

Concurrently I looked into a Twitter Account. To this day I don’t really understand what the purpose of ‘Twitter’ is, but I knew it was perceived as being an important social media tool so I investigated and created I already had a ‘LinkedIn’ account and I had also built an e-mail list of contacts.

For the website I opted for – its ‘free’ service is quite basic but reasonably user friendly. I tried reading the ‘help’ Guide but that just got frustrating so it was a case of trial and error. Then I discovered that I couldn't do what I wanted to do unless I traded up to the next level of their service (not so free!) so I had to invest a little. To be fair I could have stayed with the ‘free’ service at this point but my ‘creative’ side got the better of me, I wanted just that little bit extra to make the website look more appealing, more professional.

One thing I found incredibly useful was ‘cut & paste’. I’d create a ‘piece’ for the website then paste that same piece into a FaceBook post, which was linked to my Twitter account so the post got automatically ‘tweeted’ as well. It saved a lot of time. I’d then paste it to my LinkedIn account, which shared with my gmail contacts. All of this was to build as much interest in the coming launch as possible, it was all about activity.

After the launch I spent a lot more time getting to know the capabilities of the various programs. Again, had I started earlier I would have been far better prepared and knowledgeable prior to the book launch, it would of helped.

One of the things I have used since is the FaceBook Advertising program. I am not sure how effective it was in so much as resulting in sales but to be honest I had a different reason for using it. For those that don’t know, Amazon uses algorithms, secret mathematical equations that select books for their own advertising machine to promote, getting ‘selected’ can make a big difference in the success of a book. Anyway, my thought process was to ‘link’ with specific Authors in specific genres so I did some research. Having identified five such Authors I targeted my advertising campaign at their fan base. I wasn’t trying to take their fans, just share a few of them. The good thing about the FaceBook advertising facility is that you have a lot of control, you decide what your advert says, where it appears and exactly how much you are prepared to invest. You can do a ‘shock and awe’ type campaign or a subtle steady ‘build awareness’ campaign, I went for the latter.  One of the many things that I have discovered on this Authors Journey is that everything takes time, there are no shortcuts of any value. My purpose was to create a subconscious relationship between the readers of the more established Author and me, or to be more exact, with RussianRedemption. I wanted Amazon’s algorithm to start putting my book in the bit that says “people that bought this book also bought….” And that appears to be happening.

This blog page is a very recent addition to my ‘Marketing Strategy’ – it probably should have come along ages ago but it’s that ‘time’ thing again. Yes I want to share my experiences, yes I want to help people avoid or fast track certain initiatives, but at the same time I’m communicating with people, spreading awareness of myself as an Author, and of course my novel RussianRedemption. And that is what all of the ‘social media’ avenues are about, reaching people. I don’t believe there is one singular avenue that will bring success, it’s a case of utilising as many avenues as possible (especially when they are free!) to achieve the aim. ‘Free’ in a monetary sense, expensive when it comes to time.

A couple of points about FaceBook that may help you:

1)      People take more notice of ‘visual’ posts so use a picture every time – words just get lost.
2)      I have noticed that posting between 4.30pm and 8pm gets more of a reaction.
3)      I don’t post anything important over the weekend. Peoples social media goes nuts over the weekend so a lot of posts get shunted down the news feed and missed.
4)      ‘Tag’ people into the photos on your posts. That way they get notified of the post directly, it guarantees that they see your post, and hopefully share it on.

Now there is ‘Pinterest’ as well! I briefly looked at Pinterest a couple of weeks ago and to be honest I struggled to understand its value as a marketing tool. But I was looking at it from the wrong angle. I now see my Pinterest as being my own shop of interest. I have boards that advertise other Indie Authors, one for proofreading & Editing services and one for RussianRedemption – they’re the ‘working’ boards. Other boards are purely my interests or stuff that I like as a person. What this does is give visitors a nose into more about me. Remember a while back I mentioned that the ‘public’ demand a piece of your soul to be on display, well Pinterest allows you to display that piece. Of course you ‘trade’ with others, they follow you or a number of your boards, you follow them and so on – a community grows and you’re all helping each other. Its about having a variety of interests on display that bring a wider audience into your shop, these are 'eyes' that would not normally have seen ''Russian Redemption'. I am still careful of what I put up on the boards though..

I may have mentioned some way back that I wasn't overly blessed with patience. But I also knew that this strategy was a long term thing so in order to see positive results of my efforts quickly, I had to 'adjust' my 'performance indicators' away from 'sales'. Being the person that I am I believe in tangible results, facts, so I turned to the things that don't lie - numbers. I monitored website hits, facebook activity logs, post responses, 'likes', views etc to find positives that proved progress. And then used that progress as motivation to keep going.

(I still do it - for example my last post got 35 views within seven minutes of posting and was shared three times. Before that I had only had one share and no where near that number of views in that short space of time. - progress! And I turn these 'positives' into Facebook posts!)

OK, I figure that’s enough to take on board for this post. Next time I’m going to tell you how I managed to get that illusive ‘Amazon Best Seller’ badge at point of launch, and some of the benefits that’s can bring.

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