Top Tricks & Tools to Automate Marketing for Your Self-Published Book
For a writer, there’s hardly a more rewarding feeling than when your work is published. It’s the icing on the cake, the cherry on the sundae. It’s a culmination of all the time, effort, and self-doubt that readers will never realize went into that publication. And when it’s an actual book that’s being published, the feelings of accomplishment are compounded.
Most people will never know the feeling of becoming a published author. Whether you’ve published through traditional means (i.e., getting an agent who finds you a publishing deal) or self-published independently, seeing the fruits of your labor right there on Amazon or Barnes & Noble for everyone to see (and hopefully buy) makes it all worthwhile.
But the work doesn’t stop there.
Unless you’re Stephen King or have the clout of an international publishing house behind you, self-publishing is about the long-game. The actual publication of your book is really just the first step if you want your self-published book to reach a broad audience and be a success. Once your book is published, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your book.
The good news is nobody knows your book as well as you do, so you’re actually the best person to be marketing it. So marketing a self-published book isn’t as intimidating and difficult as it might seem. In fact, there are tools available for you to automate many of your marketing endeavors, which allows you to put that time to better use, whether that’s writing a sequel to your book or developing your next great idea.
Covering the Bases of Self-Promotion
Before you dive into the world of marketing automation, let’s make sure you’ve covered your bases. Unless you plan on attaching digital copies of your book to all your emails, you need some kind of presence online as a starting point. This will give you a target or destination that you can link to and to which you can route traffic. Additionally, you want people to be able to discover your book, learn about your book, learn about you, and decide to purchase your book and become one of your readers.
Do you have an author website and/or blog?
Every writer — whether he or she is a journalist, blogger, or published author — needs an author’s website. If you’ve done your homework, you probably had an author’s website in place before you even published your book. If not, getting an author’s website up and running is probably the first thing you want to do.
Are you on social media?
No matter how you feel about social media today, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s a powerful tool for promotion. Social networks are places for like-minded individuals to come together, discuss the things they like, suggest great products or services, and discover things they would like. By next year, there will be nearly 2.8 billion people using social media; that’s a lot of potential readers with whom you can network. It’s also a lot of people who can discover your self-published book.
Marketing Automation 101
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s talk about marketing automation.
A marketing automation tool takes many of those tedious, repetitive marketing tasks and allows you to automate them. Marketing automation tools are scalable, meaning they can be as big and far-reaching as you want them to be. Most importantly, they can provide you with useful analytics that show you how successful a marketing campaign has been, the aspects of the campaign that worked, and the aspects that didn’t. In turn, you can build (and automate) more effective marketing campaigns.
If it sounds complex, it’s really not. Basically, marketing automation tools are built around two things: leads and campaigns. Your leads are the people to whom you’re marketing, usually by email but also with targeted social media marketing. The term campaign refers to the batches and sequences of messages that you send to a specific group of leads. In practice, a marketing automation program gives you more opportunities to reach people who you might not otherwise have been able to reach. Further, these programs allow you to continue reaching out to them, which serves to “warm” them from leads to actual readers.
Marketing Automation for Your Self-Published Book
How automated marketing works for you self-published book is slightly variable, depending on the specific tool you choose. As you might’ve guessed, there are lots of marketing automation tools available, just as there are lots of books a potential reader could choose to buy.
Know Who You Want to Reach
As you promote your book with automated marketing, one of the most important factors to consider is your audience. In particular, you need to figure out (a) who you want to reach and (b) the best way to reach them.
Email marketing is a prominent feature of many marketing automation tools. While it might seem somewhat outdated in this age of snaps and tweets, email remains one of the best ways to reach your audience. Much like receiving a letter in the mail, an email is personal, private, and helps to create a more direct link between you and your audience. Plus, there’s a perception that emails — especially good ones — take a lot of time and effort to craft, so with a marketing automation tool at your disposal, you have the chance to really impress people with emails that actually took very little time or effort at all.
Use Analytics to Strengthen Your Marketing
Besides freeing up your time for writing that sequel, marketing automation provides you with lots of useful, actionable analytics. It works like this: Your marketing automation tool will collect data about how your marketing campaign is performing. Things like open and click rates, lead tracking and scoring, conversion rates, buyer persona data, lifecycle breakdowns, and numerous other metrics can be extremely useful as you tweak and tune your marketing campaigns for better performance.
Analytics are increasingly associated with marketing automation software, but there are still some standouts when it comes to in-depth, actionable data. In particular, HubSpot is widely seen as the gold standard for marketing analytics.
Create a Sales Funnel for Your Book
Ultimately, the goal of marketing automation is to grow your audience so that more people will discover (and buy) your book. In other words, it’s about creating a sales funnel.
A sales funnel isn’t just marketing mumbo-jumbo. Instead, the term describes the buying process, breaking it into a series of phases a person passes through as they discover, become interested in, decide to buy, and actually buy your book. So it’s rather important and a concept you should consider familiarizing yourself with as you promote and market your book.
The real “magic trick” of marketing automation is helping you find ways of triggering the next phase of the sales funnel. So when a person has discovered your book, marketing automation helps you employ strategies that will help draw that individual into the next phase of the buying process. It’s more effective than any other form of marketing because it’s not interruptive (i.e., bombarding your audiences with ads). Instead, you’re focusing on providing real value (in the form of your enticing book), which causes people to proceed further into the buying process voluntarily.
Marketing is an aspect of self-publishing that never truly ends. In fact, it arguably only gets more important over time as your book matures and more competition enters the market. But when you have sufficient knowledge of marketing practices, and with the right marketing automation tools, you could see yourself becoming the J.K. Rowling of independent authors.
Dane O’Leary is a writer, tech journalist and regular contributor to TrustRadius where he shares his knowledge on the latest trends in B2B news and technologies. He has written editorials, articles, and blog posts for some of the most popular publications on the web, including Android Authority, Phone Arena, NeilPatel.com, and Millennial Magazine while also publishing regularly on his own website.