Today Angelika Niere, director at BIEG Hessen, an office established by various Hessian Chambers of Commerce and Industry to help small companies improve their online marketing, talks about the importance of online marketing:
Everybody can do online marketing. It requires time and effort, but it doesn’t necessarily require money. A writer with a halfway decent online marketing strategy will have something on most of the other writers. If you choose the right online marketing measures and stick with them, you will start selling more books.
Authors who want to market their own books online are dealing with the following challenge: They have to make people talk about them and their books. They have to encourage those conversations to result in links, placed by third parties, pointing onto the author’s website. (Or, if you don’t have a website, onto your Facebook page or similar and onto your sales platforms.) On the website, they take the visitors who clicked those links by the hand. They convince them of the entertainment value of their books, then lead them towards the checkout button. Good marketing takes control of each of these steps. It makes authors visible; it makes them conversation topics. It transforms people’s vague curiosity about a book into real interest, then into a sale. Its final step—the biggest challenge—is convincing readers to stick around for the next book, to become fans.
In the following three blog posts, we’ll be tackling different parts of that journey. Our first post will focus on the author’s website, which welcomes visitors and gets them to stick around, by way of good design and interesting content; it entices them into visiting the sales platform where they’ll proceed to click the “buy” button. A good website converts—meaning, it makes as many visitors as possible become customers. It’s an incredibly interesting place to be, so that other people recommend a visit by linking to it. It also fulfills some technical requirements so that it can be found easily by search engines, and the text on the website is organized in a way that search engines can read. So the second post will be about search engine optimization.
The last entry will focus on the wide world of social media and how to work it. Social media is where you can be active, where you can talk to your audience directly and encourage them to talk about you. Most importantly, you can create links that point at your website and sales platforms.
The German version of this series will include an additional article on the legal aspects of online marketing. Since I don’t know all that much about the very broad and complex topic of international law, I can’t offer any insights on that front. Please do look into the legal requirements of online sales and online marketing in both the country you live in and the countries whose markets you use to sell books. Some countries don’t make a big deal about it. Others do.
We’re used to looking at marketing like it’s this magic trick where you point a wand at a product which then mysteriously goes viral; we stare in blank incomprehension at Fifty Shades of Grey. Fortunately, though, marketing doesn’t have to rely on coincidence, and there’s nothing mysterious about it at all. (Though trying to sell a good book helps; I won’t lie.) An author’s marketing is made up of a bundle of specific measures, chosen with care and utilized to achieve specific, pre-defined goals. Its success can be measured, because you will be generating click and sales statistics along the way. The important part is understanding that the visibility of authors and books on the Internet—and therefore the rest of the world—usually doesn’t happen by accident. It can be controlled. By you, the author. This series of articles will show you how to do it.
When not working on a PhD in German literature, Angelika Niere is a director at BIEG Hessen, an office established by various Hessian Chambers of Commerce and Industry to help small companies improve their online marketing. She is in charge of writing and publishing marketing guides, specializing in content marketing and social media marketing in particular.