Friday, May 23, 2014

If you can't be with the one you love, honey...

Love the one you're with.

And now that we're all singing that song in our heads, let's talk about marketing.

So much of marketing is about getting your book in front of new readers, but I've talked before about the importance of showing your existing fans plenty of love.


That's why I really enjoyed this article from Buffer about putting more focus on your existing customers, or for writers, existing readers. Most marketing plans work on the funnel basis or attracting a large number of people and then hoping that at least a small percentage of them will become customers/readers. It's why people use big prizes in giveaways. You attract a ton of entries by giving away a Kindle Fire with the understanding that only a very small percentage will, hopefully, buy your book.

Buffer suggests putting more focus on showing appreciation for your existing customers/readers to create buy-in and then they will be the ones to spread the word out to their friends and family. Some of those new exposures will result in sales, some won't. But you can guarantee that you've strengthened the relationship with existing readers.

The article lists three ways you can show the love to your readers. Their examples are business based, so I wanted to share some writing examples to bring it home.

1. Make your readers feel like part of the club
No one does this better than John Green. His community has their own name: Nerd Fighters. They flash their own gang sign and call out "Don't forget to be awesome". They tune in weekly to watch his video chats with his brother and donate massive amounts of money to various causes that the community wants to support. This past month they turned out in droves to support the release of the movie version of The Fault in Our Stars and the movie doesn't come out for another month. Green created a loyal community who will now buy every word the man writes and do it with a smile on their face.

2. Make providing more, free value for your existing customers a priority
We all have value we can give readers. This can come in the form of deleted scenes, short novellas, behind the scenes info and anything else that lets readers get closer to you and your work. And excellent example of this is Hugh Howey. He allows anyone to write in his world, and doesn't charge a cent for it. This makes it safe for readers to dabble with fan fiction and presents an opportunity to expand the world of Wool to new readers. Howey could charge big bucks to allow writers to write inside the universe he created. Instead, he does it for free and treats his readers like a valuable part of his community.

3. Make your readers feel important
We make our readers feel important by engaging with them. This means responding to tweets, emails, Facebook messages, etc.. It also means sharing photos you take of them, highlighting their fanfic, thanking someone for a great review and celebrating the things they are excited about. If a fan sends you an idea or suggestion, acknowledge that, especially if you use it! Don't be the author that feels too important for their readers. Instead, be the author that recognizes without your readers your books are just ink on pages. Make sure your readers always know just have valuable they are to you.

You never want to stop trying to expand your reach to new readers. But make sure you aren't doing so at the expense of sharing the love with your existing readers.

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