Audience building post was inspired by a webinar I attended last night created by Joanna Penn and Nick Stephenson. Nick teaches authors how to automate their sales and be free to deal with more fun stuff, like writing! And I already mentioned Joanna in a previous article about guest blogging.
They made an amazing webinar on this subject and you can visit their sites (links above) to find out more. There’s also Nick’s site on audience building there that can help you in depth. But, I’ll cover shortly a few major points they raised and elaborate a bit.
Audience building is a major step and it’s a step you can’t ignore. You can’t ever publish a book and hope people simply find it. Tweeting isn’t enough, even though social networks help and you should be present there.
The main idea is that you have a platform of your own and have people wanting to buy your books. There are various ways to achieve this and I’ll cover them all, one by one. But, today we will focus on what Nick and Joanna presented last night.
So, there are three main things you need to do:
- Drive traffic
- Achieve conversion
- Engage audience
These three steps will result in sales.
Driving Traffic To Your Platform
What Is THE Platform?
E-mail list. It’s simple as that. You need an e-mail list and you need the people who fit the profile of your target audience on that list.
By far the best e-mail list tool is MailChimp. You can integrate it with your WordPress.com site or any self-hosting platform you choose. It’s also free until you reach 500 subscribers – that’s unique for them since they offer the most additional services for very little or no money.
E-mail lists are the most powerful marketing tool but they are more than that. E-mail lists are your direct connection with your readers. So, with one e-mail list you achieve two things: you advertise and you keep a strong connection with readers.
How Do I Drive Audience To My Platform?
The best way to drive people to your books, site and list is by giving them free things. Now, someone who isn’t interested in your genre won’t take your free book – but they wouldn’t buy a book neither. So, by giving people free things in exchange for their e-mails is the ultimate win. People are pleased, you are enriching your list and you know that you only have those who would like your books on the list.
2 Ways To Attract People’s Attention
You can attract organic searches and you can pay for traffic. You should use both. Social media won’t give you much traffic (Facebook gives 4% organic traffic compared to paid traffic). So, you should buy ad space on social media and have people interested.
But, organic traffic needs some more work. One example Nick Stephenson gives is making a giveaway on some raffle site in exchange for the participants’ e-mail addresses. This is a very cool tool (accident, right there) that will bring you subscribers – it’s your job to convert them into loyal fans and buyers.
There are a few ideas on how you convert your subscribers into buyers and fans. First thing to do is give them a free e-book with a link inside. The link should lead them to a landing page that has no other links except the sign-up form. So, they have to sign up to your e-mail list in order to access the special gift from you. The subscription should lead them to a private page where you give them something free.
Now, it doesn’t have to be another book, it can be an accompanying novella or some deleted scenes. Joanna gives a bunch of links to other free books in the same genre – great idea. You can offer them access to your book club – a private Facebook group you moderate where you share special offers and promotion, recommend books, etc.
So, the cleverness behind all this is astonishing. If people are interested in your writing and your genre enough to download the free gift of yours and sign up to your e-mail list for things in the genre – they are very likely to buy your next book. This works with Kindle Unlimited as well – free period are your ally.
Groups To Convert
To achieve conversion you need to take those who are partially interested to your books and make them your fans.
You need to strike at indifference, worry and procrastination. To do so, have reviews and engaged people tell for themselves. But the procrastinators are the most often group. Those are the people who like your genre and would like to read your book but leave it for later. They never will.
To solve this conundrum, a simple psychological trick must be applied – a countdown. Run a promotion, tell them they can get your book at a 75% discount if they but within the time period you like – give them 24, 48 hours to decide. They do want to buy it but now they can’t leave it for later.
Engage Your Audience
You need your audience to feel the connection with you. Don’t fake it, they’ll know. So, write the newsletters yourself – don’t look for a freelancer to do it for you (I support freelancers as I was one until recently, but this is too personal). The newsletters must be interesting, engaging, helpful and above all, they must be your letters to your reader.
I’ll tell you how to write newsletters in a later post. But, for now, we have some more channels of engagement to explore.
Facebook groups were already mentioned, but they will work here as well. Let your readers know you. Now, are you familiar with J. K. Rowling’s Twitter activity? Do you not think that every person she tweeted to became a fan for life if they weren’t before (not including the ones she roasted)? Engage.
Nick Stephenson asked his readers to take a selfie with his hardcover book when they buy it and he published it. He proved to the indifferent people (yet potential fans) that his books were being read.
Ask the same of your followers!
I hope this was helpful. Again, visit Joanna’s and Nick’s websites for detailed information and strategy. It wouldn’t be honest to reveal all their trick when they are making living teaching this to people, right? So, visit their sites (links above) and learn.
But also, keep writing!
Author: Mladen Reljanović
Mladen Reljanović is the founder and lead writer at Writer to Writers. He is the author of Oaktown stories, senior student of communication and a pianist.