I read a fascinating article today in Forbes (The Top 7 Online Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014 by Jayson DeMers), which discussed how overall online marketing will change in the coming year. Much of it isn’t surprising, given data we already know: sites like Pinterest, Instagram, and other more visual sites have surged in popularity this year and will continue to do so. Which makes sense if you think about it: we are busy, and visuals are much quicker to convey a message than a long blog post. They also garner more retweets and shares.
So what can we look forward to (or fear with quaking knees) for authors next year in marketing our books online?
It’s worth noting this particular statistic from the article:
“87% of connected devices sales by 2017 will be tablets and smartphones.”
This is staggering. If you don’t have a website or blog, or have one that’s not mobile-friendly, you will be losing sales. No question. Not sure how to make your site mobile-friendly? Ask your web designer or check out this informative article from TribalCafe.co/UK.
Do you have an eBook yet of your book(s)? If you don’t have your books uploaded as digital content on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the like, again, that’s a huge lost opportunity. Many people, like myself, have made the transition to completely digital, given the plethora of options for our various devices and the fact that you can download free reading apps from Kindle and Nook (and many others) to read on any device.
I released my first eBook in 2011, my second later that year, and my third in 2013. I’ve had great success with this format, and it isn’t until I started getting requests for a print version that I seriously considered it (and signed with Booktrope this past summer) to create a print version of Broken Pieces (available soon). Given that eBooks are now such a pervasive part of our culture and comprise 30% of all book purchases (nearly 30% of all books purchased in the U.S. are ebooks, according to Bowker data), I’m often shocked when authors tell me they haven’t yet created a digital version of their books.
Get up on it.
For those authors who have dipped their toes into marketing, many are now realizing that it’s just not possible to do it all. We are intuitively attracted to one site over another — for some, Twitter is a godsend, for others, they couldn’t live without Facebook.
I attended last year’s OCSMS (Orange Country Social Media Summit) and every single speaker discussed learning at least one visual platform. I immediately opened up an Instagram account, Pinterest, and began utilizing YouTube more often. I’m still a fan of the written word, but after a few hours of clicking around, I realized how wonderfully easy these platforms truly are, and I started incorporating them into my weekly social media interactions.
For clients, I find that Pinterest is easiest — the concept is so simple: pin a picture to a bulletin or “pin” board. You choose a title for the board (i.e., books, art, quotes, etc.) and share what you pin on primarily Twitter and Facebook. They have a convenient ‘find friends’ button that allows you to quickly connect to your followers. Conversely, I have one client who’s an avid photographer and prefers Instagram. Again, see what appeals to you.
I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the various marketing options and cherry pick — see what feels right, go with that. Better to be great at one social media site than to barely learn a bunch.
And remember, there are many avenues to achieve sales success (starting with a great book, of course!), so I encourage you to figure out what works best for your time, your level of skill, and comfort.
Got questions? Ask away!