When you consider book marketing, it’s important to remember that there are long-term strategies that include things like blogging, videos and podcast interviews, professional speaking, and email list building. But there are also short-term spike tactics that can lift your book up the charts quickly, providing ranking and sales benefits. The ebook price promotion is the king of spike marketing and this article will help you optimize your efforts in this area.
If you have any doubts about the efficacy of price promotions, check out this study on bargain ebook buyers and you’ll be ready to schedule some!
1. Think about your customer first
Your promotion has to be an attractive deal for the customer, so you need to consider them when you’re thinking of what to promote. For example, promoting the first book in a series will pick up new readers, but a promo of a later book may reward existing fans. Heavily discounting a $9.99 box-set of multiple books in a particular niche will appeal to fans of that type of work, whereas making a $0.99 book free may not have the same effect because the price differential is not so high. So think about your customer and what will make them happy before you do anything else.
2. Make sure the fundamentals are in place
There’s no point in getting eyeballs to your book if the cover looks amateur or isn’t targeted to the right market, if the sales description isn’t appealing or formatted badly. You need to make sure that everything is correct first. It’s also important to provide social proof with reviews – basically, your book page should look professional and enticing when people arrive at it. Many of the paid promotional sites also require these fundamentals to be in place before they will accept you for promotion so it pays to be prepared.
3. Decide what you want to achieve with your promotion
Many authors will jump into book promotion without really considering the end result, but it’s important to think through what you want to, or even can, achieve. For example, putting your very first book in a free price promo may help you get into the book distribution algorithms and Also-Boughts, but if you have no other books available, you’re unlikely to make a financial return.
Discounting a book may bring extra income, but you could also use a free promotion in order to maximize downloads for the first in a series, thus drawing more people into your author eco-system. After all, there’s clear evidence that discounting books in a series is the most effective approach. Whatever you do, decide upfront what you want to achieve.
4. Decide on the date for your promotion
If your book has any kind of tie into a holiday or festival, it’s a great idea to focus on a promotion around that time. For example, I do a price promotion on my book, Pentecost, the first in my ARKANE series, every year on Pentecost Sunday.
There’s also evidence that people are more likely to buy a book when celebrating a holiday, so aiming for other major days off from work can be worth doing too. However, you can have too much of a good thing — beware of doing a romance promotion on Valentine’s Day since you can bet that thousands of other authors will be doing exactly the same and your book might be drowned in the noise.
5. Decide on your promotional approach
If you are accepted for a promotional advert on BookBub or other sites, it can be a good idea to continue the wave of promotion by booking other slots, or by tapping into your own network. For example, you could place adverts on other promotional sites, or run a Facebook or Goodreads giveaway at the same time.
6. Schedule your price change
On some of the distribution platforms you can schedule your price change in advance, which means you don’t have to worry about potential delays on the day of promotion, or about switching the price back later. Set this up as soon as you can to ensure there are no issues.
7. Organize and prepare your additional marketing efforts
There are lots of options to boost your promotion with other aspects of marketing unrelated to price. If you have a nonfiction book, you could consider guest posting on related blogs or trying to get some podcast interviews at the same time as your promotion to increase the sales spike. Fiction authors could consider coordinating promotions with other authors in the same niche.
8. Take baseline measurements
Go into all your sales platforms and note down the baseline sales and ranking prior to the promotion. This will give you a starting point so you can measure the success of the promotion later on.
9. Promotion Day: Go hard!
Your promotion is now live — woohoo!
At this point you should be sharing the promotional links to your email list and on your blog and social media. One caution though: Remember the principle of “social karma” — you need to give before you can expect to receive. There’s no point in jumping on Twitter for the first time when your book is on promo as no one will take any notice. But if you’re regularly providing great content and value to your followers, nobody will mind the occasional promo day and you’ll get retweets and shares and likes, as well as hopefully some buys.
10. Measure and reflect on the results
There’s a great saying in the business world: “50% of marketing works — the problem is that no one knows which 50%.”
But with online marketing and instant sales reporting, indie authors can actually measure price promotions. We all have limited money and time, so it’s critical to know what is worth repeating in terms of marketing.
Go into your sales dashboard and collect the data on how many books you sold. For both your promo book and others under your author name, check the rankings and how much of a spike you had, check your email list and any other metrics you decided on. Was the outlay in money and time worth the result? Did the promotion meet your expectations? If not, why not? What can you learn from the experience and what can you do better next time?
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