5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Nobody will buy a product if they don’t know it exists. Just like you would market your product or company, you will also need to market your book. While you may be reluctant to invest in extra advertising, the more sales you can achieve for your book, the more recognition you’ll get for your brand. A successful first book could even become a quality revenue stream of its own, paving the way for future writing endeavors. Fortunately, it can be accomplished in five easy steps.
1. Begin marketing months in advance
Research shows that on average, the first trailer for a movie will debut 126 days before that movie is released in theaters (disregarding Covid postponements, of course). While some movies may have their first trailer debut over a year before release, you’ll almost never see the first trailer debut a mere week before.
You should adopt a similar mindset when releasing your book. It takes time to build awareness before a release. Only famous, well-established artists with a huge audience can get away with dropping new material without any kind of advance notice. For your first book, especially, you need to start marketing early to build awareness. This is how you’ll get pre-orders and first-day sales.
2. Use results-oriented messaging
The messaging you use to market your book can make or break your sales potential. You have undoubtedly poured a lot of knowledge and insight into your book. Perhaps you’ve even come up with a unique methodology or process that can revolutionize your reader’s lives.
As exciting as this is, the “what” isn’t going to get your book flying off shelves. Instead, your messaging should be focused on the results — how what is in your book can change readers’ lives or businesses. When you can (truthfully) tell someone that your process will increase their profits by 50%, they’ll be far more interested in reading.
3. Market to your niche
As valuable as broad-ranging social media or PPC campaigns can be, business books generally have a relatively niche audience. Look for advertising opportunities that more specifically align with the subject of your book, such as placing ads on an industry blog or podcast.
Podcasts can be an especially effective way of getting the word out about your book. Fifty-two percent of podcast listeners are driving or doing something else while listening to their podcast — meaning they don’t hit fast-forward when a sponsor’s ad comes up. Many podcast listeners’ loyalty to a favorite show also carries over to sponsors. An NPR survey found that 61% of its listeners prefer buying from their sponsors.
4. Give away free content
Giving away free content may feel counterintuitive, but it can go a long way in helping readers learn about your book and start engaging with you before making a purchase. It gives readers a chance to experience your knowledge firsthand.
When they realize that you know what you’re talking about — and that your content will provide real benefits for them — they’ll want to buy your book. Whether through blog posts, videos, social media posts or email campaigns, drip-feeding content from your book is a great way to generate real excitement around its launch.
A great case study of this comes from Lysa TerKeurst, author of Made to Crave. To promote her book, she developed a 21-day challenge that formatted much of the book’s content into daily emails. Despite “giving away” roughly one-third of its content, the book sold 225,000 copies in nine months. The free sample was more than enough to get readers hooked.
5. Provide advance copies to build buzz
Giving away copies of your book may feel like you’re taking the idea of providing free content too far, but this can be crucial in building early buzz for your book. Getting positive reviews can make all the difference in getting skeptical readers to give your book a chance.
While passing copies out to friends, family members and those in your personal network can be helpful, you’ll be best served by reaching out to industry influencers, leaders and bloggers. Industry podcasts and blogs can expose your book to a much broader audience.
Sending free copies to leaders in your niche can be a great way to generate reviews that readers will pay attention to. While not every influencer is going to take the time to read and review your book, a single review from the right person could lead to hundreds or thousands of sales. The results far outweigh the cost of giving away a few copies for free.
Make the most of your first book
As the cliche goes, you only have one chance to make a first impression. The same is true with your book. A quality book will help you build a loyal readership and gain more leads for your business.
It can provide niche authority like nothing else can. As you market your book effectively, you will be able to ensure that it has the greatest reach possible, so you can enjoy the full extent of these benefits.