Too many authors overlook a key strategy when building a successful author platform: beginning a correct, successful online marketing. Who has time for that? Well, if you want to set your book up for marketing success, you need to make time. You have to put in some work in order to see results. It might seem overwhelming at first, but once you get a plan in place, it will work to your advantage.
These 5 tips can help you set up a solid online presence:
1. Create a Facebook Fan Page
Not your own personal Facebook profile, but a fan page exclusively for your book and author platform. A fan page is something people can easily “like” and follow to see posts tailored to your book. You can hire a freelance designer to design a professional cover and profile picture for your Facebook fan page. Your fan page should look solid and interesting at the same time. Avoid using cheap design and amateur images to present your book.
2. Advertise Your Fan Page on Facebook
It is not a secret that Facebook has more than a billion users. So you are going to find many of your buyers on Facebook. After setting up a solid fan page, you should consider setting up an advertisement campaign to gather fans. Unless you are a highly popular author, the chances you would gather fans without advertising are very low. We recommend creating a highly narrow targeted ad and aim for gathering page “likes”. For example, if your book is about “Christian marriage”, target people who live in the United States, have a college degree, are married and interested in Christian counseling. You may start from $3/per day and continue for 2-3 months. You also need to create posts at least 3 times a week. Once you gather more than 1000-1500 likes, you can stop advertising, but continue posting content on your Facebook page. After gathering that many “likes”, you would still get fans without advertisement if you keep posting on your Facebook page, but it will be at a slower rate.
3. Create a Twitter Account
It’s a free, popular marketing tool. Use the title of your book as your Twitter handle, and follow authors, publishers and communities with similar interests. There is an incredible amount of conflicting data about the best time to tweet, how often to tweet, etc. We suggest starting out with at least one new tweet per day. That’s only 140 characters, which is easy for a writer like you, right?
4. Build a Website with a Blog
Now comes the part that most authors find a bit daunting. If you’ve never created a website before, we suggest hiring a professional to create one. There are many Christian web design studios out there. We have worked with CrossRoad web design studio and are happy with their services. They offer high quality services at a very competitive price. But there are many others as well. Whatever you choose, just avoid using online, cheap site-builders.
Remember you may save some money, but an amateur website would ruin your reputation. Author websites typically have a page for a bio, books, events and news and include links to your social media pages like Facebook. Think of this as a one-stop shop for fans to find out everything about your book. If you are selling your book on Amazon (self-publishing using Amazon services), you can also set up an Amazon seller account and put an Amazon “buy button” on your website.
This will allow you to send users directly to Amazon, and if they make a purchase, besides royalty money, you’ll also receive commission for sending people to Amazon to buy your book.
You need to also consider adding a blog to your website. Writing a blog may sound like a lot of work, but there are ways to make this task easy to handle. Add a 300- to 500-word blog post at least once a week, and create an editorial calendar to make it easy for you to stay on track. You can also ask guest bloggers to post, review fellow authors’ books, or write about timely events that relate to your book. Bonus: This will also create new content to promote on your social media accounts like Facebook fan page.
5. Do Search Engine Optimization on Your Website
Once you set up a website, if your budget allows, go for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is one of the most effective online marketing tools. Putting it simply, SEO is the process of optimizing your website for certain keywords in the search engine so that it could rank on the first page.
When you search for something on Google, you write it in the search box, and hit “enter”. What comes up next is a page with 10 websites and some advertisements on the top and the right column (Google Adwords). More than 85% of people make a choice not leaving the first page.
Your goal should be to rank on the first page of the Google when users search for keywords highly related to your book. Going back to our example, if your book is on Christian marriage, then choose keywords like “Books on marriage”, “Christian marriage guide”, “biblical guide on marriage”, etc.
Look online for a professional company that offers SEO services. The down side of the SEO is the cost it involves. Of course the cost of it depends on the number of keywords you choose to rank on the first page, the competition around the topic and so on. But just to give you an idea, it would cost around $30-$75 per month to promote 1 keyword. Companies usually work with at least 5 keywords. So, consider paying from $150 to $375 per month to promote your website. It usually takes around 6 months to rank on the first page.
If your budget allows, go for SEO on your website. We know an author whose website has begun ranking on the first page of Google for several keywords. Since then, he’s been selling an average of 15-20 books a day through his website. But it’s really up to you to decide if you want to do SEO. Whatever you do, avoid using cheap services of unknown companies.
They can ruin your website by doing “Black Hat SEO” (spammy type SEO). As the result of cheap SEO, your website can even get thrown out of the search engine index completely (it will not even be found in the search engine even if someone types its name directly in the search box). So do some research online and pick a solid company.
We aren’t going to lie – creating an effective online marketing network will seem overwhelming and frustrating in the beginning. But, once you get a plan in place, and get to work, it will get easier. Don’t give up until you see your desired results. And above all, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Author: Christian Lingua