I watched a webinar yesterday that discussed how to build an author platform and while doing so I realized that the webinar’s host’s methods are actually some of the best online marketing strategies for anyone looking to become a successful blogger.
See, platform building is a must for not just authors these days, but anyone looking to build an online empire. I also believe that each of us use these three techniques I’m about to discuss in today’s post to an extent, however, I also believe we might be using them in completely the wrong manner. In fact, I know every single one of us is trying to use these three strategies but again, there’s a right and wrong way to use them.
It’s okay, really, because it shows we know what to do, but we just need to learn to effectively utilize our three resources, all of which you can gain for free as well.
Not bad, right?
If we all have done these techniques, why aren’t we seeing killer results?
It’s because with the internet comes both good and bad information. What happens is this: Most bloggers tend to Google information that is guessed and never tried or proven. For instance, in the author marketing world, we see a lot of authors, especially indie authors, market on social media these days.
But they’re not marketing like professionals; they simply read articles that contain information that hasn’t been tried, such as Ten Effective Author Marketing Techniques for Twitter (this article doesn’t exist, I’m just giving a hypothetical example). The author will then market via Twitter using the techniques and never get around to selling a single copy.
Some will say to do contact local media and run ads in the local paper; another technique that doesn’t work.
Guys, unless you have a target audience for any product you’re selling whether it’s your own or via affiliate marketing, trying to reach random people in a random area isn’t going to work. For instance, my one Twitter account is full of authors, so Twitter marketing won’t get me far other than about fifty likes every time a new book is released and I display a picture of the paperbacks. Likes don’t equate to sales.
But enough small talk; let’s get to these three techniques.
Yes, I’m sounding a little hypocritical right now, but hear me out. Social media is actually a strong marketing tool if you utilize it correctly. Problem is, most people don’t. They will post buy links to their books or whatever product it is they’re selling. Then, they sit back and hope.
Social media was never made to market a product unless you’re buying ads and have already identified your target market. What social media is good for is engagement, which is why you should be using it.
A strong social media marketer isn’t going to shout, “Buy my product, here’s the link,” to their following. Instead, they’re going to engage with like-minded people. As I stated, my Twitter account is full of authors, and my second account is full of NFL fans. I have separate niches for both accounts.
So, instead of screaming to buy my products or even check out my website, I’m constantly engaging with these people.
Say I want a few reviews for my book and I read a few books by a certain author. I then log onto Amazon and review their book. I can contact this author via social media, tell them I took the time to read and review their book, mainly because I liked the genre, theme, and plot of the work and by the way, mind if I guest post to your blog?
The worst thing that’ll happen is I won’t get a reply. Okay, whatever. The best thing that’ll happen is I’ll have a chance to expose myself to that author’s audience, and who knows, maybe in return they’ll read and review my book(s).
Social media is all about engaging and making connections. If you can reach out to authors or someone in your niche who might have some authority, make a positive connection with them, and go from there, you’re going to see an increase in the following two techniques.
We all need to have a blog these days instead of just a static website. Blogs are alive and once catered to for a while, as in one to two years, rich with content in just one niche. The niche can be anything, as long as it and the blog stay narrow.
Blogging is all about content building. While social media is meant for connections and engagement, blogs demonstrate the individual’s credibility and expertise within a specific niche. For instance, you blog about NFL uniforms (one of my blogs), the content will attract NFL fans, especially those interested in uniform history. It’s my overall target market, and yours can be the same with your niche.
The more content I put on my blog, the more rankings I’ll get in the search engines, assuming I have blogged in a correct manner. Many novice bloggers like to throw content onto a website without proper research into maximizing the effectiveness of each article. I’ve written a couple articles on the do’s and don’ts of blogging, but in the scope of this article, I’ll keep it simple.
Blogging is all about sharing well-researched content and getting the content ranked in the search engines. We do this by utilizing SEO and keywords with every single post. It’s also preferable that each post contains 1,000 words minimum, though Google and other search engines might prefer more these days, so anymore I shoot for 1,500 to 2,500 words for three of my four blogs (Helmet and Jersey Stop is a little different due to most of the blog work being pictured in favor of written content).
When you receive such high rankings in the search engines, you’re much more likely to drive traffic to your blog. With Helmet and Jersey Stop, over the blog’s 9.5-month lifespan thus far, it’s seen such build-up in traffic, especially in June and July, so within the first year if one remains consistent with both writing new content, updating existing content and following search engine preferences.
Blogging the proper way will drive traffic to your site and as you continue to build your site, the traffic will continue and increase over the span of your blog’s first two years in existence, if not longer. Eventually, you’ll see a decrease and ultimately a plateau, but before then you’ll see steady building.
Ironically, this is the one everyone forgets about as they’re convinced social media has replaced email in terms of marketing: Wrong. While both social media and email talk about permissions, email blows it out of the water.
Think about it this way: When I send an email to my reading subscribers, my open rate is roughly 20%, which is a decent number. Other times, it can be as high as 40 or 50%. I have nearly 7,000 followers on my main Twitter account, and my engagement rate is roughly 10-20 people per post or .001% to .002%. Also, the number of impressions I get per post is 100 to 200 on average.
It’s one of many reasons why social media doesn’t do jack in terms of marketing unless your target audience is seeing your stuff and you’re catering paid advertisement to that audience. It just doesn’t work for 99% of cases.
However, email marketing is still king and is the granddaddy of them all and it likely always will be. Email is not a thing of the past as many perceive it to be, and it’s proven that out of my growing number of subscribers, 20% minimum are opened. So, if I had 7,000 subscribers, that’s 1,400 at 20%. If I have an email that performed well, I’m looking at 2,500 to 3,500 subscribers seeing what I have to say.
All those people who have large social media followings likely have large email lists as well. And it’s even further likely the individuals following their blog signed up for email to get new content delivered straight to their mailbox. I always place my Twitter handle and Instagram name within the email, and it’s highly likely these marketers do as well, which then generates a large social media following.
Again, social media becomes a more effective marketing tool if your target audience has your back, but if you’re simply following people in your niche, it’s likely they’re here for the same reason: To make money.
However, the email list will do so much more and take you so much further. So, the next time you have a new product, pay attention to number of impressions and you’ll easily see that email, even if your list is a fraction of your social media following, will easily prevail.
The question is this: How do I get people to sign up for my email list?
Give something for free that’s going to be of value to them. I like to use free e-book novellas to entice my following, all of which I simply upload to Prolific Works, integrate my email, and allow users to sign up while simultaneously claiming one of my works for free.
Don’t like giving a work away for free?
You can always, say if you’re an author, give away a sample of your work for free. In other words, you can give away ten-percent of your first novel in exchange for an email. Now, you might have the possibility to entice your new subscriber into buying your full work.
If your niche is internet marketing, you might want to give away a short e-book that talks about the most effective means of internet marketing, or perhaps an exclusive video for your email subscribers. Your free gift can be anything as long as it holds value that will entice prospective subscribers to exchange their email address for your product.
Today, we discussed engagement, content, and permissions. Social media is perfect for engagement but as you can see comes up short on content and permissions, the latter of which can become powerful if your target audience follows you on social media.
Blogging is fantastic for engagement and content but comes up short with permissions. You can have a subscription button on your blog, but again, who’s going to sign up for your email list if you’re not giving something away.
Email is king at permissions and does well with content. Engagement lacks, however, as in my experience some have replied to my email, but most don’t. Permissions, though, ring true and they will help any marketer of any kind sell more products in which they’re passionate about.
You can’t just have social media and expect to succeed, nor just a blog and expect success, nor just an email list. This, guys is the Holy Trinity of marketing, and you need to focus on building all three the right way.
Once more, social media for engagement, blogging for content, and email lists for permissions. So, if you haven’t done so yet, start your blog, or if you’re like many marketers and already have a blog and engagement, perhaps email lists are what you’re lacking. MailChimp is great because it’s free for up to 2,000 subscribers, so if you don’t have the funds to pay for email, go ahead and sign up for an account there.
If you have any questions or comments, leave them below and I’ll be glad to answer each. Until then, apply what I’ve taught you here today and I’m sure you’ll start seeing a nice uptick in success.