Digital Marketing: A boon to Book Publishing Industry
As a publisher, a major goal is to expand the readership and extend your influence, but where does one begin? To know this, one needs to understand the diverse users and decision-makers in an emerging country like India.
There is no single future for the industry as a whole. Each publishing segment or company will have a different set of opportunities and capabilities to address them.
The first step is the same – deeply understanding of creators and consumers. This means being an anthropologist, analyst, designer, as well as a strategist. When you have a crisp understanding of the customer, you’re in a better position to reach out to them.
Once you’ve built your author website and you're generating regular blog posts, there are many practices you can implement to drive more traffic to your site, thereby generating more leads. This will then increase your book sales.
1. Organic Traffic
Organic traffic arrives as a result of a search engine. It is not paid for but earned through solid keyword research, optimized content, and other Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies.
When you type in a search term in the search engine and you view results that do not say “Ad”, they are organic search results.
Tips for Driving Organic Traffic:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - If search engines aren’t finding your site, your potential readers will also be out of luck. Therefore, you need the right strategy in play.
These are some basics you can implement:
• Use Google Analytics
• Make sure your author’s name is in your website title
• Create a web page for each of your book titles
• Create internal links to relevant pages on your website
• Use Title Tags & Meta Descriptions on your website
• Properly tag images
These basic SEO tactics deliver a great experience once users find their way to your website.
Use keywords - Keywords are worth their weight in gold. If you're clear on who your target audience is, you're well on your way to identifying a strong set of keywords.
Incorporate keywords into website content, use them to spark new ideas for blog posts, include them into social posts, your author profile, etc.
Deliver quality content - There's a reason they say "Content is King."
Compelling content that is created by keeping in mind your audience provides value, keeps your reader's attention, and builds loyalty. Great content takes this a step further and allows you to cultivate relationships with your readers.
Here are a few ideas:
• Gauge reader interests in new book ideas through surveys
• Create downloadable content like book group discussion questions or release a single chapter of the new book to whet the readers’ appetites.
• Run contests/giveaways
• Develop a webinar or online course on being published, or any other subject you have expertise in
Use video - According to facts, video content is 50 times more likely to drive organic search results than plain text.
You don't have to be an expert or have special equipment to create video content. Interview a professional, create a quick clip of yourself talking about your new book, or read reviews of an existing book.
Keep your content up-to-date - Regularly schedule time to review your website content. Unless content has become completely irrelevant, you can usually rehash some that will ensure it is regularly updated and search engine-friendly.
2. Direct Traffic
Direct traffic is attributed to those people who are actually typing your URL into their browser.
Tips for Driving Direct Traffic:
Be present - If you're in the initial stage and still building your author brand, take every opportunity to physically get in front of your target audience. Take complete advantage of conventions, speaking engagements, book signings, etc.
Also, plug your author’s website or blog at every turn!
Promote your website on all printed material – Use promotional flyers, business cards, books, etc. and make sure your web address pops! If you offer any goodies online like free downloads, be sure to include this information as a teaser.
3. Referral Traffic
If your book was mentioned with a link on another blog or website, this would result in referral traffic. Referral traffic also happens to be excellent for your SEO rankings.
Tips for Driving Referral Traffic:
Get others to backlink to your site - If you have relevant industry connections, ask them to consider linking to your website. Also, be sure to return the favour by linking back.
Create shareable content - If you're developing valuable content, then you may not have to work so hard at asking others for links.
Guest blogging - Consider pitching your blogging services to other websites with a similar target audience. By the same token, offer guest blogging opportunities for your blog. As long as you share similar audiences, both parties get exposure to new and qualified prospects!
4. Social Traffic
Though it does take some time to generate a solid following, social media is an excellent way to deliver compelling content that drives traffic to your website or blog post.
Tips for Driving Social Traffic:
Make use of relevant channels – Social media is an excellent tool for building your brand, promoting your books, as well as engaging with your audience.
Trying to understand and manage multiple channels simultaneously can become quickly overwhelming if you don't have a team helping you.
The key is to be where your audience is. Based on who is your audience, you can probably determine which channel or channels are the best fit.
Leverage social media profiles – It’s important to use keywords in your profiles and don't forget to link to your site.
Get active – Remember that social media isn't just another channel to push information out. In order to build a loyal following, engagement is vital.
About 50% of your posts should be shareable content. Wherever possible, include links back to your website or blog.
Ask questions to your followers and also respond to comments and direct messages. Share curated content that you've created whether it's funny, inspiring or informational. The important thing is that it reflects your personality or your book.
Your social media channels are a fantastic platform for you to provide value and deepen relationships with your fans while fostering a sense of community.
5. Paid Traffic
Paid Traffic is the traffic that comes from a search engine when you pay for Google Adwords or a Pay-per-Click (PPC) campaign. This is not organic traffic.
Tips for Driving Paid Traffic:
Google AdWords - You can bid on certain keywords that you expect readers to search for. These keywords when searched for will ultimately pay to end up as one of the sponsored ads at the top of that search results page.
This is a fairly common practice and it delivers clicks. You might also look into Google re-targeting ads which appear for people who have visited your site before.
Social Media Ads - Social media advertising is very useful. You can design advertising campaigns for different platforms be it Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook etc.
Facebook tends to be affordable, customizable and there are many ways you can use social ads to drive more traffic, and thereby, sell more books.
6. Email Traffic
Email traffic is generated when you send email newsletters or direct emails and include links to your website pages or blog posts. Email traffic is relevant because there’s an existing relationship.
At some point, the audience has opted-in to receive communications from you and if they are clicking on links in emails, they find your content worthy. This makes them a truly qualified lead.
Tips for Driving Email Traffic
Individual Emails - Whether or not you currently send mass emails to followers, you can always implement strategies to encourage anyone you're communicating with to jump on over to your site.
Try changing up your email signature monthly by including a brief on your upcoming book or a question related to a blog post and link to it.
Email Marketing - While it is a more traditional form of marketing, don't underestimate the power of an email. This is your core group of readers who have purchased books from you in the past. Nurture your list and treat them as "insiders" by giving them access to special content that can't be found elsewhere.
Whether you do an occasional email blast to announce a new book launch, or you have a monthly e-newsletter, be sure to backlink refreshed content that will keep your readers actively engaged.
Include invites to join your email list on your website as well as on social media!
Along with focusing on lead generation strategies, pay attention to your results. What time of the day gets you the highest open rates? Which content is delivering the most clicks? Learn from your data and make required changes appropriately.
You have worked hard to build a strong author brand platform that you are proud of. Use these tips to use to make sure that the right targeted traffic is finding you.
Your niche audience, your brand, as well as the content you deliver, are unique.
Take note of what your analytics are telling you about what is popular and how people are arriving at your site. By understanding where your website and blog traffic comes from and what content resonates with your readers, you'll know better where to improve, what to refine, what to ditch.