fbpx
Featured

Instagram Marketing Strategy: How to avoid the 7 deadly pitfalls

Over the last few years the growth of Instagram has been tremendous. It has become a highly engaging visual platform with vast amounts of features and potential. As an author, if you get your Instagram marketing strategy correct you can connect with unlimited amounts of readers and forge long lasting friendships. In this article I’m going to highlight the 7 pitfalls to avoid to ensure your account is set up for the best chance of success.

Avoiding making an Instagram marketing strategy

I see all too often accounts who randomly post content on Instagram, hoping it’ll suddenly go viral and catapult them into the tens of thousands of followers. The reality is, without a comprehensive Instagram marketing strategy, the chances of that are slim at best.

You need to think of why you’ve set your account up, your aims, objectives and the things you want to be known for. Set aside an hour or two to really establish what you want to achieve before you start transforming your account.

If you’re clear on your strategy then you will attract the right kind of audience. What you want is to gain engaged readers of your genre who will interact with your content and look forward to the next post.

Once you have a razor sharp vision of your niche and your audience, only then you can start creating your content.

Not Optimising your bio

Instagram marketing strategy bio

The first thing potential readers see is your bio and within a handful of seconds they decide if they want to follow you or not. You need your profile to stand out, first impressions really do count.

A strong profile image, with a coloured background that complements your branding is a sure way to achieve this. Match this up to your story highlight images and straight away it creates a profile that looks well thought out.

The text needs to tell your potential followers, who you are, what you do and why they should follow you. Follow this with a strong call to action to hit your link below. Whether your aim is to build your email list, send them to your website or sell your books, this is a crucial part.

You are allowed one link on Instagram so this really needs to count. Add a free linktree page to showcase several links, a booklinker link for your book link or add a custom made landing page like I have.

Avoiding all the features

If you really want to grow your account you have to make use of all the features of the platform and know what they all do. This then gives you the best possible chance of new followers discovering your profile.

Feed

This is for show casing your best work. This needs to be visually pleasing, engaging, highlight your personality and your books. New visitors to your profile rarely look past the last 9 posts so make sure they always convey the themes of your account.

Stories

Stories are only shown to your followers so use this feature to build trust and to sell your books. For best results show your face, talk on camera and if you make it to over 10k followers utilise the holy grail which is the swipe up feature. Also make use of polls, sliders, questions and quizzes, anything which promotes engagement.

Reels

Reels are Instagram’s latest big Feature and as a result they reward you for using them. Spend time creating catchy reels and Instagram will reward you with a huge reach on your posts and more followers. If you want to build a big community then get good at making reels.

DM’s

Here is the place to build great connections with your readers, bloggers and other supportive authors. Send a voice note to really personalise your message to them. Instagram is about being social and building a community, and this is the best place to do it.

Not engaging with your followers

If you truly value your followers then reply to every single comment on your posts. If someone takes the time to message you then at least have the decency to respond and provide value to them.

Not only will it keep them happy, Instagram tracks engagement and not only includes their comments in the count but yours too.

If you can also engage with their content too then do it. Instagram loves to see this and it rewards you with more reach. Who would of guessed it but a social media platform which wants you to be social.

Build trust, relationships, a community and watch your account grow from strength to strength.

By-passing hashtag research

Hashtags should be a key part of your Instagram marketing strategy, but you knew that already right?

The debate over how many hashtags should be used in a post rages on but my take on the matter is use as many as you can that are relevant to you and your post. There is no use shoving 30 hashtags in a post if they aren’t related.

The key here is to do your research. If you’re a small account (upto 2000 followers) use hashtags with less posts associated with them, at the very max 200k posts. This gives you a better chance of popping up in search results and hitting the elusive explore page.

Use one personal hashtag, for me it’s #andyslingeruk and then a mix of location hashtags #UKwriter, genre hashtags #kidlit, personal brand #childrensauthorsofig and hashtags descriptive of the actual post content #quotstagram.

The key here is to research and make lists of relevant hashtags, 3 or 4 lists of say 15 will do the trick, then alternate these within your posts. If you want to speed this process up then there are loads of free and paid apps which do the research for you. Flick, IQhashtags and Later are all worth looking at.

Not being consistent

Instagram marketing strategy consistency

If you really want to grow your account then consistency is absolutely key. You need to be posting on your feed a minimum of 4 times a week and at least 3 times a day on your stories. I highly recommend you post to your feed daily if you can.

You may think that sounds like a lot and it is but if you really want to expand your audience you have to show up and keep front of your audiences mind.

To make this easier, batch create a week or two’s worth of posts, based on the account theme’s you’ve already identified and schedule them all. You can use Later or the Facebook Creator tool for this.

If you check your insights it’ll show you the times the majority your audience is online. Stick to this time then your followers will be ready for your posts.

Failing to adapt your Instagram marketing strategy

Instagram marketing strategy adaptation

Even the best strategy you can muster up needs to be adaptable to change. However, if you closely monitor your analytics you’ll be able to quickly spot the types of posts which perform the best.

Ask yourself, which kind of posts generate more comments, saves, like and shares? Then produce similar content.

Ask your audience what they’re enjoying about your account and what they want to see more of. Use polls in your stories and you’ll sometimes be surprised with the outcomes.

The key to it all is testing, testing and more testing. You will get it wrong, many times but learn from everything you do. Be clear with your strategy, be patient and you will see results in the end. After a few weeks if it’s not quite working as you’d hoped then make some minor tweaks and compare your results.

The fact you’re reading this post means you’re serious about your Instagram marketing strategy and will make a success of it.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me anytime.

Be sure to sign up to my newsletter for loads more helpful hints and tips.

Featured

Author Newsletter: 7 ways to boost your subscribers list

Ask any of the most successful authors out there about author newsletter and all will say it’s an integral part of their business. Many will say it’s the biggest contributing factor to their success. So how do you get a list? What do you include in your newsletters and how on earth do you get people to give away their e-mail address?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. I’ll give you a detailed overview in this article and point you in the right direction of some incredible resources. Your newsletter doesn’t have to be an afterthought but can be a key part of your author marketing strategy.

  1. How do I set up my author newsletter?
  2. Which provider should I use?
  3. What are the benefits of an author newsletter?
  4. What should I include in my e-mails?
  5. How often should I send out an author newsletter?
  6. Where can I find subscribers?
  7. How do I stop my e-mails falling into spam?

How do I set up my author newsletter?

It isn’t difficult to set up a newsletter. I can walk you through the steps pretty quickly and you’ll have a newsletter set up in no time at all. It would be great if you could just use your regular provider and just bash out an email to your list hit send to your followers. However, there are multiple benefits to using mailing list services that you can’t get through a regular email provider like gmail, which I’ll discuss later.

It’s as simple as choosing a provider, signing up for free, adding in details such as your website and email address and you’re away. The only complex part to this is verifying your website belongs to you. The steps to do this are dependent upon the provider you use but there are loads of YouTube videos to walk you through this process.

Plus if you get stuck here I’m only an email away, so don’t be discouraged.

Which provider should I use?

Author newsletter providers

A lot of this is down to personal preference, dependent on your objectives and budget. Generally though the more subscribers you have the more money you’ll pay (but by the time you’re shelling out cash your list will pay for itself). The majority have a free option up to 1000 subscribers and then charge you a monthly fee upwards of 1000 subscribers.

My personal preference is Mailerlite, due to the huge amounts of features you can include in your newsletters and the aesthetic look you can achieve. Although, I also initially used Mailchimp and loved it. I decided to switch when I hit the 1000 subscribers mark as the costs went up dramatically.

Other people swear by Convertikit, Sendfox, Aweber and Mad Mimi. Do some research and work out which will best suit you. It’s not the end of the world if you get it wrong and want to switch at a later date.

What are the benefits of an author newsletter?

There are so many benefits I’m bound to miss some in this section but I’ll do my best to cover everything. I strongly believe that done correctly an author newsletter is the most powerful weapon in an authors marketing arsenal, so you’d be silly not to arm yourself with one.

Firstly though I want make the distinction between traffic you borrow and traffic you own. It’s all well and good having hundreds upon thousands of followers through your social media channels but what if Facebook, Instagram and Twitter went bust tomorrow (unlikely but possible). Or what if your account got blocked or hacked into. You’d lose everything and then where would you be?

By having people sign up to your mailing list it then becomes traffic you own. A lovely little list of fans you can nourish, connect with and develop special relationships with. These are people who have come to your party and want to have a good time and potentially buy your amazing books. Look after these people and they will become super fans for life. Just don’t upset them and make them unsubscribe.

So if I haven’t convinced you enough already of the power of newsletters here are some more benefits for you…

  • Cost effective marketing.
  • Establishes and increases credibility
  • Builds brand recognition
  • Educates prospects and clients.
  • Connects with your target market.

All this without the noise of social media distracting from your message. If you think about it, when someone opens your email they are solely concentrated on your email. There are no adverts, no posts, no little pop ups getting in the way. It’s the most intimate way of marketing to an already engaged customer. They signed up so they already like what you do, right?

author newsletter planning

What should I include in my e-mails?

Although this is all down to personal preference; your newsletter is your world and should be unique to you. It should demonstrate your personality, be fun, engaging and provide value to your fans.

The way I like to write my letters is to my ideal customer. Give them a name, an age, interests and character traits. Construct an avatar as though they are a real person and make them real. You can even make an image of them.

Then when you write your newsletter, personalise it to your dream customer. This works as a self-fulfilling prophesy, so if you continue to write like this it’ll result in you having an engaged list of your ideal subscribers.

It’s also essential you give more than you receive. Don’t be that person who is shouting buy my book, buy my book, buy my book on every email. Send extracts of your book, links to your new blog, get them involved in choosing a cover design, highlight a recent interview you’ve done and ask their opinion on new ideas you have.

It’s a big thing to give away your email address so ensure you’re making it worth their while before you ask them to buy your hot new release.

One thing you should always include in every single newsletter is a call to action or CTA. Ask a question, get an opinion on something, click on a link or just ask for a reply. Not only does this help you engage with your fans but also helps your emails arrive in inboxes and not junk mail.

How often should I send out an author newsletter?

Although sending out newsletters is a no brainer when it comes to your marketing needs the frequency of these is pretty much down to you. But I’d highly suggest you send at least one a month if not two if possible.

This keeps you at the forefront of your audiences mind and ensures you don’t get forgotten about. There’s a school of thought that says you should send them out monthly or even daily, however I’m a realist and know time as an author is a precious commodity.

What I would do is set expectations for your subscribers. Tell them you’ll be sending out one a month and stick to it. Let them know when you’re going to be sending them out and they’ll be much more likely to check their inbox and open your emails.

author newsletter statistics

Where to find subscribers and how to attract them?

There are loads of ways to find subscribers many of which are really simple.

  • Add a link in the back of your book.
  • Add links to all your social media platforms.
  • Have a sign up form on your website.
  • Run a giveaway or competition.
  • Use Facebook advertising.
  • Mailing list swaps.
  • Book funnel.
  • Story Origin.

So there’s all these methods and more but what incentive have people got to sign up for your author newsletter?

Here is where you need to use that wonderful creative brain of yours to create what’s known as a lead magnet. This is a wonderful freebie to entice your dream customers into your lovely little world.

Many authors use a free book, a novella or a few chapters of the book to reel people in. If you’re just starting out this isn’t always possible so you could throw together character profiles or a back story to your books.

As a children’s author I use a free kids activity pack for mine. Well actually I use two as I’ve got two books. This is great for the kids and gives parents a bit of peace, a win win scenario.

Invest lots of time in your lead magnet. If you get it right you’ll have a large influx of subscribers.

Spam

How do I stop my e-mails falling into spam?

You’ve invested all this time into building an awesome newsletter but yet all that’s happening is it’s falling into people’s junk mail. Your open rates are on the decline and you just want to give it al up. Don’t panic, where there’s a will there’s a way!

Make sure you use a verified e-mail address. hotmail, gmail won’t cut it. I use andyslinger@andyslinger.com. Hit the link and you can send me an email.

Get your subscribers to white list your address. This is basically adding you to their trusted list of senders or contacts. When I get people to sign up I give them a reminder to do this. They don’t always do it but a percentage will and this makes sure my emails end up in their inbox.

Improve your subject line. No one wants to open an email if it isn’t enticing, see my Instagram post below.

Pop a post on your social media to let your subscribers know there is a newsletter ready and waiting for them. You’ll be surprised how much difference this can make.

Also, make sure you enable ‘double-opt in.’ All this means is when people sign up for your newsletter they will automatically be sent an email saying are you sure you want to join this list. They click on the link and they’re signed up fully. This helps to stop people signing up who are never going to open your emails.

Finally, clean up your list. Twice a year do a check up on subscriber open rates. Find those subscribers who aren’t opening your emails (how rude!) send them an email asking if they want to continue getting your newsletter. If not then it’s time to say bye bye. Harsh but what’s the point in them being there if they aren’t engaging with you and thereby killing your open rates.

I hope you’ve found a lot of value in this article, if you have any questions please feel free to ask me. There is a little chat icon over on the left where you can contact me directly. And also have a look at other great blog posts I’ve written – Author websites, Author SEO.

It would be great if you could share this post with any author friends you think could benefit from it too.

Oh and you didn’t think I’d do an blog post on newsletters without giving you the opportunity to join mine right? Just add your email below and you’ll get added to my monthly newsletter, enjoy!

Featured

6 Ways to make your author website stand out from the crowd.

Having an Author website is a crucial element to marketing your books. Whether you’ve released many books or you’re still in the process of writing your first, without an effective author website you’re missing a trick. In this post I’m going to address why you should have an author website, what it can do for your business, great examples of author website design and how you can optimise yours to make it as effective as possible.

  1. Why you should have an author website?
  2. What are the benefits of an author website?
  3. Should I create a blog?
  4. How do I optimise my site?
  5. What can I do to make it look incredible?
  6. Great examples of Author Websites.
Author web design

1. Why you should have an author website?

There are three main objectives to choose when you’re putting together an author website and all are important in their own right. I would strongly suggest you pick just one and concentrate on that. This ensures you build a site that’s fit for purpose, doesn’t give your visitors too much to look at and gives you the option to tweak it to improve conversions.

  • Email list building – Are you in it for the long-game? If you plan to write lots of books and build a loyal army of supporters then this should be your objective. Your site visitors have an interest in your work so why not capture their email address while they’re there. You can then provide value and market your products direct to their e-mail inbox for years to come.

  • Drive sales – Do you want sales there and then? Well then this is where your focus should be. You have the option of creating your own online shop and distributing your books direct from your site. Alternatively create some stylish images of your books and provide links to Amazon. You can use a free service like booklinker to create universal links. Then wherever in the world your customers are the link will take them to their local Amazon store.

  • Brand building – Want to show case your work? Then this option is for you! Write articles and bios to give your readers more of an insight into you and your world. Provide links to your social media, accounts, podcast and any other places you are online. Think of it as a personalised hub.
Web design

2. What are the benefits of an author website?

An author website is your own personal space on the internet, a space that you own. It’s all well and good building a huge social media following but what if Facebook, Instagram and Twitter collapsed tomorrow or your account got blocked?

Future proof your business and put the work in to create a platform you can be proud of. I like to think of social media as a party and your website is your house. So direct everyone you can to your house and create your own house party. The possibilities really are endless and it’s the perfect way to showcase your creativity

You can craft your own basic site for a really low cost or hire a professional to make your dream come to life. Set aside a percentage of your budget to building a site and it’ll pay dividends in the future. We live in a digital world so why wouldn’t you make digital marketing the forefront of your strategy?

In the end though, the benefits of your website are dependent on you. The more work you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. Keep it fresh and updated with regular new content and visitors will come back again and again.

3. Should I create a blog?

There are loads of benefits to having a blog on your site. If you have the time to produce blog content then I’d always recommend as a writer you have one on your site. You want to showcase your talents right?

Not only can you give potential readers a chance to read your work, you can share blog posts to all your social media accounts. This is especially helpful if you’re a member of Goodreads. When you post a blog post on there Goodreads automatically sends an e-mail out to all your followers, letting them know about your new blog post. You can even post your blog to your Amazon Author account. This can draw extra traffic to your site and can help viewers to discover more of your work.

In addition to all this, blogs work wonders for SEO (search engine optimisation). This means a well written blog post can rank on google, again drawing more traffic to your site. If you really plan this well you can create interconnected blog posts which link to each other. Add in high traffic search terms to your posts and you could become a thought leader in your niche. Many writers have used these principles to massively increase their discoverability.

SEO

4. How do I optimise my site?

There are so many ways to optimise your site so it ranks higher with search engines, I could write a book on this. Some include making it relevant, topical, improving the speed of your site, removing annoying ads, making it mobile friendly and selecting the right keywords. A good website designer will cover lots of this for you and should make it super efficient.

However if you can’t afford an expensive web developer you can make a big difference through your content. Add ALT text to all your images, if you include your chosen keyword for the article in this ALT text it can actually help your images rank on google.

Another major thing which will help you is rank is choosing the right keywords. A top tip is to get a google adwords account, this will take 5 minutes top to set up. On there you’ll be able to type in your chosen keyword and see how many people search for it, how competitive the keyword is and also some google suggestions,

Lastly (because I’m not writing a book on this, yet) is backlinks to your site. Lots of links to your website from other quality sites will tell the search engines yours is a trusted place to visit. This is like sprinkling magic dust on your platform and improves your Domain Authority. DA is a search engine ranking score that predicts how likely a website is to rank on search engine result pages.

The key here is to make connections with others and get as many links as you can. Anyone fancy swapping links?

Website design

5. What can I do to make it look incredible?

Although I’d describe a great website as one which ranks highly and fulfils the objectives you set out to achieve; a great looking website makes a huge difference when it comes to keeping people on your site for longer.

Pay attention to your colour scheme, make sure you it all ties in and creates the visually pleasing site you desire. If you’ve got a logo then you can use the colours in your site theme. If you haven’t already got a logo then can use a site like Canva to rustle one up quickly.

Use warm colours when you want to add a ‘Call to action’ button, like this…

It’s proven to entice more people to click on the link, try it…

For images, videos and even book trailers I’d highly recommend Bookbrush. This is designed by authors for authors and is a really simple way to create some amazing book images. I use it for social media posts, adverts and images for my site. It does cost but in my opinion it’s well worth it.

If you’re tight for cash then there are thousands of royalty free images on sites like Unsplash. You can download these in seconds and give your site a real professional feel.

There are tonnes more free resources out there, so do your research and you’ll find so much to choose from.

6. Great examples of Author Websites

Author website example
  • Mark Dawson – If you’re looking to build your e-mail list then this is the perfect example. His homepage gives you nothing but an option to subscribe. Is it any wonder his subscriber list is in the hundreds of thousands?
Author website example 2
  • Gretchen Rubin – Gretchen has devoted full pages of her site to resources, quizzes, podcasts and more. The amazing value she offers helps to promote her self-help marketing and fits perfectly with her branding.
Author website example 3
  • Davis Sedaris – David puts his book front and centre of his site and uses negative space on to make a clear and pleasant viewing experience.
Author website example 4
  • J.K. Rowling – You can’t have this list without Miss Rowling on it. With her site she’s created an interactive book world where fans can interact on online.
Author website example 5
  • Judy Moody – This is a fantastic example of a website geared towards kids. Bold colours, playful design and fantastic usability.

Did you enjoy this article? Have you any questions? Please let me know in the comments or contact me through www.andyslinger.com. Give it a share on the buttons below if you know someone else who would appreciate it.

How to promote a book on social media

You’ve poured your heart and soul into writing the best book you could possibly have written. But, to make it all worthwhile you could do with selling a few. The best advice you’ve received is to promote your book on social media. So here it is, the definitive article on how to promote a book on social media.

  1. Create shareable content
  2. Social media contests
  3. Author collaborations
  4. Use social influencers
  5. Consistency
  6. Produce a blog
  7. Create a Facebook group
  8. Connect with your readers
  9. Offer a freebie

1. Create shareable content

If you can get other social media users to share your posts it’s going to massively multiply the amount of views it gets. Try producing something controversial, funny, or something that teaches your audience something new. Have a think of the types of things you would share on your social media profiles then replicate this type of content.

The miracle is this: The more we share, the more we have…

2. Social Media contests

An easy way to get eyes on your book and create awareness of you as an author. Give away a signed copy or two of your book and/or other merchandise. Get other users to tag people and share your giveaway to get additional entries. I’d recommend a giveaway every couple of months and keep it fresh and exciting.


3. Author collaborations

Why wouldn’t you double the amount of eyeballs on your content? Make a social media post together, interview each other live on Instagram or review each others books. This is one of the best ways to promote your books on social media. Check this article I’ve written on collaborations for more details.

4. Social influencers

You can take a free or paid approach to promoting your content through influencers here. There are huge amounts of book bloggers with big social media followings. Get to know them and they may well read and promote your book for free. And if not, you can even pay some to do this. If they have the right audience this can be a fantastic tactic.


5. Consistency

Show up daily, or you’ll vanish into obscurity. If you’ve picked a couple of Social Media platforms, create a content plan (with different content on each) and schedule some content. Make sure you set aside a little time each day to engage with your followers and search for new ones. Never leave a comment without a reply, it’s just rude.


6. Produce a blog

A blog is the perfect way to showcase your talent and show your social media followers another side to you. All you need to do is direct your followers to your website. In my blogs I’ll often add in a piece of content from one of my other platforms. This highlights to my audience I have more great content out there. See below…



7. Create a Facebook group

It’s one thing having an Author Facebook page but if you can manage to grow a Facebook group the rewards can be incredible. At the beginning you create the content and instigate debate but as your group grows they begin to take control. This is a fabulous place to promote your books with people who know, like and trust you.


8. Offer a freebie

Give away a chapter of your book through your Social Media, create an activity pack or even give away the first book in a series to your fans. It’s a great incentive for your followers to join your email list and carry on supporting you. If you’re giving away lots of value then you’ll definitely soon build up a loyal following.

Author Collaborations, the ultimate how to guide.

Writing can be a very lonely passion. Countless hours are spent at the keyboard with only your own thoughts to keep you going. So when I talk about author collaborations this can seem rather daunting. However, if you want to boost your network and the reach of your books then this is a no brainer. I truly believe the author community is one of the most supportive and helpful group of people I’ve ever met. So get in touch with authors of a similar genre and see how you can help each other.

  1. Interviews
  2. Author collaborations articles
  3. Takeover
  4. Newsletter swaps
  5. Book reviews
  6. Events
  7. Author Collaboration conclusion

Interviews

Why not interview one another on your social media channels, not only is this great practice for when your books make you rich and famous, it also helps you reach a whole new audience. And, if you are collaborating with an author of the same genre, they are targeting the same audience.

Interviews can take the form of pre recorded video interviews, audio or even a live broadcast on Instagram or Facebook. If you’re really clever you can get up to four authors to join an Instagram live together. Why wouldn’t you use the opportunity to get four times the audience views?

Author Collaborations Articles

You’re a writer so why not write an article or a piece of content for a fellow author? You only need to write 500 to 1000 words and you’re helping someone else out whilst showcasing your talents.

If you don’t want to write a full article you can always contribute to an article. Imagine a blog article like this that includes multiple authors?

It doesn’t even need to be an article like this, why not collaborate on an Instagram or Facebook post. Make content for each other and share the workload.

Author collaborations content

Takeover

Have you ever thought of taking over someone’s social media accounts for the day? This can really help to skyrocket interest in you.

This is particularly effective on Instagram stories and other video related platforms. You can easily batch create a load of stories, save them to your camera and send them to your collaborator. They can then share this content to their stories at regular intervals to create the illusion of a takeover.

Newsletter swaps

Why not mention a fellow author in your latest newsletter and let them return the favour? You can link to their book or a sign up form to their newsletter. You can never discount the power of recommendations.

There are now services like BookFunnel and Story Origin where you can find newsletter swaps and get involved in giveaways. Have you given them a try yet?

Book reviews

We all know how important book reviews are to an author. But when was the last time you reviewed a fellow authors book?

Give one a read and post it all over your social media channels and maybe they can return the favour. Not only are you helping a fellow author out, but, you’re also showing your audience that you’re a reader too whilst building trust.

Events

Why not organise an event with local authors, this could be a book fair, a series of workshops or some live readings. Some authors even coincide their book launches so they can do a big launch together for maximum impact.

You can even bring events online, you just need to be creative with your approach and always keep your audiences in mind.

Author Collaboration event

Author Collaborations Conclusion

These are just a handful of ways you can collaborate and there are many more out there. The more you work with others the more we will all grow.

Please let me know of any creative ideas you’ve got for new author collaborations and tell me if you’ve had any successful partnerships in the past.

I’d also love to show my commitment to collaborate with you guys. Tell me your best idea and I’ll choose the top 3 and collaborate with you over the next few weeks.

Just send me an email by clicking on this link.

Email Marketing: 5 reasons to utilise this strategy

In the digital world Email is a comparative dinosaur, having been invented 50 years ago this year. It still however remains a powerhouse of the modern digital age and will not be disappearing anytime soon. If you want to build an amazing community and monetise your assets then Email Marketing should be front and centre of your strategy.

  1. Cost effective email marketing
  2. Traffic you own
  3. Automated email marketing
  4. Personalised email
  5. Demands attention

1. Cost effective Email marketing

Email Marketing software is ridiculously cheap with most platforms free until you hit 1000 subscribers, so there is no excuse to not give it a go. The price generally goes up incrementally, so the more subscribers you have, the more you’ll pay. Providing you make the most of the medium this will pay for itself 1000 times over. Check out services like Mailerlite, Mailchimp and Convertikit which are all great options.

2. Traffic you own

An e-mail list is the greatest asset you can own as a writer.

Instead of being reliant on borrowed Social Media platforms, this is your list and is described as traffic you own. If Facebook closed tomorrow, or you lost your account for one reason or another you’d still have your e-mail list. These people are to be cherished, nurtured and cared for. They are your tribe, your people and your community.

Anyone who gives their email address to you is showing a high level of interest in you and your books. They have come over to your platform and will listen to what you have to say. Keep providing value on a regular basis and they could be on your email list for years to come.

3. Automated Email marketing

This for me is one of the most exciting parts of email marketing. You can set up an opening sequence of emails so that when someone joins your list they get sent a series of emails as and when you decide, without you even having to click a button. It can be doing the work for you and making money while you sleep.

You can also set up triggers to be automated. So for example, if someone clicks a link in one of your emails, then another series of emails could automatically be sent out.

Alongside this you could link it to your online shop, sending customers an email if they show interest in a certain product or abandon their cart without paying (how dare they).

I even have an automated sequence for people who don’t open my emails. They are sent an email to ask if they really want to be a subscriber and if not then my system takes them off the list.

4. Personalised Email

Depending what information you ask for when someone subscribes to your subscriber list, or even the information you require later, you can personalise all your emails to each specific subscriber.

Your loyal followers may see their name in the subject of the email and you can address each email to them. This all helps you to create that deep connection and show your subscribers they really matter.

You can even set up an automation to wish them a Happy Birthday. Who wouldn’t love that?

5. Demands attention

When you send out 1000 emails, 1000 emails are sent to your followers. Of those 1000 emails, on average you’d estimate 40% are opened and read. So that’s 400 emails, that have had your subscribers’ undivided attention, without the social media scroll going on around them

Compare this to a platform such as Instagram where you’d be doing well if 10% saw your post, and even then might scroll right past it.

If you use exciting email headlines and your emails contain valuable content, then people will look forward to your next email. They will look out for the next one and it will demand their attention.

Conclusion

As a writer, why wouldn’t you want the opportunity to write personally to all your readers on a regular basis? Why wouldn’t you showcase your literary talents and show insight into your world?

Email marketing can help you build a tribe of loyal supporters who know, like and trust you. Treat them right and they will continue to support you through thick and thin (and even buy your books).

Invest time and effort in to email marketing now and it’ll serve you for years to come. And if you need help boosting your subscribers list, I’ve got just the article for you here…

Book Marketing: 6 Ways To Make Your Amazon Ads explosive

Book Marketing Introduction

It’s no secret that in order to sell lots of books you have to be great at book marketing. In the first part of a series of articles I’m going to focus on paid advertising, beginning with Amazon Adverts. If you haven’t done them before, take a big breath, they are really easy to set up. Making them profitable though is the hard part and this is where I come in.

I’m going to give you some great tips to simplify the process and ensure you don’t spend more money than you make in royalties.

  1. Keyword research
  2. Book marketing copy
  3. Also boughts
  4. Kick – starting your ads
  5. Little and often
  6. Amazon keyword reports

Keyword Research

Amazon adverts run primarily on keywords. Simply put these are the words people type into the Amazon search engine in order to find what they’re looking for. So if someone is looking for a book, then at a basic level they will type the word book and get a list of results.

In order to advertise your book and rank highly in the search results you put a bid on this keyword and add in the maximum amount you are willing to spend on this word. So for a term like book, as you can image competition is fierce.

Bids on this particular keyword are likely to be stupidly high and a sure fire way to blow your advertising budget in a nano-second, if you want to rank at the top of the list.

This is where you need to think like a customer. When you type in a search term like this you’ll get all manner of unrelated products so you try to narrow your search. You may then add something like ‘for kids’ and then to narrow it down again ‘aged 7 to 11.’

So you end up with a long – chain keyword ‘books for kids aged 7 to 11’

There will be much less competition for this so the cost of someone clicking on your advert is much less. The cheaper the better right? Cheaper clicks mean there is a much higher chance of making a profit

So, how do you find a list of keywords like this? The good news is there are free ways, the bad news is they are time consuming.

Write a list of all the keywords you can related to your book. It’s name, location, characters, genre, tropes, distinguishing features. For my books it would be things like twins, superheroes, middle grade fiction, children’s books, Northern England, series.

Type these words into amazon and look at the suggestions Amazon gives you, use these as your keywords. Type enough things in and you’ll soon generate a list of a few hundred keywords.

Book marketing keywords

You can also use the same method in google, to get similar lists.

Alternatively, check out Goodreads for lists of books in your genre. You can find thousands of similar books and authors. Both can be used to compile extensive lists of keywords which will be really effective in Amazon ads.

Alongside these methods there are paid tools you can use to give you massive lists of keywords which will cut the time spent generating keywords in half.

Book Marketing Copy

If you are running ads In the US you have the option to add text to your advert and I’d always suggest you do so. You have a limited number of characters so this needs to be short snappy and really entice the readers to click on your ad.

I’ve trialled both ads with and without copy and the ones with definitely outperform those without.

The hardest part here is selling your book in just one sentence. As writers we’re used to writing lots and lots of text and expanding our word count.

“Less is more when it comes to ad copy.”

You have 5 seconds to capture someone’s attention so make it captivating. If you’re really struggling here you can always go down the route of saying something along the lines of

“Fans of Andy Slinger (famous author) will love this book…”

See what I mean; short, snappy and guaranteed to make people stop and click.

If you want to find out more about copy writing I’ve written another article about it here..

Copywriting skills: How to improve your book sales.

Also boughts

When you click on your book page, lurking underneath your book description there is a bar of books that says something along the lines of “people who bought these books also bought.” This is vital information to look at.

Firstly, this will show if your book is sat in the correct Amazon categories. So if the books here are completely unrelated to yours, you have an issue. In this case give me a shout to help resolve it before you move any further with this section.

If they’re all in the same genre as yours then these are perfect books to target. Copy the titles and use them as keywords in your ads. Then click on these books and see what their also boughts are, then guess what? Copy these titles again.

Before you know it you’ve built up a huge list of authors and book titles to target in your ads.

Just for ease of use I tend to copy these all into a big spread sheet, organised into categories. Then if I’m struggling for key words or inspiration I can refer back to it at any time.

Kick starting your ads

Book marketing; kick starting your ads

You may be worried about your ads spending lots of your money but with Amazon ads it’s sometimes hard to get them to spend at all. You pay nothing for impressions, (to have your ad seen by potential readers) you only pay when someone clicks on your book.

Sometimes, though these ads won’t even generate impressions at all or in very low numbers. So I would suggest always selecting an end date which is a month from now (remember to extend it later if your ad is performing well). This gives your ad an immediate boost and it’ll show impressions straight away.

Also, keep your daily spend on an advert to no more than $5. It is extremely unlikely to spend this money but if it does, congratulations you’re getting clicks on your book and potential sales anyway.

Little and often

The most effective way to run Amazon ads is little and often, I tend to check them once a week and generate 5 new ads at the same time.

Keep your budgets per click low, a maximum of 30 cents and you have far more of a chance of becoming profitable.

“You may think in order to scale up ads that are performing you can just increase the budget and your sales will go up but this isn’t the case. There are only so many times your keyword will be typed into Amazon in a given period of time.”

Lots of ads generating a small number of profitable clicks is the way to make more book sales. Remember you’re looking for relevant keywords, with low competition.

Be consistent with analysing your ads, you don’t need to check them daily but definitely once a week. Turn any off that aren’t generating sales after a month, and keep on producing new ads.

This process carries on and on until you discover those incredible keywords that sell your book for a minimal spend.

Amazon keyword reports

Amazon Keyword report

Did you know you can get a copy of the effectiveness of all your keywords e-mailed to you whenever you like?

Just look at the top left and create your own report. You can decide how often you get it sent to you, I have it sent to me monthly.

This is a really quick and easy way to see the search terms which are performing in your ads. I make a list of all the terms that have generated sales and then create a new ad with them, a super ad!

Because you know these terms are effective, you can raise the cost per click to 35 cents or even 40 cents if you have a series. Thus generating even more sales.

You can also restart the keyword research process again using these terms in google and amazon like you did before, thus generating even more keywords.

Book Marketing Amazon ads conclusion

Book marketing through advertising takes a little time to master and can seem overwhelming to most at first. But don’t panic, keep it simple, follow my advice and you won’t go far wrong.

If you do lose money on your ads at first, think of it a different way. You pay when someone clicks on your book, not when they see your ad.

I have ads that have generated millions of impressions. So millions of people have seen my book cover, for no cost. Even if you’re not generating sales initially, you are generating exposure and lots of it.

You are also gathering data. You’re discovering which keywords work and which don’t. Just think how many sales you could generate in a month or two or following this weekly approach.

Besides, if you get stuck and need a hand, I’m really nice I’m always here. Send me an e-mail, DM me on Instagram or even use the little chat circle in the left corner of this screen.

If you haven’t done already, join my e-mail list of like minded authors and get free marketing tips straight in your inbox.

SEO for authors: Why is it important?

Search engine optimisation or SEO for authors is the art of making your website or blog discoverable by the search engines. It’s all well and good producing a great looking author website but if it’s not hitting page one of Google then you’re missing out massively. When you’re searching online you rarely ever go past page one so the chances of your website being discovered on page ten are zero.

In this article I’m going to give you a simple guide to SEO and lots of actionable steps for improving your google ranking (as google accounts for 75% of all web searches). Before I start though you need to be aware that boosting your ranking isn’t something that will happen overnight.

Lot’s of little things done correctly will add up to make this happen. See it as a long term strategy, do a little bit each week and you’ll reap massive benefits further down the line. The best part of this strategy is that it is completely free and we all want free traffic to our site right?

Keywords, long tail keywords: How can they improve SEO for authors?

SEO for Authors keywords

All great SEO for authors should begin with solid keyword research. Firstly, you need to decide which search terms you’d like your site to rank for. These terms need to be relevant to your brand so they can bring the right kind of traffic to your site, it’s no use ranking for something that is completely unrelated to your content. Alongside this you don’t want to choose keywords that are too competitive.

Sure it would be great to rank for a term like ‘children’s author’ but the reality is, how many children’s author’s are trying the same thing and hoping to rank on page one of google? I don’t even need to answer this question.

A better approach would be using a long-tail keyword. This is a longer strain of keywords which includes your chosen phrase but with extra words in addition. Examples of these can easily be found when you type the term in google and you’re given suggestions, like this…

So a better choice for a children’s author such as me would be something like ‘childrens authors uk.’ This is a search term that is still popular but is much less competitive, giving you more of a fighting chance of ranking on page one.

There are lots of free tools out there to find keywords more easily such as google adwords, Or if you want more in-depth research you can paid tools like SEM Rush and Moz (which are incredible for detailed SEO).

So you’ve got some keywords, what next?

So you’ve found a list of keywords and now you need to know what to do with them. I’m going to split this into two areas, meta-data and content.

Meta-data

Firstly pop your chosen keyword into your slug (which is the bit that adds onto the end of your page name) mine is http://www.andyslinger.com/seo-for-authors.

Add your keywords into your page description (the paragraph of text that shows up on google searches). Otherwise Google will extract a bit of your page to use instead.

Also add it to your SEO title, which is the bit in blue on the image below. This all shows the search engines that if someone is wanting to find out about SEO for authors then this is the place to come to.

SEO for authors meta description

Have a look through this blog post and see how many times you can spot my keyword and where I’ve positioned it. You’ll never want to hear the phrase again afterwards.

Content

In regards to your content you firstly need to look at how a website is structured and what this means when it comes to optimising your site. Different headers are ranked in order of importance with <H1> tags being the most important all the way down to <H6> which are the least important.

Search engines crawl through your sites every so often and check out all these tags, looking for terms which occur regularly. When they have this information they categorise your webpage based on these terms so they can provide the most relevant content. Yes google is watching you.

So you need to pop your keywords into these titles (specifically <H1><H2><H3>)and also into the first paragraph of your text so that you show up in search rankings. Don’t overdo it though. It’s easy to throw keywords in all over the place but you have to ensure your text still flows naturally. And there is a popular opinion that Google actually penalises you for using keywords too often. (referred to as keyword-stuffing).

If you have a WordPress site then you can use a free tool called Yoast SEO which analyses your text and makes suggestions on how to improve your SEO score. I use it and it works like a dream.

Blogs and corner stone content

So now you’ve got your keywords and a good idea of how to use them; to really benefit from SEO, apply this to your blog. Pick a topic you’re going to write a few blog posts about and that’s where we can begin with this strategy.

I want you to imagine a spiders web, with your main topic at the centre, the thing you want to rank for (this can be described as your corner stone content). Branching off from here you’ll have other sub blogs which relate to this content, but which all link back to the big topic in the centre.

As you write more and more blog posts your web will grow and grow, but it should all inter-link and all the posts should compliment each other. So if you were me you might have author website design in the middle, with author website SEO, author website marketing and author website blogs all feeding into the main article.

What this serves to do is tell the search engine that your content is valuable. If someone is looking for info on anything to do with author websites then google will point them in my direction. I’ve got the correct keywords and related content all linked together. If visitors enjoy my blog they can jump from post to post and find loads of interesting pearls of wisdom. They then stay on my site for longer and are more likely to pop back and say hello again.

Done well you can position yourself as thought leader in your chosen subject. How’s that for free marketing?

Are back-links the ultimate way to improve SEO for authors?

Back links are links that come from another site and point traffic your way. Search engines love these kind of links as they show your site has important content and therefore rewards you with higher rankings, hooray!

It’s worth noting here that links from social media like Facebook and Twitter sadly don’t count here. So how on earth can you get links to your site?

The answer is fairly simple but not something that isn’t going to happen over night.

You have to build relations with other people. Comment on other blog posts, send nice e-mails to related sites and ask if it’s ok if you link to their site because you love their content. They may be really nice and return the favour and if not you’ve made a cool connection. Many bloggers are more than happy to help you out and love being part of a community.

Also you can write guest blog posts for other sites which link back to you. They get an incredible article from a talented writer and you get magic SEO dust sprinkled on your website.

Another really clever way to get links is to find no-follow links. Have you ever clicked on a link and got a 301 or 401 error message come up, saying the page is out of order. Well if you find these links (there is software you can use to discover them) contact the website tell them about the broken link and ask if they can pop your link in there instead. You’re doing them a favour by fixing their site and get another back link as a result.

It sounds like hard work and it can be but it’s also really effective way of boosting your site.

How important is site speed and mobile optimisation for SEO for Authors?

SEO for authors mobile

In recent times google has changed the way they rank to place more emphasis on site speed and usability on mobiles.

It’s crazy that now almost 90% of internet use is through a mobile device. So don’t spend loads of time building a site that looks amazing on desktop but looks a squashed up mess on your phone (trust me I’ve done it myself). Most website building software can show you a preview of what your site looks like on tablets and mobiles so make sure you take this into account.

Search engines consider this an important part of usability, so don’t become unstuck here.

The speed of your site is also an integral part here. You can analyse your website for free by using tools like Up City SEO checker. The key to keeping your site fast is to not cram it with too many videos, high resolution images and fancy widgets which slow your site down. Besides nobody wants to browse a site which takes ages to load. We live in a fast paced digital world, we don’t have time, we’ve got books to read and write.

If you’ve enjoyed this article please give it a like and a share, it would mean the world to me. Just hit the little button below. For more about info about me visit the rest of my site here.

What will life be like after UK lockdown?

person in uk lockdown looking out the window

As another week of UK lockdown disappears and we get closer and closer to restrictions being eased, I asked myself this week what will the world look like in a couple of months time? Will the world ever be the same when Covid 19 is under some sort of control?

Continue reading “What will life be like after UK lockdown?”

Copywriting skills: How to improve your book sales.

iphone notebook pen at the ready to improve copywriting skills
Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

If you’d ask me a a few months ago I’d have said copy was something completely different to what I’d understand it to be now. Copy writing is the art of writing a short snappy sentence that lures readers in to looking at your book or product and ultimately with a bit of luck and a trailing wind leads to a sale. So how can you improve your copywriting skills?

Continue reading “Copywriting skills: How to improve your book sales.”