Academy of Wayward Authors email 36 of 45: When they walk up to your table

What would you say to a potential reader who approached your table while you were signing books to convince them to buy your book?

Just imagine.

If a reader stuck their head in the door of the room you are in right now and asked, “Your book looks interesting, but is it for me?” what would you say?

Even better, before you open your mouth, what questions would you like answered to help you respond to the question?

Your marketing is no different. You meet someone who doesn’t know or trust you but seems interested in what you offer, so what do you say to them?

If past emails have left you wondering where to start, now you know. Think of your marketing as a series of conversations you would have with a stranger to make them feel comfortable and trust what you say and do.

How would you greet someone? How do you feel when a stranger approaches and tries to sell you something?

We used to go on family vacations to Puerto Vallarta. You were constantly on guard for the next person trying to get you into a timeshare presentation. I’ve had hotel bellmen, strangers walking up to me in the grocery store, cab drivers, and waiters. It could be anyone. It was funny, but it wasn’t.

Your defenses go up. You expect anyone who says hello will eventually try to see if you are interested in attending a presentation to get some amazing bonus.

Does what you say and your demeanor in your marketing feel like a timeshare salesperson?

Does it look like every other author in your genre?

This is where your deep understanding of your brand promise becomes what differentiates you and makes you find your targets faster.

We can get confused and think that marketing is about appealing to everyone. Indeed, we learned from Gene that you want to position your product to align with an existing market need, but we don’t want to try and make it so we are trying to appeal to everyone.

This is where marketing and the questions you would ask connect. With your marketing, the line of communication can be garbled. It’s not like conversing with a prospect face to face, where you get immediate feedback, including body language, tone, and facial expressions.

Instead, you only get limited intent, such as a click or a sign-up.

If you are advertising to make a sale,

I have worked with authors regularly in the store’s top ten. Most of the time, they come to me because the profitability of their business has been deteriorating. They typically have high click-through rates and sometimes even solid conversion rates when advertising but see costs rising. The ads serve the purpose of getting sales, but those sales are coming from invisible existing customers, not increasing reach to new customers.

There is nothing wrong with this.

In today’s world, a portion of your advertising needs to be about waking up existing customers. I don’t want you to mistake that for an ad that will work with an invisible, untrusting prospect.

Two things need to happen in a well-designed marketing system. First, we need a process to turn invisible customers into visible customers that we can retain and reactivate at a lower cost than paid advertising. This defends your business from the active measures of Facebook and Amazon trying to keep people on their platforms and charge you for access.

Then, we must build a system for attracting and nurturing invisible prospects into visible customers.

This means making messaging changes throughout the funnel.

Does yours?

Don’t be upset if you dig into your marketing and find that you don’t have awareness or nurturing phases in your marketing. Most authors don’t.

The sales and advertising platforms want you to depend on them for customer access. They want you hooked. They are the new gatekeepers in publishing.

I don’t fault them for doing this. This isn’t evil; they are extracting value from the platforms they built.

This is your chance to set yourself apart. The sooner you design a system that answers the question, “Your book looks interesting, but is it for me?”

It doesn’t have to be in the first advertisement. It works best when it’s a process with steps of micro intent that deliver rewards (see last season). When you answer that question, it’s time to say, “Hey, don’t just go on what I’m saying. Try it out for yourself. I appreciate the time you’ll put into reading this, and then you’ll know for sure.”

Then the actual selling begins…

Thank you for your attention,

Joe