11 reasons books are like shoes
I know you must be thinking why on earth would anybody need so many shoes! I don’t need the shoes, but I do enjoy collecting shoes.
While writing yesterday’s post about how books are not commodities like tires or groceries, it occurred to me that books DO have some things in common with one piece (make that two pieces) of apparel that virtually everyone in the Western world wears daily: shoes!
Here are a few of the ways books are like shoes…
+ So many different varieties…
+ Some are for pleasure, some are work related, and some help us feel better about ourselves…
+ It’s not uncommon for people to own just a couple or to have a collection of a couple hundred…
+ Some folks store them on shelves…
+ You can sort them by color … or purpose…
+ It’s much nicer to shop for them in person than online because you can touch them and examine their every detail…
+ You can find them in dedicated shops – or general purpose stores…
+ Selling them requires a business plan, as evidenced in this paragraph from the MPlans site…
Passion Soles has captured good information regarding their market and knows a great deal about the common attributes of the most prized customers. Passion Soles will leverage this information to better understand who should be served, their specific needs, and how Passion Soles can better communicate with them.
+ Smart brands like Puma, Jimmy Choo, and Bergdorf Goodman are using social media to great success…
+ Marketing both is similar, as illustrated through the following list from Dimensional Business Solutions … (The bold pieces are from the original list. The rest are my observations/suggestions. LO)
- Send out a monthly or weekly email newsletter to your customers. Authors should be using their websites, blogs, and social media platforms to build a lists and touching their fans regularly.
- Optimize your website for the search engines. If you want people to find your author website, you need to make, implement, and sustain an SEO campaign.
- Set up a Facebook Page for your business. While it will likely become burdensome for an author of multiple titles to maintain Facebook pages for each title, an author page is a really good idea.
- Partner with friendly companies to create a fashion blog. Can you partner with other authors in your genre to do a group blog?
- Showcase your goods and services on your website. Share photos of your book, of your readings/signings, and of people reading your book. Use these on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest as well.
- Create a “Rewards Program” and invite your customers to join. Get as creative as possible – same ideas you’d use when creating perks for a crowdfunding campaign. Offer giveaways, interviews, the chance for your very special raving fans to read chapters of your upcoming book before it’s published.
- Collect your customers’ birthdays and send out birthday cards. Rather than sending cards to your readers, create an ecard or two based on your book and allow readers to send ecards to their own friends and family. This is a great way to generate traffic to your site!
- Sell gift cards in your store, especially around the holidays. Offer discounts on your books: two-for-one; sell multiple titles in a package; create a workbook to go with the original book
- Test the specials advertised on your website. Test your “Add to Cart” buttons on your website, blog, or social media platforms!
- Market to your customer database. You can – and should – be collecting names/emails on your website, but also at every live event you do. Make sure you can sort your list by each event so that you can reach out to each group in a special way, should the opportunity present itself. For instance, if you do a signing in Cleveland on your launch and then go back to Cleaveland six months or a year later, you don’t need to alert your WHOLE list to the new event.
- Post specials to the free advertising sites, such as Kijiji and Craigslist. Make sure to get your book noticed, and list your author events on all the local sites.
- Record videos and post them online. Of your readings. Of other people reading your work. Of you in the process of writing or brainstorming. Of you talking about your book. Of things OTHER THAN your book.
- Look to other industries for marketing. Ahem … like shoes?
- Post a daily offer to Groupon to attract more business. Smashwords and CreateSpace are just two sites that allow you to offer coupons/discounts on your books to select readers. Before assuming they’re a go, test them out and be sure they deliver as promised.
- Add your business to Google Maps. Use a service like TravelBuddy to map your book signings and events.
- Prove your advertising claims. If your book promises to make people laugh, post video of readers cackling their heads off. If it promises to solve their problem, post testimonials from those who successfully used your methods.
- Use testimonials in your ads and on your website. Besides testimonials, you want endorsements from well-known authors and experts in your industry. Shoot for the moon. The worst you’ll ever hear is “no,” and you’re no worse off in hearing someone say no than you were before you asked them.
So there you have it – almost a dozen ways books are like shoes. And, more importantly, ways marketing books is like marketing shoes. Book signing at a shoe store, anyone?
We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.
Check out Laura’s newest book, Practical Philanthropy: How ‘Giving Back’ Helps You, Your Business, and the World Around You. A percentage of all book sales is donated to Art4TheHomeless.org and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.