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Posts Tagged ‘competing on price’

Book Marketing Advent Calendar – Day 4 – Offer a big discount

Advent Calendar4

OK – seeing as Cyber Monday has passed, this will be one you tuck away in reserve for the 2016 holiday season. Not only did it pass, but sales were up by 25 percent over Cyber Monday 2014, hitting $3 billion+, worldwide. That’s a lot of people buying a lot of stuff online.

Which, as an author, is where you are probably spending a lot of your time looking for sales.

I’m old school. I like books. I like people. I especially like people who like books. My husband swept me off my feet in his response to my Craigslist ad by comparing classic books to classic rock:

So lately for me it’s been a lot of F. Scott, Hemingway, and Steinbeck. All great books – I can’t pick a favorite. It’s kind of like comparing The Beatles and The Stones, in that both are superior in different ways. Although Steinbeck would be more like Springsteen. He takes characters that F. Scott and Hemingway wouldn’t even think about and turns them into poetry. That, at least, is my literary analysis which serves me well in my vocation as a plumber.

So it follows that I very much enjoy face-to-face bookselling opportunities. But I’m also a pretty savvy marketer, so I know that you have the opportunity to reach exponentially more readers by focusing on Internet sales than you do by spending hours on end trying to cobble together a brick-and-mortar book tour. In reality, this isn’t an either/or situation – a smart author will do both. But put head-to-head, the Internet market is just bigger than the meet-people-in-person market unless you have the vast resources and unending energy to do a very long book tour.

Unbalanced_scales

So, if Cyber Monday sales were up 25% over last year, what will they do next year? Well, the trend says they’re going to keep increasing. So it will be the perfect time for you to get in on the game, right? One of the best ways to do that if you’re not a particularly well-known author is by offering a special holiday discount on your books.

I don’t typically advise competing on price, but if you’ve got some leeway with your pricing as a DIY publisher, it might make sense to take advantage the holiday book-buying season to:

Mark one book down with a low price, or create a special bundle of books you don’t normally sell together.

Much like the alleged advantages of enrolling in the KDP Select program (I hear good things and bad things about it, so DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE), a markdown probably works best as a means of promoting your most current title OR promoting one specific book, with the goal of introducing your work to new readers. Then, because you’ve written such an amazing story or offered such fantastically helpful advice, those readers will (a) want to buy your next book, and/or (b) gleefully tell all their reader friends about your book.BookTree2

A reduced price when you’ve only got one book for sale can work, so long as the low price is low enough to incentivize buying while being high enough for you to make money without having to sell too many more books.

And just so you feel like you’ve gotten a deal by reading this blog post, I have two special gifts for you:

  1. Read this most excellent blog post about Cyber Monday by marketing expert Jeff Goins. He loathes Black Friday but has some great ideas for places to invest in yourself as a writer.
  2. I will offer a $5 rebate on any ebook in the Holiday Author Event bookstore that you purchase between now and Christmas 2015, provided you put MARCIE BROCK in the comments area. NOTE: This offer is exclusive to EEEEEbooks.

Happy discounting!

Videos R Us banner

As you may know, I am taking part in the Holiday Author Event for the next 6 days. PLEASE BE SURE to stop by the Holiday Author Event page tomorrow to view some of our authors’ video book trailers. Comment, like, and share to be entered in today’s drawing!

Happy discounting!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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I wanna be like Apple (and Starbucks and Whole Foods)!

If you bought an iPhone during the last three months of 2014, you were one of 74.5 MILLION people who did so. That’s one iPhone sold every nine seconds for three straight months. I have an Android phone, but I’m surrounded by iPhone users and definitely see the value. Here’s the lesson most service providers can take from this: you don’t have to compete on price to succeed. In fact, competing on price can actually hurt your bottom line.

iphone 6

When it comes to book sales, there’s a definite range of prices the market will bear for your titles, depending on the genre, format (ebook vs. paperback vs. hardback vs. audiobook), competition, etc. I’ve seen people who’ve written long, self-published novels charging $25 per paperback book. The fact is that an average reader is unlikely to plunk down that kind of cash for an unknown author. However, for those who are selling ancillary products or services related to your books (if you’re not, you should be!), there’s probably room to think about raising your prices, or not setting them at the bottom to begin with.

In order to raise your prices, though, the first person who has to value your products or services is YOU. You cannot possibly sell something to someone else if you don’t believe in it. I remember a coaching session I had years ago when my coach and I discussed this issue for my business. I was reluctant to make the big leap in price she was suggesting, though I did eventually agree to it. She made me rehearse again and again saying out loud how much I charge for my services. I knew the value and expertise I bring to my author and public speaking clients, developed through years of hard work, research, trial-and-error – yet I was afraid that charging more would scare people away. It took many, many repetitions before I could get the words out without my sentence going up at the end, as if I was asking a question. Now, I am selective about my clients, and I ask – and get – what my services are worth.

Yep – there’s a tendency to want to charge less to get the client, particularly for people who are new in their businesses. You can do that, but competing on price is a no-win situation, because there will almost always be someone willing to charge a fraction less. Do you really want to be the low-price leader – the Walmart or Geiko of your industry? Or would you rather follow in the footsteps of Apple, Starbucks, and Whole Foods?

If this concept is new to you, here are a few questions to ask yourself. Do the research and be sure of the answers in order to get to a place where you know your value and are willing to ask for commensurate compensation.

  • Who is the ideal prospect for your product or service?
  • How will they use it?
  • Will it fill a new need, or will it be replacing a product or service already in place?
  • How does your prospect make his or her buying decisions?
  • Which pain points does your product or service address for your prospect?
  • What is your prospect’s opinion about others in your industry and their offerings?
  • How do your industry colleagues promote, price, and sell their products or services?

Know your value. Listen to your prospects tell you what they need. Tell them how you can help them, ask whether they are ready to commit today, and then let them speak – even if it means an uncomfortably long silence.

There are millions of blog posts and books on sales that go into this stuff in much greater depth. Many authors, though, shy away from sales training because they don’t see themselves as salespeople. If you’re not selling and marketing your book, though, you probably have an expensive hobby on your hands.

Here’s to being more like Apple when we grow up!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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We’re one month into 2015 — are  you READY? If you haven’t yet 2015 Goalsmapped out your book marketing efforts for the New Year, it’s time to get started! Sit down with Laura – in person or via Skype – and review your book marketing plan. We’ll evaluate: what’s working, what isn’t working, and which new strategies you may want to implement for the new year (or your newest book). Regularly $150 for a 45-minute session. Marcie Brock special: $99 for the first five who respond. mktg@WriteMarketDesign.com

 

 

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