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Book Marketing Advent Calendar – Day 2 – Find a reason to send Lumpy Mail

Advent Calendar2

If you’re selling books through a brick-and-mortar store, through Amazon, or any other online distribution channel, it probably works like this: you agree on a percent of royalties; you provide copies of your book; the store/website makes your products available; you make the occasional sale; and down the road somewhere, you receive a royalty check. It’s all very anonymous, and you never get to know who bought your book so that you can thank them or contact them or create any sort of a relationship with them.

This is a flaw in the current book-selling system. A book is a product, but most of them are not commodities like a pair of shoes or snow tires manufactured in a factory by a nameless person or a machine. A book has an author, an originator, a creator who put his/her thoughts down on paper to share with the end user, the reader. To that end, shouldn’t the idea creator be able to connect with the idea receiver?

When you sell from your own website (or a bookstore like the one for the Holiday Author Event), you have the opportunity to take things to the next level because you know who bought your book. Our Day 2 tip for the 2015 Book Marketing Advent Calendar takes this a step further:

Offer to give something away that requires the receiver to give you a physical mailing address.

I can hear the groaning from here. That means I’d have to mail them something! Are you crazy? Postage is through the roof!

Yep – postage costs more than sending an email through MailChimp (free for the first 12,000 messages each month). And guess what? The return is bigger. This is the chance to start a relationship that could lead to … a raving fan who will eagerly anticipate your next book and be more than willing to tell others about it, before it’s even published. Worth the $3-$5 in postage you spent? You do the math.

Keep these things in mind before you brush off this idea as crazy.

  1. You can limit your giveaway to the first however many takers your budget can accommodate.
  2. You can offset the cost – if it will really make that much of a difference to whether you do it or not – by asking your readers to pay a nominal shipping fee to receive the “gift.” Of course, asking for $3 makes it less gifty, so consider whether you really want to go this route.
  3. Not that many people are going to take you up on the offer anyway, because they’re busy, it’s extra effort, and it requires them to give up something personal and private.

Giveaway Ideas

Well, what’s your book about? Think of something that makes sense to keep the book top of mind once the person receives your gift. The sky is the limit here, but these come to mind off the top of my head:

My forthcoming novel is about a guy who travels around the world. I could give away globe pencil sharpeners. Just $8.99/dozen from Oriental Trading.

sharpener globe

Since it’s the holiday season, I could also give away SNOWglobe pencil sharpeners. These are on sale for just $7.98/dozen.

sharpener snow globe

  • Fitness author? How about a personalized pedometer. You can get them for a couple bucks each.
  • Cookbook author? Why not send a small sampler (literally a pinch of each) of your favorite spices? So use some common sense and don’t send saffron, right?
  • Book about Fido? Dog treats are always a welcome gift for pet owner readers.
  • Patriotic theme? There are probably a thousand places to buy flags in bulk online.
  • Fiction should be easy – find a doll or toy that represents your character or setting. Safari Ltd. has a “Knights and Dragons” bulk bag, with 42 pieces for about a buck apiece.

Need more help? My friend Helen Goldman is an expert in the promotional products business. She can help you find the perfect gift to match your theme and more than likely keep it within your budged. Contact her through her website, Primo Products.

Think about all the bills and boring stuff you get, when you still get mail. Wouldn’t it be fun to receive something extra, a bonus or gift from a writer you love? Well, one of the only ways you can do this in today’s marketing climate is by asking for the mailing address and giving away a bit of the surprise. The payoff can still be quite rewarding.

Read more on the value of “lumpy mail” in small business marketing from direct expert, Dan Kennedy.

One Day Blog Hop banner

As you may know, I am taking part in the Holiday Author Event for the next 9 days. PLEASE BE SURE to stop by the Holiday Author Event page today to read the blog posts from a some of our other authors. Great stuff – and you will be entered in today’s drawing for every comment/share/like you make on the posts!

Happy mailing and blog hopping to you!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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9 great reasons to invest in STAMPS and send SNAIL MAIL

I received a nifty piece of mail the other day from a friend and colleague in the publishing industry. This simple paper bag wrapper did a couple things: first, it made me smile. Secondly, it caused me to open the mail immediately, when otherwise I might have let it sit a bit before I opened it. What’s the lesson in this for you? Read on.

If you’ve been online for a while – or stepped more than your big toe into the Internet marketing waters – you may have encountered a little myth that continues to be perpetuated by people who know better: All you need is a great online presence. Yes, it’s true. A great online presence will give significant weight to your marketing campaign. But the best marketers, the ones whose clients are really making a name for themselves, also are integrating strong offline marketing strategies. These people still invest in stamps and snail mail.

But stamps are expensive!

Really? Really??! Where else on earth can you put a piece of paper in an envelope, affix a little sticker to the corner of the envelope, place the envelope in the blue metal boxes that are generally a stone’s throw from each other in any decent-sized city, and be fairly certain that envelope will travel to the address indicated within a day or two – whether that address is next door or on the other side of the country – all for 44 cents? Snail mail is a bargain for the price!

But why should I do it? And what kind of snail mail should I send?

As master marketer Denise Lones and others point out, the most effective marketing campaigns touch a prospect/client list no less than 36 times a YEAR – that’s three times a month! And those contacts must vary across online and offline connections.

Which brings us back to snail mail. Here are 9 great reasons to invest in some stamps:

  1. When was the last time you opened an e-mail newsletter? We are inundated with e-mail these days. Even the stuff we like often gets put off for later, or deleted, because we just don’t have time.
  2. The physicality of touching the mail imprints on us in a way that e-mail cannot.
  3. The receiver can save a postcard, newspaper, or other mailing to read at their leisure – unlike email, which usually gets skimmed and/or deleted immediately.
  4. You can use interesting formats for your direct mail: paper bags, yellow legal pads, bubble packs make for attractive mail that generates immediate interest. Put on your creativity cap and come up with your own great idea!
  5. Use the mail to send a keeper like a bookmark, CD, or even a booklet.
  6. Direct mailers make it easy to reach a specific target market with information about your book launch or signings in their area.
  7. Postcards don’t have to be opened.
  8. It works! According to MIR.com, Americans spent more than $363 billion in 2010 in response to direct mail advertising. A year or so ago, I took a postcard for Smashburger out of my mailbox just as dinnertime was rolling around. Guess where my husband and I went for dinner…
  9. Send a serial mailing, escalating the urgency with each subsequent mailer. Postcard 1 describes the offer. Postcard 2 reminds you there’s only a week left to act. Postcard 3 tells you get it now, or you WILL lose out.

Dan Kennedy, the king of direct mail marketing, is a huge advocate of “lumpy mail” – snail mail that has bulk, as opposed to a flat envelope. In his blog, Kennedy explains why lumpy mail works:

But why does dimensional mail work? Why does it increase response?

Well I’m convinced that the simple reason is because it adds a bit of intrigue to the mailing, which allows it to overcome the toughest task in small business marketing … getting your mail piece opened … getting your mail piece opened FIRST … and getting your mail piece read!

Thanks, Kas, for the reminder to slow down once in a while. Write a note, create an interesting mailing, slap a stamp on a piece of mail and get connected.

Happy mailing!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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