May 102016
 

It doesn’t matter if Novak Djokovic wins a tennis tournament, publishes a book about gluten-free diet, or opens a vegan restaurant in Monte Carlo. Whatever he does, people will talk about it.

He doesn’t need to do anything extra to keep the conversation going. Sharing the news with his Twitter and Facebook followers will always do the trick. These people will spread his message across the world because they like him, and want to help him.

 

The basic laws of marketing and life

While neither I nor you possess Novak’s popularity, the basic laws of life and marketing will work for us the same way they work for him.

Some people will do their best to help our campaigns. Our friends, relatives, people who care for us. They won’t do it because we pay them money, or because we beg them for help, or because they seek some advantage.
They will do it simply because they like us. And that’s a luxury we won’t enjoy with any other book promotion technique.

Addressing your friends (call it word of mouth if you want) is the oldest marketing strategy. It should precede any other promotion of your book. Before going into details on how to do it right, I’ll like to show you some screenshots depicting what we achieved so far:

traffic first week

1. 92 unique users visited our website during the last week, and some of them returned more than once. (Most of them came from the US)

Shares first week

2. 41 people liked our website on Facebook and on other social media websites. (Not bad considering we had 92 unique visitors.)

Book reviews first week

3. 2 people reviewed the book on Amazon.com. (Giving it five stars and leaving nice reviews :))

Share Teodoro

4. The landing page on Amazon (not this website) has got some shares and likes as well. ( We aren’t able to monitor the traffic on Amazon, and I can only guess how many visits resulted from similar shares.)

 

Good numbers, or bad numbers?

Djokovic would certainly expect something better for his campaign. For me, however, the numbers look good enough. And I will soon explain why. . . .

My friends. We talk about thirty-five people from the United States, Australia, Spain, England, Argentina, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Austria and Czech Republic. Men and women, the youngest was 18, the oldest 75.
I personally met each one on my travels and pilgrimages. They aren’t my Facebook “friends”, since I do not have a Facebook account. :).

35! I bet you have MANY more English speaking friends who can help you with your promotion. But before you start addressing them, let’s think about something together.

 

The difference

When your friends visit your blog or landing page on Amazon, they will not care if it got some shares or reviews. They will check what you have to say (browse your site, read an excerpt from the book) simply because YOU are the one who published it. (You aren’t leading the pack at the ATP World Tour, but you have a place in their hearts.)

Later on, however, you will address people who do NOT know you. Strangers won’t associate your name with their memories. They won’t read the first chapter of your book just because YOU are the one who published it.

But what do you think:
Once you get them to your landing page, will those 40 shares help to convince them to open your book?

And, should a stranger somehow land on Amazon and notice your amazing cover, will the odds of looking inside your book rise with those five star reviews?

You bet they will!
Strangers won’t spend their time on your website unless they feel it could benefit them. Seeing that someone else appreciated your work can definitely help them to feel the way you want them to feel when browsing your website.

Readers do not consciously think about the reviews and likes while deciding whether to stay or leave your website. But they take notice of them, which encourages them to have a look, to read a page or two. . . .

 

New York Times article

Let’s take my reasoning one step further. Imagine that I write to New York Times tomorrow. (Okay, if it sounds unrealistic to you, imagine Huffington Post instead. 🙂)

Huffington has published stories of other Iranian prisoners (especially Americans imprisoned there). My story features CIA, and I have met both Amir Hekmati and Saeed Abedini while detained in Evin.
Smart journalist will definitely spot that my story might interest their subscribers. But will he eventually decide to publish an article about me and my book?

I can’t say yes or no until I tried (and I will try it in the right time).
But even without trying, I hope you will agree with me that a great heading, forty likes and a few good reviews will improve our chances of getting his attention.

On the other hand, an ugly website without a clear message, or a website that reports no signs of popularity, would immediately kill his initial excitement for us and for our story.

A few seconds is all you have. Either you get an attention of your visitor or he will leave forever and will never return. Likes, reviews, shares, good heading – all of that will help you to win this battle.

You share the news of launching the book with your friends hoping to get some feedback, reviews, and shares on social networks. These little gestures of support (that don’t cost them a penny) will provide you a certain level of credibility in the eyes of strangers, in the eyes of people who know nothing about you. And that will consequently help to improve the efficiency of all other promotion techniques you will use.

 

How to do it right?

“Hey, I published my first book, please check it out.”

Such a Facebook message won’t do it. (Unless you already won a couple of ATP events. 🙂 )
To maximize the potential of this technique, you should consider sending a unique message to each friend.

The way I progressed (for your inspiration):

  1. I went through my contacts directories on yahoo, gmail, and phone, exporting all of them to a simple spreadsheet.
  2. I made some notes to each person in the spreadsheet and underlined those I decided to address (good English skills and friendly relationship were the main criteria for my choice).
  3. Reading our past conversations, I composed a unique message for each person from the final list. Not only talking about the book, but rather following up on our previous conversations and meetings made the messages feel more natural.
  4. 24 people replied so far, and I typically responded again. It wasn’t a one-way traffic or a promotion, it was an ongoing communication between friends. I simply mentioned publishing the book in between the lines. . . .

 

Action and reaction law works. Always.

Honest and personal messages will result in high number of positive responses. If you do it right, your friends will help you to spread a word about your book (or about your business). Not because you asked them – but because they will want to! And that’s a huge difference.

 

Summary

  • You should definitely let your friends know about launching your book. Do it before you invest any time or money into other promotional techniques.
  • Personalize the message for every friend. Try to follow up on previous conversations and meetings you had together.
  • Ask them, and answer. Communicate. Be interested in them and they will be interested in (helping) you.
  • The goal isn’t selling the book to them. . . . We simply try to get feedback on your campaign, some shares on social networks, and possibly a review or two. All of that will help a lot when you start promoting the book to strangers.
  • Find time and do this properly. Do not announce your launch on Facebook wall. Try to contact everyone personally, and follow up on their responses. Remember that it is ten times easier to get a desired action from someone who already knows you (and likes or respects you) than from someone you never met before. You won’t regret the time you will invest. (After all, you are talking to friends. Spreading a word of your book is just a side benefit of doing that. So, you should actually enjoy doing this! :))

 

Some questions and answers

Q: Did you ask your friends to share this website on social networks, or to post a review of your book on Amazon?

A: I asked nine people to share the book, and just one to post a review (and he did not do it anyway :)). Most of the time it is better to let people decide on how (and if) they will help you. Real friends will help even if you don’t ask- they will want to help.

Q: How many books did you sell during the first week?
A: Honestly, I haven’t checked the sales charts. I prefer to not look at the sales numbers during the first two months, since I want to stick to the marketing plan regardless of immediate results. (But I will post the numbers with screenshots later, since we want to be transparent with our earnings and donate all money to Red Cross. Please be patient.)

Q: How do you plan to promote your book now?
A: This question will be answered with my next post. And I’m already excited! You can subscribe to my newsletter to not miss anything.

Q: Why did you choose Djokovic? Do you like him?
A: I like tennis in general, and definitely support Novak’s diet. If I ever go to Monte Carlo, I will visit his vegan restaurant. But I am a Federer fan. 🙂

 

Thank you for reading, and good luck on your own Amazon journey!
Matej

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