Amazon.com is the seventh most popular website in the world, with more than 150,000,000 visitors every month (and 65% of them come from the US).
Their visitors aren’t just hanging around, wasting their time on the internet. They are ready to open their valets and buy something—that’s why they landed on Amazon.com. . . . Many of them will actually purchase something. My book? Your book? Or will they get something completely different? How many options do they have, after all?
According to the estimates, customers can choose from nearly 500,000,000 items Amazon.com offers for a purchase. 500 million! The number of monthly visits suddenly doesn’t look so impressive, does it?
Even if every single person purchased three different products (what’s NOT the reality, and the majority of visitors won’t actually purchase anything), it would in an average count for a single sale per item in a month.
One sale a month. Not much. . . .
But the product sales aren’t distributed equally, of course. Just the contrary is true. A small percentage of vendors count for the majority of sales, and many other vendors don’t sell anything at all. So how does it work? What are the rules of the game, and who will win?
The Search Engine
Let’s talk about the book department (the rules for other departments are more-less the same).
Amazon is primarily a search engine. People enter their keywords (name of their favorite writer, skill they wish to learn, topic they want to read about) and hit the search button. I also did it many times. . . .
Alternatively they may search for their favorite topic or writer on Google, and land on Amazon as a result of their search. One way or another, they SEARCH.
Amazon (or Google) offers them relevant results–books that rank in their categories, books that offer the searched keywords in the titles, or metadata. Easy like that. So why do they not search for me, or for the “University of Solitude”? Why don’t they search for the name of your book?
Answer is simple. I am not famous. People won’t search my name. And our book doesn’t offer an advice on a specific topic (e.g. aquarium fish, or diving in Cuba), so people won’t find it searching for such keywords. And even if I doubt that anyone enters “Iran prison”, or, “espionage in Iran” to the search box on Amazon (or Google), they would not find us on the top of the search results for these terms either … other books occupy the top spots.
And what is your situation? Do you write about something that interests people, something people will search for? And what do people search for after all???
Google keyword planner, one of many great tools Google offers us for free, will show you whether people search for your name, or for the topic of your book (you can see a good tutorial on how to use it here).
Have you ever heard of “James Petterson”? That happens to be the (pen) name of one of the top 5 most popular Amazon authors. Do people search for his name? Let’s see what keyword planner shows:
135,000 searches a month. Not bad, huh?
All these people landed on Amazon (or on one of his plethora other sales channels). Many of them actually purchased his books.
“James Petterson” is not only the (pen) name of this guy. It’s his personal brand, the most important word for all his campaigns.
For comparison, let’s see how many people searched for my name 🙂
40 searches a month. That won’t bring many people to this website, or to our book page on Amazon. . . . Still, it feels nice that someone actually showed interest in me, and possibly in my thoughts. But the number of searches is simply too low.
And while my name reports at least some monthly searches, “University of Solitude” reports no searches at all—but that’s not a surprise since we published the book in May and the last available stats are from the month of April. So we’ll see how this chart will look like next month.
Anyway, should we have any chance to succeed and achieve our goals, we have to try to change this dynamics and improve the average monthly search numbers.
The same applies in your case, especially if your book doesn’t fit into a specific niche that offers high number of searches per month. If it fits into such a niche, you should try to get it to the top of your category (also far from easy…)
Your Two Main Keywords
But back to our story (and story of most books).
We have only two main keywords: “Matej Valuch”, and “University of Solitude”. It’s super easy to rank for them—because they represent my name and the name of the book. But we must try and make people interested in these “topics”, so they will search for them on Google and Amazon. That’s the goal of our marketing campaigns, and without achieving this goal, we will hardly achieve other goals either. . . .
Last week I tried something new, a press release that was finally distributed yesterday. It could possibly bring some attention to my story, to my name, and to our book. I’ll write more details about this one next week, including the results.
Meanwhile you should think about your own personal brand—your name and your book title, the most important keywords, the keywords you’ll always rank for. But do people search for them?
Are you actually working on building an awareness of this brand, so they will search for them more and more?
Some other ways of bringing traffic to your book pages also exist, and we’ll talk about them in other posts, and we will also try them. But building your brand is definitely the foundation stone for every successful marketing strategy—so work on it.
Numbers from The Last Week
At the end let me show you and analyze some numbers from the last week:
- Amazon is a search engine. Write down the keywords people should search for to find your book (the two most important keywords are your name, and your book title)
- Step by step, week by week, try to build awareness of your personal brand, so more people will search for the keywords and land on your personal blog, or your Amazon pages. Consider it as the nr. 1 goal of your marketing efforts and build your long time strategy around this goal.
Have a great week, have fun, love, and see you with the next update!