Monday, September 30, 2013

5 Things Long-term Marketing Isn't...

Note: This is but one marketer's humble, non-sugarcoated opinion. ;)
...about inflated numbers.

Don’t pour all of your time and energy into getting thousands of superficial likes and followers. Why? Because it’s better to focus on authentic relationships—built one reader, writer, or industry professional at a time.

“But Carrie, thousands of suddenly-acquired likes will get me more exposure to sell my books!”
 
Maybe. Or maybe they’ll turn off your notifications after they enter XYZ giveaway. Maybe they’ll accept your friend request, and then put you on a restricted list. Maybe they only sign on to Facebook or Twitter twice a month. Maybe they only check a certain follower list on TweetDeck. Maybe you’ll solicit-spam them to the point that they vow to never read your books, because that follower drive reeked of desperation.

Who knows.

The point is it's okay to spend time on social media, it's okay to add follow options to your giveaways, but remember: Instantly inflated numbers won’t help anything but your ego. You have to nurture those relationships, or else the numbers are useless.

...annoying the hell out of everyone on Facebook.

Speaking of spam, it’s not always direct. Imagine you belong to eighteen Facebook groups: a few that welcome book promotions, several intended to connect authors with reviewers, some specific to your genre, and a couple about your niche market. Good for you.

But if you’re plastering the walls of those groups with half-assed book teasers and promo pics, news of your latest giveaway, review pleas, unsolicited excerpts, and sale information several times a week... guess what? In our circles, group membership tends to overlap. The same people will see your advertisements clogging their newsfeed over and over again, each and every week.

You’re tainting your work. Cheapening it. Yes, it may get you a sales bump in the short term, but it is not helping your brand. Everything in moderation, my friends.
...assembling a spam squad under the guise of a street team.

A good street team has a manageable number of (typically hand-chosen) members. They work together with specific, reach-extending goals and guidelines. If an author creates one with the sole purpose of assembling a concentrated army of marketing minions, they're doing it wrong

Let these words describe and govern your actions: strategic, positive, resilient, and patient.
...reactive.

A tactic that works for one of your friends may not be a good fit for you. Take everything into account—category, genre, following, etc.—and decide whether or not this will impact your sales and/or standing in a positive way. Three years down the road, will you be glad you spent time and money on this? Are you just mimicking someone else’s efforts, when you could you think of a better idea or adaptation?

Don’t stay two steps behind everyone, just because you’re waiting to see what they'll do next.
...a race.

You don’t have to roll out every marketing idea right now. Give each strategy a chance to fly or fall before you move on to the next one. Take notes. Adjust your approach. Keep pressing forward. ;)

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Question of the Week: Do you have any marketing tips (or peeves) to share?
Have a great week! ♥

57 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

This is such great advice. I so agree with it all. And I know I miss a ton on Facebook and now Twitter since I just joined. Having tons of followers anywhere doesn't mean that they will read your news about your book.

One thing I recommend when going on blog tour is picking blogs with good traffic and including a giveaway with the interview/post. You can do a giveaway posted on several of your tour stops to save money. Even the popular book review blogs don't get much response unless there is a contest.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Smart advice! It is about building relationships. A group of key friends and fans will do more for you than a mass of just everyone.

Donna K. Weaver said...

"Instantly inflated numbers won’t help anything but your ego." I love this. So much good information. I have an author friend, Donna Hosie, who took the slow approach. Patience is indeed a virtue in a long-term marketing strategy. Hers has paid off.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Love this advice. Another one is don't just tweet about your book. I've seen authors do that. Sometimes I unfollow them. Other times I just don't read their tweets anymore. I've seen some who just tweet quotes from the book. And I hate it when people follow me just to get their numbers up...especially when they unfollow me once I've followed them.

Kyra Lennon said...

Brilliant advice, Carrie!!

Alex Tanner said...

Brilliant stuff. I've seen this kind of thing before, people think if you don't do it 'now', it can't be done. But slow and steady wins the race! Great article.

Annalisa Crawford said...

At that risk of showing huge ignorance, what is a street team? :-/

Jennifer Joyce said...

Fantastic advice. Thank you.

Julie Luek said...

There is a lot of great (and I'm sure hard-earned) advice in here. If it weren't for the follow option on Blogger, I'd get rid of the following widget all together. Having the numbers up there drives me crazy because I don't care, and neither should anyone else. I used to check my follower numbers, my visitation numbers excessively but have, thankfully, quit doing that. I've also deleted people from my newsfeed for constantly talking about their reviews or numbers at Amazon. It just gets tiresome.

Some of our weird obsession stems from the perceived pressure from the publishing industry and the ambiguous, almighty perception of "platform". But I think you're exactly right: find your own way to do this and be a thought leader.

Meredith said...

Love this advice! Especially keep pressing forward. :) Thanks, Carrie!

Carrie-Anne said...

I agree with all of your points. I've followed at least one author on Twitter who's kind of obnoxious with the self-promotion. "Look! Another awesome 5-star review!" "Just a reminder that my giveaway is still going strong!" "Here's a chance to buy my book for only 99 cents!" "Someone mentioned my book in this newspaper!"

It's also important to focus on the quality, not quantity, of your followers and fans. Many people get into a writer, singer, actor, band, etc., just because of current wild popularity and media hype, but you'll know whose fandom/love is genuine and whose was only based on popularity and fashion by who's still interested after all the hype has died down.

ilima said...

Great tips

prerna pickett said...

these are great tips. one of those things i need to educate myself on more just in case...you know, for my future dream. thanks for posting it!

Milo James Fowler said...

Good stuff, Carrie. I try to keep my social media time at 10 minutes or less each day; the rest of the time, I'm writing, revising, and subbing.

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Natalie! That's an excellent point. Giveaways really do help posts--especially tour posts--stand out. Incentives are great. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Alex! It helps when those key friends are ninjas, right? ;)

Carrie Butler said...

That's fantastic! I'll have to go read up on her. :) Thanks, Donna!

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Kyra! :)

Carrie Butler said...

It certainly does! Tortoise mentality, FTW. :) Thanks, Alex!

Carrie Butler said...

Nonsense! Questions show intelligence and curiosity. :)

A street team is a group of (awesome) individuals--usually book bloggers and/or dedicated readers--who support a particular author. Their efforts are typically coordinated, i.e. They might schedule a blitz where everyone spreads information about a new release in hopes of it reaching a specific ranking goal. Other times, the author might send out bookmarks for the street team members to pass out in their hometowns. That way, they extend their reach.

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Jennifer! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Julie! :)

Oh, I agree. Wouldn't it be nice if the follower option acted like the follow by email option? The list would still be in place, but we wouldn't have to see (and obsess over) the numbers. Half of the time, that's what distracts us from our real goals--like connecting with readers.

Carrie Butler said...

Onward and upward! :) Thanks, Meredith!

Carrie Butler said...

Ugh. Don't you hate that? I can take it once or twice a week, but after that I want to do an all-caps reply, i.e. "WE GET IT."

I'll annoy the crap out of everyone during a blog tour, but after that, you're unlikely me to see me say much about my own books. There are far too many other interesting things going on in the industry.

Yes! Quality over quantity. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Ilima! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Prerna! I have every faith in you. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Milo! I like that. It's healthy and consistent. :)

E.J. Wesley said...

Soooooo, you don't want to play Candy Crush with me? I'll send you another invite in half-an-hour. *POKE* :P

Fantastic post, lady! :)

Angela Brown said...

I'm actually doing things a bit different with the release of my second novel in my Shadow Jumpers series. I'm trying the "stretched out" approach, one where I try not to be the bane of blogosphere existence for a two month period, plaster FB posts with links all day and fill Twitter with crap. Going to try to be a bit more active on a social media outlet of choice to work on building things slowly. Guess I'll see how this works...because insta-splash-me-everywhere didn't seem like a hot-tastic success lol!

Carrie Butler said...

I will Candy Crush your face, EJ! :P

Thank you. :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Fantastic advice, Carrie! I know I hate it when I get tons of mail from authors I don't know hounding me to death....

Building long lasting relationships in this community is the WAY TO GO. You may not rake in millions or even thousands, but the loyal readers will always wait for your next book happily....

Melissa said...

Great post!
I love it when you rant. :D

Natasha Hanova said...

Great advice here. I get your meaning with that last line. ;-)

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Good advice, no one wants to be bombarded with promos.

Tammy Theriault said...

OH MY GOSH! this whole time i'm thinking yes yes yes! straight on the mark girl! i loved the bruttal and correct honesty here. but...i enjoy stalking you, you know, in "dark alleys". LOL and michael is there too, tickling himself...just saying :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

Ah, thanks :-)

Carrie Butler said...

Yes! I can't stand that, either. Every once and a while, I check to see who has unfollowed me, and then I clean house. ;)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I'm so glad I stopped by here today! I sometimes get myself in knots comparing my efforts to others, though my heart says to just keep writing good books and allow it to happen naturally (well, with a little prodding) so the fans are the real thing. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Patrick Stahl said...

If you're trying to pitch a self-published book to me, it has to be extremely well done. I highly dislike people pushing for a novel they didn't even attempt to polish and get published that they threw on Amazon for $.99. Prove to me it's worth my time.

Carrie Butler said...

With the traditionally published crap I've read lately, I now draw no distinction. lol

Carrie Butler said...

I'm with you! After debuting, I think a softer, more "stretched out" release really works. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Absolutely! Thank you, Michael. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Melissa! I think that's why we get along so well... LOL

Carrie Butler said...

Haha! I was wondering if anyone would pick up on that. ;) Thanks, Natasha!

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Sheena-kay! :)

Carrie Butler said...

LOL Oh, Tammy, I love you. :)

Carrie Butler said...

I'm glad you stopped by, too! It's easy to get worked up about the industry when we compare ourselves to others. (I do it, too. We all do.) It's nice to step back and regain perspective every now and then. :)

Crystal Collier said...

I don't think most people think of marketing in the long term, unless they're marketing majors. ;) Ah, the lessons we have to learn, eh?
(Great post.)

Carrie Butler said...

It's a shame, isn't it? :) Thanks, Crystal!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Long-term marketing is not driving yourself nuts by trying to blog, comment, edit, blog, comment, blog, read blogs, comment. Thanks, Carrie. Awhile back I thought I was developing a brain tumor because I had a constant headache. Realized it was too much internet. And then it occurred to me that very successful writers weren't blogging as much as they were producing works. Gave me moment to pause.

Carrie Butler said...

You're right. We definitely don't want anyone sick or burned-out. Writers write. The rest is just icing on the cake. :)

Lynda R Young said...

Fantastic advice. I truly love this. Very level-headed and wise. It's so easy to get caught up with the numbers and forget to take the time to do it right.

Mark Murata said...

I'm very tired of seeing overlapping blog tours. And then there are those challenges to friend or follow 50 new people, with the implied agreement they'll do the same right back to you. What do those numbers mean? You had too much time on your hands.

Thank you for a constructive post, Carrie.

Morgan said...

Brilliant, Carrie.

And I think you're doing this just right. You're keeping your name out there and visible, but not in an obnoxious way. Can't wait to watch your career continue to unfold. You're doing it right. <3

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Lynda! I appreciate it. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you for stopping by, Mark! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Aww... thanks, Morgan! I appreciate that. <3 I love watching your career unfold, too!