Making Marketing Easier

Marketing is often seen as the necessary evil of the writing world. It’s the part that many authors dread, and for good reason. K.M. Wellard recently outlined “5 Reasons Marketing Is Hard for Writers” that acknowledges why that dread is so common.

Marketing doesn’t have to be as daunting as it seems. There are strategies and approaches that can ease the discomfort and make the journey more manageable.  As indie authors, we have unique advantages that can help us navigate these challenges more effectively.

Note, I’m not going to talk about individual marketing strategies, but an overall approach and attitude to marketing that will make researching new ways to market, and using them, much less stressful or intimidating.

Harness the Power of Online Platforms

One of the biggest advantages for indie authors is the online nature of our business. Unlike traditional authors who may (or be directed by their publisher to) rely heavily on in-person events and signings, we can leverage the power of the internet to reach our audience. This removes much of the in-person stress and opens up a world of opportunities for marketing our work.

Create a Plan

The first step to making marketing easier is to have a plan.

Without a clear direction, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. A well-thought-out marketing plan can provide a roadmap for your promotional efforts, helping you stay focused and organized. 

It kills off the constant fear that you’re missing out on the strategy that everyone is talking about.  When you hear of something new that everyone is insisting that all authors must do, add the strategy to a list of ideas you can try out once this plan has run its course.  And by the time you get to build that new plan, many of the strategies on your list of ideas will be out of date, or have proved to be not as effective as everyone thought, which will save you the time and panic you might have spent scrambling to use it. 

You can create weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even annual plans, although quarterly plans are probably the most manageable, and flexible, while shorter planning periods increase the work of planning with little extra benefit.  While annual plans are unwieldy and unresponsive, in an industry where change, sometimes massive change, is a daily event.

Weekly or monthly marketing plans might be useful when you’re heavily experimenting with strategies and need to chop and change as your data builds.

Be deliberate.  Plan what you will do for the period, and stick with it.

Set Budget Limits

Budget constraints are a reality for most indie authors and sometimes it feels like expenses are out of control – particularly if you’re using pay-per-click advertising, which can burn through your rent money overnight. 

Limiting your budget doesn’t mean effective marketing is out of reach. By setting clear budget limits, you can prioritize your spending and focus on strategies that offer the best return on investment.  It returns a sense of control back to you.

Break It Down

Marketing can feel like a massive mountain to climb, but breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps can make it feel more achievable.

Instead of trying to tackle everything at once, focus on one task or strategy at a time.

This not only makes the process less overwhelming but also allows you to give each aspect of your marketing the attention it deserves.

Incorporate Daily Habits

Consistency is key when it comes to marketing. Rather than viewing it as a one-time event, try to incorporate marketing activities into your daily routine. Whether it’s posting on social media, reaching out to influencers, or engaging with your audience, making marketing a habit can help keep your work in front of potential readers on a regular basis.

Track Hard Data

In the world of marketing, data is your best friend. Tracking metrics such as website traffic, email open rates, and book sales can provide valuable insights into what’s working and what isn’t. By analyzing this data regularly, you can make informed decisions about where to focus your efforts and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Don’t rely on your gut to figure out if a strategy is working, or still working.  You’ll be surprised by how often your gut is dead wrong.  Make decisions based upon data.  It’ll take a huge amount of stress out of the process, and also remove any emotion out of a trial that goes wrong.  “Wrong” is just data showing you what not to do in the future.

Embrace Trial and Error

Marketing is as much about experimentation as it is about strategy. What works for one author may not work (and often won’t work) for another, so it’s important to be open to trying new things and learning from the results. If a particular marketing tactic yields positive results, don’t be afraid to repeat it. Conversely, if something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to pivot and try something else.

Use the data mentioned in the previous step to monitor your experiments.  Even successful tactics and marketing ploys can lose their effectiveness over time.  Be prepared to abandon even the comfortable routines if they’re no longer helping your sales.

Collect Ideas for the Future:

While it’s important to focus on the present, it’s also helpful to keep an eye on the future. Keep a running list of marketing ideas and strategies that you’d like to try down the road. This can help you stay ahead of the curve and continue to innovate and evolve your marketing efforts over time.

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