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Building An Audience or Making Customers Which Do You Focus On?

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The two options you laid out are not mutually exclusive; you can do both.


But don't limit yourself to social media. There are many ways to build your platform; social media is just a potential component.


Also, im not exactly what you mean by this:


On 7/14/2020 at 4:13 PM, daniellegfny said:

Focus on making sales as rapidly as possible?


Whats the rush? 

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Yes, all of it. Where is your audience? Go where they are. Yes advertise (paid) and promote (non paid1) consistenly where it makes sense.


Does the advertisement/promotion reach your target audience and are they engaging as a result?


I can't recommend platforms. You'll have to do the research and test to see what is effective for your book. 


For authors who are unknown advertising is as much about exposure as it is about sales. A well known author can generate sales more easily with a advertisement because their audience is already familiar with their work


Have you started collecting email addresses for a mailing list? It is one of the best ways to stay engaged with your readers and supporters. More people use email than Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter combined.

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"For authors who are unknown advertising is as much about exposure as it is about sales." Agreed.


My two cents include establishing a baseline viewership, etc., to legitimately track the effectiveness of various marketing strategies. Also, consider the notion that earning the attention of readers doesn't necessarily require creating a social media shrine. Build a group of loyal, real enthusiasts, as word of mouth is arguably one of the most impactful advertisements available, and free. Stay positive, navigate missteps early and don't be afraid to venture beyond the realm of "traditional" strategies. Lastly, feed into your network within the literature community and hopefully "it" will feed you, in return. 


Best of luck. 

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On 7/17/2020 at 8:16 PM, O.W. said:

Also, consider the notion that earning the attention of readers doesn't necessarily require creating a social media shrine. 


I agree. If you are a celebrity it is different. Over the years I've learned nothing I did, directly, on social media resulted in much engagement. It was always someone else sharing something I've done on AALBC that went viral.


As a result, I spend very little time on social media (less time per day than it is taking to type this message on my cell phone), and spend most of my time adding content to the site. 


I think writer should invest most of their time on their craft and much less on social. Some popular authors i know pay others to post on socal. 


Besides engaging on social media serves to enrich Dorsey and Zuckerberg and don't they have enough already?

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@Troy "... spend most of my time adding content to the site." FACTS. 


This is a special topic!


To be clear, I'm not anti-social media, rather, pro-time management. Feeding into your website, craft and community will grow your audience for the long haul. Then, it's imperative that you're ready for the evolution and attention garnered. 


When you envisioned the perfect audience, what did h/s/they look like and where did they shop, dine and play? Are they into giveaways or more inclined to utilize your work for scholarly reference? Once the assessment of your target reader is complete, use that data to set-up mental real estate in their minds; this is the fun part!


Are they coffee drinkers who read and sip? *Pre-pandemic approach*

- $5 gift cards with a nice note from an author (sending them to your platform) would brighten the day of most. Be ready for the views!

- Time Commitment = 45 mins

- Budget = $25

- Subject = 5 customers --> informal author meet & greet (WOM, brand recognition)

- Goal = Brand introduction to your market. Your neighbors now have an "Author" in their midst... groovy AND lends credibility. 

- Assess = Review platform analytics to gauge success... Set-up an email capture and constantly quality improve your process.



Are they the group of ladies who sip and chat? *Bonus pandemic strategy - Zero F2F interaction*

- Gift a copy of your work to a professional book club for the sophisticated ladies.

- Time Commitment = 30 mins

- Budget = $0 --> always have a few promos on hand. Otherwise $7 postage/handling.

- Subject = 1 base --> WOM w/i the (target) community of people who ENJOY leisurely reading 

- Goal = Brand introduction to your market while building loyalty

- Assess = Review platform analytics to gauge success. Always follow up with a handwritten note... they will remember you, and most people appreciate kindness.



I could go on... However, "Guest Who?!" isn't going to write itself. 


Social media, in my humble opinion, is more or less, a branch on your growth tree. Focus on watering, nurturing and strengthening the roots. Then, branch out. Pun!


Stay safe.

On 7/18/2020 at 12:42 PM, Troy said:

spend most of my time adding content to the site. 


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Here’s the thing... you don’t have to “find” them if they’re the right audience for you. They’re waiting.


Get online, ask Jeeves, call in a friend, search the AALBC “how to” archives; the “doing” is purely subjective. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Not to beat a dead horse here; I tend to do the most.


Consider this...


I have an e/gmail account. You have an e/gmail (presumably). The majority of those reading this post have an e/gmail account.


(Step 1) *as previously mentioned, email capture:


Concept: Email capture

Model: Shadow box, give-aways, etc. once visitors land on your platform

Overview: Traditional method, tried and true with real results

Budget: $0 (assuming your platform supports the props)

Stance: Reactive

Overall: Highly effective, yet, there is a complimentary step that will shift the strategy from a good idea to lit.


(Step 2) *introducing a booster accompaniment:


Concept: Ghoul-gul Email Ads

Model: The art of “non spamming” email recipients while “spamming” email recipients. We’ve all seen them before and fail to realize that they’re paid ad spots (see Promotional section on email interface).

Overview: We used this targeted strategy as a marketing tool for “Guest Who?!” Episode 01 and experienced a 100% click-through rate within 48 hours after release. Essentially, if 1K people saw the ad, 1K clicked and were directed to owshowe.com to enjoy the presentation. If you know analytics, the “viewing” of an ad is the easy part. This has been our most successful campaign thus far in regard to CTRs, engaging new audience members spanning age/gender spectrums and cracking the code with our more seasoned viewers (65+ years of age).

Budget: *customer based 

Stance: Proactive

Overall: Icing on one’s brand introduction cake.


*exiting to animate a few frames for our docuseries “Black Love,” streaming 07 Nov on owshowe.com


Stay safe.


Black Love.jpg

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I'm a strong advocate for email, in addition to what @O.W. wrote no comoany has a monopoly on email and they can be read on virtually any device.


Generally however is a cost with maintaining large mailing lists. 



6 hours ago, O.W. said:

a 100% click-through rate within 48 hours


That is unheard of -- unless your list is very small and the subscribers are new. I say that because the vast majority of others will not get 100% open rates -- let alone click through rates. 

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4 hours ago, Troy said:

That is unheard of -- unless your list is very small and the subscribers are new. I say that because the vast majority of others will not get 100% open rates -- let alone click through rates. 


Yes, it is! I agree 100% and was so floored by the numbers that it would have been irresponsible not to share. Trust, we made our fair share of missteps early on while navigating the ad game. The sample set were all new visitors to the platform, which accomplished/is accomplishing our marketing goal for Ep 01: It's A Jungle Out There. As O.W. becomes a household name, I'm certain this strategy will not prove as advantageous; thus, continuous quality improvement measures.


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@O.W. The interaction rate exceeds 100%, so I'm not clear what it is measuring, but I'm confident it is not measuring click through rate (CTR).


CTR is the percentage of people who received the email that clicked a hyperlink. Again, it is exceedingly rare for this number to be anywhere near 100% and should not be more than 100%. 


It looks like the the metric may be describing the percentage of interactions (how does the system define "interaction"?) with your email as a function of the number of people who received it (or opened it maybe). 


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See below. I noticed that the tallied "clicks" are slightly elevated (by less than 20 interactions) and presumed double-clicking or delayed updates may have played a hand in the spread. It's certainly CTR per the Ghoul-gull definition and my comprehension of the interface; please share your thoughts...


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I use Madmimi to manage my email list. 


Out newsletter has just under 14,000 subscribers about 1% are paid subscribers (thought it is probably higher as we got a lot of support recently I have not counted in months). Open rate are at least 25%. If 30% opens a newsletter, I'm pretty satisfied. It is impossible to track all opens, so this number is conservative.


The list has been as high as 35K, but I now purge the list annually to remove people who have not opened an email in the prior 6 month, so it is a very clean list.  Bad email address are removed at each send. 


I also drop names because having a list 10 times the size might feel good, but it is super expensive to maintain and if most never open an email it is a colossal waste of money.


I previously used Constant Contact but they became so expensive I had to find another vendor. I been using Madmimi for years.  They were purchased by GoDaddy, which I'm not exactly pleased by.  Madmimi was a small company willing to work with you and who had great customer service. Godaddy is just another corporation and not I'm a faceless customer.


BigCommerce who I use for my shopping cart, and this discussion forum, both can be used to maintain a mailing lists and email folks, but I don't use either systems for that feature. I just pull those email address into madmimi if they buy something. 


That said Madmimi does a good job at a relatively fair price -- but I have not shopped around in years, so my knowledge is stale


There are more sophisticated systems, with sales funnels, more robust data collection etc. I could probably benefit from this, but I have not made the time.  

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