In working with hundreds of Christian authors over the last 17 years, I’ve seen a lot of the changes in the marketing and promotions of books. There was a time when authors relied only on publicity to get sales. Imagine that.
Today, the current marketing tool every author must have is a website.
Here I will go over what every author site – especially a nonfiction author site – must have in order to have success in the publishing (and speaking industry).
- SELL. Yes, a lot of Christian writers say that they are “writing for the Lord” but once you’re published it’s now time to market. Books sales are the barometer of whether your book is good. And if you sell a lot of books, you can influence a lot more people for God. Your website is your 24/7 marketing machine that should sell books for you. Think of your site as the hub of all your branding efforts. Don’t be “cheap” with building your site. Go to FIVERR for simple stuff not WEBSITES! It’s too important. It’s the first impression readers get of you, the author. Your website is your “store front” to the world, it’s the place where you connect with the masses and you are representing the King of Kings. So, represent well and this will inspire readers to buy your book.
- BUILD A TRIBE. If you don’t have anything else on your site, have an opt-in box. This is how you build an email list and stay connected with those who are interested in your work. By building an email list, you can send out eNewsletters, blog posts, your itinerary of speaking engagements or just send out information that you know will bless them. I talk about an opt-in box and email list all the time. The gold is in the list. If you have 200 or 300 people who have raised their hand and said, “yes, let’s keep in touch,” via your opt-in box – you’re on your way to be thought leader. BUT the key is using the right tools.… I recommend Aweber, Active Campaign or MailChimp. The point is to have a your email subscriber confirm, you send them a free gift and you follow up with auto-responder messages that they’d expect from you. I’ve used Constant Contact in the past – that’s old school. Time to step up.
- GIVE GOOD CONTENT. Since you published a book, you are now positioned as an AUTHORity. Keeping your content fresh and engaging with your tribe is a way to get them to recommend your book to others and possibly snag some speaking gigs. Besides, when you publish good content on your site regularly, you become Googlicious. And we all want to be loved and found on Page 1 of Google. Good content equals a lot of website traffic and traffic will convert to sales. A good blog post could land you on a TV or Radio Show too – so blog consistently on your area of expertise if you want to have success in the industry.
- BUILD YOUR BRAND AND BUILD BUZZ. Your author website is a way for you to shine online. You are the brand. Your site should help you go “viral.” Of course social media is a great branding and buzz builder tool, but your website is your special place to show the world how anointed and awesome you are. You can post videos on your site or have your site so rich in content that it cannot be overlooked by readers, the media and even competitors. Your site is your newspaper, magazine, radio and TV. You are the director; your write the script. Social media is a way to get traffic to your site – but social media is not the “magic bullet.” Your website is where you put in the time – not on Facebook.
- GET BOOKED. You wrote a book. It’s your message to the world. You want media to know about you and you want to get booked to speak about your book and this sells more books. Yes! So make it easy to get booked. Have an awesome Media page on your website with a great EPK, speaker one sheet or speaker profile (in a pdf) and finally have a great SIZZLE REEL with you in action and/or a book trailer. Have a booking form on your site that is simple for people to reach you. (see mine on this site) These tools on your website will get you booked and have you living your dream.
In my next post, I’ll outline WHAT every author website navigation should look like.
Question: If you’ve published a book, what was the one thing YOU could tell a new author about online marketing and websites – and budgets? I love to start a dialog!