Mix and Match Your Promotion
By Brian Jud

A carpenter knows that the right tool applied in the proper situation gets the job done most effectively. Similarly, you should use the correct marketing tools when building a successful promotional campaign.

The Promotion Mix
Promotion is one of the most important functions of marketing. It makes people aware that your books exists, and makes them understand why they need to buy it. There are four general promotional tools you can use at different times to accomplish these goals.
  1. Sales promotion uses items such as premiums, giveaways, brochures and coupons for generating awareness and stimulating demand through short-term awareness campaigns. They can easily be tied in with other promotional tools. Conversely, they usually have short-term impact, overuse of price-related offers may hurt your profits and competitors easily copy effective promotions.
  2. Publicity, such as press releases and reviews, is perhaps the most economical element of the promotional mix. It increases awareness and credibility through a third-party testimonial. On the other had, you have no control over what is printed in a review or article about your book.
  3. Advertising, including direct mail, can reach many consumers simultaneously with the same message, with a relatively low cost per exposure. It can increase awareness of your titles and educate people about the benefits of buying them. However, since your advertisement reaches many people who are not potential buyer you could waste a lot of money. In addition, consumers easily screen out advertising.
  4. Personal selling can be the most persuasive selling tool because it allows two-way communication. It is the best tool for closing the sale. The major disadvantage is its high cost per contact.
Your job is to determine when and how to use each of these tools to optimize your sales. For example, suppose your author is about to conduct a booksigning. It will be more successful if you precede the event with an awareness campaign. This might include an enlargement of the book's cover featured in the store (sales promotion), press releases sent to the local media (publicity); post cards mailed to prospective customers (advertising) or media appearances promoting the signing (personal selling).

Match your promotional mix to the circumstances
Creating and implementing a successful promotional mix will be more likely if you match your promotional mix to:
  1. Your overall marketing objectives. If your title is in its introductory stage, mass communication techniques should be emphasized. Initially, people need to understand why it is in their best interest to purchase your book. Later, they need to be reminded to buy it. The people you are trying to influence may be acquisitions people at distributors, libraries, bookstores, or the consumers themselves. If your objective is to market nonfiction to specific niches, then direct mail might lead your attack. If you plan a heavy trade-show schedule then personal selling may prevail.
  2. The personality of your authors. Authors who loathe media appearances might be better suited to a promotional mix heavy in direct mail, publicity and advertising. Others may thrive on national exposure and excel in performing on the air and in personal performances.
  3. The nature of your product line. A list heavy in fiction lends itself to a mix weighted toward sales promotion, publicity and advertising where mass communication's low cost per exposure stimulates demand most efficiently. Of course, personal selling in the form of a national media blitz is also suited to stimulating broad awareness and demand.
  4. The nature of your markets. A nonfiction title destined for a tightly defined market niche dictates personal communication, perhaps implemented through a targeted campaign of direct mail, publicity and advertising.
When building a promotional campaign for a new or existing title, look at all the items in your toolbox before deciding which to use. Stimulating awareness of a new fiction title from an introverted author requires a different mix of tools than you would use for a nonfiction title written by an author who is a veteran media performer. Use the right tool and hit the nail on the head.

Multiply Your Promotional Impact
The vast number of quick-fix products and services available today have led people to expect immediate results in almost all areas of their lives. But, there is no quick fix when it comes to buyer behavior. People take their time making decisions about how to spend their money. It is not enough for them to see you or hear about your book one time. People have to be reminded about it by being exposed to your message repeatedly. And that takes time. Here are the thoughts that might go through a consumer's mind after hearing your message ten times over a period of weeks:

Exposure Reaction:
First: "So what!"
Second: "What's in it for me?"
Third: "That's interesting."
Fourth: "What was that title again?"
Fifth: " I think I've heard of that book before."
Sixth: " I think I've heard of that author before."
Seventh: "My friend mentioned that book yesterday."
Eighth: "My friend read it and thought it was good."
Ninth: " I'll look for it when I'm at the book store."
Tenth " I'll go to the store to buy it now."

The importance of communicating frequently is demonstrated by three facts. First, people do not care about you or your book; they care about themselves. And they will not buy your book unless and until you convince them that it will help them and that they need it more than anything else on which they can spend their money.

Second, the communication process takes time to evolve. Third, there are over 100,000 new books published every year. On an average business day, 400 new books are released with 400 new authors competing for the attention of the book-buying public.

A strategy of regular communication, through appearances on radio and television shows, reminds potential buyers that your book is available and the information in it will improve their lives in some way. It also provides these benefits:
  1. You generate free exposure. You are not charged to appear on talk shows (nor are you paid to do so). But this free exposure can reap the equivalent of tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars in publicity by informing people about your book.
  2. You sell more books. The more people you tell about your book, the more likely a significant number of them will buy it. Move them through the mental buying process more quickly (through frequent repetition of your message), and they will reach the inevitable conclusion to purchase your book.
  3. You tell people where to buy your book. This may be directly through your toll-free number, from local bookstores or at one of your book-signing events.
  4. You create and maintain relationships. Touring enables you to network and make contacts. You will meet bookstore managers and media people, many of whom will change jobs within the industry. Over the years, your reputation will move with them. A book that was not right for their circumstances in the past may be perfect under their current conditions.
  5. You multiply your marketing effectiveness. Increased exposure creates synergism among all your marketing efforts. As people see your name more frequently, they begin to attribute increased credibility to your message.
  6. You create a promotional frame of mind. As you begin to see results from your efforts, you will feel a sense of momentum, a belief that your big break will occur soon. You never know where or when it will appear, but you know that if you persist, something will happen to jump-start your sales.
  7. You receive an implied endorsement. Media appearances create an implied endorsement by the medium itself and by the show's host. The loyal viewer may decide to buy your book simply because you were on his or her favorite show.
  8. You create additional opportunities. You never know who will be in the audience. There could be a publisher looking for the rights to a book just like yours, a meeting planner seeking a keynote speaker, the regional buyer for a national book chain or the person who arranges guests for a national talk show.
  9. You grow professionally. Most media appearances begin with a question by the host to establish your credentials. As your qualifications are repeated over and over again, you will rapidly become the expert to whom people will come for advice.
  10. You study and practice. Do not seek an appearance on a national show immediately. Instead, take the time to learn how to be a good guest. Study and practice the skills that will enable you to make a superior performance.
  11. You reap personal benefits. Evaluate your performances by objectively critiquing yourself and practicing what you can do to improve the next time. Subsequently, you will grow personally and professionally.
 
Brian Jud is an author, frequent media guest, creator of the media-training video program, Youíre On the Air, and author of the two books, Itís Show Time and Perpetual Promotion. Paraview authors can now get more info about Brianís Media Publicity Kit and our special offer. You can also visit Book Marketing Works for more information or contact Brian Jud directly brianjud@comcast.net.

©2003 Brian Jud

 

 
 

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