Welcome to the first of my marketing series!
I’ve been asked by some indie writer friends of mine to write about marketing, to give my tips, to give my tricks, and to share my knowledge of how this all works. This is my first post in my Marketing Series. With each topic, we’ll just dip our toes in the water. If there is something that intrigues you, let me know. I’m all too happy taking a deep dive into anything I write about here. But I don’t want for my geeking out to overwhelm anyone, so I plan to take this slow.
Before starting, there’s a few things I’d like for you to keep in mind. One is that some of the persuasive techniques that I will be writing about have to be used delicately and with caution. People are complicated, and a person is even more so. A technique may work well, but only once. When doing marketing, there are alot of things that you have to balance, such as social capital (the good feels people have for you) with making a sale. One of the most important things I think in marketing is building a relationship with those you’re selling to. I’m writing this for indie writers, but the same prinicipals can be applied to many situations. If you plan on writing more than one story or if you want to maintain sales, one of the things that you have to maintain and nurture is your relationship with your readers. Some marketing techniques can alienate people right off the bat or may work once but only once. One marketing technique that I’ve heard turns people off is the follow/unfollow. It relies on people not keeping track of who are unfollowing them. Sure, it can get you some follows. It’s a very annoying way to do it at the very least, and many people will end up unfollowing you when they realize you are doing it. If you’re building a community of relationships, this kind of behavior (though short term is effective) is not good for long term Social Capital Building. I’ll talk more about social capital in another post.
The other thing I wanted to talk about is why I’m doing this. It seems to me that for many creative people the idea of marketing is scary and overwhelming. How can I ever compete with traditional publishers? Well, you’re not going to. One, they have resources that you don’t have (money), and two, that’s not your niche anyway. The goal for you is to get your work out there, loved, and to make a living doing it. Not every traditionally published author becomes a multi-gazillionaire. The thing that you have that they don’t is that you are free to turn on a dime with your marketing efforts. As an idie, you can switch gears very easily. You have freedom. You have creativity. I hope that if there is one thing that I can impart to you with this series is to share my excitement about the challenge. For my fiction, I know damn well that only a very few people will like what I’m doing. The challenge for me is to find those people and say, hey, I’m here. To me, this is fun. So one of the things I’m going to share with you is my unabashed joy in doing marketing. So come along! It’s a blast.
The last thing I wanted to share is a little about me. I’m not a market researcher or consumer behavior researcher. I have based this series on the knowledge that I do have and experience that I have. I don’t know everything, nor have I experienced everything. Obviously. Basically, I’m sharing what I know and what I’ve experienced. So what do I know? What have I experienced?
First, I’ve done some marketing. It’s called messaging in the arena I did it in. I did messaging for a small grassroots group. Without boasting, I helped a group of people who did a weekly protest and helped to build the foundation to what is now a political action group. I didn’t do that alone. I was lucky to be surrounded by amazing and talented people. And, no one does anything like this alone. I served as a messaging person in their early development stage. I did this by applying psychology, which is what marketing and messaging are. They are applied psychology. And guess what? I have a higher degree in psychology. A doctorate actually. My area of interest was in using datamining techniques in psychological research. (You have no idea how controversial that idea was when I did it.) These datamining techniques are what is used by, say, Amazon for search results, recommendations, and the like. Because I was interested in how to do research, some of my coursework included how to do research for influencing community behavior. People en masse. Changing behavior en masse. Huh? So an example of this is trying to develop a program to reduce teen pregnancy rates. You’d get a community psychologist to be on the team to research this. It’s how to identify a problem behavior (or group of behaviors) and change those behaviors to something new. The same kind of thinking is used in marketing. You have something to sell, how do you get people (a community) to buy that product, when buying is a kind of behavior. Getting people to buy stuff would require either developing a new behavior, because it’s a new product, or changing current behavior (if there are other similar products and you want people to buy yours).
- Some techniques use with caution and weigh against social capital (we’ll talk about Social Capital Building more)
- People are complicated, but a person is even more so
- You can market yourself and have fun with it
- Marketing and messaging are applied psychology
Stay tuned for more
Do you have any questions? Anything you’d like me to explain more?
Are you a marketer? What would you add? Clarify or correct? Leave in comments below.
What would you like for me to write about next? Any ideas? Questions? Leave in comments below.
The next post I’ll be working on is why responding to comments and likes and shout out thank yous are a good idea. But caveat that I will work on your questions first.
I hope that at the very least I've taken away a little of the mystery, making it seem a little less daunting. Keep reading and we will keep chipping away at this.
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