Itâ€™s 1987 and your publishing house has just signed an emerging author with real potential. He has a unique message, a dynamic personality, and he understands the importance of building a sizable marketing platform. But what he doesnâ€™t have is a deep marketing budget. Advertising through mass media is out of the question. The only affordable way for him to connect with the target audience is to get out there and pound the pavement.
Several months of hard work later, you and your author have managed to line up 100 speaking gigs across 100 cities. With an expected average attendance of 100 people per seminar, your author will have shared his message with 10,000 people by yearâ€™s end. Itâ€™s an exhausting schedule, but if he can connect with even half of those individuals, heâ€™ll at least have a base to build from.
Now consider the same scenario in the interactive world we live in today. Your up-and-coming author still doesnâ€™t have much of a marketing budget, but he does have enough to launch a website. Itâ€™s nothing flashy, but thatâ€™s okay. Content is what people are looking for, and creating content is what authors do best.
Reaching consumers has never been easier. Millions of people log onto the Internet each day, making it possible for an author to make the same number of impressions in ONE DAY that it would have taken an entire year to make the old-fashioned way. A website is the fastest and easiest way to funnel hordes of potential customers into your authorâ€™s Gravity Well. If he can package and deliver the information they come there looking for, he can build a large enough platform to support a spot on the bestseller lists.
But itâ€™s not easy. Web surfers are a finicky breed. Theyâ€™ve got a short attention span and an infinite number of places to prowl. If they so much as sniff the stench of a not-so-friendly website, they scamper away, never to be heard from again.
Giving Them What They Want
The overwhelming majority of people go online looking for information. But building a site and filling it up with an encyclopedia of data isnâ€™t enough. They want content that is specific and relevant to their needs. What makes this such a challenge is that you can have four potential customers click into a site looking for four different types of information. So how can your author make each of those visitors feel like his site was designed with their personalities and preferences in mind?
The phrase â€˜persona-lizationâ€™ was coined by bestselling authors Jeffrey and Bryan Eisenberg in their 2006 release, Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?: Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing. It involves communicating with visitors in a language they can relate to about whatever matters to them. Loosely speaking, each individual falls into one of four personas: Competitive, Spontaneous, Humanistic, and Methodical.
No matter how â€œnichedâ€ an authorâ€™s target market is, it contains at least a handful of each of these personas. The competitives in the audience are on a quest to satisfy their curiosities. A site must stimulate them intellectually with answers as to why your author believes what he does. Spontaneous types care more about a sense of belonging. They appreciate things like newsletters and chat groups because it makes them feel like part of a network.
Those driven by their humanistic side are also attracted to a personal approach, but they take â€˜personalâ€™ to the level of the individual. Humanistics want one-on-one contact. An author can score big points with these types by offering a regularly monitored email address, a daily, interactive blog. And then you have those beloved keepers of the guard, methodicals, who live for organization and validation. These people donâ€™t care so much about who your author is. Their focus is on how quickly they can get their hands on the data he has to offer.
An author must keep in mind that each of these personas will land on his website. And while it canâ€™t be all things to everyone, it needs to offer a little something to each of these types.
In the old days, building a marketing platform large enough to foster bestselling book sales was a long and arduous process. With the advent of websites and online newsletters, that process has been greatly accelerated. If they havenâ€™t already done so, I encourage you to encourage your authors to start building their own websites today. When done correctly, thereâ€™s no faster, easier way to build a platform big enough for millions of adoring fans to stand on.
This concludes the first of two articles on using websites to build substantial marketing platforms. The second article will address a specific strategy for website design, as well as the five basic phases that make up the conversion process.
Questions about using websites as a means of building a marketing platform may be directed to Michael R. Drew at the Austin, Texas, headquarters of Promote A Book : 512-858-0040. You can also contact Michael via email at Michael@promoteabook.com.
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