Now that you’ve explored your manuscript and target book buyer audience beyond the norm … now that you’ve excavated new directions for your Cross Marketing efforts … now that you’ve determined 20 new targets and all new venues to approach … it’s time to put the magic into play. But how does an author reach out and tenderly cultivate these new markets?
The primary keys to approaching new Cross Marketing venues are patience and careful steps. Unlike the direct marketing efforts for your book – like mystery or romance readers where you locate the mystery or romance fan base and plow in with a 50 piece brass band – you must move into these cross markets with a more subtle string quartet that builds into a crescendo.
In your research you’ve determined 20 different directions to go with your Cross Marketing. For example, if your story is about a scuba diver who uncovers a mystery, you’ve decided that scuba diving enthusiasts, scuba diving stores, scuba diving schools, scuba diving groups and travel agencies would be strong directions. Whether this list of cross markets are live or online doesn’t really matter, all that matters is that the elements in your book fit well with your list. Now, go and introduce yourself. Join Yahoo groups that focus on diving and say hello. DO NOT OPEN WITH “Hey I wrote a book!” Instead just join in. See how the groups works, what they do and what they talk about. Be subtle and even though you’re not talking about your book, your email will always have the title of your book and the buy link at the bottom. This is a subject you’re already interested in, so it won’t be hard to just become part of this group. Gather nuggets of scuba information and expertise from the group’s members and remember to pipe in when you have something to say.
Too many authors who attempt this Cross Marketing approach are looking for speedy results. They break rule number one and start pushing their book or talking about their book and end up being ignored or worse yet, ousted from the group. Patience is vital. Don’t forget, you’ve entered an arena where buying books isn’t the primary objective to the members. You need to make friends and make them feel safe with you. If you’re writing another book that includes the subject, there’s nothing wrong with, after a little trust has been established, telling the group members that your next book is also about scuba diving and you’re seeking their expertise or suggestions for locations or equipment information. You’ll be amazed how many people want to help a friend! They’ll send you photos and tons of information because not only do they like you, but they get to tell you about the thing they love. Oh, and you’ll also be surprised how many of them suddenly ask about your book and end up buying it, reading it and talking about it to their other friends!
MAKE REASONABLE OFFERINGS
Let’s talk about Cross Marketing to businesses. This works especially well for online businesses. These companies, large and small, have wonderful, active websites and blogs and you want to get involved in a way that helps sell your book but doesn’t compete with their corporate or business message. Again, you can’t hard sell and asking them to purchase an ad on their website for your book right off the bat may result in a very negative response. Be sure to make reasonable offerings. Put together a logical, simple proposal specially designed for each business. It may include guest blogging where you talk about diving, locations or your experiences. It may involve an “Info Dive of the Month” article where each month you write something interesting related to a category of equipment they sell (or in the case of travel agents, the locations they’re featuring). It may involve something small and silly, like the funny things that can happen while diving, or the amazing things one might see while diving. For these businesses, you need to make sure you’re adding value to their website, their product and their customers, that way they have no issues at all if you feature your book cover and buy link at the bottom of every blog, article or tidbit. It’s the classic win/win. ONE WARNING: if you’re doing an article for one business website, you can’t do articles for another business. For the other business you’ll need to come up with something unique to their company. Create a list of 20 or 30 ideas and spread them around with your proposals. That way if one isn’t interested in the “Info Dive of the Month” but they’re interested in your involvement, you can propose something different and hold the original idea for a different business.
If you tell a business or group that you will do something, do it. I totally understand that an author’s life can be complex and busy. We have family responsibilities, dirty dishes, deadlines and our own muses to deal with, BUT if you’ve made a commitment to Cross Marketing, whether it’s as involvement with a group or to get the “Info Dive of the Month” article to a business website, be sure to do it. Nothing destroys faith in a person more than dropping the ball. To control your activities, I suggest you only work with three or four Cross Marketing targets at a time – one scuba Yahoo group, one diving gear online business and one travel agency. When you discover that one of these Cross Markets isn’t working for you or gaining book sales after a few months, exit and move on with a replacement. This way you’ll never get overloaded and you can always be consistent.
YOUR BOOK IS THE UNDERLINE, NOT THE STATEMENT
Cross Marketing is not marketing the way most authors understand marketing. It isn’t fireworks and loud speakers and it isn’t a quick solution to a problem. Some authors have perfected Cross Marketing by keeping in mind that all of their activity requires putting the hard sell on the back burner. Cross Marketing is about making new friends, developing a new market for your book and being very subtle about it. Give all your Cross Marketing efforts at least three months before seriously analyzing results. And once you’ve mastered a great cross market, don’t stop there! If you found that scuba diving bloggers are a fantastic source of book buyers, reach out to them all. Just remember to make you content unique to that blog and never repeat. If you discover that only one travel agency is working for you and all your efforts to make things happen with other travel agencies fails, stick with what’s working. You know how much you can market … and you know how much you want your book sales to grow. Plan well and never use hard sell tactics with a cross market.
Wow, you’re selling books like crazy through that online scuba supply website. You are writing great articles every month and being subtle with your book and you’re a happy camper! Until, one day, six months into it, the business contacts you and informs you that they no longer wish to sponsor your articles. What happened? No follow up. You need to have a contact each and every month with the business to make sure they’re pleased with what you’re doing. Ask them if they’d like to see something else, or would like you to focus an article on a specific topic. Stay in touch to assure that your Cross Marketing activities are really a win/win situation for both you and the business. Otherwise it can all blow up in your face. Always follow up and always remember to thank them. It’s just good business and good manners.
KNOW WHEN TO STEP AWAY
Earlier I mention that it’s wise to give a cross market at least three months to show results, but I really would like to see a six month activity with business websites. Not only does it take that long to hook deeply into that company’s customer base, but it serves the seasonal cycles of the business. It also gives you a fair amount of time to watch your sales and determine if the effort you’re putting into Cross Marketing is giving you the results you want. With groups, it should only take a few weeks to see if the people there will serve your Cross Marketing goals. A quick and friendly exit is always best. There are hundreds of groups, live and online, out there and sticking with one may be foolish. In the end, you should at all times have six streams of Cross Marketing working for you – two different business websites with their own unique content, one guest blogging opportunity per month, and three active online groups. If any of these are not giving you the results you want, step away and move on to the next.
Always remember, Cross Marketing is not something every author does and that’s a super good thing! You’ll be working in a landscape free of competition and fertile with new book buyers. Cross Markets are not for hard sell tactics, your book’s story or subject must relate to the Cross Market, your efforts must be planned, managed and well connected, and most of all, if it’s not working, there are 20 other directions to go on your list.
Cross Marketing isn’t easy. But think about it, does the easy way ever really work? Cross marketing is logical, simple in its approach and when well done, the results can be extraordinary. Go ahead, try it. You’re up for the challenge. After all, you’re amazing! You already wrote a book!Questions? Post them and I’ll be happy to answer. Next week we’ll be talking about HOW you can test your Cross Markets for effectiveness. See you then!
FREE Ten Tools for Author Success Handbook available for download at The Author Success Coach website.