Ok, I guess, nowadays every writer knows how to use social media for their marketing. Back in 2016 it was all still new and developing. But Randy Ingermanson’s thoughts and suggestions still bear some weight. But first my thoughts on my writing from December 2016:
Good morning writers, bloggers and poets. How is your writing, blogging, versing going? Do you feel stressed because the holidays are coming up and all that present buying and baking is on the map and you hardly find any time for writing or is it going to plan?
I have become a lot more relaxed lately with my blogging. First of all, I have blog posts scheduled for nearly 4 weeks in advance so even if I can’t write anything there will be something be posted. However, no matter what I need to advertise for my posts to attract more readers.
Interestingly, Randy Ingermanson wrote about Marketing for writers and what social media has to do with it in his November Newsletter.
Marketing: What’s Social Media Good For?
Social media is widely alleged to be a powerful marketing tool for novelists.
Is it true? How would you know? What would that mean?
Let’s take these questions in reverse order.
Marketing is about selling your book. If social media is a powerful marketing tool, then using social media in the right way would get you lots of sales.
You know your marketing is working when you can trace the connection between your marketing and your sales numbers.
If there is no connection, then your marketing doesn’t work. If there is a connection, it does. Simple as that.
Whenever I put things this way, I quickly hear from people claiming that the world doesn’t work that way, because you can’t trace the connections between marketing and sales, because things are complicated, because … um, because.
My response to that has always been that if you can’t trace the connection between your marketing and your sales, then either you’re doing something wrong or there is no connection between your marketing and your sales. Which sounds like I’m raining on the parade, but I don’t think it’s raining on the parade to point out that there isn’t any parade.
A Case Study in Marketing Effectiveness
It’s useful to look at a case study done a few years ago by Darren Rowse at ProBlogger.com. Darren is one of the best bloggers in the world and he had a new product to launch. He used several different marketing tools and used standard tracking methods to trace that pesky connection between his marketing and his sales. You can read his article here.
Darren found that 3% of his sales came from all his combined social media efforts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google Plus. That is not a typo. 3%. Three percent. You may be thinking, “What??? Only 3 percent?” The answer is, “Yes, 3 measly percent.”
Another 3% came from Darren’s affiliates—people who actively promoted his products in exchange for a percentage of sales.
Another 7% of his sales came from Darren’s blog posts. 7% is shockingly low, considering that Darren is one of the most famous and successful bloggers in the world.
So where did the other 87% of Darren’s sales come from? The answer is simple: E-mail. Darren made the overwhelming majority of his money from the e-mails he sent out, even though e-mail was just a small part of his marketing efforts.
In Darren’s blog post where he reported these results, he faced up to the obvious question: If social media doesn’t generate sales, then what’s it good for?
You can read his article to see what Darren thinks on the matter. I have an opinion which I’ll give you a bit further down in this article.
But first a little marketing theory so we have the vocabulary we need.
Basic Marketing Theory
Any working marketing strategy needs to achieve three things. If you do all three of these things well, you succeed. If you fail on any one of these three things, you fail. Here are the three phases of marketing:
“Attract” means that you find a way to make people learn that you exist. There are 7 billion people on the planet. Most of them never heard of you and never will.
“Engage” means that you provide enough information to one of the people you attracted so that they know you’re a person worth listening to.
“Convert” means that you motivate somebody you have attracted and engaged to finally pull out their credit card and buy your stuff.
You can’t convert people you haven’t engaged.
You can’t engage people you haven’t attracted.
Attraction, engagement, and conversion can happen very quickly. It’s very possible to take somebody who never heard of you through all three of these phases in 15 minutes, as long as you do them in the right order and do them well.
What Social Media is For
Now let’s look at what Darren measured in his experiment. Darren was exclusively measuring conversion. He e-mailed, blogged, tweeted, Face-booked, and more—all in an attempt to get people to pull out their credit cards and buy his product. E-mail worked best for conversion, by a huge margin.
If you look at Darren’s explanation of what he thinks social media is for, it all comes down to attracting and engaging. Darren is a smart guy. I think he’s right.
So if you’re going to use social media, then focus your efforts on those two things.
Attract people to your web site, where they can sign up for your e-mail list.
Engage them so they know you’re a person worth listening to.
That’s what social media is for.
And by the way, you can measure attraction. You can measure engagement. You can measure conversion.
The important thing to keep in mind is that these three things don’t ADD.
They multiply, because they happen in sequence:
Marketing Success = Attraction x Engagement x Conversion.
If any of these is zero, then your marketing amounts to zero.
If all of them are maxed out, then your marketing efforts are maxed out.
- What’s your marketing strategy? What do you do to attract? What do you do to engage? What do you do to convert?
- How are you measuring your attraction? How are you measuring your engagement? How are you measuring conversion?
- Which of these phases is maxed out and which isn’t?