Persistence and Regularity Are the Keys to the Marketing Marathon

Watching traditional advertising all our lives, we've learned the lie that marketing = big splash.

Advertising, a small part of marketing, can benefit from a big splash.

We're talking about marketing, your ongoing efforts to connect with people who'll benefit from and appreciate your message. Like any relationship, it takes time.

More than that, it takes persistence and regularity. No friendship ever came from a single interaction, or meeting three times a year apart. Close connections come from regular contact and conversation. It's work. That's right, having relationships is work (you knew that) and marketing is about relationships, therefore, marketing is work.

You knew that, too.

Show up every day. That doesn't mean blog every day, or do any one thing every day. Blog regularly. Weekly is better than monthly. Chat on Twitter, Facebook, wherever you hang out. Ping an old client or another author who writes like you. Give away a book at the coffee shop. One of yours, or someone else's even.

Persistent regular activity is the endless dripping that makes marketing effective.

Help Us Make More Connections

After a challenging first half of the year we're keeping ourselves alert to the connections we're making in the industry. The more people we help, the better our own business does.

Sue wants to do more of her Getting to Know You calls. While these calls never include a sales pitch of any kind, the honest personal connections that result have been consistently helpful—on both sides.

Who do you know in the publishing industry? Could be an agent, a publisher, a designer: if they're in publishing, point them to this post and let them know two things:

  1. We'd love to connect to learn about them.
  2. We abhor pushy sales pitches disguised as 'friendly chats' so when they talk to Sue, they're safe.

Do You Really Need to Be Online?

The Dream

Every time social media as a marketing tool for authors comes up, someone mentions that famous author who doesn't blog, the rich author who has no online presence whatsoever. The argument is that you don't need an online presence, blogging, social media, to become rich and famous, or succeed in whatever way you define success, as an author.

Back to Reality

Yes, it’s possible to become a best-seller, rich and famous, without ever going online.

It’s also possible to cross the ocean in a rowboat. I’ve read about it. It’s not fun.

If you truly deeply hate social media, find other ways. But if you just don’t want to do the work of blogging and interacting online, or if you’re just being contrary, you’re making it so very hard on yourself.

Speaking in absolutes is always counterproductive (oh, I see what I did there.) But as a general rule, it is best if an author has a blog and posts regularly. It is best if an author has a social media presence and engages there regularly. It is best to make use of the tools that will engage with your potential audience where they are: online.

What's Your Plan?

Most business folks spend their days being nibbled to death by ducks.

You want to print the meeting agenda but the printer is out of ink.

Your website manager still hasn't updated your bio.

That new client postpones their call. Again.

The prospect can't meet for lunch at noon so would 1:30 work? Or next Friday?

The path to success requires relentless focus on what's important but that's hard to do with mallards and drakes nipping at your heels.

To Stay on Track, You Need a Track

If you don't know where you're going, you'll probably never get there, and even if you do you won't know it.

In the frantic scramble of the average entrepreneur's workday, marketing your book is one of the first things to fall through the cracks. If it's not a priority, it won't get done, and if it's not part of the plan it won't be a priority.

The Plan

You need to have your own plan, of course, but here is the big picture for a business person who has written a book to support their business:

  1. People engage your services because
  2. they read your book after
  3. they followed your blog, Twitter feed, and other social media when
  4. they saw your insightful generous comment on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, or another blog, which happened because
  5. it was on your schedule.

Getting Started

My father used to tell the story of little Billy, who told the teacher he was late because he ran beside his bicycle all the way to school. When she asked why he did that, he said "Because I didn't have time to stop and get on."

Make the time to stop and get on the bike. You'll lose a few minutes now, and gain them back manifold in the coming weeks and months.

Write down your plan. Even if, at first, it's as vague as my list above, write it down. What's the path someone will take from total stranger to client?

Until you have that, you're flailing in the dark.

Once you do have it, you're ready to create a formal marketing plan.

If you need help with that, or even with the informal plan that comes first, give Sue a holler. We love helping folks figure out social media.

I Can't Spend All My Time Marketing!

And you don't have to. You shouldn't. Marketing, rather than being a flood of information about you and yours, should be a steady drip, drip, drip, like watering a delicate plant, not hosing down an elephant.

I've spent my adult life working with automation and efficiency using computers so any time there's a task with repeatable steps, I look for a way to make those repeating parts automatic. It allows me to spend my time on the unique bits, the parts I can do better than a computer because they require creativity or special knowledge.

Automating and scheduling your online marketing is smart. Create messages (that's the 'unique to you' bit) and schedule them in a single monthly session. (We use and recommend Hootsuite but there are a number of social media automation tools available.)

You still have to check in daily to interact with the real human beings who touch your social media messages, but you don't have to be online 24/7 to keep your message (remember those 80/20 principles, both of them) in front of potential readers and fans.