Your existing readers and fans are your key to finding new readers and fans. Don’t ignore, them, enlist them!
The biggest challenge authors face is getting the attention of potential new readers. According to market research firm SJ Insights, the average American is exposed to 5,000+ advertising or brand impressions each day. But only about 12 actually reach the reader to the point of engagement.
That’s one chance in 500 that your potential reader will actually engage with your Tweet, Facebook post, Blog post, magazine ad, press release, whatever. The competition to be heard above the advertising/attention noise can make your message about effective as a whisper in a Hurricane.
So how does your message rise above the noise? There’s a secret weapon (not really that secret): word of mouth. Word of mouth is people telling other people. In this case, your family, friends, and fans (people who know, like and trust you and your book) telling their family, friends and fans about you and your book.
Depending on the study, up to 92% of people trust word of mouth while less than 20% trust advertising.
And here’s another thing: people like to share interesting information with others. Your family, friends, and fans would actually appreciate sharing your message, and their family, friends, and fans would appreciate it too!
Three steps to begin your own word of mouth campaign and enlisting your family, friends and fans sharing your message.
1. Know who your family, friends, and fans are.
Make a list. These are the people who know you and know about your book, most importantly those who have already bought your book and will recommend it to others. Your list should include friends and fans at church, school, clubs, anywhere you gather with others in the “real” world.
These days your biggest “list” is more like a combination of lists; your e-mail address book, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other Social media friends, followers, and fans. Because of the explosion of our online world, the number of family, friends, and fans we have access to can be in the hundreds, or more. And it’s important to remember that each of them may have family, friends, and fans in the hundreds or more!
2. Give them something worth sharing.
People enjoy sharing something that makes them feel knowledgable, helpful, sympathetic or funny. Psychologists call this type of sharing “social currency” and today’s Social Media platforms all run on social currency. “Buy my book!” isn’t sharable – what is sharable is the message in your book.
Here’s an example: We released a book titled The Condition of Living by Darlene Nixon. The book is an enjoyable, heart-warming story about four characters finding purpose and love, framed around the setting of a Habitat for Humanity home building project. Darlene could have asked her family, friends, and fans (this isn’t her first book) to ask their family, friends, and fans to “buy her book,” but it was much more effective to share some of the stories of more than a million families around the world who now have safe, livable shelter thanks to Habitat of Humanity. That’s a message worth sharing and the real message of Darlene’s book!
Now you’ve got your list of family, friends, and fans. You have something interesting and valuable to share with them that they would feel good about sharing with others (social currency). Now just ask them to share with their family, friends, and fans.
Here’s an example from Darlene’s “share”:
“Hi (family, friend, fan), did you know that Habitat for Humanity has helped build or repair over a million homes for more than 5 million people worldwide? And it’s happening right here in our community. I’m so touched by the stories I hear every day about lives touched and the dream of owning a home for the first time finally coming true for these families. In this short video (https://youtu.be/9A94hwdnkpw) Leonardo, Gabby, Moria, Hanna, and other children share about what’s it’s like to have a home their family can call their own. Sharing stories of lives changed through Habitat for Humanity is why I wrote The Condition of Living. If your heart is touched by this video, please share it with your family, friends, and fans. Together, we can spread hope at home and around the world. Love, Darlene”
How many family, friends, and fans are on your list? What is sharable about your story? Share it with them. Ask then to share it with others.
Here’s an idea:
Practice right here. Share your sharable story with me in the comments section. If it is sharable I’ll share it with my family, friends, and fans – that’s about 9,000 people, perhaps they’ll share it with their family, friends, and fans!