If you already have self published books, chances are you’re looking for effective online marketing book strategies to help sell your book. You’ve spent hours brainstorming, writing, editing and publishing your book. Now what? Now it’s time to let people know that your book exists. Even if you have a great book, it doesn’t matter if no one knows about it.
So, how can you gain more fans and sell more books through online marketing book strategies?
Consider a “Virtual Book Tour” (Guest Blogging)
What is a “Virtual Book Tour” anyway? Basically it is a blog tour where you share guest posts on different blogs to promote you, your blog, your products and your books.
The Top 3 Reasons Why Should You Consider Guest Blogging
1) It’s free. Who doesn’t want free book marketing, right? However, you do have to spend your time researching and writing the posts, but you don’t have to pay for the advertising you will get from these posts.
2) It’s forever. Your guest post will remain on that blog forever to promote you, your products and your books.
3) It’s fun. Not only do you get tons of increased blog traffic, exposure, new fans and new customers but you also meet some amazing people in your field of expertise. I have found it fun to network and get to know the other key players in my niche. I have even done many self publishing interviews with them on my site as well.
Tips to an Effective Guest Blogging Tour
If you are going to invest the time into scheduling a guest blogging tour and writing the posts, you’ll want to make the most out of this online marketing book idea.
Here are three tips:
1) Do your research. Your tour will be much more effective if you choose high traffic, popular blogs. You know that a blog is popular by finding out their Google page rank and Alexa ranking. In the beginning, you may still want to target a few smaller blogs, but don’t be afraid to approach the authority blogs in your niche!
2) Provide high quality content. Be a great guest and provide unique, high quality content for your host. Don’t use PLR or an article you posted to a directory. Make yourself stand out by putting your best foot forward.
3) Develop a plan. You will need to plan how long your tour will be and develop a schedule for your tour. If you are doing a longer tour, you will need tools to help you stay organized. Use what works best for you whether it’s an Excel spreadsheet, a Word document or pen and paper.
To get started right away at planning your “Virtual Book Tour” to gain more exposure and more fans, download a free 20-page report from Shelley Hitz, of Self-Publishing-Coach.com called, “Guest Blogging Success.” You won’t want to miss out on this online marketing book idea that is growing every day in popularity. Download your free copy now: http://blogtour.self-publishing-coach.com/guest-blogging-success
I’ve been trying out the world of Giveaway events lately to build some of my lists. I’ve had some mixed success and I think it’s time to share a bit of what I’ve learned. I’ll assume that you have a general idea of what a giveaway event is all about (if you don’t, contact me).
Five Reasons To Use Giveaway Events
1 – They’re Free!
You can join a giveaway event as a contributor for free at most events. There are some events that require you get a minimum number of points before you can contribute — you will either need to buy points or get contributors to sign up with your referral. But most allow you to have a gift to contribute just for signing up. You can upgrade your membership if you like. This will give you the option to add more gifts to the event and even add OTO’s on the various landing pages. It also puts your gift higher up in the list when the members start pouring in.
But when your budget is tight, you can simply join at the free level and add your single gift. You will need to promote the event, both to potential JV partners and to general members once the event opens. If you don’t do this you’ll run the risk of having your gift removed from the list and you’ll get no sign ups.
2 – They’re Easy … ish
Once you get the hang of them, it is really easy to set your profile up. There are 2 main scripts that are used to run these and you’ll begin to recognize which one is being used just by the sign up page. The less common of the two will require you get points (from having referrals sign up) before you can add a gift. So until you’ve got a list of others who are using giveaways you’ll learn to avoid those ones.
Profile: You sign up with your email address and create a user name. NOTE: This will put you on the email list of the event organizer(s). Then you can update your profile with a few pieces of info. I always put in a decent profile pic to help build my brand but you might want to use a logo or just leave the image blank. Not all of the events use the image.
Promote for Contributors: Get your referral link and start promoting. You need to make sure that you are promoting to marketers at this point since your goal is to get other JV’s to sign up under you.
Gift: Before the event opens to the general members, you’ll need to add your gift. An image, a short description and the links to your squeeze page are needed here. Make your copy compelling and you might try to customize your squeeze page for the event.
Some events require a direct download page so that some upgraded members can get your gift without joining your list. It seems unfair, but if your free gift is done properly you should have links back to your squeeze page or sales page. And there usually aren’t that many members who take that option.
Promote for Members: Once the doors are open you’ll need to promote again. This time, it is a general promotion for anyone who might be interested in the niche. Once again you’ll get points for referred members and that will bring your gift higher in the list.
3 – You Can Make a Bit of Dough
There is money to be made in a giveaway event. When someone that you refer joins and purchases an upgraded membership or one of the one time offers, you will receive an affiliate commission. Some events increase the percentage for upgraded members.
This isn’t a big consideration since the primary focus (at least for me) is to build my lists, but it’s nice to know that you could make a few bucks at the same time.
4 – You’ll Meet Your Competition (and Potential Partners)
At a giveaway event, once the doors open you can go in to see what others have to offer in the event. You’ll pick up valuable free information that you can use to build your business (although you’ll also end up on lots of email lists — you’ll have to prune them as time goes on).
But there are two things you can get in addition to the free gifts. First, you can see what types of products are on the market (i.e. your competition). Secondly, you can make contacts with other marketers who have complementary products. JV partnerships and affiliate opportunities can be found if you watch for them.
5 – You’ll Build Your List
This is the ultimate benefit. Provided you’ve got a reasonably compelling free gift and decent copy in your promotional blurb and squeeze page you will add subscribers to your list. If you’ve managed to get the credits to keep your gift near the top of the list you’ll see more traffic than the end.
But either way, you’ll get some traffic. And at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about.
Three Reasons Not To Use Giveaway Events
Like all marketing tactics, giveaways are not perfect. They have some drawbacks that you need to watch out for.
1 – They’re Hard for Beginners
When you don’t have a list to begin with, it is pretty tough to promote an event. Who do you tell?
I struggled with this and actually got downgraded at one event since I didn’t get anyone to join as a contributor. Most of the other events let it slide but some are more strict than others. I promoted the events to my small lists and also hit my Twitter followers (you can imagine how well that worked 8=).
I did manage to grow my lists though. For this next round I’m planning to focus on building a list in the IM market so that I have a higher possibility of contributors when it’s time to promote. My other lists are not really interested in getting traffic or building mailing lists.
I’m also looking at other ways to promote such as traffic exchanges and list exchanges. These are interesting topics that I’ve been leery of up til now, but I’m learning how they work and giving them a try.
2 – They’re Not For All Niches
The most common events are in the fabled Make Money Online niche. They’re full of SEO, Twitter/Facebook secrets, list building, PLR/MRR, etc. These are great events if you are building your list in that niche.
But I struggled with building my personal development lists. In the MMO niche there is some cross over but a large percentage of the crowd just doesn’t care about goal setting or simplifying your life. It is tougher to find giveaway events in other niches, but it is worth it if you can find a good one.
3 – They Add a Lot of Freebie Seekers
You’ll get a lot of people who just sign up for the free gift. They may hang on your list or they may unsubscribe right away. Don’t get discouraged when that happens — it will happen. But that is the nature of the internet. Many people are only out to get what they can for free. Every marketer has to face that.
But this does mean that your list may not be as responsive as you would like. You may have heard that a list is worth $1/month/member or something along those lines. Well, a list full of freebie seekers will be worth a lot less than a list of buyers. So keep that in mind if you decide to use giveaway events.
The Bottom Line
As Hamlet might have asked, “To JV, or not to JV? That is the question.”
The answer is not cut and dried. If you don’t have a way to get other marketers to the event and promote it then you run the risk of putting a bit of effort out and having your gift cut from the event. If your niche isn’t a good match for the event then you’ll get very little return for your effort.
But when you get the right event you’ll see an influx to your list. I haven’t seen the kind of numbers that they promotional materials promise at any of the events, but I do see enough new subscribers to make it worth while for me.
My plan is to join 1 or 2 events at a time and experiment with different types of offers, copy and promotional techniques.
If you would like to try this as well, you can see what events I’m joining and promoting on the Giveaway Events page. If one of them interests you then join up and I’ll see you there!
You can also subscribe to the newsletter. In addition to keeping you up to date with Giveaway Events and other opportunities, it’ll have tips, news and free stuff periodically.
NOTE: This post is now available on LoneWolf’s List Building Adventure. Check it out there
Yesterday I wrote about deception in marketing. Today I want to follow up on the example that I talked about.
I reloaded the landing page with the scarcity tactics again. The date (as I expected) was today’s date. The number of copies available was still 17. I know that at least 1 copy was downloaded by me.
So there we have it — 2 blatant lies on the landing page.
I decided to follow the exit splash pages and see where it lead. Rather interesting. There were 4 exit splashes in all.
The first was another opt-in page for a different product.
Exiting from that brought me to a sales page for another product (discounted from $77 to $4.95 until Midnight December 8, 2010).
Exit again, another sales page. This time for the same product but a free 10 day trial (just $4.95 processing fee). Uh, okay — NOT!
Exit and another exit splash page. This one is the creme-de-la-creme of exit splashes! I’m at the ClickBank page to enter my order information from the last sales page!
Can you imagine this at a shoe store?
“I don’t really like any of the shoes that you’ve shown me. I’m going to leave now.”
“That’s okay sir, but would you like to step over to the cash register on your way out? We can run your credit card and put these shoes in a bag for you.”
I don’t know whether I should feel angry at this guy or sorry for him. At least I can imagine that most people would never follow the trail all the way to the end like I did. I normally wouldn’t. In fact, I rarely follow exit splashes at all.
I’m hoping that once his emails start coming that they will show a little more integrity.
NOTE: This post is now available on LoneWolf’s List Building Adventure. Check it out there
The Backlash is Coming
More and more internet marketers are using deceptive sales to techniques to use and abuse their lists.
- They deceive you with the ad swaps and solo ads that they get others to send.
- They deceive you on the landing pages that you sign up on.
- They deceive you in the products that they give away.
- They deceive you in the emails that they send once you’re on their list.
And they expect you to buy from them?
There is a growing concern about this type of marketing amongst those who are attempting to build quality content and real valuable relationships with clients and potential clients. Many of the people who use these techniques don’t know any better — it’s what they’ve been taught. But most of them are just looking to squeeze as much juice out of all y’all as they can.
Here is a list of some of the rants that you can find out there:
- Gary Simpson (Gary actually wrote a 54 page ebook on what he calls Internet Marketing Zombies or IMZ’s)
- Lynn Terry
- Maria Kuczborska
- Bill Davis
- Peter Antonio (actually a bit of a cautionary tale if you’re doing automated ad swaps)
Let’s Look at an Example
The Ad Swap/Solo Ad
Recently I got an email advertisement that had the subject “I don’t approve of stealing, but this…” Not a great start if you ask me. What am I supposed to think? Should I trust someone who has a reservation about stealing — except for this one thing?
The body of the email basically says that I would probably agree that it is okay for someone to steal something from a person who trusts them <strong>if it is for me</strong>! Now I’m a criminal. As long as I benefit then it is okay for someone to betray a trust.
The Landing Page
Well, let’s follow this down the rabbit hole. Let’s see the landing page I’m being sent to. Here is a simple page that tells me pretty much nothing about this free gift that I’ll get except that it is used by thousands to get traffic and profits. An eCover and an opt-in box. No mention of stealing anything. Hmm.
There is a couple of limitations though. This offer is only available on December 7, 2010. And there are only 17 copies left out of 200 available. Guess what, I don’t believe either of these statements.
Can I prove that they’re lying?
The Copies Available
I’ll also see if the count drops from 17 after I’ve downloaded the free gift. Well, after seeing the typical upsell OTO (why do these guys think I’m gonna buy from them before I’ve seen their sample wares? That’s another discussion altogether) the refresh of the page still shows 17.
Well, I didn’t actually download the product yet, so let’s try that. Downloading … 3 actual files as part of this product. Typical Bonus products (although only a few) listed on the download page.
Refresh the landing page. Still 17 available. Statement #2 is looking more like a lie.
The Free Gift
Now to take a quick peek at the product. There is a 25 page guide on traffic, a check list and a process map. At a quick scan it actually looks like a pretty decent product. I’m actually impressed with it. It is well written and is not promoting dishonest traffic techniques. In fact, it seems to be discouraging that which is refreshing.
It is obviously an introductory product and contains the links to the upsell product that this guy is offering, but I think he’s done a pretty decent job here. It has some good information and tips for getting started but leaves enough that you’d likely want to buy the main product to get the rest of the details.
Still, no mention of stealing, so I have no clue what the original email was all about.
The New List
Well, I’m now on a new list. I imagine it will take some time to see how this one shakes out. The initial welcome email was simple and concise — link to the gift and encouraging word. The tone is friendly without pretending to be best buddies. No “hidden opt-out” or other ridiculous list tricks.
I’m actually looking forward to seeing some email from this guy to find out if he can follow up with the goods. I hope he can. The initial contact was a bit rocky and I hope that he changes that landing page. But he did come through on some decent content in the end and I’m hoping to see some good stuff on his list.
Well, what can we conclude from this?
First of all, we need to look at first impressions. I nearly didn’t click on the link in the initial email. It set a bad first impression with the implication that I’d agree to be party to theft if it somehow benefited me. That will colour the feelings that I have towards this new list and it will be a hurdle for him to overcome.
The landing page with the false scarcity was also a problem. Not everyone would be able to look at the source code of the page and see that it, but the fact is that it was a lie. That doesn’t lead to trust.
So it seems that we have a decent product and, hopefully, a valuable list that I only got to because I wanted an example to write this post. Otherwise I would have passed on it.
Second of all, my opinion of the promoter has been diminished. The original list owner that sent out this ad swap/solo ad has been diminished in my eyes. Whether he wrote the piece about stealing himself or just used ad copy from the new guy is hard to tell. But having it in his list hurts his rep. He needs to look at what he’s promoting and how he’s promoting it. It will reflect on him and now he has to rebuild a level of trust.
So here are my two pieces of advice for you when you’re trying to build your list:
- Don’t lie in any part of your sales funnel, from the ads you run through to your sales products. It destroys trust.
- Don’t promote anyone who does lie. It will reflect badly on you.
NOTE: This post is now available on LoneWolf’s List Building Adventure. Check it out there
I’ve had the vanbourghini image on my computer for a long time. I have seen it on other sites as well, but never with a credit. If you know who to credit for this image please let me know.
‘Tis the Season for Giving
With the Christmas season approaching, you’ll find a lot of giveaway events that have a Christmas based theme. There are two events that I will be contributing to during this time. But the one that I find the most intriguing is the Christmas Greetings Giveaway. There is an interesting twist to this event and I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.
The Twist — Invisible Opt-In
In this event, members will opt-in to the event which is par for the course. Then they will browse the selection and download free gifts (hopefully mine) and get signed up on the donor’s list.
The twist is that when they download my gift they will be signed up invisibly to my list.
I can hear you asking “What does that mean?” It was something that I was asking myself.
Basically, rather than sending them to a landing page where they look over your sales copy and then opt-in (or not) they go directly to the download. The giveaway script then signs them up for your list behind the scenes with the name/email that they used to join the giveaway.
What does this mean?
Well, you do need to have a special opt-in list just for this event. I’ve set one up that will just hand them off to my main list. The list you use should be a single opt-in although a double opt-in can be used but it is trickier. You’ll give a direct link to your download rather than the sign up page.
Keep in mind that the user will not be taken to your normal thank you page. The flow of sign ups isn’t quite normal.
Special Download Page
The event provides a special download page that the user will be taken to when they want to download your gift. You have an opportunity to put some html code here to provide an OTO or other offer. There are practical limitations to what you can put in there — i.e. width of images, etc. But you can link to a sales page or even just copy your sales page code if it fits.
Isn’t This Sneaky?
The invisible sign up seemed a bit sneaky to me at first. But the users are told when they sign up for the giveaway that they will be added to the mailing lists of people who’s gifts they download. They’re also reminded when they log in to search for gifts.
Benefits to the User
So, how will this benefit the user? The simple fact is that they will have fewer steps to download the gifts. The won’t need to go to your landing page. The don’t need to fill in your opt-in form. The shouldn’t have to confirm their subscription unless your autoresponder requires you to use double opt-in.
They just get straight to the gift and are automagically on your list.
Benefits to the Contributor
But how do you, a contributor, benefit from this giveaway model. The simple answer is that more users will end up on your list (provided your sales copy is compelling). The roadblocks to signing up are removed.
This event is also geared towards personal development which is a niche that I’m working in. So the visitors will be more targeted than most of the IM themed giveaways that are out there.
Given these factors, it should produce a decent growth of your list.
There are promotion requirements, similar to any giveaway event. As a contributor you are expected to bring in some members. When we all work together we all win.
The requirements aren’t too steep but it will be a challenge for those of us with smaller lists. At least this event fits better with the niche of my lists so I’ll feel better about promoting it.
The more members that you refer, the higher your gift will show in the list.
You’ll also be required to have a minimum number of members sign up during the event or your gift will be removed. That means you’ll need to keep promoting during the 3 weeks of the event to grow the membership.
So, if you have a list and a product that can fit into the personal development niche, join us for this event. It opens to members on December 13th, so you’ve got just over a week to get your gift set up.
Looking forward to seeing some great products and a nice growth in everyone’s list.
Good to Go!
Thanks to the WPTouch plugin by the guys at BraveNewCode (a couple of fellow Canucks) Ramblings is now mobile ready. If you’ve ever tried to read this site on your iPhone or BlackBerry then you will find the experience is much better now.
While I’m only experimenting with the free version (v1.9.20) right now, I am seriously considering upgrading to the Pro version. It allows several additional features (such as more themes and customization). I’m still playing with it, but so far it looks very promising.
I don’t have a smartphone myself (apparently I’m not smart enough 8=) but I’ve been testing it out using Safari in the iPhone mode and it looks pretty good. If you want to test the way this plugin works on your own site then you’ll need either the Apple Developer simulator or you can run Safari in iPhone compatibility mode (it’s under the Development menu option). Most simulators don’t trigger the plugin’s functionality because they appear as a regular browser.
I’ll have to check it out on Sweet Mama’s BlackBerry at some point.
If you have a chance to try it out on your mobile phone, let me know what you think.
Gary Simpson has declared war. And he’s not alone. A growing army of people are getting sick and tired of the direction that internet marketing is moving.
Gary is one of the guys that I’ve been learning more about in the past few months. I really enjoy his no nonsense approach to marketing. I also enjoy his rants against the seedy underbelly of the online marketing world, aside from the odd use of the name of Jesus as profanity.
This is the 2nd rant I’ve seen on his blog about this kind of stuff and I’m sure that there will be more. I hope that there will be more!
If you’ve read some of the posts around here lately you’ll know that I’m pretty upset about the kind of crap that passes for marketing as well. There are some people who truly want to help others and market solid products. And then there are those who just want to pick your pocket.
There Are Others
Gary and I are not the only ones speaking out against this trend. If you read through the comments on Gary’s latest post (warning — there are tons of them) you’ll see that he’s hit a nerve with that post.
Maria Kuczborska wrote Spam In My Letterbox — How To Separate The Wheat From The Chaff describing the daily routine she follows to purge her inbox of the scourge of junk marketing.
Written from the point of a new internet marketer, Julie McElroy’s The Unethical World of Internet Marketing Scares Newbies gives an insight into what it is like for those who are just starting out.
And Andrew Hansen feels that there is a cancer in IM (and I’d have to agree with him). Here is a quote from his article that really stood out.
The guys who do these launches and are the most unethical… make the most money. No one I mentioned on my list of “the wisest and most trustworthy marketers” do anything like the figures these guys do. That pisses me off but I guess that’s life.
And there are more posts like this popping up all over. People are getting pissed off. Heads will roll. In the words of Indigo Mantoya “There will be blood tonight!”
So What Do We Do?
Well, the best thing you could do is just send lots of money to my PayPal account 8=) That’s a joke, but if you want to send some please do.
We need to work together as marketers and consumers to encourage those who market with honesty and integrity — those who strive to provide value and build ongoing relationships to help you in return for your time and occasionally money. We also need to educate the new folks (I hate the word newbie) so that they don’t buy into the hype surrounding these poor tactics.
I have a few ideas that I will share over the next few weeks/months. But if you have ideas on how to approach this then share them. Leave a comment. Write a blog post and link it here. Join the army.
Warning — Don’t Read This Book Unless You Want To Be Challenged
I love Max Lucado. As a writer and as a brother in Christ who consistently builds value into the lives of people. I love the style that he uses in his books to bring truth to light. He tells wonderful stories in an almost lyrical way. His work is uplifting and encouraging.
So when I received a copy of Out Live Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference to review I was expecting a wonderful adventure full of stories and uplifting words. But it was not exactly what I expected.
Don’t get me wrong. Max delivered in his typical flair. This book is filled with encouraging and uplifting stories. Some are stories from Scripture, some from modern life and others from Max’s active imagination. The writing is almost poetic.
But what I wasn’t expecting was that my comfortable life was in the crosshairs of this book. This book encourages a rather harsh inward look with the aim of a more compassionate outward look. Out Live Your Life is a challenge to the Church, especially in North America.
There is a movement in the Church today that is encouraging us to look outward to show a hurting world the love of God. Popular songs such as Give Me Your Eyes or My Own Little World are examples of this movement. And this is exactly the message that this book is bringing.
But this much is clear: the storehouse is stocked. The problem is not in the supply; the problem is in the distribution. God has give this generation, our generation, everything we need to alter the course of human suffering. (Out Live Your Life – pg 6)
The world is full of people in need: hunger, disease, poverty, lack of education, orphans, widows and more. The statistics are astounding. What is God going to do about it?
Follow Max on an exciting journey through the Book of Acts. Watch how God took ordinary people (Joe Pot Roast) and turned the world upside down. Ask God to do the same with us. Get your copy and come change the world with us.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through BookSneeze.com for the purpose of this review. I am also an affiliate with Amazon.com and will receive a commission if you buy this book through my links.
Give Me Your Eyes is by Brandon Heath
My Own Little World is by Matthew West