Tuesday's lesson plan
We'll spend the rest of our time covering questions, filling in any blanks (hopefully) and going over how to personalize your marketing plan. Here are the instructions, followed by a template for your own use. Feel free to alter this to suit your abilities, purposes, and preferences.
For the last few weeks, we've focused on finding places to promote our work, identifying sites that support what we do, shared goals, discussed how to fill our calendars with appearances ahead of time, and learned how to send out announcements for them.
This week, we'll cover how to put all that information into a workable format to create a plan that will help you market your work. You may discover that each book you write will have its own flavor and often appeal to an additional niche of people. Don't be afraid to create a marketing plan for each book, or for a series, and then refer to your plan when a marketing opportunity presents itself.
There are five aspects to consider when you discover a promo opportunity. The promo should receive a yes answer to all of the questions below.
- Does this further the objectives or goals you set for yourself, your books, and your image?
- Will this reach your target audience?
- Does this relate to your identity as an author (i.e., your "brand")?
- Does it fall within the guidelines of your plan of action?
- Is it within your budget?
If the answer to any one of these is no, you must determine if the undertaking is worth the risk. At best it will work out, and at worst it's money, time, and/or resources wasted. If two are no's and you still want to take part in the promo, write down the reasons it appeals to you. In addition, consider whether it will enable you to:
- Gain exposure on a wider level
- Partner with a person of interest
- Partner with a high profile entity or site
- Take advantage of a trend
- Work with a fellow author whom you trust
Use your list of reasons to help you determine your true motivation. You may find it's worth the risk. If you sleep on it you may discover that your reaction was due to impulse. In some cases, you may have a "gut feeling" that it's the right thing to do or the right place to be. Only you can decide whether to proceed. If you discover that more than two items are no's, the promo likely does not fit your marketing plan. In this case, you may lose more than you gain.
Use your plan to determine every aspect of your marketing.
The template for your Marketing Plan is below.
Record the goal or goals you set for yourself earlier in the course.
List your target audience (or list of audiences).
Who are you as an author? Do you have a recurring theme? What is your brand? For example, I use two distinct catch phrases, and my books fit them. One is Romance Lives Forever, and the other is Unstoppable heroes, Uncompromising love, Unforgettable passion. Record yours here. If you don't have a brand or theme, take a look at what you write and try to determine what it is. Do you write gothic romance? Western? Horror? Sweet inspirational? Create a phrase, catch-word, or slogan to capture that essence.
Plan of Action
What steps will you take to achieve your objectives? Will you hold book signings, chats, blog frequently, create a fan page on Facebook, etc.? Make these plans short, to the point, and high level without detail. This is more of an outline for what you'll do than a detailed step-by-step instruction guide.
That's truly the bare bones of a marketing plan. You can make it as complicated or simple as you like.
Items to consider
Gauge your promo plans by comparing them to your marketing plan. Will a particular event or endeavor fulfill part of your plan? Will it take you far outside it? If it doesn't fit the plan, consider why you want to do it. I have a personal policy that if I have to make a snap decision because it's "now or never" I will almost always go with "never." Why? Because too often a rush to decide is simply a salesperson creating a perceived urgency that is not truly there.
Let me share a short and personal anecdote. I recently decided to drop coverage on a pay-as-you-go cell phone. I received an email from the company promising me that if I added $10 to my account by the end of April, that they'd add $5 as a bonus. I decided that I didn't want to bother with it, for various reasons. In May, I received another email stating that because they valued my business, they were adding $5 to my account as a thank you. If I had given in to the urgency of their "do it now" pitch, I'd have added money to a phone I really didn't want to keep. Instead, I used the $5 as an emergency fund on the phone, which came in handy at a recent conference. I'm still switching phones, but it was helpful to have the free minutes. Sometimes it pays to wait, or simply just say no.
If you consistently see opportunities that you want to try, but they don't fit your plan, perhaps you need to reconsider the plan itself. You may need to add a new detail to your plan in order to take advantage of these opportunities.
One other item to keep in mind. Can you do something for yourself that you are currently paying others to do? Depending on your schedule, your personal life, and your editing deadline, paying for help might prove expedient. Only you know what type of time pressure you are under, and whether paying for help relieves stress and helps you accomplish more. Sometimes, doing things yourself not only saves money, but also provides pride in a job well done.
Any questions about this template? Please post here and we'll go thru them one by one.