by Kristen Eckstein
While the internet is a huge place that allows us to connect with audiences all over the world, we shouldn’t neglect our own backyards. It’s easy to focus your marketing strategy only online, however local marketing can go a long way toward preparing you for interviews, giving you media exposure, and helping you gain practical experience you can use to properly position yourself as a successful author.
Here are four secrets to market your book to your local target market in your own backyard:
Secret #1: Contact local organizations
Find out what local organizations have upcoming events and offer to visit them and talk about your book. Locate organizations with members that are a good match for your audience.
For instance, if your book centers on a political topic then you may want to speak at a local politician’s fundraising event. If your book is about a business topic, contact your local Chamber of Commerce to be a guest speaker at one of their meetings.
Match your ideal target market to the type of local event before committing and wasting your time speaking to the wrong audience. Here are a few places you can have an author appearance:
- Networking Events—Google and search Meetup.com for “networking events [your town]” and see what comes up. You may be surprised how many events are in your own backyard! Look at the organizations’ descriptions and websites, then choose one each month to attend and begin building relationships.
- Lunch & Learns—If your audience is people in Corporate America, contact large corporations in your city and ask them if they have a Lunch & Learn program. Most large corporations love the chance for an author (especially an expert) to come share tips to their employees. This is an event where you would speak about your book for free, and be allowed to sell books at the back of the room before and after you speak.
- Workshops—Build relationships with event planners and speakers through the local networking events you attend, and if your book is a non-fiction topic, let them know you’re available to conduct a workshop for their next event. You can also put together your own workshops and rent space in a hotel or business center, and I would recommend you get your feet wet presenting your workshop for other events before tackling all that’s involved with creating your own.
- Clubs—There are a lot of local clubs and organizations such as the Lions, Rotary, and Kiwanis clubs that regularly invite guests to come in and speak. Even though the speaking is unpaid, you’re usually welcome to bring and sell books to the audience, and it’s a good way to get practice speaking in front of a small group.
Secret #2: Write out a few speech ideas related to the content of your book
Prepare a few talks that relate to the content inside your book, and if you’re writing non-fiction, that will further establish you as an expert. You don’t have to write out an entire hour-long speech, just jot down an outline or two and weave a few quotes directly from the text of your book into your speeches. Think about your book’s message and communicate it in your speech.
My friend Felicia Slattery calls this your “Signature Speech™.” Create versions of this “Signature Speech™” that are anywhere from 30 seconds to an hour long and be prepared to deliver it in front of an audience.
Secret #3: Have copies available on-site
I call this “trunk-of-your-car” marketing. Always, always, always keep a box of books in the trunk of your car. You never know when you’re going to be somewhere and get into a discussion about your book. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of books I’ve sold simply because I had them on-hand in the trunk of my car.
When you appear at a local event, you may be able to sell copies of your book directly to your target audience. If you’re a guest speaker and they like what you have to say, then they’re very likely to purchase.
Always find out how many people are going to attend the event and have enough books on hand. You don’t want to run out of books and miss point-of-sale impulse buys.
Secret #4: Expand your reach
Once you’ve appeared at a few live events, you will be ready to expand your offline reach even further. In addition to seeking out more local events, start looking at what is happening throughout your state and region.
Speaking at live events throughout the country is a great way to build your credibility as an expert in your field, and going on a regional book tour and doing readings throughout your state can get you some additional media publicity and word-of-mouth sales.
The credibility and word-of-mouth marketing that will result from your reach’s expansion is priceless, so always remember the importance of an offline audience. Appearing at live events as a featured speaker, doing local book readings and signings, and networking at business networking events will dramatically increase your book sales.
Be ready and prepare yourself—writing your book is merely the first step. Put on your thinking cap and consider the many ways both online and offline that you can market your book. The possibilities are endless!
How have you marketed your book to local audiences? Please share with us in the comments!
[Note: This article is adapted from the chapter, Their Products in Kristen’s Kindle book, Author’s Quick Guide to Finding Your Target Market.]
This article was originally published on The Future of Ink and is reprinted here in its entirety for our Magnolia Media Network readers.