If you are an editor, you have probably heard more than once that the future of publishing is digital. The problem with this is that, on many occasions, publishers believe that being part of the digital world requires no more effort than simply uploading a book to Amazon or Barnes & Noble and with this they will begin to have sales. Very far from that, transforming or adapting to the digital world requires meticulous work, a clear strategy and learning many new things that do not work in the same way as in the physical market.
“Our readers do not consume digitally”
“We have digital sales but they are few, our strength is physical”
“We are on all platforms but we hardly sell anything online”
“Our biggest sales continue to be through bookstores or at fairs”
If some of these statements are part of the reality of your editorial, then this article is for you. In it we will see some strategies so that your publisher can be part of this digital world, increase its online sales and learn techniques to create a digital book sales machine.
But first… Is the digital strategy only for digital books or also for physical books sold online?
Despite what many believe, developing a digital marketing strategy for a publisher does not mean that it is exclusively for the sale of digital books but rather that the objective is to attract an audience that prefers to search and buy things through the Internet. Perhaps some of you may be wondering, “But how do you combine a digital campaign with a physical book?” and the answer is simple: the discovery, convincing and purchasing process is the same for a digital book, an audiobook or a physical book. The difference between these 3 formats is how they are consumed, with digital books mostly consumed on tablets or e-readers, audiobooks on mobile phones, and physical books received at home.
Having clarified this, all the tools and actions that we will see in this article are focused on helping you increase the number of potential readers who discover, choose and buy your books, regardless of their format.
Let’s get started!
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Action #1: The more outlets you use, the more likely they are to find your books.
This is the most basic point of the strategy but one of the most important since it allows you to expand the sales possibilities by making your books available in multiple online sales points. You can see our article on the 4 types of platforms for selling books online where you will find the differences between each one and how to use them within your strategy. Some points to keep in mind that are common to all these platforms:
- Use descriptions that attract attention, adding certain keywords that are related and that are highly in demand by users.
- Offer multiple formats of the same book: digital (both PDF and EPUB, for reading on your own reader or Kindle, Kobo, etc.), audiobook and physical.
- Be attentive to special dates to offer discounts or promote books that have some relationship with the theme.
- Manage a centralized and coherent pricing policy, with small seasonal promotions.
Within this point we will highlight the need to have the publisher’s own online sales platform as a fundamental basis of the marketing strategy. Why do we say this? Because it is the option that will allow us to know who our readers are, their tastes, it will allow us to create different business models such as subscriptions or institutional sales, and because it will also allow us to take advantage of advertising campaigns pointing directly to our own site and not a platform of third parties.
That said, we will continue with the following actions.
Action #2: Take advantage of social networks to create community and promote your books.
Social networks are an essential tool for publishers because that is where the generations that consume digital spend the most time and because in many cases it allows actions to be taken at no cost, being an excellent promotion option.
It is important to create content on a recurring basis, keeping users updated and connected but without overloading them with information. The content must provide some type of information of interest, novelty, curiosity, promotion, etc. You should always try to avoid uploading content that does not add value, simply for the sake of uploading it. You can follow the guide of 10 tips to promote your book on social networks
Facebook and Instagram are ideal for creating a product catalog and generating some direct sales, also for uploading slightly “longer” content such as stories and news.
TikTok is the star network of the moment, especially among a younger and digitally native audience, being ideal for uploading short and concise videos, for example presenting a new book, telling a brief history of a car, making brief synopses or giving a list of the 5 best books to read on a topic.
Action #3: Advertising campaigns for your books
Unfortunately, just posting on your social networks and trying to generate a community will not be enough to generate all the demand you need to increase the sales of your books. For this, it is necessary to create paid online advertising campaigns with which you can expand your audience in unthinkable quantities.
At this point, having your own sales store becomes key since all the efforts and investments you make in advertising will be wasted if you send users to a third-party platform.
There are two main types of campaigns:
These types of campaigns seek to show your brand or what you have to offer and thus generate more audiences who know you. They are only recommended for publishers that specialize in a single topic since the results will be much more beneficial because the user will discover that they have many different books on the topic they are looking for.
These campaigns have the objective of generating a sale directly. Under this type you can do two main actions:
- Establish the exact name of your books so that when a user searches for them, the first option they see is to purchase directly from your online store and thus avoid the high commissions of the platforms.
- Schedule promoted posts on social networks showing a specific book to an audience with similar interests, allowing them to go buy it directly in your store.
Generally, to carry out these advertising campaigns for publishers, it is necessary to hire the service of a digital marketing agency that can provide us with support with the creation and optimization of campaigns, deciding on keywords, creating design pieces, etc. However, both social networks and Google itself allow you to create campaigns without prior knowledge, which will not have the same results and return on investment as if they were done by a professional, but which will allow you to have more than acceptable results.
On social networks you can find it as “Promote post”, where it will allow you to choose the audience, the budget, which post you want to promote, among other things.
On Google you can use Smart Campaigns, which will help you step by step to choose the total to invest, the audience and keywords to use, all the ad variables you want to create, etc.
Action #4: Carry out promotional actions to your user base
At this point we can see the great importance of having your own book sales store that will allow you to generate a user base and from this increase your promotional actions without any associated cost.
- Email marketing:
- Send monthly newsletters with all the news published, invitations to fairs, information about an author, etc.
- Offer a benefit to users who signed up or read a free sample of your books to encourage them to purchase.
- Build loyalty among your buyers by granting a discount coupon for a future purchase.
- Recommend related books to those who have already purchased one of your books.
- Create advertising campaigns on Google targeting all users who have already entered your own store, showing them promotional banners with some of your books.
- Create promotional posts on your networks on holidays granting discounts or exclusive access.
- Offers access to digital pre-sales.
These are some of the many actions that can be carried out when you have information about who your users are and you have a contact channel with them.
Action #5: Audiobooks, expand your audience
We do not want to leave out this topic, which is one of the trends in the publishing world. More and more publishers or platforms are appearing marketing audiobooks and this has a logical explanation: the public that consumes books in audio format in many cases is not the same as those that consume traditional books and this means expanding our target audience.
It is important to take into account within our marketing strategy the possibility of starting to produce and publish audiobooks, both of the books that we have already published and of new books with a native design for audio. This will give us a competitive advantage since it will allow us to access a whole new audience that is not interested in reading but is interested in consuming audiobooks.
Like the other formats, it is important to promote it on different platforms and also in your own store, being able to use technologies such as publica.la to do so in a simple and secure way, providing a unique experience to the user.
Do you need help putting together your strategy?
It is logical that many times publishers do not have the personnel or knowledge to be able to develop this strategy and for that they need external help. The most important thing in this is to look for good professionals, and if they can be professionals who also know the publishing world well, the better.
Here we share some of the most outstanding courses on marketing for publishers and authors:
**Project 451: **
This course by Daniel Benchimol, one of the great experts in the publishing world, is the most recommended on editorial marketing in Latin America and Spain. It has several modules where you can learn from end to end how to implement and improve your marketing strategy to sell more books.
This is a course exclusively for writers where you can learn good advice before creating your book as well as how to promote it.
There are also some sites with good information:
**Valentina Truman: **
This is a site specialized in marketing for publishers where you can find good strategies to follow, advice, good practices and more.
Marketing actions to sell more books online. Tell some ways to increase sales using online marketing tools.
It is important to develop a digital strategy for your publishing house that allows you to take consistent actions that give results. Many publishers make the mistake of only doing some of these actions separately and never see the results they expect and it can be frustrating. The development of a community and a sales machine takes time and dedication, but believe me, in the end it pays off and is the basis for the future sustainability of the publishing house