I’m not the typical target for marketing. When I see an ad with some variation of “buy it now!” my reflexive response is something along the lines of “No. Piss off.” Except replace ‘piss’ with, well, I think you get the idea.
But I do love to read, and I have money, so I am at least in theory a potential target for marketing from writers.
I recently joined Twitter, and from the first moments I started ‘following’ people I was hit with a barrage of obnoxious marketing: Buy my book! Check out my website (where you can buy my book)! Check out my interview (about my book, which you can buy from my website)! And so on.
I can honestly say that I never have, and probably never will, buy a book from one of those people. Still, I have bought several books from individuals I met through Twitter, and now I’m going to share with you the top five marketing techniques that work on people like me:
5) Do me a favor.
Something as simple as retweeting my tweets or giving me a mention is going to make me predisposed to liking you, and in addition to returning the favor I may actually check out your website and buy your book.
4) Offer to do me a favor.
One guy introduced himself by saying “your tweets are my tweets”. I thought that was pretty cool. As far as I can recall he has never actually retweeted one of mine, yet I still like him because his initial interaction with me was an offer to help me out.
3) Ask for my opinion.
People love being asked for advice or for their opinion, and I’m certainly no exception. I had one guy ask for my thoughts on his website, and when I made a few suggestions he thanked me and took my advice. Since that initial encounter he has never ceased to be friendly and cool. He doesn’t even have a book out at the moment, but I can guarantee you that the day it comes out I will be one of the first to buy a copy.
2) Have a conversation with me.
This is a big one. I know it may seem tedious to talk to all nine thousand of your followers, but I can honestly say there are writers who now have me as a fan for life simply because they were willing to engage in witty banter. And a fan for life is an incredibly useful thing.
1) Make me laugh.
I don’t like being asked to ‘like’ people’s pages if I don’t know anything about them. For all I know each and every one of your books is about your forbidden love of farm animals—which is fine, but could you at least hire a decent editor? Still, I told one guy I’d ‘like’ his page if he could make me laugh, and not only did he succeed in doing so, but I learned a little about him and saw him as a cool person rather than merely a marketing machine. After that I was able to ‘like’ his author page with a clear conscience.
Hell, if he makes me laugh again I may just go buy all of his books.