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Originally written by flashgordon:
Using Word-of-Mouth Marketing for Online Book Promotion
Is your book or writing worth talking about? One certainly hopes so, because a recent study conducted by eMarketer.com concluded that 53 percent of online traffic comes from recommendations made by family members, colleagues, and/or friends. This confirms what many experienced online marketers have always known: Positive word-of-mouth "buzz" is the best advertising money can't buy--whether offline or online! So every single author and writer in the world should be spending a great portion of their time coming up with ways to acquire and retain readers and customers using word-of-mouth marketing--especially since the internet makes it so much easier!
It wasn't too long ago that it took several months and even years before authors and writers derived the benefits that their positive word-of-mouth referrals generated. Before the advent of the internet, it simply took longer for news to spread because we relied on phone or in-person conversations and handwritten correspondence. Additionally, publishers, authors, and writers depended in large part on their happy customers' willingness (and memory) to refer them to others--not a very efficient or effective system.
But fortunately, thanks to the internet, those days are gone. Nowadays news travels at lightning speeds via instant messaging, e-mail, desktop computers and laptops, mobile phones, and SMS text messaging. In addition to more traditional forms, social media websites like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and many others allow authors and writers to spread their message to potentially millions of people at the click of a mouse.
Experienced authors and writers are particularly fond of using three of the very best online word-of-mouth tactics--viral marketing, tell-a-friend programs, and online publicity.
Published Authors Go Viral
You've probably heard of viral marketing but may not know exactly what it means. If so, you're not alone. However, viral marketing is nothing more than a method for encouraging large numbers of people to spread your marketing materials to other people. It's like planting seeds, adding water and watching them grow! Because so many of the best internet distribution channels are free or extremely low-cost, viral marketing is an authors and writers best friend and should be an integral part of your online marketing efforts
And how do you "go viral" quickly? The easiest way is to give something valuable away for free. Please understand that there's a big difference between valuable and expensive, so don't misinterpret what is being suggested. People have a natural tendency to help others, especially their close friends and relatives. Therefore, if they're given something really special and encouraged to share it, they will. So before you choose your "freebie," answer these types of questions:
What do my target prospects value?
Are they looking for instructions on how to build something?
Do they crave inspiration?
Are they in need of inspiration?
Are they seeking comfort?
Do they just want a good laugh?
Once you know this, you're on your way; the sky's the limit on what you can give away. It can be as elaborate as an original short story or something like a series of poems. You can give away the first chapter or two of your book as an ebook. Or why not offer free graphics, photos, or banners? Regardless of what you choose, just be sure to include your name, your book’s title, and website address (and live link if applicable) so interested people can find you!
Authors and Writers Use Tell-A-Friend Programs
If you've spent any time at all on the internet you've certainly been asked to provide the names and e-mail addresses of others you know who would also be interested in visiting websites. This is a great way to make it easy for people to recommend your site to their family members, colleagues, and friends! All visitors have to do is enter the requested information and an e-mail with your website's URL and a short message is generated. And since the e-mails' "from" lines are from recognizable e-mail addresses, they're not likely to get blocked by spam filters and are not considered spam.
So why not save your visitors a phone call and make it simple and convenient for them to suggest your site to others? You'll only need two things to get started: a tell-a-friend form and a script. Most shopping carts include scripts and forms in their packages, but if you need one, go to Google and type in: "tell a friend forms" or "tell a friend scripts" and you'll have lots to choose from.
Authors and Writers Generate Online Publicity
As an alternative to utilizing traditional advertising, successful authors and writers love using the internet to create buzz about themselves, their books and their writing. That's why so many smart online entrepreneurs take advantage of free and/or low-cost and highly effective traffic generation strategies, such as online press releases
There are a number of websites that offer free resources and guidance on writing press releases and how to use them to generate traffic to your website and obtain inbound links. Once you've written a press release submit it to the free press release sites
If you want to get the biggest bang out of your online word-of-mouth efforts, let the following rules of thumb guide you.
• Use an assortment of weapons. It's hard to get anyone's attention using one channel. Use a combination of online and offline strategies and tactics such as recording a radio interview and putting it on your website. Put your web address on your business cards, mention it in your voice mail greeting, and include it in every one of your offline ads.
• Find out what people are talking about. Then write a press release that ties you, your book and your writing to the story or topic. Just pick up any national newspaper or visit online news sites to find out what subjects are hot.
• Consistently and continuously market your books and your writing. One-shot attempts won't get you anywhere, so any chance you get jump on it.
All in all, successful word-of-mouth marketing experts know that the key to success involves creativity and consistency. Be creative in your approach to word-of-mouth marketing and consistently utilize every online marketing and promotion opportunity you can. May success be yours.