I was going to be an author when I grew up. There was a whole plan. I’d write my memoir at 27, sipping a latte and staring at some piece of beautiful scenery. It sounded like a nice gig. What I didn’t think about, and what I think many real-life authors don’t think about, is what I would do after I penned my great work.
- How would I build buzz for my book?
- How would I tell people when my book was ready?
- How would I create a relationship with them so they would buy ALL my imaginary books?
- How could I share other things with them that I thought they’d like?
- How could I make them not just fans, but friends?
Kid Lisa was focused on the writing – not on the marketing of the writing. But I realize now that it’s all that “other stuff” that propels a writer’s success.
I didn’t grow up to be a writer – at least not in the traditional sense. But I work with writers and authors of all different genres as part of my duties at Overit. Over the past few years, we’ve had the privilege of helping well-known authors optimize their automated marketing efforts, and we’ve seen tremendous results doing so.
As an author, a writer or someone who makes their living creating online communities – how can automated marketing be used to fuel sales? Let’s look at some ways.
Automated Marketing Makes It Easier for Authors To…
Partnering with an automated marketing platform opens you up to a world of opportunities. We’ll touch on some of the more complex in a minute, but let’s start with something simple — the Welcome Email.
The Welcome Email goes out as soon as someone has entered your funnel either because they bought something, downloaded something or because they told you they want to be part of your club. Instead of sending a cold, lifeless “your request has been received” email (or worse, not acknowledging them at all), send a note that warmly introduces subscribers to your community and shows them around.
This email should look like you, sound like you, and feel like you while including key information, such as: ground rules for participating in your community, links to your best content, links to how they can deepen their relationship and how they can connect with others interested in the same stuff. Entering a new relationship is scary. This email offers a map.
Marketing and being available to your audience is time-consuming. Yes, you want everyone to have a personalized experience with you and to feel like they have direct access to your brand (you understand doing so is good for business) – but you can only scale so much. Integrating a marketing automation program allows you to work ahead. It gives you the time and space you need to identify the love letters and messages you want to send at different touchpoints, and lets you write them ahead of time to schedule the appropriate release date. Your audience feels nurtured and taken care of, and you free up your time, confident readers are getting what they need. As busy people, it’s important to work ahead as much as possible. Not only to save time, but to be strategic about what you’re sending, when, and where you’re linking people to help them consume your content in a smart way.
Learn What Readers Respond To
Authors live and die by their ability to connect with readers. That takes real-time monitoring of things like:
- What topics readers are interested in?
- What’s getting them riled up?
- What are they ignoring?
- What are they flocking to?
Automation programs can be incredibly valuable in this regard, helping you to learn more about how your audience is consuming your brand so that you can produce more of what they’re seeking, and give them less of what they appear less passionate about. These insights can be used to power new content ideation, as well as for audience segmentation – beginning to diversify the content you’re messaging based on the person reading it. When you give readers more of what they want, they’re more likely to keep buying.
Build Buzz & Power Product Launches
You know what happens when you work on something day and night, alone in your basement, and then release it to the masses?
Nothing. Nothing happens because you haven’t built the buzz you need to get people panting and clamoring for the release. Marketing automation helps build this buzz by making it easy to tease snippets (while also trying out material to see how your audience bites), share “first peeks,” and invite people to “be the first to know.” Building buzz around a product launch is an art form, releasing just enough to whet someone’s appetite without making them so-totally-over-it-already when it’s finally here. Letting automated marketing help you in the process gives you the tools needed to map out everything you’ll need to make this launch successful.
Depending on your automation program, it can also help to add online course functionality to your marketing mix. For example, programs like Ontraport and Infusionsoft help authors create and sell beautiful online courses with very little heavy lifting to turn your expertise into a tangible class. This adds an additional revenue stream for your business, while also giving subscribers another way to consume and engage with your brand.
Here she’s able to automate everything from taking payments, to emailing new customer welcome packages, to messaging customers when they’ve completed the course, to engaging them in other ways.
Life coach Marie Forleo uses her automation platform of choice (Ontraport) to also offer online business courses and content to her audience, building her revenue stream and further connecting with her audience.
Create Affiliate Marketing Relationships
Once you have an audience, your automation partner can help you find new ways to leverage that audience into additional sales – including opportunities for partner/affiliate management. This opens up new sales channels for you, but also creates an additional value add that you’re able to provide your community.
For example, maybe you’re a fitness author. You’re able to help people find diet and nutrition plans that WORK for them. Your audience trusts your expertise in the area, so they are more likely to trust your recommendations on other workout materials, on supplements, on foods to be eating or to avoid, on inspiration, on cool tech to help improve their workouts, on summer gift ideas, etc. Because you are a trusted partner, they will look to you for other items they should be aware of. You provide them this knowledge, while also creating partnerships with other experiences in related or unrelated fields. Everybody wins.
Encourage Customers to Buy Again
Once a subscriber has become a customer, automated marketing allows you to build a series of emails/videos/print-on-demand direct mail pieces to entice buyers to buy again. If a customer has made a purchase or signed up for a service within the last 2-3 weeks, put them in their own group and prepare to create an automated email series specifically for them.
For example, in the first email you can thank them for their purchase and showcase other products you have that share similar themes and may be of interest. Your next follow up may be an automated direct mail piece that is mailed to their home with a unique offer to drive them back to your website. Automated marketing helps create additional touch points.
Organize Your CRM
Many automation programs also include CRM capabilities. As mentioned above, this can be used to segment your customer list based on not only demographic information, but by behavior and psychographic data, as well. In doing so, you learn the context behind behavior and can continue to serve up relevant material. But lead management goes much more in-depth than that.
One automation platform Overit likes to play in is Hubspot, which offers our team (and our clients) the ability to segment, score and manage our leads via a simple interface so that we can tailor not only content, but our approach to dealing with each lead. Being able to pull in lead context (looking at email activity, content, social media, video views, and other notes), creates a more complete profile of a lead, allowing us to speak to them in a way that works for them. The more you know about your leads, the better you can service them, the more likely to convert that sale.
Be Someone Your Readers Know
Getting permission, working ahead and always presenting personalized content is how relationships are formed. That’s how you stand out from other marketing messages hitting their inbox, and how you become someone they look for. You’re not just a brand, a writer or an author, you’re someone they know and whose voice they would recognize in a dark alley.
Put Your Focus Back On Your Business
Perhaps the greatest benefit of getting set up in an automation platform is the freedom it gives you to put the focus back on your business. Like Kid Lisa, you probably didn’t become an author because you wanted to focus on the “everything else.” You became an author because you had something to say or because you believed you offered something that others would benefit from. Automating tasks and using smart tools to learn more about those you’re trying to reach enables you to do your job better.
Of course, not everything can or should be automated. Your audience is coming to you for you and your unique insights. They need to feel part of your tribe and your community if you want them to keep engaging, keep supporting your products, and to continue to consume your marketing.
Believe it or not, the above touches just the surface of the opportunities for authors using automated marketing. As an author, you have something to say and people who are waiting to hear. By automating tasks, opening new marketing channels, and creating deeper relationships, you’re able to do what you love to do better. That’s what marketing should be all about.