As a self-published author, I’m always looking for new ways to promote the books I write. You probably do the same thing. Ultimately, you want to find the most effective (and affordable) marketing channels to help you increase your sales and profits.
One form of marketing that’s been used in print publishing for years is influencer marketing. You might not be familiar with it yet – but it has the potential to make your book sales skyrocket. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that involves getting a well-known person to promote your book to their followers. You’ve probably heard that celebrities like Kim Kardashian get paid millions to mention products on Instagram or Twitter. That’s one kind of influencer marketing.
The blurbs that appear on book jackets are another form of influencer marketing. When Stephen King writes a blurb for a new horror novel, people notice. If he says the book is good, many people will buy it based on his say-so.
The best influencers for any product are well-known people whose followers fit into the target audience for the product. It won’t do you any good to connect with a celebrity or influencer whose fans and followers aren’t already interested in books like yours.
An influencer doesn’t have to be a celebrity. They simply need to be someone whose followers overlap your target audience – and are likely to take the influencer’s advice and buy products (and books) they recommend.
Is Influencer Marketing Effective?
When it’s done right, influencer marketing can be as effective – or even more effective – than other kinds of marketing. Here are some statistics to illustrate the point:
- 80% of all marketers say that influencer marketing is effective or very effective
- 71% agree that the traffic they get from influencer marketing is better than the traffic they get from other marketing campaigns
- 48% of marketers say that the ROI from influencer marketing is better than from other marketing channels, and an additional 41% say it’s comparable
- 18% of marketers spend 50% or more of their marketing budget on influencers
Of course, not all influencer marketing channels are equally effective. According to the same poll, the most effective channels, in descending order, are:
The fact that Pinterest doesn’t appear high on the list doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t find influencers there. You’ll need to do some research to determine which influencers can help you sell your book.
How to Find Influencers for Your Self-Published Books
You might be wondering how you’re going to connect with someone influential enough to make a difference in your book sales. It’s not difficult.
Start by thinking about your target audience. An influencer doesn’t need an audience of millions. However, you do want to choose influencers who have:
- A sizable audience that you can’t reach on your own
- Credibility to promote your book
- Willingness to act as a paid influencer
- An affordable quote
For most self-published authors, approaching a huge celebrity isn’t going to be affordable or cost-effective. You want someone who, in return for a reasonable payment or exchange, will be willing to talk about your book and promote it to their audience.
For example, let’s say that you’ve self-published a bullet journal. You want to connect with people who are interested in bullet journaling already – or with people who like related things who might not yet know about bullet journaling.
A good influencer to approach might be an artist on Instagram who posts pictures of completed bullet journal pages and has thousands of followers. That person’s audience might very well be on the lookout for new bullet journals and a recommendation from them can help you sell books.
Alternatively, you might look for a blogger who writes about organization and time management. They might not have an audience full of bullet journal enthusiasts. However, what they do have is an audience of people who want to learn the best ways to manage their lives efficiently. A bullet journal could be a tool to help them accomplish their goals.
To find influencers to approach, Google some of your top keywords for the book you’re selling. Make lists of bloggers, social media influencers, other authors, and anybody else who you think might have an audience that overlaps with your target audience.
Tips for Approaching Influencers
Approaching influencers can feel risky. One thing that can help is reminding yourself that you’ll be no worse off if you ask than you are if you don’t. The only difference is that you might convince a powerful influencer to promote your book if you do ask – and there’s zero chance of them agreeing if you don’t.
Here are some tips to help you approach influencers:
- Do your research. Find out which influencers have promoted books like yours. Check their website if they have one. Some influencers list their rates on their websites.
- Be professional. You’re making a request and the influencer may or may not say yes. How you word your request will affect their response. Using a professional Instagram account or email address will make you seem professional.
- Consider offering a free book as an opening offer. You may also need to pay them, but a free influencer copy of your book is a good place to start.
- Make sure to include a clear call to action at the end of your DM or email. What do you want them to do next? Email you back? Send you an address so you can send them a book? Be specific.
- Approach only a few influencers at a time. One of the things that matters to influencers is a feeling of exclusivity. If you get yeses from 100 influencers at once, you’re likely to upset people.
If you have a large following yourself, you may also be able to arrange a tit-for-tat deal with an influencer where you cross-promote one another’s products.
Influencer marketing can help you get your self-published book in front of a whole new audience, boosting your sales and profits. The most important thing is finding the right influencers – the people whose followers are highly likely to be interested in your book. The rest is (relatively) easy.
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