Ruth Soukup, blogger, author, entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author of Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life, sat down with Chandler during the 2016 Self-Publishing School Summit to share advice and strategies for boosting sales.
Through her popular blog, LivingWellSpendingLess.com, Ruth encourages more than a million monthly readers to follow their dreams and reach their goals, sharing easy-to-implement tips and strategies for saving time and money while focusing on the things that matter most. Her Elite Blog Academy is another way she helps others monetize, grow and build their blogs. Sign-up at Eliteblogacademy.com to be included on her waiting list.
Here’s Ruth’s top 5 tactics for increasing sales and promoting your own books.
1. Promote Store Sales and Coupons to Your List
Ruth knows how to harness the power of an email list to make sales. When bookstores carry your book, often the store will simultaneously offer a sale or a coupon. Ruth learned to take advantage of those opportunities by sharing the promotions to her email list.
Ruth shares the coupons offered by retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon to maximize sales on her own email list. She says that she sends her readers these money-saving promotions whenever they pop up. According to Ruth, “They [readers] could save 15% off any book they wanted, but we encouraged them to buy my book.”
Ruth has found that these discount coupons are often offered around the holidays. As a result of the holiday specials, Ruth received a ton of pre-orders in December for her book coming out in April. Even though it was months before launch, readers were able to use holiday promos to make Ruth’s spring launch successful.
2. Give a Book Bonus with Purchase
Ruth also had excellent results providing free digital products to readers. Ruth sold her book along with a free home planning workbook, and received great feedback on this on-brand digital promo. Ruth found that providing a useful digital tool was appealing to her readers.
Knowing how and when to maximize freebies isn’t rocket science. You shouldn’t feel pressure to offer over-the-top freebies along with your book. People like free stuff, in general — simply because it’s free. Any product you give away which make readers feel as though they’re scoring a deal works well.
Don’t get overwhelmed by a complex freebie campaign. You shouldn’t feel as though you have to offer a ton of different freebies or bonuses. Running different campaigns requires you to juggle lots of balls in the air. In fact, you may do better focusing on one impactful freebie instead of diluting your offer with a bunch of lesser freebies.
3. Maximize Facebook
Facebook’s platform is made for shilling free promotions to your mass audience. Ruth ran Facebook ads highlighting her freebies, alongside instructions on how to buy her book and redeem the freebie. She said the more detailed her instructions were for redeeming, the more successful the campaign.
Facebook’s advantage is that it can reach thousands of people in just minutes, but the downside is that it may not appeal to all audiences. Know your audience. If your audience is not generally those who use Facebook, then clearly, your Facebook ads won’t perform well and you’ll need to explore other avenues.
4. Create 31-Day Challenge
Ruth wrote two books where the content was published on her blog ahead of time. One of the blog challenges was actually content she repurposed from her book “Living Well, Spending Less.”
Here’s how it worked: Ruth ran a soft launch of the book and her team announced her blog challenge; basically, actions readers could take to play along at home via email. Ruth’s team announced the challenge one month ahead of time to allow ample time to get signups for the challenge.
As a result of Ruth’s blog challenge, 90,000 people signed up for her email list. Then Ruth’s team offered the opportunity for people to buy the blog content in book format, rather than viewing in blog post format. That tactic provided a huge sales boost!
5. Offer an In-Book Freebie
Ruth also suggests offering an in-book freebie. Your goal here is to collect email addresses and provide printables or another digital product for signing up. This way you can stay in touch with readers and build your audience over time. Your book leads readers to your site and the list you build helps you keep in touch with readers and ultimately sell more books. A win-win proposition!
Boosting book sales takes creative thinking and sometimes a little out-of-the-box thinking. With Ruth’s tips in your marketing arsenal, you’ll be on the way to being your own best seller.
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