One of the basic axioms of book marketing is that it takes multiple impressions on target buyers to induce them to make a purchase. The more varied these touchpoints the greater the impression and motivation to favorable action.
Successful book publishers market their books using an assorted mix of promotional media. The four parts to an assorted communication mix are publicity, advertising, sales promotion and personal selling. The weight of any one element depends upon the content, nature of your product lines, the author’s involvement in marketing, and the target buyers. As a general statement, publishers focus on publicity and avoid advertising -- print advertising in particular. They feel that if they do any advertising it will be in digital format thinking print communication “is a thing of the past.”
In this case – as in most – either/or thinking is erroneous. A strategic combination of print and digital communication can maximize the impact of your message because print offers benefits that digital doesn’t, and that digital combined with print advertising is more powerful than digital alone. A strategic use of print media can most effectively and efficiently increases your sales, revenue and profits.
Technology has made it easier and cheaper than ever for small book publishers to reach their prospective buyers through advertising. Websites, social media sites and email campaigns offer immediacy and interactivity. But traditional print advertising retains many of the advantages that made it the lifeblood of marketing communications for decades. For book publishers seeking credibility, repetition and a closer connection with their target buyers, the benefits of print ads may outweigh even the most-used digital media. Here are some benefits of print advertising to consider as you plot your promotional strategies.
Magazines, targeted newspapers, association newsletters all have content that is read by an audience of people who are interested in that topic. Your advertisement in that medium can reach people who want to learn more about your subject. And they are more likely to purchase your book.
With print advertising you can target readers based on their common interests, profession, region, or a variety of other factors. Your content about fishing could be advertised in a magazine read by fly fishers in the south, and communicated differently in the same magazine to ice fishers in the north. A message about your content about how to find a job would be told differently in a college newspaper than it would in the newspaper Boomers read by 50+ people looking for a second career.
Targeted print advertising can make your promotional budget more efficient and effective as you match your message with the interests of a niche print medium’s subscribers (nutrition, for example, versus nutrition for long-distance runners). Instead of a strategy of “spray and pray” in which you try to reach the largest number of people, use targeted print adverting to reach an interested audience less expensively.
Also, the demand for print advertising has been declining and publications are willing to work with you to get and keep your business. You may be able to negotiate a lower price than quoted in their media kits especially when they are close to their deadline. They may accept a lower price so they can fill any open (remnant) advertising space.
People surfing the Internet actually spend less than 15 seconds scanning a website. But the person who subscribed to a magazine or newspaper made a conscious decision to read it. And they are more focused on your message because when the readers are scanning the pages they are not doing something else.
Your ad’s headline designed to communicate a potential benefit to a specific audience can get and hold the readers’ attention. They are more likely to continue reading through the bulk of your message and take action such as buying your book.
High Ad Recall
People who are engaged are more likely to remember an eye-catching message. Magazine ads have the second highest receptivity of any media.
When people subscribe to a magazine, newspaper or newsletter they have a longstanding, loyal relationship. This devoted readership views your message with a more positive frame of mind. This also helps reinforce your message, especially with repetition.
When people are finished reading a magazine they may give it to someone else to read. Or they may donate it to their local coffee shop, beauty salon, barbershop or other place where people read while waiting for service. Your ad goes with it for additional exposure.
Unlike Internet ads, your print ad will be around long after the online ads have disappeared. Magazines and other print publications may be on display in the waiting rooms of doctors' offices and other venues for months. Other digital media, such as email campaigns, may get lost in your prospects’ inbox and deleted before they even read it.
You can buy a regional or local ad in national print media. When your prospects see your book featured in a national publication, they view it with more respect than if it was only featured online.
When people have a copy of something in print there is no denying what was said. They have time to read and understand the “small print” and all information is there for the record.
In 2015, online marketers “were confronted with anti-advertising sentiment that seemed to skyrocket… In October, 2015 13.2 million people in the U.S. used ad-blocking software tool AdBlock Plus, up about 23% from the same period in 2014. The assault on the $183 billion U.S. ad business has forced marketers, media companies and publishers to find new ways to make sure ads are seen.” (The Wall Street Journal, Dec 28, 2015, Page B1) With print media, your prospects view your ads on their terms and as part of their chosen reading material.
Most print media offer a choice as to where to place your ad in a publication. You may choose the location that offers the highest visibility, such as the back cover of a magazine, opposite its table of contents, near a related article or above the fold in the newspaper. Print media also offer fractional sizes (1/2, 1/3, ¼ or 1/8–page), regional editions and other special-placement options.
Print Persuades Purchase Influencers
Before some people commit to a purchase, they may want the approval, or at least the opinion, of others. Your prospects can show these influencers your print ad communicating all the benefits to reinforce the purchase decision.
Print Drives Online Search
Many buyers start their online search after viewing a print advertisement.
High Retention Rates
When people read offline, they tend to have longer attention spans. Print ads can be viewed in a single glance and do not require scrolling. Readers tend to remember more of what they read (and see) in print.
Because print advertising has been declining, there are less ads vying for a reader’s attention. This means your ad will have more impact since it may not have to compete with many other ads.
The proliferation of viruses and spam online makes many people wary of clicking on a banner ad, no matter how enticing it may sound.
While many of today’s advertisers are moving to the web to reach their target markets, print advertising still holds many benefits, can play an important role in marketing strategy, and should not be overlooked. A powerful, persuasive, multi-media marketing-communication campaign should use assorted forms of media to draw on the strengths of each. This can most successfully increase your sales, revenue and profits.
Brian Jud was the Vice President of Marketing for a Fortune 250 company before becoming a book-marketing consultant. He is currently the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS – www.bookapss.org) and author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books and Beyond the Bookstore. Contact Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.premiumbookcompany.com and twitter @bookmarketing