Inbound Marketing Strategies for Self-Published Authors

How do you managing your inbound marketing efforts?As a self-published author, you’re a lot more than just a writer. You’re the CEO, Marketing Director, and everything in between for your own small business. It’s up to you to manage your brand, doing all the hard work to sell your books.

So, how do you do that? First things first, it’s about getting potential readers’ eyes on your website.

The art of attracting readers to your website is called “inbound marketing.” Through deliberate, effective measures to increase your visibility on search engines and engage on social media, you can organically send potential book buyers to your website to learn more about you and your books.

As you craft your marketing plan, take a look at the following techniques for effective inbound marketing:

First, know it’s an investment.

Time. Energy. Money. A great website doesn’t build itself. Whether you’re hiring a designer to spiff up the design that will keep readers on your site once they’ve stumbled onto it or researching the right keywords to perfect your SEO, you’re going to have some expenses associated with your site.

Second, create great content.

This seems like a no-brainer for writers, but content is the cornerstone of your website. If you want to do the best job of attracting readers to your site, you need to generate regular, enticing content. One of my favorite authors, Chuck Wendig, does this to great success. He’s constantly writing and sharing content that’s valuable to, not only fellow writers, but also his readers. Which brings me to my next point…

Third, be a part of the community.

Successful inbound marketing channels are best found within thriving online communities. Find the people who are interested in your books and be with them. Don’t be above them. Don’t overwhelm them. Be a contributing, active member of the social ecology that buys your books and you will breed a tribe who is fiercely loyal to you and your work.

Fourth, check yourself.

As you share your content and participate in your community, ask yourself: If I saw another author doing what I’m doing right now, would I nod and smile or roll my eyes and unfollow? The answer should guide all of your inbound marketing endeavors.

Fifth, think outside the blog.

It’s easy, as a writer, to get wrapped up in writing. You start to think you HAVE to blog, but inbound marketing is about more than words on the webpage. Consider your strengths and explore options like a vlog or podcast as a medium to attract readers to your site.

Sixth, do the un-fun stuff, too.

All of the social aspects of inbound marketing are fun. You can easily spend your days on Facebook and Twitter having conversations and, hopefully, selling a book or two, but – remember – you’re a business owner. And that means, sometimes, stepping away from the fun stuff and doing the not fun stuff.

Monitor your statistics to see what techniques are working using analytics tools like HootSuite. Scrutinize the methods you’re using to assess the ROI. Are you investing too much time for too little return? And how are you defining return, anyway? (Book sales? Followers? Likes? Conversations? Warm fuzzies?)

So, self-published authors – aka small business owners – how are YOU developing your inbound marketing techniques to sell more books?

Photo credit: Blake Patterson

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