Saturday, November 8, 2014

Advertising Ploys

When you're planning any advertisement for your book or your brand, stop for a moment and really pay close attention to commercials on the TV. Think about some of the most annoying commercials that come to mind. For me, right at the moment, my most dreaded commercial is the ad for the Fiat mini hatchback (I can't remember what the model is called off the top of my head). I'm sure you've seen it: there are several shots of women in multi-colored yoga pants, just from the waist down, circling the car in a jerky manner and repeated several times while irritating music plays. There are a few other commercials for the car that have similar themes.

Why do I bring this up? Well, the advertisement did its job, didn't it? It made itself memorable to the audience. Even negative advertisement can make an impression on the viewers. And you may have noticed how some of the big book publishers are starting to use commercials on TV and radio for their big-name authors. I've recently seen one for James Patterson's new novel Burn. It's nothing more than the author sitting on a stool and passing his book from one hand to another, claiming it's "too hot to handle". And I know I've heard some radio advertising for authors on those rare occasions I'm in the car listening to the radio.

Am I telling you to run out and try to buy advertising space on the radio for your books? No, of course not. Most of us indies can't afford to do so, and you should always remember this rule of thumb for marketing: don't ever spend more than you think you can earn back in sales. The easy alternative, of course, is to make your current marketing, such as in social media, more memorable.

Look at Twitter, for example. Most of my tweeting is done on my phone, with a small screen. So there's a very small window of opportunity for you to reach someone before your tweet vanishes forever in the pile of other tweets. Several marketing experts have said that using a photo in your tweet increases your visibility. And it really does. Think about it: a tweet that's plain simply blends in with the rest of the tweets. One with a photo stands out and increases your chances of visibility. If you can, using color variations in your text or brightly-colored symbols, as I've seen many others do, also serves to draw the reader's attention.

Anything you do to make your marketing more visible, more memorable, more accessible to viewers will increase your chances of making a sale. Instead of printing out black and white flyers, for example (for a signing or posting on bulletin boards), try printing one in color. Try attaching photos to emails or tweets. Make your blog or website as appealing as you can to the public. Sometimes even changing the layout or fonts can add to your appeal.

Check out my own website here and look at some of the changes I've made recently. I changed to a slightly brighter color, added a slideshow to the bottom of the home page, and changed the font on my header. Like the site while you're there, if you do, and leave me a comment (these are at the bottom of each page). This didn't cost me anything to do, and it may increase viewership. So give it a try in your own marketing. Remember, you're trying to stand out in a crowd of other advertising. Make yours as memorable as you can!

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