Writing a book is only one step in the process of becoming a successful business author—learning how to market a business book is a whole other process that many writers overlook. Regardless of whether you are working with a major trade publisher, indie house, or self-publishing, you’ll need an effective marketing strategy to get your book in front of your target readers. Like any promotional activity, book marketing is a multi-faceted process comprising various tactics and channels.
Here’s what you need to create a marketing plan for your business book, as well as some ideas for building your audience long before you publish and tips for getting early Amazon reviews.
Elements of a business book marketing strategy
As you begin to think about how to market a business book, consider these essentials:
- Target audience: Identifying your target audience is the first and most critical component of marketing your new book. You likely identified a target reader in the process of drafting your book—now you need to figure out how to reach those readers by showing up in the places they spend time and look for resources. Research your target audience to understand their interests, preferences, and buying behavior (more details about how to do this at the link above).
- Branding: Establishing a strong brand identity is essential if your book is going to stand out in a crowded market, and branding is particularly important for business books because the market is so saturated. Don’t let that discourage you, however—your unique message can absolutely stand out. Create a brand that reflects your personality and values, and be consistent across all marketing channels (including your author website, social media profiles, and book cover).
- Online presence: In today’s digital age, having an online presence is crucial for marketing a business book. Create a website and update your social media profiles to connect with potential readers and post relevant, engaging content to keep your followers interested.
- Book cover design: Whether you want to believe it or not, most readers do judge a book by its cover. Regardless of where they’re shopping, a book cover is the first thing potential readers see. It should be visually appealing and capture the essence of your book. If you’re self-publishing, hire a professional designer to create a cover that stands out and accurately reflects the genre and tone of your book.
How to start building your audience before you publish a business book
Building your audience before you publish your book is essential to create buzz and generate sales when your book is released. Many successful authors spend years building an online audience prior to launching a book, often as thought leaders or influencers in their niche. If you’re pursuing a contract with a trade or indie publisher, they’ll want to know about the size of your current online following. It’s never too early to start building that audience. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Blogging: Start a blog related to your book’s topic or genre to establish yourself as an authority and attract potential readers. Post regular content, and share your blog posts on social media to drive traffic to your website.
- Social media: Build a social media following by regularly posting engaging content related to your book’s topic or genre. Use hashtags to expand your reach and engage with your followers by responding to comments and messages.
- Email marketing: Build an email list by offering a free eBook or another incentive in exchange for email addresses. Use email marketing to keep your subscribers updated on your book’s progress and upcoming releases.
- Guest posting and appearances: Write guest posts on popular blogs related to your book’s topic or genre to reach a new audience and establish yourself as an authority. Once you have some traction, look for opportunities to be a guest on popular podcasts and speak at relevant industry events. Make sure all of these activities connect back to your website as they can be incredibly valuable ways to build your email list.
Tips for getting early Amazon reviews to help market your business book
Positive reviews are essential to influence potential readers’ buying decisions and convince them to buy your book, so it helps to encourage readers to leave reviews on relevant platforms (the most popular ones are Amazon and Goodreads). Ideally, you want to have reviews posted on the day your book is launched, which will help bump it up on relevant lists and feeds.
There are a variety of ways to get the word out and start generating reviews. We recommend using a few of the following tactics.
Build a book launch team to post reviews on launch day
Reach out to contacts in your network who are interested in your book and/or generally willing to support you and invite them to join your book launch team. This is one rare instance where it doesn’t matter who you know so much as how many people whose support you can muster. Showing Amazon that your book has generated interest on launch day is all about the numbers; sure, an influencer or thought leader in your industry may write a more relevant review than your great aunt, but both count equally when Amazon looks at the overall number of reviews. All of which is to say that you should include all of your biggest cheerleaders on your launch team (yes, even your mom).
Here’s an email template you can adapt to invite readers to your launch team (we recommend sending these out individually to keep it personal, rather than using a mass email):
|Hi [name], |
As you know, I’ve been working on a book, [insert title and a brief description]. The book is scheduled for release on [date], and I need help getting the word out!
Will you consider joining my launch team? I’ll send you a complimentary advance copy of the book. In exchange, I’ll ask you to post a review on Amazon on the day the book comes out [add date]. You don’t have to write a long review or summarize the book—a few simple comments sharing your genuine thoughts will go a long way!
Can I count on your support? Please let me know by [date] and I’ll get your advance copy out to you.
It’s worth pointing out that Amazon does give more weight to reviews by verified purchasers of your book. You’ll want to focus on those after the book launches; for launch day, free ARCs are the way to go.
Don’t be afraid to follow up with your launch team members as launch day approaches. While your book launch day may be the biggest day in your life, your launch team members will have other priorities. They agreed to support you; don’t hesitate to remind them to follow through on the big day, and remember to send a personal thank you note afterward.
Use book promotion sites
To expand your reach, you can use book promotion sites, such as BookBub, Goodreads, and/or NetGalley to promote your book and reach a wider audience. These sites have large communities of readers who are likely to leave reviews on Amazon. They offer a variety of services for publishers, but generally individual authors can also work with them directly. It’s like having a large launch team for your book, built and managed for you.
Ask your email list to leave a review
Remember that email list you’ve been building? Promote your book to your subscribers, and be sure to ask them to leave a review after they read it! While you may choose to send ARCs to a selection of your email list, you should also take the opportunity to get reviews from verified purchasers using this route. Make it easy for your list members to leave a review by providing a direct link, and don’t be afraid to let your list members know how important early reviews are to the long-term success of your book.
Get a professional marketing team on your side to help promote your business book
Brighter Messaging provides book marketing services that are similar to those we provide to small businesses, but adapted to suit the scale of your book launch. We can help you create a concrete plan that shows you exactly how to market your business book, including:
- Target readership
- Marketing collateral and lead magnets
- Book launch timeline
- Recommended online properties (e.g. website, social media, etc.)
- Best practices for marketing basics, including SEO, list building, and communication
- Success metrics and a plan for monitoring progress
- Support throughout your book launch and beyond
To help set you up for success and sales, we’ve also created a Digital Marketing Starter Package that gives you everything you need to build your online presence, including a professional and scalable website and ongoing marketing activities. It’s an 18-month investment at a fixed monthly cost (with the opportunity to extend), which means no surprises when it comes to invoicing and a marketing team at your side throughout your launch and beyond.
Click here to learn more about our Digital Marketing Starter Package, or get in touch to find out about our book marketing services.