Forget advertising. Invest in the people you already know.
That was one of the best pieces of advice I got from a business coach early in my career. (It made #5 in my top 10 lessons learned in 10 years.)
Last month I was delighted to invest in two people by sending referral rewards to thank them for their referrals. One is a beloved former client, and the other is the president of a writing/editing team. The trust and credibility bestowed to me through their word-of-mouth marketing is a privilege I don’t take for granted.
That’s why nonfiction authors can’t ignore word-of-mouth marketing for their books. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. So it’s important to get people talking about your book.
Here are six ways to leverage word-of-mouth marketing for your nonfiction book:
Roger Igo was thrilled when Johnny Carrabba, a fellow Houstonian and founder of the Johnny Carrabba Family of Restaurants, endorsed Roger’s company history book about succeeding in the hospitality industry.
A thumbs-up by someone influential in your field brings instant credibility. It can extend your reach beyond your personal and professional circles, especially if they’re willing to mention your book to their audiences. (Here are nine tips to nabbing your best endorsement.)
When someone emails a compliment, thank them and make a simple request: to kindly cut and paste their note into Amazon for other readers. Make this step easy by providing a special link that takes them directly to your review page. That way, they don’t have to search for the review button on your Amazon retail page. Jason Ritchie received a rave review for his Bible study book, Oh God, Why Can’t I Stop?, when he asked a friend to post her compliment online.
Ask friends and family.
Make it easy for people you know to spread the word by offering them choices. Send an email or write a social media post that introduces your book and invites them to show their support in one of three ways: (1) Buy the book; (2) Buy the book and leave an online review; or (3) Buy the book, leave an online review, and post about it on social media. This approach allows your friends to support you in a way that feels comfortable to them.
Ask your readers.
The reason most people don’t recommend a business or book is that they simply forget. Remind them in your book that their opinions matter, and encourage them to tell others about it. In Brad Goad’s Easter devotional, The Night He Was Betrayed, he asks for an online review in a “Letter to the Reader.”
Take photos with readers and encourage them to post them on social media. Tag them from your own social media when possible to touch both circles of influence. Mary A. Perez, the author of the memoir Running in Heels, fills her online feed with smiling readers, a fun and effective way to remind people about her book.
Suggest your book as a gift for others.
Get people thinking about the people in their lives who would enjoy your topic – then remind them that your book is an easy gift idea. A page in Darlene Taylor’s co-parenting book, It’s Not About Us, encourages readers to buy the book and journal for a friend.
Before you turn to advertising, consider leveraging the people and readers you already know. Harness the power of word-of-mouth book marketing!