Is this title a great click-bait or what? Joking aside, let me make this simple for you. In case you are looking for a pointy-hat marketing spell, I can tell you right away that there is no such thing. Skip this article if you want fast solutions.
No, you cannot enjoy best-seller tags using marketing tricks and expensive marketing services. Period. You have to earn your best-seller tags by effectively using social media and/or blogging to grow your own audience that will present a social impact to your work. If you have nothing to bring to Amazon’s table, you’ll get nothing from it. That’s the name of the marketplace game – no pain, no gain!
The marketplace mindset
Do you know who the richest person in the world is? Jeff Bezos, of course. And how did he get rich? He created a webpage. That’s right, Amazon.com was once no more than a simple webpage with some cool goods. By using search engine optimization (SEO), it attracted targeted customers interested in certain products. And, by having customer experience as the #1 criteria for listing relevant products, Amazon has become a trustworthy service with an exponentially growing loyalty rate.
You probably already knew this, but I wanted to point that out since it’s the very essence of the marketplace. Relevant products offered to targeted customers. In other words, people who are browsing Amazon’s offerings enjoy a well-designed user experience dominated by products they are likely to buy.
So, if you are hoping to find your books suggested or recommended on Amazon’s marketplace, your books should be something that a targeted customer is likely to buy. That’s the core logic behind Amazon’s algorithms. You can imagine these algorithms as robust machines designed for only one purpose – make profits for the marketplace. These algorithms are not your book critics; they are simply extremely efficient in finding products with the biggest sales potential based on user demographic data. They don’t care about your books – but they do care about products that generate profits. If your books have this kind of potential, the algorithms will discover it. Your job is to create opportunities for this.
How to increase chances for your books to be sold on Amazon?
Let’s say you are still the author who’s trying to find the best routes to your readers. If that’s the case, Amazon won’t be of any help to you. They don’t provide help and they don’t build author names. They simply reward successful authors with more permanent exposure. Why? Because these authors have books that are likely to sell.
No matter if you are represented by a publisher or if you self-publish your books, your only route to Amazon charts and best-sellers lists is to create your own audience.
Yes I know, you’ve already heard about this. But let’s hear it one more time. You need your own audience to become an element of the desirable user experience in just about any marketplace. Reaching Amazon’s top positions is equal to winning the lottery if you are just waiting for it to happen. Does one tide lift all boats? Yes, but only if you can deliver consistent, hard work.
My experience says that authors who started out just like you, from point zero, are successful today because they invested their time and resources into branding. They worked hard to establish certain values under their brand, and they were very consistent in representing those values over a long period of time. They invested in a long-term business; writing is a passion, but self-publishing is, make no mistake, a business. So, what does it take to increase your chances for your books to be sold on Amazon? A business-savvy approach.
A business-savvy approach in self-publishing
Hitting the top charts and making best-sellers lists will not come overnight. Of course, flukes can always happen, and you can experience huge bumps after a successful promotion. But, these bumps are not what you want your business to be based on. Your self-publishing business needs more steady growth.
Every person that is trying to sell things online is facing the same challenge: finding the best marketing channels to meet future customers? If you do your research on the topic, you’ll be flooded with blogs offering a plethora of marketing strategies, and you’ll end up with theoretical opportunities. Everyone will say that you need a website, a mailing list, and social media profiles to reach your audience, and they aren’t wrong. The real question is – how can you use these channels effectively?
You can stop searching for easy solutions. Do your research, but only to acquire some knowledge. Take lessons, but not just because you want to apply everything you heard exactly; that’s how others will apply the same things. Thinking outside the box is essential in every business, and it’s very hard to stand out as a self-published author if you are simply applying well-known marketing tips and tricks. Your job is to learn what works for your books and what type of marketing content is likely to attract the people you consider your best audience. You should select tools and services based on the goals you want to achieve. For example, when creating this blog, I decided that blogging and an e-mail newsletter list would be my #1 tools to attract more customers. These tools are practically dead without proper content, so my first plan in building my online business was to create compelling content. And how do you know which kind of content can be considered compelling?
Well, the first thing you need to do when developing your marketing strategy is to check out what your successful competitors are doing and either do it differently or better.
If you are an indie author, you’ll probably want to check out marketing channels of successful authors in your genre. There, you’ll find readers and, by exploring their profiles, you’ll be able to learn more about the content they are likely to find engaging. You can gather all the information on your potential reader, and then you can start “writing a book” about your readers. Imagine them as your book characters; you know so much about them, now it’s time to make them a part of your world by getting them to follow through with your desired actions.
So, rule #1 in business-savvy self-publishing adventure: know your reader. Explore as much as you can about your own writing genre and find out everything you can about the people who are reading it. Spend time on their social profiles and write down things they share or comment on. Check out their Amazon reviews of the best books in your genre. Write down what you learn from them.
Without knowing your reader, it’s impossible to select the best tools to reach them. Your targeting defines your strategy. Your strategy defines your business. When your strategy is based on things you learned about your audience, your opportunities to sell them something grow over time.
So, how do you earn Amazon best-sellers tags? By knowing your readers and their customer habits.
Do you need help with this? Feel free to drop me a note. Don’t worry, no charges apply for a simple friendly chat :).