Marketing Ideas From Cheri Cowell
I did it all wrong. When I first became an author I was told I needed a website, and back then there were not very many options. So I spent a lot of money I had no business spending, got myself into a terrible contract, and ended up with a website that did not benefit me or my readers. Since then I’ve learned a lot and today I help writers with this process through our Marketing Coaching service. Here are a few keys from that service to help you avoid my biggest mistakes.
Tip #1 Don’t make your website about you or your book. Otherwise you will scream–needy author. Make your website about the reader. Meet their needs. Serve your reader great material and they will want to buy your book without you shouting, “Please buy my book.”
Tip #2 More expensive is not better. New authors are best served with a basic website that doesn’t cost a lot. As you grow and know more about yourself as an author and what your fans need, you can add more bells and whistles.
Tip #3 Decide if a blog, a website, or a combination is best for you and your readers. There are so many options today so you aren’t locked in to one or the other, but start small and grow from there.
Tip #4 Refresh your content regularly. If you blog, be consistent. If you have a website, change the content regularly by adding new material, a new free give-away, an updated list of your speaking topics or venues, etc. Give your readers a reason to come back.
Tip #5 Give your readers something to do. Add social media links so they can add you to theirs. Invite them to sign up for a newsletter, a devotions list, or for a free give-away. Readers want to be involved, so give them the opportunity.
Tip #6 Update your photo. If it has been a few years, get a new headshot. None of us look the same as we did even five years ago. Styles change and we want to stay current.
Tip #7 Answer the question: people come to my website to… What need are you filling on your website? Be clear, be precise. Then make sure you are delivering. Some things may need to be deleted even if they are nice because they don’t speak to this one need. You can’t be all things to everyone.
Tip #8 Have a friend edit your website. After all, this is your first impression for many readers, so you want it to be a good one.
Tip #9 Have a page of links. Look for other authors who share the same passion, write the same genre of books, or have a blog with a similar topic and share a page of links to their sites. You won’t lose readers, but your will gain good will and an increase in search engine optimization. Tell these other authors you are linking to their site and would love it if they would return the favor.
Tip #10 Change your background or widget. Sometimes just changing the widget or background is enough to give your whole website a fresh look. Many of us don’t like change, but change is good when it comes to websites. Don’t stay married to your old colors, background image, or layout. Ask around for a quote on what it would take for someone to simply freshen your site with a new look.
Cheri Cowell is the author of a new devotional book, 365 Devotions for Peace, released in December from Zondervan. Her Bible study Parables and Word Pictures in the AMG Following God Bible study series is a favorite in bookstores everywhere. She will release a new Bible study in June One Story, One Mission, One God. Check out her website to learn more. www.CheriCowell.com