Getting FREE Working for You Instead of Against You

Publicity Tip #97 ~

Previously, I’ve touched on the uses of material we generate specifically for free purposes in order to help publicize yourself. Now, I’d like to take my musings on FREE CONTENT one step further.

Earlier this week I had a rare opportunity to Skype with marketing expert Shawn Manaher from Book Marketing Tools. Very graciously he offered his time for free to be able to connect with followers one-on-one. We didn’t talk about the services his site offers or something he wanted to sell me – no. This was a genuine conversation about what I, as an author, needed help with.

Of everything we managed to chat about in those fleeting 30 minutes, his biggest impact on me was probably one of the simplest marketing tactics that I’d gotten wrong!

Landing Page copyOkay, maybe not wrong but missing the last and crucial step.

I needed a proper landing page.

Yep. It sounds simple but it took me a good 2 hours to get it right.

You see, I had the free content available to entice new readers (The Chronicles of Xannia: The Lost Chapters – 4 chapters that happen at various times throughout my main characters’ early days before the novel Time’s Tempest begins) but it was hiding!

I had it ‘out there’ on a variety of eBook platforms but I didn’t have it in a prominent place on my site… The landing page.

So, I’ve re-worked the very first page on my website (just a simple free WordPress template) to not only look different than the rest (no side-bar widgets – a very clean look) but to immediately incite action from visitors:

Get the FREE Prequel.

I placed a nice image of the cover of the free eBook on one side of the page, added a hook on the other side of the page and then placed a simple button beneath all this to whisk interested readers away to my contact page where they can (and here’s the key thing I wasn’t doing before)

leave their email address in exchange for receiving the free content.

And that’s the kicker. All along I should have been using my free content to build my mailing list. It’s a tediously slow process gathering the emails of actual and prospective readers, but once you get a healthy number of people following your newsletter (even if you only send a few out a year) you can turn this into a review and sales opportunity.

It’s true.

By continuing to offer free content (get a free copy of my next book to help with early reviews) and giving sneak peaks at what’s up and coming, you are fulfilling a promise not to ‘spam’ your followers but to keep them informed. And it’s that follow-through that will allow you to announce your next book for sale or your next local appearance or even the next article/guest blog you’re writing for.

The key to offering free content:

Give Limits!

“The first 50 readers who reply…”

“The first 100 followers interested…”

It all depends on the size of your list as to how large these ‘free’ numbers are. Then, you’ve also inadvertently advertised that a new book is coming out!

And those people who miss out on the freebie will then consider buying the book instead… thus, creating sales through free content.

Wow – what a whirlwind of connecting ideas! But, with time and patience this is a proven tactic every serious author needs to consider.

What about you?

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Categories: Publicity

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