Relationship Marketing 101 for Authors

There is such a sense of relief and excitement when you see the finished results after publishing your first book because you have DONE IT… your book has been released to the world and you are now officially a published author!

But then at some point it finally begins to dawn on you that getting your book into the hands of readers is going to involve the one thing that most writers truly dread… self promotion. Ugh!

Enter Relationship Marketing

There is no way around the fact that if you want to get your book into the hands of enough readers to make a difference to you (financially and emotionally), you’re going to have to be the driving force behind marketing your book.

The good news is there is a decidedly non-sleazy form of self promotion and it’s called relationship marketing. The term relationship marketing was coined by Leonard Barry and simply means a form of marketing which goes beyond advertising and sales to emphasize customer relations, retention and satisfaction.

Basically it involves becoming a resource and building trust with your target audience, not just so they will buy this book, but so they will buy the next and the next. And if all goes well, if you do this relationship marketing thing right, your customers will pass the trust they have in you and your product (book) on to the people within their sphere of influence.

The problem is that there is a lot of misconception about the right way to do relationship marketing, and far too many bad examples around for unsuspecting newbie authors to emulate.

How to Fail at Relationship Marketing in 5 Easy Steps

Not bothering to establish your book’s position in the marketplace or create a branding strategy that clearly tells readers why they should buy your book rather than all the others.
Not taking the time to identify and understand your target audience well enough to know their concerns or how to talk to them.
Not understanding or being able to communicate how readers will benefit from your book. If you can’t tell them, how are they supposed to know?
Assuming relationship marketing is about becoming pals or revealing personal information to prove you are “authentic.”
Rewarding a reader for joining your list and trusting you with their email address by treating them to message after message about buying your book.

Relationship Marketing Done the Right Way

Okay so maybe that last one was a little harsh, but sadly all too common. So the obvious question then is, what is the RIGHT way to do relationship marketing? The easy answer is by writing a really great book and doing the opposite of the above points to market it, but there’s more to it than that.

Take the time to create a marketing plan that includes establishing your book’s place in the market, the benefits for your readers, keywords and phrases that you’ll use consistently to brand and communicate what is unique about your book.
Follow the 80/20 rule. This simply means that 80% of the time you focus on activities that establish you as a resource in your field and build relationships, and 20% of the time promoting the benefits of your book.
Understand that relationship marketing is not about getting all warm and fuzzy with people you hope to sell your book to. While it does happen at times that you become friends you’re your influencers or ardent fans, never forget the ultimate purpose of relationship marketing is getting your book into the hands of people who will benefit from reading it – either as entertainment, information or education.Your readers want to trust you provide a good product (book) and service, not date you.
Finally, get over any aversion you may have about the notion of selling. Selling is not a bad thing, we all sell. When you talk your daughter into piano lessons for her own good, you’ve just sold her. When your wife talks you into going to the opera instead of a football game for date night, she’s sold you. (Big time!)

Unless you wrote your book for your own gratification and amusement, you will need to embrace the reality that getting your book into the hands of readers involves building relationships and marketing your book – it’s how you go about it that makes all the difference. That’s where mastering relationship marketing the right way can help you succeed.