If you’re a nonfiction Author, you probably wrote your book with a specific goal in mind. Perhaps you’re seeking to:
- Land speaking engagements
- Win consulting contracts
- Impress and educate new clients
- Demonstrate the value of a product
- Sell courses and coaching services
Your specific reason for writing your book is unique to you, but most of these long-term goals have something in common:
The process of building customer relationships into sales is a marathon, not a sprint.
Why? Because most people don’t feel comfortable spending money right away. They need to work up to it by getting to know you and the value you’re providing.
That’s why your book is such an important part of your marketing plan:
- People who read it will get to know you and recognize the value of what you’re offering
- People who hear about it in the media will also start to know you, even before they read the book
Marketers often talk about the “customer journey” — the steps a customer takes along the road from not knowing you at all to buying your products or services. A good book launch helps people take the first step.
A great launch leads people through the first step into the second, and from there to the third, setting up a clear path to your ultimate goal.
Your Book Launch Is the First Leg of a Marketing Marathon
You can’t measure the success of a book launch until you’ve identified all the ways your launch can support the customer journey you’re designing.
For example, people probably won’t spend $1,200 on your comprehensive leadership course the minute they first hear about you. Instead, their journey might look more like this:
- Hear about you on media from a trusted source and sign up for your free newsletter
- Read your newsletter for a few months, gaining valuable insights, and eventually sign up for a free mini-course
- Take the mini-course and apply its principles, then buy your book
- Read the book, learning even more about you and your methodology, and then sign up for a paid introductory course
- Take that course, see the value in it, and invest in the comprehensive offering
A successful book launch can support you at every stage along the way:
- It helps you create media connections with trusted sources, encouraging people to sign up for your newsletter.
- It provides quotes, graphics, soundbites, and even video clips you can use on social media to build an engaged platform.
- It gives you “as seen on” blurbs and endorsements you can use on your website in promoting your free mini-course.
- It helps you test messaging to see what will resonate with your audience.
- It builds your Amazon reviews to encourage future readers to buy and read your book.
In other words, the value of your book launch isn’t book sales — at least, not immediately. It’s all the things your launch can do to support the customer journey you’re building.
To get that full value, you need to build out the elements of your customer journey before your launch.
In this specific example, that means:
- Create your newsletter
- Claim and promote your brand on social media
- Build all the courses you’ll need
- Create your author ecosystem, including your website
Again, this is just one example. What you need to build depends on your specific customer journey, which depends on your ultimate goal.
Once all the pieces are in place, you can leverage your book launch to take maximum advantage of those leads and start building those long-term customer relationships.
How to Measure the Real Value of a Book Launch
1. Amazon Reviews
Amazon reviews are definitely valuable, but most Authors equate launch-week reviews with immediate sales. That’s a mistake.
Your first Amazon reviews will come from your friends, family, and email list — not from random sales. They’ll be honest reviews from people who genuinely value your work, helping you introduce that work to potential customers.
Ideally, you’ll want to build 15-30 reviews in the first month.
Think of this process as part of building your customer-journey infrastructure. In addition to helping people make buying decisions on Amazon, these early reviews also provide quotes for your website, newsletter, and social media.
2. Media Placements
The media placements you land during the first 3 months after your book is published are also part of building your customer journey, and they’re just the beginning.
If you can secure 15 media opportunities during those first 3 months, you’re doing great — even if some of those actual interviews happen later.
Just like reviews, media placements don’t usually lead to immediate sales. That’s not their “job” in your customer journey.
In fact, each media opportunity itself is only about 15% of its public relations value. The other 85% comes from what you do with it.
Think of it this way: Your book is a way to open the door. Once that door is open, you still need to invite the audience in.
Are you pulling them toward a training? Mining for prospects? Trying to get them to sign up for emails?
What’s your plan to nurture a long-term relationship with the media host? And how will you use each placement once you get it?
- Leverage early media placements to land new opportunities
- Use quotes, graphics, soundbites, and short video clips from them on your social media and website
- Learn what people respond to in determining future blog and newsletter content
- Use early placements to build your portfolio for increased credibility & authority
Remember, media placements aren’t one-and-done events. They’re opportunities to improve your customer journey and build long-term media relationships.
3. Endorsements, Graphics & Soundbites
One of the most important things media placements provide is “as seen on” content for your author ecosystem. That can include:
- Video Clips
While it’s great to build a media page for your site, you’ll also want to sprinkle this content throughout your author ecosystem.
Use it as social proof on landing pages for products and services. Use it to create a highlight reel to help you land speaking engagements and large-market interviews.
Include them in your social media feeds and in your monthly newsletter to keep people engaged with your content.
Add them to your LinkedIn profile.
When you build an intentional customer journey and understand its flow, everything you do becomes a new way to support and improve that journey.
4. Social Media Messaging
As you add content from your media placements to your social media feeds, you’ll start to notice which posts resonate the most, gaining the most likes, comments, and shares.
Your book launch is also a great time to create social media graphics that use quotes from your book as well as posts that highlight some of your book’s content.
Use the engagement on these posts to learn what works best and how to talk about your book.
That’s a HUGE win for your book launch, showing you the best directions to take in pitching your book, your products and services, your speaking engagements, and new media placements.
5. Posts & Articles That Resonate with Your Audience
The same thing that applies to social media posts during your book launch also applies to long-form content, such as:
Always pay attention to which posts are the most popular. Use that information in everything from designing courses to pitching speaking engagements — including pitching your next round of media placements.
6. Newsletter Signups & Lead Generation
For most nonfiction Authors, just about everything you do during your book launch should lead people to sign up for your newsletter.
Why? Because the classic “rule of seven” shows that people need on average about 7 interactions with a brand before they’re willing to buy. Your newsletter provides those interactions as people move through your customer journey, from learning about you to taking the next step.
Try to give people content they’ll find genuinely useful. At the same time, use your newsletter to learn what headlines people click on most and what content they want to go read.
That’s a huge window into what your audience wants.
The number of newsletter signups you get from a specific guest post or podcast will tell you when you’ve hit a good placement for your target audience — and where you want to foster long-term relationships.
Use your newsletter to provide content, to stay in front of your audience, and to keep learning, honing your message with each round.
7. Target Your Own Best Metrics
It’s natural to want metrics you can use to measure the success of your book launch. That’s a great instinct. Just remember that the metrics that matter will vary depending on your ultimate goal.
For most Authors, the best metric is NOT book sales. It’s more about getting people to take the first step on the customer journey you’ve designed. That might be:
- Signing up for your newsletter
- Taking advantage of your free sales funnel
- Following you on LinkedIn
- Joining your Facebook group
- Or something else of your own design
Whatever you decide to measure, it needs to make sense for your own marketing plan. Other examples include:
- Signups for your free webinar
- Soundbites and video clips you can use in your marketing plan
- Social media engagements that hone your next round of pitches
- Podcast subscribers
- Affiliate links and referrals
- Website or blog traffic
- Social media followers
- New customers and clients
Whatever matters to you, pay attention to THAT — drive THAT — and use your book to get it.