M.K. Hobson (mkhobson) wrote in fangs_fur_fey,

Book Marketing: Shifting Buying Triggers

So I was driving home from the store a couple of nights ago -- it was a beautiful night, dry and crisp and clear -- and I was passing Christmas tree lots, as one so often does around Christmas time. I glanced at each one, vaguely noting their prices and their offerings; I needed to get a Christmas tree, but felt no particular sense of immediacy about it (perhaps because my 11-year-old daughter wasn't in the car with me).

That changed, however, when I passed the lot with a huge plywood sign, on which was painted with the words "Last Dry Day!"

That sign almost made me stop the car right then and there and buy a tree. (Of course, I didn't; remember, I wasn't too keen on having my absent 11-year-old kill me in my sleep.) But that "Last Dry Day" message swiftly reoriented my thinking from "buy sometime" to "buy now." How? By shifting the buying trigger. Instead of the trigger being the easygoing "obtain a pleasant but ultimately non-essential object" it became the vastly more powerful and immediate "avoid unpleasant mess and hassle."

There's a lesson here to learn when it comes to book marketing as well. In most cases, books are viewed by the buyer as pleasant but ultimately non-essential objects. How can we, as authors marketing our work, shift that thinking to something more powerful and immediate? What buying triggers can we trip?

  • The Scarcity Trigger. Amazon has a very cool "only [x] left in stock" message that pops up when supplies are running low. Online sellers that offer this information to buyers are doing you a favor -- direct your buyers to them first. And when supplies are low, make sure you mention on your blog or Facebook or Twitter. It may push a few customers over the line from thinking about buying to hitting the "buy now" button.
  • The No-Spoiler Trigger. Does your book have a surprise ending? Is there a twist that readers won't want to find out in advance? Make the most of this fact in your marketing. Send the message loud and clear to potential buyers: don't wait, the secret won't stay a secret long!
  • The Special Offer Trigger. This trigger is used often, but can still be effective. It involves providing some "special extra" to those who buy the book now. The special extra can be a prize -- for instance, urban fantasy author and writing instructor A.M. Dellamonica recently offered a prize of a manuscript critique of up to 6,000 words of fiction. To enter, readers had to buy her debut INDIGO SPRINGS and post a review before a certain date. This strategy not only ensured her a few extra sales, but several more reviews as well! But you don't have to offer a big ticket item; it can even be something as small as a moment of author interaction. At cons, make sure you participate in author signing events. If there aren't any organized events, let readers know that you'll be available in the dealer's room.
These are just a few examples, I'm sure our readers can think of more. Post your ideas in the comments!
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