The Difference Between Broadcasting To An Audience and Engaging An Audience
Posted On: 2013-11-20
by: Ashley Zee

20, 2013
When it comes time to market your book please be aware of the difference between broadcasting to an audience and engaging an audience. Understanding this distinction will lead to a more rabid fanbase and more sales - so yes, it is important.

Tempting as it may be, do NOT blast all of your social media followers with messages of "BUY MY BOOK (with your link) IT'S GREAT!" and then log off. This kind of one-sided direct blitzkrieg marketing attack is not going to resonate with potential buyers. In fact, strictly marketing-orientated messages will probably be off-putting to potential buyers and all of your marketing efforts will be in vain.

This type of marketing is not engaging an audience, it's merely broadcasting to an audience. Though you are proud of your book (and I'm sure it's as interesting you as think it is!) temper these kinds of aggressive marketing pitches.

Take the long-view with marketing your book. Would it be amazing if you got thousands of sales within the first day, week, or month? Of course it would be! Is this a practical goal to set, especially if you are marketing your first book? Not really.

Will sending a barrage of "BUY THIS BUY THIS BUY THIS" tweets help you accumulate massively sales quickly? Nope! It will be detrimental to your sales despite your best intentions. Your book isn't going anywhere - you published it for the long haul - so build up the sales (and customer base) slowly and steadily by engaging your audience.

I'm not saying don't send tweets or Facebook posts that include a snippet about your book with the link to buy it. There's a time and a place for this kind of marketing; I'm merely proposing that you strive to find balance. For every explicit marketing pitch that contains a link to "buy now" (which are effectively just broadcasts) counteract it with subtle, thought or discussion-provoking, even 100% non-marketing pitch-free messages. This is how you engage your audience and set your book up for long-term success.

Instead of trying to get ALL the customers RIGHTTHISVERYSECOND , focus your advertising and marketing efforts to build a community of enthusiastic followers. This isn't sexy and it isn't particularly interesting, but it's a time-tested truth: take time to talk with your audience (notice I didn't say 'to your audience' - there is a difference between 'with' and 'to'), listen to your audience, and be responsive to their needs. Your sales and brand awareness will naturally and organically increase.

A funny thing tends to happen when marketers follow this method: the J-curve comes into effect. Consider this theoretical scenario - you spent time, money, and creative energy getting your book published. Though you may expect a torrent of sales upon publication, you might only get a few sales at the beginning. Heck, you may not get any sales in the beginning. In terms of time and money vested in the product (your book), you are now experiencing a "negative return" - though there are some sales, the profits aren't matching the value of your investment. Don't despair - these doldrums are very common.

With time and diligent interactions with potential customers the tide may change. This shift can seem imperceptible but the effects are very real -suddenly, the sales start coming in! What changed?

Due to your consistent but not overtly marketing-centric interactions, people have started to "naturally" buying your book (because you're not forcefully coercing people to buy it via unrelenting advertising), they started leaving good uncontrived reviews (and trust me, people can detect fake reviews from a mile away), and they start spreading awareness of your book to their friends, and suddenly...BAM! A sharp and sustained increase in sales occurs!

By taking the long-view approach and managing your marketing and community-building efforts well, your sales increase and you not only "recover" from initial losses (i.e., lack of sales in the beginning) but you also earn profits well above your initial time, energy, and monetary investment in the book.

This is the result of community and customer engagement, not broadcast advertising. It's a profitable long-term strategy that every self-publisher must consider when marketing their book.

Let me know your thoughts about broadcasting to an audience vs. engaging an audience. I'm very interested in hearing your opinion!

Until next time,
Ashley Zee