A couple weeks before Christmas, I spoke with my buds Beth and Ezra Barany. I was considering running a bestseller campaign for Latinnovating on my birthday, but I wasn’t sure there was enough time. I didn’t know the first thing about running such a campaign. We discussed the possibility of having them run the campaign for me in January; Beth assured me I could probably do it myself.
Due to an ongoing, time-sucking situation with my school district, I didn’t think I had enough time to go at it alone. The weekend before my birthday, I decided to go for it! I stayed up until 2 a.m. a couple of night to create my plan and write the content I would use to ask my circles of friends and supporters to help. The result is here: Latinnovating made it all the way to #2 in one of its two categories!
I learned many things in the five days that it took to create, promote, re-promote, re-communicate and monitor this campaign. Here are the top 4 things I want to share with authors considering running a bestseller campaign:
4. Aim high, not low. The conversations I had with various people who run bestseller campaigns, some who charge $8000 to help an author get on a list, went like this: “We guarantee you’ll break into the Top 100 bestsellers in your book’s category or your money back. Bestseller means anywhere in the top 100 so understand that if you hit #97 you’ll have a bestseller.” So in my mind, that meant that all I was shooting for was #97 or so and I was going to pay $8000 for #97? Those of you who know me know that was a hard thing to accept, being #97 at something has just not been my style. What I learned was that when you run a campaign and engage all your marketing skill, lose the shyness about asking for help, and ask those who support you to really, really support you, amazing things happen. So next time I will aim for #1, not #97 as I was being led to believe.
3. You don’t need to pay a guy $8000 to become an Amazon bestseller. This is true unless you do not have the asset listed in #1 on this list. Without the next two things on this list, if you’re serious about running a successful bestseller campaign, you should indeed consider engaging the services of someone who has reached the bestseller rankings before (like Beth and Ezra Barany).
2. There is still no substitute for thorough preparation, asking for help and following up. 48 hours before my birthday/campaign day, I began to send personal emails to friends and supporters. The emails contained prepared text to Tweet and share with their social networks, to post as Facebook messages, etc. I also messaged and called key influencers the day before my campaign days. I let them know in advance what I was planning on doing and asked for their help to spread the word into their networks. So by 8:30 in the morning, on my birthday when I first checked the bestseller lists of my book’s two categories, it was shockingly already at #7! Throughout the day, I posted updates about where it was on the list, and this generated even more interest and sharing, which is why it made it to number #2. By the way, at 1130 p.m., one of my friends emailed me that he had seen it at #1. I didn’t see it myself but honestly, it doesn’t matter really. Latinnovating is officially a bestseller and that’s what matters.
1. Having invested in email marketing tools and skills was a key success factor in this campaign. When I started my content development, publishing and marketing business, one of the first tools I adopted was an established email marketing platform. Why? I’m a girl who likes analysis, measurement and verticalization of content. Like a good little marketer, I made sure to segment my contacts into logical lists: university contacts, endorsers, those profiled in book, those who have purchased the book, students, etc. Having this key business asset in place proved to be a godsend.
As I prepared content for this campaign, for each group I asked for their support in distinctly different ways. This made a huge difference because what I provided for them to share with their own networks was specific to them: in other words, targeted language for specific audiences…marketing messaging defined. I honestly believe this made the biggest difference, because as my friends, family and different groups of supporters jumped in to help spread the word on Facebook and Twitter, they used the text exactly as I had prepared it for them. That validated the time I took to create the words THEY would be comfortable and happy to share. This truly made a huge, huge, difference in the end result. I am truly grateful to each and every one of them.
One word of caution, something of which you MUST beware! Monitoring the bestseller rankings becomes an instant addiction. To watch your book baby, your creation, climb (and drop and climb again) on the lists is a special type of high. Thank God for smart phones – I was able to peek at progress on my way to my relaxing afternoon at my favorite spa; it was my birthday after all!
To all friends, family, endorsers, supporters, customers, and stars of Latinnovating, thank you for making my 15th annual 30th birthday wish come true! I could not have done it without you!
Fellow new and aspiring authors: please feel free to contact me if you would like help getting your marketing messaging and operations in place –perhaps you too can run your own bestseller campaign!