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It's fantastic to hear from people in other industries with parallels to the upheavals in publishing.
In this video interview, I talk to Simon Scott from Push Entertainment about his experiences marketing in the music business, and how it applies to authors who want to cultivate fans of their work. I love Simon's no-nonsense attitude towards creative business, and if you pay close attention, you'll be able to turn his lessons into marketing ideas for your books.
You can watch the video below, or here on YouTube.
Simon Scott is the founder of Push Entertainment, working with large entertainment brands on marketing and customer loyalty through a suite of online tools aimed at attracting, retaining and generating revenue from fans.
In the interview, Simon and I discuss:
- It's important to realize that no one really cares – about your book before they read it, and even once they have, only a small percentage of fans will really care going forward.
- Break the marketplace [your audience] into 3 segments – 5% are the fanatical fans. 50% will never care even after reading the book. So the key target market are the 45% who have the propensity to be fans. Concentrate on converting those people.
- People don't respond to one big event – so a series of smaller events is necessary. An ‘event' means a ‘prod' or an impression. So that might be an email, an advert, a video, a blog post etc. Small things repeated makes sense, don't focus on one big marketing thing. Some of those little things may go big, or viral – and you have more chances for that to happen if you do lots of little things. Don't bet everything on one marketing attempt (or one book).
- Reward people for being customers and do special things for them e.g. free books if you sign up for the email list. When you do newsletters ‘A/B' it [which means split testing, try different wording, see what works and keep testing to optimize your copy]
- Sales aren't isn't spiked anymore – you can sell your backlist years in the future. In the old model, you had to have a huge spike at launch because it was your only chance to sell, whereas now, people can discover your books at any point.
- Always take the punter perspective (punter being the average consumer who doesn't really care.) Consider what that person is thinking and how they will act. [e.g. when faced with your book cover or your sales description]
- It's less about the product and more about the message inherent in the image shared. In the example that Simon uses, the things that work are the images that link to the t-shirt message, so they click to look and the customer then finds the t-shirt. [Think about the THEMES of your book and consider sharing images around that, not just the book cover.]
- On pricing offers and perceived value in comparison pricing.
- On changing your mailing list call to action (example from Now Music). Because you've purchased this, validate your purchase here and get a free XXX. This changed the signup rate considerably from just ‘Sign up here for our mailing list.'
- Learn from other industries that are NOT publishing. For example, look at how supermarkets sell as they are ultra-competitive.
- To boost revenue, create ultra-pack products for uber-fans, as the 5% will pay more for extra brilliant stuff that has value for them. Simon gives some examples of what you could offer, and I share the example of Hugh Howey's special Wool thumb-drives made from Silo radiation passes.
- On the parallels between the music business and the publishing industry since the rise of digital (music and books). Simon talks about the rise of indie musicians and how their stigma switched to ‘cool' over time, how the music industry started offering services (just like Penguin buying Author Solutions and other publishing houses setting up self-publishing arms) and how eventually the music industry started signing those indies. There are a lot of parallels.
- Indie musicians are good at everything – the music side, the distribution online and the marketing – both online through YouTube and at events. Use all the free services out there e.g. SoundCloud and YouTube. Look at where your audience congregates and hang out there.
- One mistake by the music industry is ‘abdicating their fanbase' – MTV, mySpace, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify. DON'T build your platform on other sites which may disappear over time. Drive people back to your website to generate Direct to Consumer revenue. Have your own mailing list (and here's how)
Simon's clients for Push Entertainment are huge brands like Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, so he's not (unfortunately) in the market for author clients 🙂 But he does have a T-shirt company, PrintedByRobots.com that you might be interested in!
I LOVED my chat with Simon, as he really has a hardcore business approach to marketing creative brands. What do you think? Do you have any thoughts or reflections on our conversation? Please leave a comment below.