Book Advertising 101: An Interview with a Digital Marketing Strategist

Advertising is everywhere we look, in everything we do. If you’re wondering how to build awareness for your book through social media or digital ads, but don’t know where to start–look no further! Pacific & Court Digital Marketing Manager Rebecca Parrillo is sharing the answers to the most frequently asked advertising questions. Here’s Book Advertising 101!

1. Introduce yourself.

My name is Rebecca Parrillo, and I’m P&C’s digital marketing manager! I support our authors with digital marketing strategy and execution as well as social media content creation. I also run our P&C social media accounts (follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn!). 

2. How can a social media or digital advertising campaign support my book launch?

Social media can be used to support all aspects of your book launch–from driving pre-orders and announcing book events/signings to sharing book reviews, press hits and even bonus content from your book. It is a vital tool for authors–you can connect with audiences near and far that you otherwise may not be able to reach as well as meet other authors and writers like you, giving you the chance to really create an online community.

Your primary goal with a social media campaign shouldn’t be to boost sales. Would you want to follow an author who just spam-posts links to order their books all the time? No, you’d unfollow. Instead, remember to think of social media as social. Interact with other authors and readers, share content you enjoy, and then you’ll be on your way to building a community (learn how to build your online presence here!) that enjoys what you’re creating.

As for digital advertising, the campaign will use consumers’ digital profiles to target specific audiences who could and would be interested in your book.

3. How long does a social media campaign take? How long does an advertising campaign take?

In general, a strategic social media campaign should have content planned for a six-month window. You can’t grow an audience online overnight; it takes time, effort, engagement, and dedication to slowly increase those numbers as well as maintain your new followers. With an advertising campaign, you have more flexibility for the length of the campaign, as gaining followers isn’t the main key performance indicator. We typically recommend a 3-6 month campaign, depending on your budget and goals.

4. What should I consider before deciding to do a digital marketing campaign?

First, you want to figure out your advertising budget as well as where you want your ads to run (Amazon, Facebook/Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.). Find where your audience is most engaged online, and those will be the platforms best for you. For example, a children’s author would target a completely different audience online than a thriller author. You also want to make sure you have high-quality, eye-catching ad creative and ad copy to encourage the reader to click through. On social media, you only have 2-3 seconds to capture someone’s attention before they scroll by. You have to maximize that moment by putting out the best content possible.

5. Can I do a social media or digital ad campaign myself?

Nowadays, there are plenty of tools dedicated to making digital marketing and social media more accessible to the average user. You can schedule social media posts in bulk and in advance, and even track your account analytics using scheduling platforms like Hootsuite, Buffer, or SocialBee. With Canva, you can easily create high-quality social content and ad creative. Additionally, most social media sites offer self-service ads that you can manage by yourself (check out Digital Ads 101!). KDP Select authors have access to Amazon’s self-service advertising, as well as a suite of exclusive marketing tools. However, you may find that keeping up with social media and digital advertising can be a lot because there is always more that can be done.

6. What’s one thing no one knows about digital marketing?

Digital marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. While every marketer dreams of instant success, it takes patience and effort to really hone in on what marketing practices work best for each individual campaign. You won’t see an immediate increase in sales from one ad campaign. The Rule of 7 may be old, but it’s not outdated. A consumer will need to see/hear an advertiser’s message 7 times before they’ll take action to buy that product. Additionally, many authors hope and try to force their content to go viral online, when in reality, going viral online and on social media is pure luck and extremely unpredictable. There is no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy. Reach out to us if you’d like to discuss what strategy is best for you!

7. What advice do you have for authors interested in learning more about social media and digital advertising?

Do your research, and stay in the loop on new and emerging best practices and trends. Our technological landscape is constantly changing, and platforms are often updating advertising policies. Subscribe to book marketing blogs to keep you aware of any major industry news, and try to stay active, present, and engaged on social media.

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