So you've published your book. You've paid for a couple of rounds of editing. You've invested in a professional cover. Maybe you even shelled out for a few book promos, but now you've run out of budget.
How the hell are you going to start marketing your book, so you can start selling copies and make back some of what you've already invested?
In this post, I'm going to share my number one way for marketing your book when you have zero budget. So if you're marketing on a shoestring, this is for you.
As a quick side note, if you're interested, I have a free target reader checklist that you can download here. In it, I share the questions that you need to answer to identify your target readers, which is the essential first step towards more effective book marketing.
Marketing is not selling
So marketing your book on a budget. The most important thing to remember when marketing your book is that it is not the same as selling.
This is where I see a lot of authors going wrong. They use ads and promos and newsletter swaps and social media posts all with the aim of selling their books.
But when you use these things with what we call cold traffic, that's people that have never heard of you before, they're not very likely to buy your book.
What you need to do is warm them up first, and we do that with marketing.
So marketing, in simple terms, is getting in front of people that have never heard of you before and letting them know you exist. And we have to do that quite a few times quite often in order for them to get to know us, get to like us, and get to trust us.
That's why you often see adverts that keep popping up. You visited a website, but you didn't buy anything because you weren't quite ready yet. You went off somewhere else, and you see those retargeting ads where they keep getting in front of you to let you know, “Hey, we're here. This is what we do. We saw you're a bit interested. Perhaps we can warm you up a bit if we keep getting in your face.”
Warm-up your buyers
Now I'm not saying that you need to do retargeting ads, but you do need to think about warming up your audiences. So, when they come across you the first time, they may not be ready to buy from you yet. But if you keep getting in front of them, and if you can nurture them, you warm them up until they get to the point where they are ready to buy from you.
Ideally, when a new reader comes across you for the first time, you won't necessarily be asking them to buy from you. You won't be asking for anything. You'll be providing value to them, so they can get a taste of what you do. They can test the water, see if they're interested. And what you should do is offer them a next step.
If they are interested, you invite them to take the next step with you, which, in your case, is going to be a compelling reader magnet.
FREE Target Reader Checklist
Identify your readers for more effective book marketing!
As a quick side note here; if someone does come across you for the first time while they're browsing Amazon, then they may still buy from you. That's because they're already in a buying frame of mind when they're on Amazon. They're already looking for a solution to their problem, even if that problem is, “I want a new fantasy novel to read.”
And if you pop up, then you might be the solution to that problem, and they're ready to buy straight away. They're already warm. They're not completely cold traffic. That's different from what we're talking about when people are browsing the internet, or they're on their social media feed, and you pop up in front of them.
The one question you need to answer
So when you're marketing your book with zero budget, there is only one question you need to answer. And that is what free ways can I use to get in front of my target readers? And don't forget if you're not sure who your target readers are, I have that target reader checklist that you can download.
So how can you get in front of your target readers for free? Well, I always recommend leveraging other people's existing audiences. So that could mean pitching yourself as a guest on somebody else's podcast or pitching yourself as a guest on somebody else's blog.
You could also go live in somebody else's Facebook group. Or you could partner with YouTube or Instagram influencers and reach out to those people's audiences.
You could also collaborate with another author who has a much larger mailing list than you have, and they feature you in their newsletter.
Entice readers back to your world
Once you've found an effective way of getting in front of your target readers, then it's a case of enticing them back to your mailing list. You want to get them back into your world and make sure you have a way of keeping in touch with them. So make sure you have a compelling reader magnet to entice them to sign up for your mailing list. Then you can continue warming them up through your email and eventually you can sell to them via email as well.
And remember, you can use MailerLite – that's my preferred email service provider – for free up to 1,000 subscribers.
So that's how you can market your book on a shoestring budget and how you grow an audience with a shoestring budget.
You get in front of your target readers where they're already hanging out. Then you entice them back to your mailing list with a compelling reader magnet.
You could do this with paid ads if you do have a little bit of budget, but these subscribers are usually less engaged.
Now, does this take work? Yes, it does. It does take quite a bit of effort and it involves showing up consistently, which I talked about in my last post. So, if you didn't see that one, go back and look at it now because you're going to need to show up consistently to make this strategy work for you.
But when you do make this commitment, you can market your book very effectively with little to no budget whatsoever.
Remember it all starts with knowing who your target readers are so that you know where they're hanging out and how to get in front of them. So if you're still not sure who your target readers are, make sure you download my target reader checklist.