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Marketing Myths and Misconceptions: Marketing versus Advertising
Picture this: You’ve just written a book that you’re proud of. You’ve spent countless hours researching, writing, and editing it, and you’re excited to share it with the world. But now comes the hard part: how do you get people to actually read it? Promoting and selling a book can be daunting, especially if you’re promoting the book all by yourself; it can be challenging to stand out and reach the right audience.
From a traditional publisher’s standpoint, here’s what meaningful and thoughtful marketing looks like. Ideally, publishers market upstream to booksellers, retailers, executives, and distributors who will be purchasing the books—the authors must focus on marketing downstream to their would-be fans and readers. Yes, you read it right—even traditionally published authors are expected to be involved in the promotion of their books. While not all books ( and authors ) are supported the same by their publishers, it’s good to know what a typical scenario is and what thoughtful marketing looks like.
However, this is a rare scenario in self-publishing, so rare that most books are not given enough attention, authors are not coached on the best methods to reach out to readers, and books are enrolled into a generic, ineffective, but expensive ‘marketing’ platform. If you’re independently published, focus on downstream marketing. You can’t sell a book if no one knows it exists, and this challenge falls squarely on the shoulders of the authors.
OK—onto the next chapter, err, the discussion.
Marketing versus Advertising. How is it different?
You’ve heard about book marketing and book advertising, but what’s the difference? And which one is right for you? Book marketing and advertising are two different approaches to promoting and selling a book.
You will need both to have a meaningful promotion and make it worthwhile for your book.
To simplify, think of it this way: Marketing is the strategy and advertising is your tactics. Strategy (marketing) serves as the roadmap to your destination, while tactics (advertising) are the specific maneuvers and actions that pave the way.
Book marketing is a comprehensive strategy that involves creating and executing a plan how to promote a book to a specific target audience. It encompasses a range of activities, such as creating a website or social media presence for the book, engaging with readers and reviewers, arranging book signings and events, reaching out to book bloggers, influencers, and media outlets and building an email list. Book marketing is a long-term effort that aims to build awareness and interest in the book over time.
On the other hand, book advertising is a specific tactic within book marketing that involves paying to place ads for the book in various channels, such as social media, search engines, or book-related websites. Book advertising is typically used to generate short-term boosts in book sales and to drive traffic to specific online retailers or bookstores.
To simplify, advertising is only one component of marketing. The most common mistake many authors ( and even marketing agencies ) make is thinking that advertising is the same as marketing.
For example, let’s look at social media ‘marketing’: Is getting a thumbs-up, ‘heart,’ and other emoticons on Facebook your marketing goal? Obviously, it is not. Most authors would confuse their advertising performance with their marketing goals—and that’s where the frustration starts—thinking that the advertising performance squarely equates to the quality of their books.
While both book marketing and book advertising are important for promoting a book, they have different goals and should be used in different ways. Book marketing is a comprehensive and ongoing effort to build a brand and a fan base for the book. It requires a deep understanding of the target audience and a well-crafted plan to reach them.
A well-executed book marketing plan can create a strong foundation for advertising efforts, and advertising can help to amplify the reach and impact of a book marketing campaign. Ultimately, both approaches are important for authors and publishers looking to promote and sell books.
Question: Which should come first: Marketing or Advertising?
In book promotion, marketing, and advertising serve different purposes, but they are both essential and necessary for a successful campaign. However, there is a natural sequence in which they should be employed.
Marketing should come first in book promotion. This is because marketing sets the foundation for your book promotion strategy. Marketing involves:
- Researching your target audience.
- Identifying the best channels to reach them.
- Creating a plan to engage with them.
Once you have established a foundation for your book promotion through marketing, you can move on to advertising. Advertising is the process of paid promotion, where you pay for your book’s exposure to a specific audience. Advertising can help you reach a larger audience and create buzz around your book.
However, advertising alone cannot build a successful book promotion campaign. If you don’t have a solid marketing foundation in place, your advertising efforts will not be as effective. Without a solid marketing foundation, your advertising will be like a coat of paint on a shaky house—it may look good at first glance, but it won’t stand the test of time. A successful book promotion campaign requires a strong marketing foundation, with advertising as the finishing touch.
Fact: Most authors think they are ‘marketing’ their book when they are simply paying for advertising.
Now that you know the differences between book marketing and advertising, you can begin creating a strategy for your book promotion.
If you need help, let us know. Email our publicist at firstname.lastname@example.org
The first benefit of hiring a book publicist is their expertise. A good book publicist deeply understands the publishing industry and the nuances of book promotion. They know what works and doesn’t and can advise authors on the best strategies for their book and target audience. They can also help authors avoid costly mistakes from inexperienced attempts at book promotion.
Another advantage of working with a book publicist is their ability to build relationships with key players in the publishing industry, such as book reviewers, journalists, and bloggers. A book publicist can help authors get their books in front of influential people who can help spread the word about their books. These relationships can be challenging to establish and maintain, but a book publicist has the experience and connections to make them happen.
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