Two Important Marketing Insights for 2017

Good-bye 2016 —Time To Set New Goals

Indie authors are looking back and saying to ourselves, “What the hell happened in 2016?

Picture by axelle b

This past year the best outlined plans landed off the mark from our original vision, morphing just like our characters. This can leave us feeling vulnerable and lost in the marketing part of our business.

Last year’s strategy may be missing a few check marks or not working out as we had originally planned, but I’m here to say that’s okay. It’s good to be flexible and mindful of new trends. Our eyes should always focus on the customers’ needs, which are always changing, so our plans need to change, too.

All authors search for new readers, so we have to keep reaching out with the platforms that are being used everyday by our potential customers. Easy, right? Well not always easy.

Change is a scary thing, but it doesn’t have to be. Once you see the facts then you might embrace change and realize the importance that the internet and Wi-Fi have on potential customers.

First let’s look at some interesting facts . . . the internet contributed over $2.2 trillion in annual retail sales in 2015 and by 2017 there will be more internet traffic than all prior internet years combined!

That’s a lot of traffic. Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices will generate 68% of all internet traffic by 2017.

Wow! I’m sure you see where this is leading us . . .

Facebook has 1.55 billion active users and is a good option to drive traffic to our sites, but if we use that platform alone we’ll miss opportunities —so let’s think bigger.NetMarketShare google-search-share

There are 3.5 billion Google searches every day or 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average.

There are 966 million websites right now in 2016. There are 2.7 billion blog posts every day. WordPress powers over 60 million websites.

8 out of 10 consumers will shop online if offered free shipping. 51% of U.S. online shoppers cite slow site loading times as the top reason they abandon a purchase.

Big numbers can be scary but also revealing.

Picture by George Hodan

While Facebook has a lot of activity it can only lead readers to shop online. Our distributors and our websites need to meet the current needs of the consumer.

There’s lots of competition out there. Yes, we can do the conventional—measure and tweak, and we should—but there are some things in this publishing world that we just cannot control.

So what’s an author to do?

Let’s start putting the odds in our favor by overcoming the most obvious wall we need to climb —being seen via internet and Wi-Fi.

Here are some current marketing insights that may help:

#1 Make your website mobile friendly.

  • Yes, we’ve heard this already but now there is a dire need to ensure you are mobile friendly NOW. The grapevine says that Google, the main search engine that uses Googlebots to crawl websites and comprises of 78% of all market share searches, will now be ranking mobile friendly websites first. That’s right, Google puts mobile at the top of the list —before all the other formats used like desktop. Now more than ever, we need to make our sites mobile friendly.

    Picture by Petr Kratochvil

In the USA, 94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones. Interestingly, 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present.

#2 Make your website as fast as possible

Picture by George Hodan
  • Customers expect speedy results. An increase in site speed from 8 to 2 seconds can boost your conversion rate by 74% (this is based on data monitoring real user activity from 33 major retailers)

Authors sell books and so we should try to have our sites work as well as the best retailers and our best distributors’ sites.

  • Test your site for speed here:  A report will be sent to you to assist you (or your site’s admin) by explaining the actions you can take to improve the site’s speed.
  • Avoid software that most mobile devices won’t support such as Adobe Flash. Make sure everything translates properly by eliminating pop-ups and JavaScript from landing pages. (e.g. Error 404)

I’m working out my plan for 2017 and hoping to get lucky.

Picture by George Hodan

I’ve tested my sites and discovered that I need to reduce photo sizes.

That boils down to a lot of work because I’ve used many photos in past blog posts.

I’ll have to go back and reformat (compress) the larger sized pictures and delete old clips that may not be working any longer.

It will take a lot of attention but worth my time if it means getting a better rating after a Googlebot search.

Let’s not forget our main mission: To get our platform, our brand, seen via the Internet and Wi-Fi

  1. This year while using social media I want to slice into the heart of marketing and steer readers to my sites. I can’t do this unless my presence is Google friendly. So, I will take care of my sites as best I can.
  2. I offer a good product but still face the challenge of reaching the right audience, so I will research the places where my target market can be found—and try to be where they shop.
  3. I will continue to support other Indie authors, via Twitter, Facebook and social media. Helping other author’s books become visible is not only good karma, it’s good business. When books are uplifted and deemed worth your time then they become more appreciated by the public (your followers), as well.

I don’t plan on giving away novels for free just because some authors who publish ‘how to books’ suggest this as a marketing tactic. Yes, you can get your email list puffed up this way. It works well in the short term, but in the long term these kind of practices can cheapen the Indie book industry as a whole. I may offer discounts or give short stories as gifts.

This past year the public expected books to be discounted or free. I admit that I’ve snagged a few free books myself. But I also know full well that a free download doesn’t usually mean a review in return (if that was the goal).

Personally, I review books that I buy more often than the freebies. This is a touchy subject among authors and I only suggest that you do what’s best for you. I plan on doing whatever I can to promote the value of books and believe that free books belong in the library (my favorite place). Today, even our eBooks can be gotten via a library.

Most likely, there will be free book bargains again this year, but my target in 2017 is a customer who is willing to pay for what they want to read. If anyone has any suggestions on how to accomplish that, please share. I am open to new marketing ideas and appreciate feedback. Please post your comments. We all need to support each other in 2017.

Wishing you the best in 2017four-leaf-clover-drawing

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Top Marketers are saying: If you’re not mobile first, you’re not customer first . . .

Marketing Strategy – the New Way (What you need to know)

There have been so many gimmicks over the years about new Marketing strategies, that we have become skeptics.

CONTENT STRATEGY  is really the best of everything we have practiced in the past, but with added focus.

Content Strategy is credible, trustworthy, transparent content that enhances your  business strategic goals.

There are three major obstacles we face as content providers :

  • Tidal wave of information keeps multiplying each year
  • Tough competition for people’s time from their over scheduled lives
  • People will only give you time if you supply what they want

People are bombarded with messages all day that are trying to get their attention,  so if you want to be seen – you must offer what they need and seek.

Capture1Content Marketing Strategy is all about telling a story – so it’s the perfect channel for writers.  To that point, many Marketing Departments are now hiring writers to help build their content. So if you are a writer looking for a job you enjoy, check out new postings for Marketing Departments. Don’t be surprised that they need writers. Career Builder – Content Marketing

I am sharing some information here from the Coursera course I just completed through the MOOC program at Northwestern University. I suggest to look for this course offering in the future, it was well worth the time for anyone who has a message to send out via blog or any other social media outlet.

Content Strategy is similar to Content Marketing but it varies in an important way. Content Marketing is created to drive “profitable customer action.”Content Strategy is created  to help a target audience be better informed.

The main idea is that people respond better to stories they can relate with…

It is more than just Brand, more than just Sales, and more than just Marketing –  It is a message, a story, that the entire organization can identify with and contribute to in a campaign.  It is alive, it grows, it responds – it connects with humans, and their hearts.

Experiences are how people feel, think and act when they consume your content. Experiences matter for three reasons:

  • First, all content creates user experiences.
  • Second, experiences are linked to usage.
  • Third, you, the creator of the content, can shape those experiencesCapture 2

Another major breakthrough with this type of Content Marketing, is the realization that a campaign is an ongoing story, and all points of communication by a company have to be in tune to the same message.

Check out this successful Content Strategy example by Coca Cola:

Coca-Cola Content 2020

Writing good content is the new measurement by all the search engines.

It is here now, and it is the future.

Like it has been in the past and always will be – writing a good story is not easy.  It is a process that takes time and energy. This is good for writers, because it is our trade of choice, writing stories is familiar to us  – but we also know how much effort it takes to write a dam good story.  Still, we have the jump on most, since we already wrote a good novel or novella.  So now we need to identify the message we want to send as an author and business person.

publish promoteUnderstand your target market –

Your audience will only pay attention to content if it is engaging, convenient and in a form that works for them; where, when, and how they want it. Utilizing social media should be a strategy which involves adding value to the audience’s experience. Otherwise they will tune you out, and your content will not be shared or pushed by social media engines. (I struggle with this myself, and I am trying to identify my audience. It is a continuous journey.)social cloud

Consider your VOICE –

In order to hold the attention and interest of an audience, the writer needs to speak in a voice the audience will recognize as someone like them.  Tone is the mood of the writer’s voice. It gives a writing voice nuance, depth and color. Like any good story, your strategy story should have a good beginning, middle and end.  (The problem, the movement, the solution) Try to be yourself. Be direct. Be specific.

Make the decisions . . .

on what content media and platforms you will use – choose the best one to connect with your audience. Most of the public market use mufti-media platforms already, so spice it up by utilizing a combination of pictures, video and blog posts.

Social media truths about communities:

  • Social = networks + virtual communities
  • Social communities come in two “flavors:” Passion communities and Trigger Event communities.
  • Passion communities are internally driven and can move between passion levels with permanent communities and stable members.
  • Trigger Event communities are both externally and internally driven by lifestyle changes or some specific event. Their members tend to be more temporary.
  • Virtual communities are on a mission. They look for expertise and they want to engage with their audiences.

Success in social is developing timely, relevant content.

So identify what is important to you…  What do you want to share?  What will a reader get from your work?

Try using these 3 tools to search for connection to your content:distribution SEO

Follow the 5D’s as discussed HERE in a previous post

  • Discover
  • Define
  • Design
  • Develop
  • Deploy

Content Marketing Strategy – what is your story?

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Turn Dreams Into Goals: Four Basic Steps Needed

 Dreams vs Goals

(Never give up on your dream)

Picture by Frits Ahlefeldt

There is a difference and a correlation between the two. Let’s begin with definitions, eliminating the useless words so we can concentrate on the true meanings intended:

DREAM : a series of thoughts, visions, or feelings that happen during sleep

: an idea or vision that is created in your imagination and that is not real

: something that you have wanted very much to do, be, or have for a long time

 GOAL :something that you are trying to do or achieve

: an area or object into which a ball or puck must be hit, kicked, etc., to score points in various games (such as soccer and hockey)

: the act of hitting, kicking, etc., a ball or puck into a goal or the score that results from doing this

 Point #1:

You need to have a dream before you can define your goals.

Menu of your life
Picture by Frits Ahlefeldt

We all have dreams . . .

things we envision that we want to happen in our lives, for our loved ones, and causes that we support.

Unfortunately, some people never stop to think beyond a daydream, which is defined as pleasant thoughts that distract one’s attention from the present.

A true dream is something you create in your imagination—that you want very much—it’s a vision. A dream is not a fleeting thought, but a real want that you desire from the deepest part of your soul.

How are they different from our goals?

I believe they are related. You need a solid dream—a vision you can name—before you can begin to set your goals.

Once you have the dream clear in your mind, then you can begin to create and write down your goals. By writing them down you are committing to the vision with steps you can take to achieve your desire.

Point #2  

Goals can be divided into 4 basic steps:

  • First you have to have a Mission Statement. Put your dream down in writing.Find your voice

Just because you may be a business with one employee, yourself, doesn’t mean you can skip on a mission. It is a very crucial part of defining your goal.

‘I want to save homeless children’ or ‘I want to be a bestselling author’

  • Second you need to identify your Target Market, or better understood as zooming in on your customer, or audience.

 i found you!  Find out more about this HERE:

Who do you intend to reach with your dream? Your dream and now your goals are personal, so shape them to match what you want to accomplish to attain your vision. Don’t worry whether they jive with what others do. It’s your dream after all.

‘I want to help children by assisting home shelter managers and workers’ or ‘I want to touch the lives of middle-aged women with my books and stories about murder’

We can’t please all of the people all of the time—as the saying goes.

  • Third you need Strategy which is nothing more than a plan on how you will execute—reach your audience.

For example, many people tweet out ‘buy me’ when the best way to utilize Twitter is to send out messages that connect you to others and support with things that benefit others. Many on Google + don’t realize that are many conversations going on, a sharing of minds, once you engage in site

logo-2xSo research and use social media to your advantage in order to engage others, and share your dream. Also don’t disregard other ways to get out your message. Social clubs, universities, Meet Ups, festivals and many more places offer ways for you to share your message.

Strategy is your game plan.

Today with social media venues, there are many ways and means to reach people. Try to utilize the strengths of the medium you choose that best fits your own style and message.

  • Fourth a more detailed plan of the actual steps you will take to accomplish your strategy is called Tactics.

supportIt sounds like a dirty word, but it’s quite harmless and very useful. It is the details of your strategy, or your action plan.

You may decide to use photography to reach out, or music, or a mixture of that along with articles and posts. This is where we can begin putting in place things we want to measure, to show us how we are progressing.

The tactics lead us to place we can gather the proof of our engagement, proof of our reaching our target audience, and thus proof if we are getting closer to reaching our goals, which have been defined by our dreams.

There are many tools to see the evidence of engagement to measure, check out Google analytics. employee-engagement

More about that HERE:

If you don’t have good results—refine your strategy and tactics—but—

 Never give up on your dream!

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Creativity 10

Photos used above are by Frits Ahlefeldt – check out out his art at

Simple Pointers On How To Market

Defining Web Marketing Termssupport site

It helps to know the jargon when you venture into new territory, like web marketing. To make the most of your online marketing strategies, make yourself familiar with the terms in this list:

  • above the fold: Content and/or ads that appear on a page before a viewer needs to scroll.
  • B2B (business to business): Companies and sites that market to other businesses.
  • B2C (business to consumer): Companies and sites that market to individual customers.
  • banner ad: A graphic ad that links to the advertiser’s site.
  • call to action: A marketing technique that asks prospects to take a specific action to move toward a sale.
  • cookie: Identifying code downloaded to a user’s machine to recognize repeat visitors or track online activity.
  • conversion rate: The percent of site visitors who take a particular action or make a purchase, often called converting browsers to buyers.
  • CPC (cost per click): Amount actually paid for a click-through to a site from an ad.
  • CPM (cost per thousand): The advertising cost to reach 1,000 viewers or listeners; allows comparison among various advertising methods.
  • CTR (click-through rate): The percent of people viewing an ad who click on it.
  • PPC (pay per click): Payment method for online ads in which advertisers pay for each click-through, rather than by number of impressions or flat rate (see CPM).
  • ROI (return on investment): The amount of money earned (or lost) as a percent of the amount invested, usually stated for a period of a year; can compute for a website, an ad campaign, or an entire business.
  • SEO (search engine optimization): The process of making a website search-engine-friendly to improve ranking in search results.
  • SEM (search engine marketing): The combination of SEO with paid search marketing through PPC, paid inclusion, or paid appearance.
  • social media: Two-way communication channels online for networking, sharing news and views, contributing content, and soliciting comments from customers and prospects.
  • URL (uniform resource locator): Address designating the location of information on the web; includes a registered domain name.
  • widget: Small application tool placed on a website to add value.

Tips for Marketing on Your Own Website

As a smart businessperson, you want to make full use of the web to market your goods and services. This includes running your own website. Use these quick tips to optimize your site for marketing effectiveness:

  • Attract attention with your home page and headline.
  • Maintain interest with text that’s about “you,” not about “me.”
  • Build desire with frequently updated content.
  • Include many calls to action.
  • Make your site easy to use and navigate.
  • Post your phone number, street address, and social media links on every page.
  • Collect e-mail addresses to communicate with prospects and customers.
  • Test your site before launching it.
  • Use results of your traffic and sales statistics to improve your site. (Google Analytics)

Essential Tasks of a Successful Marketing Website



Your website can be your strongest marketing tool. It serves as the face your business presents to the online world. If visitors find that face engaging, you’re on your way to increased sales.


You should see those increased sales once your site accomplishes these goals:

  • Draws new visitors to your site.
  • Keeps them there for several pages.
  • Brings them back for repeat visits.
  • Answers “What’s in it for me?”

Use Social Media to Enhance Your Web Presence

Twitter fav by KoontzUse social media to entice visitors to visit or return to your hub web site where they will receive your full message. Double the benefits by optimizing every social media channel to improve your search engine ranking. Remember to listen twice as much as you talk.

  • Use Facebook for brand loyalty, customer support, and to solicit opinions and reviews.
  • Use Twitter for news, local color, events in progress, and time-dependent offers.
  • Use LinkedIn to reach business-to-business clients, qualify prospects, and to find new vendors or employees.
  • Use content-sharing sites like YouTube (video), blogs, podcasts, and Flickr (photos) to encourage customer participation.

I still get confused with it all…

Success is –   hard work, endurance, and lots of time.

Istay-motivated-quotes hope these basics help you stay focused on the end goal.

No matter which way you turn, we’re confronted with the fact that a self-publisher needs to think like a business person, especially when marketing.  As with any business, there are some tasks that need to get done, whether we like it or not.  It is not easy to Market.  I remember companies I worked for in the past life, and we had a fleet of people to generate marketing ideas and to implement them.  My job now, of course is much smaller scale – I only have to sell my platform.

I read that we should check our meta data and keyword tags to see how well our keywords work to drive clicks. Google tool is out, no longer used. Now, the Google search is replaced with Google Analytics.  There are some free services to track how a website is doing. You can also drive a marketing campaign and buy ads here.

Remember with all marketing use common sense before you buy any advertising. Check out from others what works, and don’t panic.  Things take time for most authors, unless you have great timing and luck!

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Check out  EZ  for links to resources that can help get through the marketing