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 . . .

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