What Self-Publishing and Internet Marketing Have in Common

For those of you who don’t know, ClickBank is an affiliate marketing website. People can sign up to either sell their information products, or to promote products and receive a cut of the sale.

Recently I was looking through ClickBank’s site, and I stumbled across their tips for Internet marketers. Many of their tips can also be directly applied to self-published authors, or even traditionally published authors who are marketing their own books. I’ve highlighted a few below.

research

First, it’s important to do research. Both Internet marketers and successful authors have to know their audience, and know what content will be most valuable to them.

Content

Great content is the foundation to both Internet Marketing and books. To be successful on both ClickBank and as a self-published author, your content should be honest, valuable, available via as many formats as possible, as short as possible (but no shorter), and results-oriented.

Adding Value

As an author and an Internet marketer, you want to add value to the community. You can do this by participating in forums and Facebook groups, networking on social media, posting guest blogs in your niche (see “Helpful SEO Links“), attending conferences, and linking to other resources and sites.

You should also build up a list and stay in contact with the people on your list. Other than just sending out ways to buy books, you can share information and resources and survey to find out either how to better serve them or what genre or topic you should write about next. When sending promotional emails, it’s helpful for both marketers and authors to highlight the benefits of the book or product, and not the features, and to personalize the recommendation. It may help to include reviews and bonuses (see below).

Giving out bonuses is another tactic to add value and protect the sale of a product. Internet marketers can ask buyers to email their receipts to verify they purchased the product through the affiliate link. They can also entice more buyers by offering bonuses such as tip sheets, interview, add-ons, videos, and PDFs. Similarly, authors can verify that readers are buying their books by asking for emailed receipts. And like marketers, they can offer bonuses such as Q&As, interviews, videos, additional chapters, and alternate endings.

Promotion

You should also only promote what you believe in. As an Internet marketer this means getting review copies of what you’re promoting ahead of time. As authors this means writing books that you want to write. 

Banner ads can also help both marketers and authors. They are the least effective type of ads, but they are easy and can complement other methods. Fiverr is a good place to outsource ad creation if you don’t want to do it yourself.

Referrals and Reviews

For Internet marketers, in-content referrals are also helpful. This means briefly mentioning a product in content, but not providing a full review. Authors can use a similar technique. John Locke recommends writing insightful blog posts that loosely relate to the content of your book, and then at the end write a sentence that links the post back to the book. For example, he wrote a humorous blog post once about how he was almost a hero, when he tried to help a woman with a shopping cart, but she misunderstood his intentions. He ended the post saying there are a lot of almost heroes out there, similar to his main character in his series. This way, he didn’t outright promote his book, but instead subtly nudged his readers towards it.

Reviews are also important to both Internet marketers and authors, but in different ways. For marketers, it’s important to write honest, transparent, specific reviews about a product, in multiple formats to have maximum effect. For authors, it’s important to have honest, transparent, specific reviews, from as many people as possible, ideally in multiple formats to help spread the word.

Having a recommended resources page can benefit authors and marketers too. For marketers, this page can be a bunch of mini-reviews in one place, with loads of affiliate links. Authors can also have affiliate links, and this page can help build up their credibility in their niche.

Secrets to Success

ClickBank says that the secret to affiliate success is consistency, and I’d say that’s also the secret to successful self-publishers. Churning out great content helps build an audience and fan base, and will start a momentum for word of mouth marketing.

Above all, ClickBank says to respect your audience, and I think that definitely works for authors too. It’s important to have a direct relationship with readers, and and without readers authors would have no success. So treat them with respect!

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