If there’s ever a time of year when one needs to be conscious of their marketing plan and book sales, it’s the holiday season. All over the country, people are buying presents for friends and family. And yes, that means books! Kindles, paperbacks, hardcovers, audiobooks, and children’s books are flying off the shelves this time of year. They are Santa’s favorite stocking stuffers!
But even good books can end up on the Island of Misfit Toys if they’re not marketed properly. (or at all). And although starting early is best, it’s never too late to get a boost from a strong marketing campaign right up to those last-minute shoppers!
Here are some tips to help you formulate a strong marketing strategy for the holidays!
Holiday Marketing Tips:
- Start early
- Push your branding!
- Stay with the theme
- Host events
These are some of the most common tips you’ll hear from other experts on how to market your book, and we’re no exception! Let’s go through each one and break down the necessary information to execute each one.
Start early –
Easily the most common tip that you’ll receive when trying to plan your marketing strategy for the holiday season is to start early. We recommend starting at least three months in advance (late August to early September). If for some reason that’s not possible, or you’re only just starting now, the marketing should begin a minimum of six weeks prior to Cyber Week (the week following Black Friday and Cyber Monday). It’s possible to have a solid marketing campaign for the holidays that starts in October, but earlier is always better. Costs of advertising tend to be lower if purchased ahead of time, so don’t wait until the last minute to call about promotions via television, radio, and online ads. Also, keep in mind that last-minute marketing tends to look sloppy and can damage your brand’s image. Take the time to refine your pitches and make them look as glamorous as your book!
Push your branding! –
I mentioned this rather heavily in our post about how to create an author’s event kit, but it’s just as true during the holidays as it would be any other time. If not more so! Having a brand associated with your product gives you a chance to stake a claim in the consumers’ brains, and with that stake comes remembrance. Make your audience remember you! Don’t just tell them to buy your book. Something like:
“Buy (insert book title here), on sale now!”
Pales in comparison to something more like:
“The latest installment from (book series here), (book title), now on sale through (brand name)!”
The more your audience associates your product with your brand, the more likely they’ll be to consider the brand’s products when considering future purchases. In this case, the book you are trying to sell is the product, and you need to throw your weight behind pushing its quality as though it were one of those fancy smartphones. You are proud of your product, and you know it’s worth giving as a gift. So, do your part to make sure your potential buyers know it too!
Stay with the theme –
I know from personal experience just how infuriating it can be to see Christmas decorations and themes going up so soon. I remember going to see a Christmas show on stage even before Halloween, which was incredibly jarring. However, the purpose of this is to remind the audience that the holidays are fast approaching and that they need to start formulating a plan. This is where you need to keep with the theme. Make everything that you advertise come back to the holiday aesthetic. Incorporate lots of red, repeat that the sales only last until the winter season is finished. When designing ads, include holly, pine needles, ornaments, and Christmas lights. Don’t worry about your ads getting lost among all the other Christmas sales, it’s still necessary so you can capitalize on the booming expanse of Christmas ads. This gets people into the holiday spirit and reminds them that this is a deal exclusive to the season! Wrap that elevator pitch in a tree skirt and stick a star on top!
Host events –
Much in the same way that you can prepare events for your author’s event kit, you can also host events on social media, via email, or in-person to boost your marketing during the Christmas season. Just imagine the craziest, kookiest thing you can do to get people involved with your product! Some common examples of winter-themed events that are simple to organize and host would be:
- Ugly sweater contest (in person or social media)
- Snowman building contest
- Winter-themed raffles
- Fan-submission contests (poetry, short stories, etc.)
It’s easier than you think to get your audience involved in your sales. And it’s even easier than that to let them have fun while doing it. The last thing you want is to alienate yourself from your audience. If they feel like your work doesn’t reach out to them, even if it’s on sale, they won’t buy the book. Hosting events such as these is a great way to connect with the audience and make them feel a personal connection to you and your story. This will make them feel more inclined to buy the book, and then share it with others.
Naturally, all the tips we’ve covered here only comprise the core of holiday marketing. There are so many other things you can do to boost sales around Christmas. You can organize data and look for trends, see when the sales reach their peak over the course of each week and plan accordingly. You can also include additional items with their purchases, such as a free bookmark, key chain, or a discount on their next purchase if they buy an object of a certain price. Don’t forget to also include local searches, which enables you to get sales from nearby venues before trying to boost sales statewide or nationally. And while there is no one right way to market your book, if you start early enough, stick to your branding, incorporate that holiday theme, and interact with your audience, you’ll have a much better chance of coming out of Christmas with an increase in sales. After all, when it comes to Christmas profits, that’s the one time of year you don’t want to see red.
Now wrap that book of yours in a merry bow and get planning!