The Vivtar Guide to Local Advertising was bundled with clip art of the company's products and ready-to-run ads that were compiled from the best ones that I had culled out. We also prepared several based on the principles we had learned from my research.
Local advertising is a lot different from national advertising. It is more immediate. Whereas the national advertiser is attempting to build a sustained interest in their products and services, the local retailer wants customers to stop and shop today! Sound familiar? As an author, I have a product to sell and I want it to sell today.
Unfortunately, my “retailer” – Amazon and other Internet outlets – have my “product” buried somewhere in their stockroom. It's easy to find if you go there looking for it, otherwise, it's lost like the Ark of the Covenant in the first Indiana Jones movie. Maybe even more lost. Whereas you've heard of the Ark of the Covenant, you probably haven't heard of my book, Rebels on the Mountain. How do I make you aware of it and inspire you to go looking for it?
I don't have the resources to run a national advertising campaign. Hell, I barely have enough money to afford a one-column-inch ad in the local shopper. Nor does my publisher. The only tool available to me is social media on the Internet. Some people question whether or not anyone can market a product or service effectively with social media, but that's what I have to work with and it's free.
Now, before you go any further, let me warn you. I don't want you to be disappointed. I haven't been a success – yet – but I have made some progress. I have learned how to get attention.
First of all, I have identified an audience. You may or may not be a part of it. Probably not. My target audience isn't really interested in postings such as this one. I post most often about historical events that have occurred during my life, especially those in which I have participated. Anyone interested in those should be interested in my novels since these events serve as grist for my novel mill. I also post opinions about current events, especially current political events. I'm probably pissing off at least half of my audience, but the other half is enough for me if only they like what I have to say and it inspires them to purchase my books. I write no more than once each week on topics such as this, ones that might appeal to other authors. Actually, I feel it is somewhat incestuous for authors to be writing for the benefit of other authors every day.
[Now, we're ready to play “Name That Tweet.” You weren't ready until you understood the part about building a target audience.]
The next step – after identifying your target audience – is to coordinate your social media exposure. Blog titles and Tweets as well as all other messages should share a common message. The Twitter button attached to your blog makes this easy. It automatically uses your blog title as the default message in the Tweet that it generates. Like any good advertising, it's the headline in your ad, it's your attention-getter. Use it wisely.
[Note: Here's where you should look back at your most recent ones and appraise them honestly. Did they catch anyone's attention? Do your blog titles stand alone? Do they even make sense? Were they longer than 140 characters forcing your followers to hack off parts of them? Did you reserve a few of the 140 character limit for your followers to add their @identity, or did you hog it all?]
Now, go forth and name that blog/tweet better!
PS: The Vivitar Guide was a huge success. My favorite fan mail came from one retailer who wrote that we were making "Kodak look like fools." More importantly, it contributed significantly to the company's success. Another company, a franchiser, Tinderbox, applied for and was permitted to reprint it (with modifications) for its nation-wide franchisees.