DIRECT SALES: Never Mind the Big Etailers?
Understand sales diversification holistically. "The diversification of our sales channels is just part of the overall diversification of our media," Welch says, as cross-channel book sales are mirrored in cross-channel (print, website, email, events, mobile, video and radio) marketing and subscription efforts.
Target with contextual advertising. "We've found great value … placing book advertising adjacent to related content," Welch notes. "Topical e-newsletters also provide highly valuable sales channels for books; as do dedicated e-mails, especially when they are targeted to people who have subscribed to specifically related e-newsletters." An example would be books sold as a Mother Earth News "Recommended Product For Wiser Living," featured in e-mails sent to subscribers of the magazine and related newsletters.
Engage the audience. Welch calls audience engagement the "key element" in book promotions, an effort that takes into account both the medium by which people are reached and specific subject matter. Again, context is critical. "Our ability to target our promotions to very specific, passionate audiences is improving with each passing month."
Understand your audience's passions and why they look to you for content. "If you're interested in organic gardening, then Mother Earth News is a more logical place to shop for books than Amazon, at least for a particular sort of enthusiastic consumer," Welch notes. "High-quality branded content builds trust and affinity, which in turn gives the books we promote an associated credibility. Of course that means both our content and the books we promote have to meet those standards for affinity and quality, too."
Sell books as part of a wider range of products. Publishers are uniquely qualified to target consumers with multiple related products that complement each other. Much more than a website algorithm telling you what people who bought your book also bought, a publisher's specialized expertise can be brought to bear in bundling or cross-promotion. For Ogden Media, this means approaching consumers with the right mix of products (including print, web, e-commerce and events) tailored to a particular interest. "Since our brands are projected across all these media we believe customers are more confident in our products and, therefore, more likely to acquire content from us than elsewhere," Welch says.