Best Practices in Online Selling
Hard Case also formed a partnership with Barnes & Noble.com, which hosts online book clubs for fans of various genres. The publisher worked with the retailer to create a club for crime fiction, cross-promoted through the Hard Case Web site, where readers have the opportunity to interact directly with Ardai and his authors.
“When we published ‘Money Shot,’ author Christa Faust was not extremely well-known, and based on name alone the book would not have gotten much attention,” Ardai says. “But she came on the board, interacted with readers, showed herself to be witty and personable, and she brought a lot of people on board.”
The discussion sites within the online book club feature copious links to a Barnes & Noble purchasing page, ensuring that visitors are never more than one click away from buying a book.
Ardai says building in numerous purchasing opportunities is the most important element in online selling.
“In terms of best practices, that’s just a squandered opportunity,” Ardai says of not doing so. “Adding that one line of text [enabling direct purchase of the book] takes it out of the realm of mere publicity and into the realm of selling. The goal is to get the book into people’s hands.”
Creating Purchasing Opportunities Everywhere
The same principle is at work in online marketing done by scientific, technical, medical (STM) publisher Elsevier. Interactive catalogs feature embedded links that lead directly to where each book is available for purchase, and the company’s Focal Press imprint has been aggressive in creating purchasing opportunities on
-networking sites, according to Kristine Anderson, global vice president of marketing at Elsevier’s science and technology division.
Aimed at the photography, video and broadcast community, Focal Press has built pages on MySpace, Facebook and YouTube. “We add additional content from authors [through] podcasts, tutorials and instructional videos showing how to do something in Photoshop, for example,” Anderson says. “The pages have links directing [users] to where they can buy the book.”