Startup ‘Find My Audience’ Tracks Social Media Activity to Identify Likely Customers
Discoverability, the buzzword du jour among book publishers, is a crucial part of book marketing. But it makes up only half of an effective digital marketing campaign, contends Mark Schroeder, chairman and co-founder of social marketing tool Find My Audience. The other half of the marketing puzzle is what Schroeder calls "findability." Discoverability is a passive strategy, argues Schroeder, that uses metadata and SEO so that readers can find the books they want, whereas findability is an active strategy that attempts to qualify potential readers so that publishers can target them directly. "Both discoverability and findability should be two key pillars of any publisher's marketing plan," says Schroeder.
Schroeder's Boulder-based startup Find My Audience seeks to solve the findability problem by mining user activity on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads and uses that data to identify publishers' most valuable marketing leads. "We like to think of the application as Hootsuite meets Salesforce.com." Here Schroeder explains why he thinks this marketing tool will transform bookselling.
What is Find My Audience and how does it work?
The platform is very easy to use and is based on four stages: audience location, listening, engagement, and conversion. In the first stage, the user simply tells us the genre of their book, similar books to their own, and keywords and phrases that describe the book. We then search Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads for people, groups, and conversations that indicate the consumers' "predisposition," based on linguistic usage, to read the user's book. We give each lead a numeric score and we also provide consumer data (what hashtags is a person using, how often, what books is he discussing, etc.). The user is then able to communicate with that lead via a tweet, post, or direct message. Finally, the user can send an e-commerce link to their lead to convert them into a customer.
What problem are you solving?
Find My Audience fulfills a need that many publishers have been discussing of late, namely, a direct-to-consumer application which complements their existing marketing activities. The application not only helps a single author, but it can be used to move a publisher's back- and mid-lists.
Find My Audience is disruptive in its focus on "findability." While "discoverability" is all the rage these days, and is a critical component in selling a book, it is still a passive activity: someone still needs to be looking for your book or a subject associated with your book. Find My Audience turns that on its head in that we are actively seeking readers.
How did you come up with this idea?
The Find My Audience team is made up of both writers and technologists. Having self-published and marketed our own books, we realized that there was a real need for cutting-edge tools to help authors and publishers navigate the social web and find likely readers for their books.
What are the most important trends in publishing?
We recently polled 200 self-published writers and 88% of them indicated they would spend approximately $400 per book on targeted advertising. Providing a targeted ad capability is a key part of our strategy. And it is a revenue stream that publishers have not picked up on -- yet.
Who is your competition?
There are various companies that do some of what we do - and they do it very well, including Logical Marketing, Aerbook, and BookShout. None, however, combine the audience location with the ad targeting in the way that we do.
By the end of the summer we hope to have 5-10 pilot projects up with major publishers and technology partners. We will add new features and new social channels, and we will deliver our WordPress app to market for bloggers. Once we feel we have a good toehold in the publishing world, we will start to add new verticals, most likely starting with travel.