2019 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Internet, with 59% of the population having access daily with China, India, and the USA ahead of any other countries in terms of Internet usage.
The birth of the Internet, and the introduction of technology, has revolutionized book marketing; gone are the days of relying on book signings, newspaper reviews, and handing out leaflets outside of bookshops to drum up interest. Nowadays, book marketers can target any audience in the world from the comfort of their own home.
There are a plethora of online promotions available to book marketers in 2021, but no matter which technique is used, it is important to keep the following questions in mind:
  • Who are you trying to target?
  • What outcome are you trying to achieve?
  • Which marketing tactic is best to use for this outcome?
  • How will you know if you have achieved your goals?
As well as this, you should consider how you are going to target your desired readership:
  • Location: based on location criteria such as country, city, and distance from your physical location.
  • Demographic: based on age, gender, etc.
  • Interests: based on the content your readers are interested in consuming. e.g. Sci-Fi fan, Horror fan.
  • Behavioural: based on being able to see a user’s behavior across the internet and matching their behavioral patterns. 

Types of Online Promotion

Types of Advertising

Credit: https://postcron.com/en/blog/internet-advertising/

Book marketing online in 2021 sees many different strategies and techniques available to book marketers:
  • SEO.
  • PPC (Pay-per-click).
  • RTB (Real-time bidding).
  • App advertising.
  • Affiliate/Referral marketing.
  • Online sponsorship.
  • Interactive advertising.
  • Email marketing.
  • Social media marketing.
  • Display ads.
  • Blogging/Vlogging (Content Marketing).
  • Augmented reality.

Pay-per-click (PPC)

Pay-per-click is when a book marketer pays for ads to be displayed on search engine results as a sponsored link;  this could be anything from a direct Amazon link for their book to an article on their blog.
PPC means that an advertisement will appear on a user’s search engine when they type in a specific keyphrase. Book marketers will bid on certain keywords and terms, that they think will relate to their content. Every time the advertisement is clicked, the marketer pays for it, even if the ad doesn’t have the desired effect, for example, a book sale, you still have to pay. 

This is why conversion rates are relevant to PPC, as well as bounce rates (https://www.optimizely.com/uk/optimization-glossary/bounce-rate/).
With direct buys, such as PPC, you are, in essence, buying impressions (views). You also have the ability to filter the audience that sees your advertisements.

So, what are the benefits of PPC in 2021?
  • Great targeting. AI is forever improving and evolving; things are only going to continue getting more effective. Thanks to this, you can target your desired readership with minimal effort.
  • Low wastage. With the correct keywords and terms, you can ensure your advertisements are shown to the relevant audience.
  • Predictability. Traffic volumes, ranking, costs, and results are more predictable with pay-per-click advertising.
  • Control. Unlike search-engine-optimization (SEO), it is easier to direct relevant visitors to your site.
  • High conversion rates. PPC tends to have higher conversion rates than SEO and much higher than display ads; this is because readers click more on impulse.
  • Writer awareness. Even if a user doesn’t click on your advertisement, they subconsciously see the ad. This will make them aware of yourself and potentially click in the future due to gained trust. 
So, what are the disadvantages of PPC?
  • Competition. PPC can have a lot of competitors, especially on popular keywords. Due to PPC being based on bidding, this means it can get expensive. Marketers have been known to get into insane bidding wars, driving prices up to an unacceptable level. This is especially important when advertising a low-value item, such as a book. 
  • Higher costs than other strategies. A lot of modern-day book marketing is relatively cheap if not free; PPC has been known to be higher costs than most strategies.
  • Favors writers with a larger audience. Writers that are unknown, or just starting up, may have a lower budget than famous writers or publishers for marketing, meaning they cannot compete in PPC.
  • Complex to manage. PPC is deceptively simple but as the campaign goes on, it is essential to maintain knowledge of the environment, such as Google updates and changes in user behavior.
  • Click fraud. It has been known for competitors to click on ads with no attention to buy, essentially wasting your budget.

Real Time Bidding

When a user visits a website, a corresponding bid request is being sent to an Ad Exchange. This bid request contains different types of information, such as the user’s demographical data, location information, browsing history, etc. The ad exchange then passes the bid requests along to its list of advertisers/buyers who bid in real‐time for the ad impression (this all takes a fraction of a second). The advertiser that bids the highest amount wins the impression and gets its ad served to the site user.
RTB is much more precise than traditional ‘space buying’; real-time bidding allows a buyer to pick and choose impressions as they come in.
While it is important to get yourself seen by your readership, a case study shared by Google found that while consumers who saw their ads an average of 2.3 times were most likely to convert, after seeing 8.4 ads, the consumer would probably convert dropped by 65%.
It is important to avoid over-exposure when advertising.

Social Outreach

If you can get key writers/people to share your updates and content, you can amplify visibility and potentially grow your audience.
An advocate leaves positive comments, re‐tweets things, and generally engages positively. They add to your ‘social voice’.
An influencer has access to the audience you want to influence, so you should look to encourage them to become advocates of your brand. Influencer marketing is a powerful tool. If a person adores an influencer, everything they say is deemed fact and relevant by their fans. Paid sponsorships can connect with your desired audiences in ways no other marketing technique could.
Blogging and vlogging increase your social reach without the needs of others. Online journals, diaries, news or info listings are all types of content. Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other sites related to its topic. Typically, readers can leave comments in an interactive format. Feedback (‘Trackback’) comments from other sites are also sometimes incorporated. Frequency can vary, but a few blog posts a week are seen as most effective.
Although many vlogs remain on more traditional video upload sites such as YouTube, many have transferred this story‐telling style onto other platforms such as social media via live videos.

Final Thoughts

In summary, there are multiple forms of book marketing online available to marketers.
It is essential to target the correct audience and be aware of the readership you are trying to reach. As AI and analytics improve, targeting audiences will be easier and more effective.
Not all forms of book marketing online in 2021 are relevant to you and your readership. If you want to avoid a costly campaign, stick to content and social media marketing, as it is free. If you choose to delve into the world of advertising, it is very lucrative but be aware of the risks.