Inbound Marketing - What do Your Readers Want?

Most likely all of you know what inbound marketing is - it's the method of bringing traffic to your site by offering content. Today's guest post is by marketing expert Penny Sansevieri and she explains just how you can find out what your reader wants.

Inbound Marketing Rocks! Now What? 

By Penny Sansevieri

Crafting a Message Your Audience Will Care About

So at this point, you probably all know that Internet/inbound marketing is not only the wave of the future, but the best way to sell yourself, your book, your product, or your service. So maybe you're on Twitter, Facebook, you might even have a blog that you keep updated but if it feels like nothing seems to be meshing.

Before you plug in another tweet, take a moment to step back and really focus on who you're tweeting to. The point really of a good inbound marketing campaign is to bring consumers "in" and you can't do that if they don't care about what you're saying.

How can you determine what your reader wants? Well, ask them. If you do a lot of speaking events, or any at all, you probably get questions. I find that audience questions can really help to seed ideas, meaning that the Q&A portion of any author event is often a great resource to gather the needs of your market.

There are other ways that you can figure out what your reader wants, the first is to stay current. You can do this by subscribing to blogs, following industry leaders on Twitter or getting Google Alerts (which you should do anyway). Getting Google Alerts for your keywords is a great way to see who's writing what about your market.

Let's say that you have identified a message, maybe two, that is crucial to your market. How do you know if you've hit on your right marketing model? Well, the numbers never lie. By "numbers" I mean site hits, increased Twitter followers, etc. Here are a few ways to measure results:

1) Measure effectively: in order to know if stuff is working you'll need to measure effectively. Here are a few ways to do that: Retweets on Twitter: the best sign of success on Twitter is the amount of retweets. Are you getting them and if so, how often? If your tweets are good and your followers are active, you should see a few a week at least (depending on the amount of followers you have).

2) Site hits: are the hits to your site increasing? Are you watching your analytics to be sure? If you're not, you should be. Watch your site stats closely and monitor the increase in traffic and where it's coming from.

3) Inbound links: how many new ones are you getting? Did you do a vanity search before you started this campaign? If not, do that now. Make sure you know how many new incoming links you're getting as a result of your efforts.

4) Sign-ups to your mailing list: are they increasing? If you're doing the right stuff in your social media they should be increasing weekly.

Finally, before you launch headfirst into any marketing campaign, be sure and set some clear goals. For example, you might ask yourself, what are your goals are for Twitter? If it's just about gathering followers then you are missing a big piece of this social networking tool. For many marketing people it's all about the number but numbers don't make as much sense unless they are driving interest to you and your book. If the numbers keep growing along with traffic to your website then you're on the right track. But if you're just growing numbers for the sake of being able to say that you have 10,000 followers then it makes no sense. That's like buying a fancy car you can't really afford. Eventually the debt of it will drag you down. It's the same with Twitter and Facebook and any other social media site. It's not about the numbers. It's about the activity.

In another issue, we're going to look at the specific marketing tools available to you online. We'll take an in-depth look at Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. For now, find your message and determine your goals!

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.


Email Marketing – Personalize Your Automated Emails
Content Marketing – Optimize Your Blogger Blog Posts
Basic Twitter Terms and Definitions


Get Website Traffic with Inbound Marketing is just what you need.
It's a 4-week e-class through WOW! Women on Writing and covers: optimizing your website, blogging smart, email marketing, and social media marketing.

It's interactive, in-depth, and priced right. Check it out today. Just CLICK HERE for details.


Plan a Virtual Book Tour: The First Steps

You’ve taken the initial steps to begin your book marketing journey. The first rung on your marketing ladder is to create a quality product, in the case of an author, that would be a book. You need to create an engaging story, be part of a critique group, make sure the manuscript gets edited/proofread, and have a knock-out cover.

Creating the book might be considered Research and Development under the Marketing umbrella, and the foundation of a marketing strategy.

The second step or rung on the marketing ladder is the actual book promotion: creating a platform and brand for you and your book. This is accomplished through visibility which includes: creating a website, adding content to your blog on a regular basis, doing article marketing on a regular basis, and garnering guest blog spots on quality sites, among other strategies.

Once all the above is underway and your book is going to be available for sale, even if it’s for pre-sale, now is the time to go on a virtual book tour.

Plan a Book Tour

Virtual book tours can be an effective promotional strategy, and you can initiate one on your own, or pay a publicist or book promotion marketer (tour service) to do it for you. Obviously, depending on your financial situation, you will need to decide which will work for you.

The advantages of hiring either a publicist or tour service is their wider audience reach. If the service is a quality one, it will have quality sites for featuring you and your book. When choosing a publicist or tour service find out exactly what you’ll be getting for your money. You might also ask around for recommendations.

I know of two reputable book promotion services:

Pump Up Your Book Online Book Publicity
Author Marketing Experts

You can check them out or do a search for “book promotion,” or “virtual book tours.”

On the other hand, if you’re intent on initiating and managing your own tour you will need to post messages in all your social networks asking for bloggers to participate. If you are active in your groups, and have been paying-it-forward, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Try to aim for bloggers who have followers in your target market. While most writers belong to writing groups, try to expand your reach to groups and bloggers who actually have readers who will be interested in your book.

For example if your book is for the middle grade crowd or children who read chapter books you might look for bloggers who are involved in parenting groups, grandparent groups, teacher groups, etc.

You should begin this process at least a month or two (two is better) before you want to have your tour. It may take a while to get all the hosts on board, decide who will feature what, have reviews prepared, answer interviews, prepare a press release, and so on. Give yourself enough time so you’re not rushing.

Once the Hosts are Booked

For the tour of my children’s middle-grade fantasy book Walking Through Walls, as each blogger accepted my request for hosts, I created a list of their names, the dates I’d be on their sites, and what would be presented on each host’s site: a book review, an interview, an article (with the title), or a combination.

A note here: Offer a variety of content during your tour. While your initial thought might be to promote, promote, promote, readers will quickly get tired of reading review after review, or umpteen interviews. Offer writing and marketing articles in addition to the reviews and interviews, and alternate their postings. Try to keep the tour fresh.

For the interviews and articles, you can add your promo at the end of the content. You might include a brief review, synopsis, even a favorable email a reviewer sent you (just be sure you get the person’s permission first).

To read Parts 2 and 3 of this three part Virtual Book Tour series go to:

Plan a Virtual Book Tour: Attract Followers
Plan a Virtual Book Tour: Be a Gracious Guest and Effective Promoter



Give Your Author/Writer Business a Boost with Inbound Marketing is just what you need.

It's a 4-week e-class through WOW! Women on Writing and covers: optimizing your website, blogging smart, email marketing, and social media marketing.

It's interactive, in-depth, and priced right. Check it out today. Just CLICK HERE for full details.


Back to School Basics for Teachers

Back to School Basics for Teachers
By Karen Cioffi and Robyn Feltman

Well, so much for summer break. The teaching grind is just around the corner. Yeah, yeah, two months off isn’t long enough, but hey, it’s pretty good.

So, now it’s time to start getting in gear to go back to the professional attire and mindset, early morning rising, and don’t forget to get your bladder in shape so that one daily visit to the rest room will be enough.

Okay, let’s go down the checklist for the things you’ll need to get prepared for the inevitable day:

1. Don’t forget to wait until the last minute to get your teacher supplies at the teacher store so you’ll have time to make an hour worth of phone calls while you’re waiting on line, because all the other teachers waited for the last minute also.

2.  Get started writing your lesson plans for the first couple of weeks, but don’t get too attached to them, because you know they’ll change once you get in the swing of things.

3. Remember to agonize over picking that first day’s book that you’ll read to your class. Of course, they will be absolutely enthralled and give you 100% of their attention – they’ve been waiting all summer to have this book read to them.

4. Create a new schedule plan. No more beach days; no more waking up at 10am or later; no more having the use of a restroom ANY time of the day; no more use of the phone anytime of the day; no more eating whenever you want; and no more peace and quiet.

5. Start working today to get your body and mind prepared for 30 or so restless kids with different personalities, strengths and weakness; for 30 or so sets of parents with different personalities; for the school administration, and for your co-workers. Start building your strength, stamina, and inner resilience – you’re going to need it.

6. Get your mindset in order. Repeat the following mantra 100 – 1000 times a day:
My days in class will be productive and calm; my students will not affect my well-being; I will remember my teaching skills; my students are great and I love them; my students enjoy learning; all my students will pass the State tests with flying colors; my students’ parents are wonderful as is my school administration.

7. Calm your nerves. You will be able to teach again; you will be able to get back into your professional mode; you will be able to concentrate on what you’re doing.

8. Watch those late nights. Be sure to start at least a week before school and go to bed at a reasonable hour. You will definitely need your rest.

9. Mark the calendar: 180 working days to go until next summer’s vacation – let the countdown begin!

Robyn Feltman is a 4th grade NYC public school teacher.

Karen Cioffi Freelance Writer



Book Sales Getting Musty?

Today I have a guest post from award winning author and expert marketer, Carolyn Howard Johnson. So, get out your pen and paper, or just copy and save this informative article for your personal use.


Book Sales Getting Musty?

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Adapted from the multi award-winning Frugal Book Promoter.

In the world of publishing as in life, persistence counts. If course, there is no way to keep a book at the top of the charts forever, but if you keep reviving it, you might hold a classic in your hands. Or your marketing efforts for one book may propel your next one to greater heights.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen authors who measure their success by book sales give up on their book (and sometimes on writing) just about the time their careers are about ready to take off. I tell my students and clients to fight the it’s-too-late-urge.

Publicity is like the little waves you make when you toss pebbles into a lake. The waves travel, travel, travel and eventually come back to you. If you stop lobbing little stones, you lose momentum. It’s never too late and it’s never too early to promote. Rearrange your thinking. Marketing isn’t about a single book. It’s about building a career. And new books can build on the momentum created by an earlier book, if you keep the faith. Review the marketing ideas in this book, rearrange your schedule and priorities a bit, and keep at it.

Here are a few keep-at-it ideas.

*Run a contest on your Web site, on Twitter, or in your newsletter. Use your books for prizes or get cross-promotion benefits by asking other authors for books; many will donate one to you in trade for the exposure. Watch the 99 Cent Stores for suitable favors to go with them.

Hint: Any promotion you do including a contest is more powerful when you call on your friends to tell their blog visitors or Facebook pals about it.

*Barter your books or your services for exposure on other authors’ Web sites.

*Post your flier, brochure, or business card on bulletin boards everywhere: In grocery stores, coffee shops, Laundromats, car washes, and bookstores.

*Offer classes in writing to your local high school, college, or library system. Publicizing them is easy and free. When appropriate, use your own book as suggested reading. The organization you are helping will pitch in by promoting your class. The network you build with them and your students is invaluable. Use this experience in your media kit to show you have teaching and presentation skills.

*Slip automailers into each book you sell or give away for publicity. Automailers are envelopes that are pre-stamped, ready to go. Your auto mailer asks the recipient to recommend your book to someone else. Your mailer includes a brief synopsis of your book, a picture of the cover of your book, your book’s ISBN, ordering information, a couple of your most powerful blurbs, and a space for the reader to add her handwritten, personal recommendation. Make it clear in the directions that the reader should fill out the form, address the envelope, and mail it to a friend. You may offer a free gift for helping out, but don’t make getting the freebie too tough. Proof-of-purchase type schemes discourage your audience from participating.

*Send notes to your friends and readers asking them to recommend your book to others. Or offer them a perk like free shipping, gift wrap, or small gift if they purchase your book for a friend. That’s an ideal way to use those contact lists you’ve been building.

*While you’re working on the suggestion above, put on your thinking cap. What directories have you neglected to incorporate into your contact list? Have you joined any new groups since your book was published? Did you ask your grown children for lists of their friends? Did you include lists of old classmates?

*Though it may be a bit more expensive than some ideas in this book, learn more about Google’s AdWords and AdSense. Learn about these opportunities on your Google account page. Many authors of niche nonfiction or fiction that can be identified with often-searched-for keywords find this advertising program effective.

*Check out ad programs like Amazon’s Vine review service. You agree to provide a certain number of books to Amazon and pay them a fee for the service. Amazon arranges the reviews for you. It’s expensive, but it gets your book exposed to Amazon’s select cadre of reviewers who not only write reviews for your Amazon sales page but also may start (or restart!) a buzz about your book.

*Some of your reviews (both others’ reviews of your book and reviews you’ve written about others’ books) have begun to age from disuse. Start posting them (with permission from the reviewer) on Web sites that allow you to do so. Check the guidelines for my free review service blog at

*Connect and reconnect. Start reading blogs and newsletters you once subscribed to again. Subscribe to a new one. Join a writers’ group or organization related to the subject of your book.

*Record a playful message about your book on your answering machine.

*When you ship signed copies of your book, include a coupon for the purchase of another copy for a friend—signed and dedicated—or for one of your other books. Some distributors insert fliers or coupons into your books when they ship them for a fee.

*Adjust the idea above to a cross-promotional effort with a friend who writes in the same genre as you. He puts a coupon for your book in his shipments; you do the same for him in yours.

*Donate your book to contests run by other authors. In return they promote your book for you and provide links to your Web site or blog.

Explore the opportunities for speaking on cruise ships. Many have cut back on the number of speakers they use, but your area of expertise may be perfect for one of them. I tried it, but found ship politics a drawback. Still many authors like Allyn Evans who holds top honors in Toastmasters and Erica Miner have used these venues successfully. For help with the application process from beginning to end, contact Daniel Hall at

Carolyn Howard-Johnson has been promoting her own books and helping clients promote theirs for nearly a decade. Her marketing plan for the 2nd in the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers, The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success won the New Millennium Award for Marketing. Learn more about her at


Book Promotion: 20 Strategies that will Broaden Your Reach
Plan a Virtual Book Tour: The First Steps
Beyond Book Sales Income: Marketing and Diversification


Back to School Count Down

Well, it's that time of year again. Teachers are moaning and groaning, and so are kids. In light of the upcoming new school year, I have a post from August 2009 to reprint.


Back to School Count Down

Five, four, three, two…yup, it’s that time of year again, rising early, getting to school on time, homework, tests…yuck!

But you know, it’s not really that bad. If you’re prepared and get into the right mindset, that’s half the battle. Everything we have to do in life and come up against in life gives us two options: (1) put a positive or good spin on it, (2) dread it.

Since you have to do it anyway, you might as well opt for Option #1.

To get you started in the right direction, here is a list to help you get in gear for, “school time, school time, good ole golden rule time.”

The Do List:

1. Many teachers have lists of what you will need for your upcoming school year. Try to find out if your new teacher has one and how you can get a hold of it.

2. To avoid needed school items being sold out; have Mom or Dad let you do your shopping early.

3. Make sure to get the items that are actually listed. If the list says “one red pen” don’t come to class with a green or purple one.

4. At least a week before school starts, go to bed at the time you normally would on school nights. This will give your body a chance to get accustomed to waking and eating breakfast early. If you do this, your body and mind won’t scream at you that first school day morning, “Hey, are you crazy? Only roosters are up at this time!”

5. A week before that inevitable morning, start a new mantra (saying): “I will listen to my teacher. I will listen to my teacher. I will listen to my teacher.” You can say this 100 to 1000 times a day. Another useful mantra is: “I will be respectful to my teacher and classmates. I will be respectful to my teacher and classmates. I will be respectful to my teacher and classmates.” Either of these two mantras is fine.

6. Make sure to get to school on time and obey your school and classroom rules. Practice Rule #5 so this won’t be a problem.

7. If you are required to have your classroom items in class the first week of school – have them there the first week…having them at home doesn’t cut it. You have to actually bring them to class.

8. What about the reading you were to do over the summer? Did you do it? Well, if you didn’t, start today. It’s better to read a least one book than none. Did you know that anything you want to be, an astronaut, a doctor, a firefighter, a superhero, all require reading. Okay, not the superhero, that jut takes a good imagination.

These 8 Dos should give you a jump start on a smooth new school year.

Now for the Don’t List:

1. Don’t ignore the ‘Do list’ above!


Karen Cioffi Freelance Writer


Autoresponders and Sales

Being inventive and flexible is key to a writer's success. While writing books may not make you wealthy, it is a calling card for other writing ventures that will help you supplement your income and possibly earn a living.

One such money making writing strategy is creating and emailing an e-course. And, it's actually rather easy to do. The required tools: a substantial article or a report and an autoresponder.

To explain how this works, I have a guest post by book marketing expert Penny Sansevieri.

Using an Autoresponder to Create More Sales
by Penny Sansevieri

Quite simply, an autoresponder is a piece of software that enables you to send emails to people automatically. This doesn't mean that it writes the emails for you and it doesn't involve spam or sending unsolicited email. What it means is that you set up a sequence of prewritten emails that are sent out to prospects on your database at regular intervals.

The importance of this cannot be underestimated. Time and time again Internet marketing gurus tell you that the money is in the list. This is not by accident. The online marketing specialists know that this is fact. The more people you have on a mailing list that are interested in your products or services, the more sales you will make.

You can use an autoresponder to essentially send emails out to your prospect list, even when you're not at a computer. What you do is you create, let's say, a seven-part email course. Then you can set the intervals for the emails to, say, once a day and send them one part of the course each day. So you write the emails one time, and then anyone joining that list will automatically be sent those emails for the next seven days.

This doesn't matter if you're online or if you're away from the computer. The emails will get sent automatically. The prospects also get added to the list automatically. And if they choose to unsubscribe, all of that is taken care of without you having to lift a finger.

The main benefit to using an autoresponder is connected to the fact that the majority of people need to be told about a product seven times before they buy it. So I want to ask you, how many times are you telling your visitors about your product on your website? Chances are it's less than seven.

They'll land on your homepage or somewhere else on your website and they'll look at your offering, but the majority of your sites visitors will disappear. Unless you can get them onto an opt-in mailing list, either a course or free information that is of multi-part format, the chances are you will have lost them forever. You can use an autoresponder to send these messages out to people with their permission convincing them and educating them about your product.

This is the system I use and recommend: Aweber .com

Over the next few newsletters I'll be covering five steps built around this one simple idea - building a "money magnet" that will turn prospects into customers (sales) for you on a regular, automated basis. Stay tuned for the details!

Tip offered by Susan Gilbert, AME's Search Engine Marketing Expert and Web 2.0 company owner,, which provides Social Networking websites and services.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.


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Need Help With Your Online Platform?

Get Website Traffic with Inbound Marketing is just what you need.

This 4-week e-class through WOW! Women on Writing covers: optimizing your website, blogging smart, email marketing, and social media marketing.

It's interactive, in-depth, and priced right. Check it out today. Just click on the link above for the details.