In both How to Blog a Book and my new book, The Author Training Manual: Develop Marketable Ideas, Craft Books That Sell, Become the Author Publishers Want, and Self-Publish Effectively, I suggest you evaluate your book idea before you begin blogging or writing it. Even if you spend time doing so, you may still lack certainty about its ability to sell once released in the marketplace. If you approach your book as an entrepreneur would approach any new product under consideration and development, you can gain additional information. That means employing test marking techniques.
Prior to blogging your book, conduct strategic tests to determine market interest. Do this before you begin to ensure you target content to market needs and interests. If test marketing shows your original angle or subject needs tweaking, you’ll want to do that before you get too far into the blogging, or writing, process. Plus, if you find no market exists for your book, you don’t want to have wasted your time blogging the whole book.
Here are 4 ways you can test market your blogged book idea right on a blog before you post even one blogged-book installment.
Test Marketing Strategies to Employ on Your Blog
1. Create a Dedicated Blog
Create and write a blog with content dedicated to the subject of your proposed book. Write posts often and consistently (2 to 3 times a week for 6 to12 months). Watch your unique visitors (real readers) and page views by using a free program like Google Analytics. See if you begin to get traffic to your blog and if it continues to grow. If it does, you’ll know someone is interested in your topic.
With a program like Google Analytics, you can even see where your traffic comes from—what countries, what search engines, what other websites, etc. This helps you discern your market.
2. Write a Blog Post
If you already have a blog, write a blog post on the topic of your book. Then track readership for that particular post using Google Analytics or some other analytics program. If your readership is higher on that day than on others, you know that subject is of high interest to your audience.
You can repeat this test. Write one blog post a week or a month on the topic over six months and track the data. Additionally, you can watch over time if that particular post or posts garners more traffic than your other posts.
3. Survey Your Blog or Email Subscribers
If you have a blog or an email list, these people equate to your target market—unless your ebook is targeting a new market. You can easily send them a survey or poll or put one in a blog post asking questions related to the subject of your book. This is an easy way to find out if your readers or subscribers are interested in your topic. You can also ask them what they are interested in!
4. Offer A Free Teleseminar Or Webinar
Webinars and teleseminars are phenomenal ways to gauge interest in your book. Create an event and promote it via your lists and social networks. See how many people register and then actually show up. If you get high registration, super! If you get over 30% of those who sign up actually on the call, you’ve done well, and you can ask them questions live, poll them, and generally discover their interests. Also, their registration for the event should be tied into sign-up for an email list that allows you to later contact them when you start blogging your book or your book is released.
Additional Book Test Marking Methods
If you want to move off your blog for some test marking, here are a few more methods you might try:
1. Write an Article
Write an article on the same topic as your book (a bit like a condensed ebook), and get it published in a major print publication. Watch the reactions of readers. Does this result in more traffic to your blog or website? Does it result in more media inquiries? Does it result in more clients? Any clear positive change post-publication is an indication that ebook publication is a good idea.
2. Write an Ezine Article
You can write a short article on your topic and offer it for free to ezine article directories, like EzineArticle.com. These allow you to provide a short resource box with your bio and links back to your website, blog or email list (or wherever you like). Track increased traffic to your site or new email subscribers. Or visit the ezine directory to see how many times your piece was picked up and reproduced. This alone serves as an indication of market interest.
3. Produce a Press Release
Write a press release on your topic and distribute it widely via a service like PRWeb.com. You will quickly know how many hits it has received. Lots of hits equal lots of interest. These companies offer statistics on how well your release performed.
4. Create Social Media Sites and Events
Social media provides plenty of opportunities to test market your ebook idea. For example, consider creating a Facebook page or LinkedIn group related to the topic of your ebook and see how easily you gather a community there. Try starting a Twitter chat using a hashtag (#) related to your topic; every week moderate a conversation on Twitter related to your ebook that is easily discovered with that hashtag. For examples of such Twitter chats, check out #blogchat or #writechat.
Try one or more of these test marketing methods to help you decide if your book has a market. However, you might be surprised to discover that one method yields no real interest while another a huge amount. So consider trying 1 to 3 methods before making a final decision. If the first one you try provides a landslide of potential ebook readers, though, you have your answer: You’ve successfully completed your test marketing and can move forward to writing and publishing your ebook feeling fairly certain it will sell.
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