Articles Tagged with Marketing

How I’ve Been Promoting Anti-Sell (a Book About Not Hard-selling…)

In March 2019 I self-published Anti-Sell, the sales book for freelancers and small business owners who hate sales. You can learn more about its initial origins in this ‘launch’ post and on its dedicated landing page.

Anti-Sell paperbacks (Prisma)
I’ve faced a few challenges when promoting the book post-launch. Firstly, despite being an online marketer in my day job, I’ve never promoted a book before, so it’s a brand new territory for me. I also self-published it, so I don’t have a fancy-pants publishing company to back me up and do the marketing for me.

The biggest challenge however? Well, it’s… a book about not selling. Or at least not hard-selling. So I’ve tried to be really careful about how I go about promoting it. After all, it’s going to go against the ethos and core message of the book if I ‘over’-sell it and end up ramming it down people’s throats (so to speak).

A few months on, here’s what I’ve done to try and promote it.

First: the numbers

Anti-Sell sales chart in KDP
Ok, so first of all: am I even qualified to give this advice? Like I say, I’ve never promoted a book before, so why should you even listen to me and read what I say? Well, I’ll be open with you with its performance to date…

So far I’ve sold a few hundred copies – bearing in mind that’s across all formats: paperback (which can be bought via Amazon or bought from me in person), Kindle eBook, PDF eBook and self-narrated audiobook. But it doesn’t include the free copies I’ve given away, especially in PDF format (more on that below).

A few hundred copies feels like a lot and barely any – all at the same time. I’m amazed that a few hundred people actually want to read something I’ve written (and have paid actual money to do so!), and yet it might be a laughably pitiful amount compared to other more well-known authors. I’m happy with it though – I told myself going into this that I didn’t know if I’d sell 50 or 50,000 copies, and while I’m light years away from the latter, I’ve jumped way past the former. So there’s that at least. I haven’t yet broken-even on my initial costs, but I’m getting there…

It’s also starting to feel like everyone I know who said they’d buy a copy has now bought a copy. While sales haven’t exactly slowed down just yet (August 2019 – five months after the book’s release – has been the 2nd best month to date), it does feel like it’s more (and harder) work to try and shift copies now.

How I’ve been promoting the book so far

So here’s what I’ve done so far to try and promote Anti-Sell – some of which might be quite obvious and traditional, while some tactics might be a bit alternative and out-of-the-ordinary.

Let’s start with one straight from the latter category…

Click to read more!

The Final Fantasy Marketing Strategy: Nostalgia & Back Catalogue Introduction

Note: I’ve tried to keep this spolier-free, but if you’ve yet to start playing Final Fantasy XV and you want to be kept 100% surprised at what’s in store, then it might be best to hold off from reading this post. You have been warned, dear reader.

I recently bought and started playing Final Fantasy XV (FFXV for short), having been a life-long fan of the Final Fantasy series (my first taste was with FFVIII in the late 1990s, in case you were wondering – don’t worry, I discovered FFVII later on, it’s ok). 😉

One thing that’s really grabbed my interest while playing it is how Square Enix (its creators) are framing it: when you start loading FFXV ready to play it on a PS4, you’re greeted with this message:

FFXV intro tagline

“A FINAL FANTASY for Fans and First-Timers.”

It’s the “First-Timers” bit that especially got me thinking. It’s pretty much a given that fans of previous games of the series will dive right in – so it’s interesting to see that they’re also targeting and marketing the game to complete newbies to the franchise.

In this post I talk about how Square Enix’s marketing strategy for FFXV is two-pronged…

First… a bit about Final Fantasy and Square Enix

FFXV cover artFor those of you who are reading this but haven’t ever played a Final Fantasy game before, it’s important to know that they’re not ‘true’ sequels in a series. For example, the characters of Final Fantasy XIII don’t appear in FFXV – it’s a new set of characters, a new world, a new story. However there are similarities – and expectations from fans – of each new FF game, as I’ll talk about below. It’s similar to games series’ like Elder Scrolls (i.e. Skyrim) and Grand Theft Auto – in the case of the latter, the protagonist of GTA IV does not appear in GTA V, although there are certainly ‘nods’ to previous games.

Square Enix has been pumping out FF games since FFI was developed way back in 1987. In recent years however, it has been no real secret that the company has been struggling financially. Some were theorising that they were banking – maybe even relying – on FFXV being a hit, a make-or-break game in the series which may determine their future. Well, reviews of FFXV are good, sales have been strong (in the millions of units), and in the last few days they’ve struck a deal with Marvel, so it looks like they’re gonna be ok (phew). But given this on-the-brink-of-catastrophe feeling they’ve had in recent years, it looks like they have really been pulling out all the stops to try and make their later releases accessible to fans old and new.

Let’s start with the former – us old-timers…

For fans – it’s all about the nostalgia, baby

FFXV carries with it what other games have had in the past… There’s monsters such as flans and behemoths and iron giants. There’s spells like Fire and Blizzard and Thunder. There’s chocobos! There’s a Cid! The gameplay mimicks the previous versions (you have HP and MP, you encounter enemies in the big open world, you level up and get stronger)… You get the idea.

Click to read more!

A Year of Award Submissions – A Freelancer’s Experience

Award statue imageIn the three years I’ve been running MOM, one of the things I’m proudest of is the fact that I’ve spent very little on marketing. As the majority of enquiries come to me via SEO (fittingly!), social media and word-of-mouth, I don’t spend any money on advertising, except for business cards and Cardiff SEO Meet (which I run and pay for all myself, but put MOM as an event sponsor in return).

The only other exception? Award submissions.

Over the past year I submitted an SEO/content campaign that I created last year to multiple awards organisations. All of them operate a ‘pay-to-enter’ type model, so none of them were free to submit to. This is fine for fancypants agencies who can quite readily and easily splurge, but for a li’l solo consultant like me, it’s a heck of a business expense – especially if it doesn’t end up paying off.

In this post I talk about where I submitted the campaign, how much it all cost, what it amounted to in the end, where I went right/wrong, and whether it’s put me off or encouraged me to do this all again…

Awards of every type…

I was darn proud of CR 25. In the process of putting it all together, I thought to myself “ooo, this could be award-worthy” as it showcased lots of different types and styles of content, ranging from expert roundups and infographics to interactive timelines and multiple-choice quizzes. And we did it all really cheaply, too.

Once the dust settled, I eyed up all the potential awards that were applicable:

  • Canmol Wales Marketing Awards 2015
  • UK Search Awards 2015
  • Recruiter Awards 2016
  • EU Search Awards 2016
  • The Drum Search Awards 2016

There were two others as well (Content Marketing Awards 2015 and The Drum Content Awards 2016), but I eventually decided against them.

As you can see above, the list of organisations was a nice mix of local (Wales-focused), industry-specific for the client (recruitment), and industry-specific for me (SEO).

Click to read more!