If you've ever heard of 'preselling', you likely think it's the process of selling several units of a product or service before the official launch date. And you'd be correct.
However, there's another definition of the word that centers on the things you do before even getting to the point where you would ask a prospective reader to buy your book.
You can think of preselling as a form of relationship-building. It's any activity that facilitates the movement of a person who stumbles upon your work from total stranger, to prospect, to loyal reader.
Done correctly, preselling removes much of the resistance that typically comes along with getting someone who was completely unaware of you and your books to take a closer look and actually give them a try.
If you take the steps to make preselling a part of your overall marketing strategy, you'll soon find that many more of your prospects are ready and willing to buy when you present them with an opportunity to do so.
How to Use Targeted Content Marketing to Presell Your Books
Have you ever received a free sample?
It could have been a small bite of food at a wholesale shopping club, a tiny pouch of conditioner slipped into your shopping bag during a trip to the beauty supply store or a short free trial period of a new software you've been thinking about buying.
Why do you think any of these instances happened?
You got the free samples because the companies behind each of the products being offered wanted to presell you on their offer and build a relationship with you before asking for the sale.
And what is the typical outcome of this preselling step?
What happens more often than not, is that if you enjoy the product you actually end up buying it and you'll likely continue to patronize its creators as long as their product keeps meeting and satisfying your needs.
It's human nature to be a bit aloof and apprehensive about things and people we know nothing about. This is why using a tool like preselling works so well for breaking the ice and getting onto a prospects radar.
Which brings us to the first of two major benefits of preselling:
Preselling Increases the Awareness of Your Brand
Of course, this factor only applies to anyone who is completely unaware of your brand.
The fact is that no one can buy your book if they don't even know who you are and what you have to offer.
Even if you've been on the literary scene for years, chances are that there are still many potential readers out there who have never heard of you or any of your books.
Human beings tend to be creatures of habit, which means we are tremendously stuck in our ways.
Left to our own devices we will continue to eat the same breakfast, watch the same TV shows and read books from the same authors until something or someone comes along to snap us out of our trance.
Preselling and offering up something of value in exchange for a moment of your prospects' time helps to break down this first barrier to getting your prospects full attention.
Preselling is a Stepping Stone to Cross-selling
If your goal is to sell more books, one of the simplest ways to do this is by selling each new release of your book to the same people who bought your previous release, along with the new prospects who have found their way into your circle of influence.
Selling to an existing customer is known as cross-selling and is one of the biggest secrets of success for major brands around the world.
Consider your preference of food items, small appliances and even the movies you like to watch.
If you've ever bought an item for your pantry and enjoyed it, you would be much more likely to buy another product made by the same brand manufacturer, even if you'd never tried it before.
The same goes for your favorite household gadgets and producers of blockbuster movies.
Over time, you come to expect and associate quality and satisfaction with your favorite brands and don't have to think twice about trying anything new that they release.
This proven track record also keeps the particular brand at the forefront of your mind to the point that you look forward to hearing about the new products and services you can buy from your favorite producers.
You should think about preselling and promoting your books to potential buyers in the exact same way.
How to Use Targeted Content to Presell
Now that you're aware of what preselling is and can appreciate the potential it has for putting you and your books in the forefront of prospective readers minds, let's look at how you can achieve this through the power of targeted content marketing.
As an example, imagine that you've written a book about nutrition and healthy eating.
One of your prospects may be interested in eating better in order to lose weight, while another may be concerned about lowering their blood pressure and yet another may want to improve their chances of living a longer life.
It's the same book, with three different reader perspectives and several ways you could approach preselling with direct targeting.
Your goal is to give each of your main prospect personas a tantalizing taste of what to expect when the time comes for them to buy your book. To make things easier, think of each piece of marketing content as a sample of food, a sip of wine or a movie preview.
As you create your content pieces, gear each one to the specific type of reader you're trying to reach and write in a way that would most appeal to them and their interests.
What Makes for Effective Presell Material?
To get and stay on your prospects radar it's best to use a mix of several content marketing methods.
- Guest posts
- Email marketing
- Social Media
You can even give away snippets of your books.
Remember the idea of relationship-building through offering samples? It works for self-published authors as well.
When you're getting close to asking for the sale, you can offer up a free sample of the first few chapters of your book.
If you've laid the right foundation and your book is in line with your prospects desires they will practically beg you to let them buy it so they can finish reading.
As you create your presell material keep the following factors in mind for best results.
- Keep your content and message as consistent and relevant as possible.
Keep the focus on the big idea behind your books and brand at all times.
Even if you write a thousand blog posts, articles and email messages, always make sure that they point to the major theme of your books. Aim to make each piece of content build upon the last.
- Write content that entertains, educates and informs.
The fact is that no one reads your content because they have nothing better to do.
In this fast paced world, people take time to read things in hope that it will make them laugh, inspire them or show them a new way to look at an old idea.
Create presell content that hits these targets and you'll be well on your way to selling more books with your next release.