Your book sales strategy will work best when you implement activities that match your skills, goals, inclinations, and budget.
When done right, your 2021 business plan outlines the ways in which your marketing activities should be implemented so you can reach your book sales goals this year. According to traditional practice, after you establish your objectives, your plan is divided into two sections.
The first is the strategic plan that outlines your general marketing strategies and the second is the tactical plan that lists the specific actions you’ll take at each stage. Most people cannot wait to start selling their books, so they typically skip the first section.
However, the battle for increased sales, revenue, and profits — both in traditional book selling venues and in non-bookstore markets — are more likely to succeed when you implement activities that match your skills, goals, inclinations, and budget. That, in a nutshell, is effective planning, and it starts with strategy. Here are seven principles that should help convince you to plan your strategy before you begin your journey to success.
1. Understand the difference between strategy and tactics
There may appear to be little difference between strategy and tactics, but each serves a function different from the other. Your strategies identify the path that will take you to your objectives while your tactics describe the steps you take on the path. There is a proverb that declares “a journey of 1,000 miles begins with but one step.” But what if that step is in the wrong direction? A sound strategy will ensure you are headed in the right direction before you act.
2. Define your USP
A good sales and marketing strategy defines the important and unique selling proposition (USP) for your title among a particular set of customers. It is the best way of positioning your titles in the market niches in which you have chosen to compete. Imprecise implementation — based on ineffective strategy — results in an effort to be all things to every customer, which can distort your image and hamper your sales.
3. Coordinate your strategy with your marketing
Your strategy needs to be reflected in and coordinated with your marketing activity. This requires that you harmonize the ways in which you conduct your distribution and promotion tactics so that people think your books are worth the price paid. Try taking on activities that are different from those of your competitors or performing the same tasks better.
4. Maximize your budget
Marketing with a limited budget requires you to make choices. These trade-offs should maximize the return on your limited resources, reflect your strategic decision-making, and make your promotional efforts truly distinctive. If you try to do a little bit of everything, you will not create and maintain a distinct competitive advantage. Plan and coordinate the ways in which you will allocate your resources to have the biggest impact they can.
5. Pick your distribution channels
The distribution channels you select reflect your target-market decisions. Create distribution to places where your target customers shop. In addition to bookstores and booksellers online, non-bookstore sales could be in supermarkets, discount stores, wholesale clubs, and airport stores. An interactive distribution system not only increases competitive advantage but also makes your business more profitable.
6. Your strategic plan should match your content
Strategic planning recognizes that unique titles respond to various promotional tools in different ways. For instance, sales of Title A may be more responsive to a heavy schedule of media performances, while direct marketing might be more effective in stimulating sales of Title B.
7. Build your reputation
Strategy creates consistency of performance which, in turn, defines your reputation. The ways in which you perform your marketing actions reflects your strategic thinking and reveals what you will — and will not — stand for. Frequent reinvention is usually a sign of poor strategic thinking and a quick route to mediocre sales. Continuous improvement is a necessity, but it must always be guided by strategic direction.
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Before you jump into the implementation phase of your marketing program, take the time to think about what you are going to do. This will coordinate your efforts, make you more effective and efficient, and help you create a solid reputation for conducting your business professionally and profitably.
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