By Whitney McKendree Moore
As an author, my mind was pretty much clamped shut on marketing until Tom Blubaugh bravely said, “Marketing is just reaching out to share what you have been given.
That changed everything for me. Suddenly it was about sharing “my bread” with others who hunger for it. My bread is for them, total strangers, and it’s up to me to find them, wherever they may reside.
My books are not for everyone, nor is my kind of campfire. I have been told that my questions are thought-provoking and provocative. People say my blog is “deep.” I like that, because I’m trying to encourage diving down, below the surface, and sharing with one another the treasure that we find.
Not everyone likes diving that deep (it makes them feel too vulnerable). That’s okay; I don’t want to shove what I’m holding out in my hand into anybody’s face.
It seems my kind of campfire appeals (mainly) to:
- People in 12-Step recovery who know the Higher Power up-close-and-personal.
- Christians who are willing to share honestly about their trials, how they sought God’s guidance, and what happened next.
- Those who are living with mental illness, control issues, or fear.
- Anyone needing to make serious changes, without any idea how.
Suddenly marketing was about relationships, personal and heart-to-heart, not just numbers and cyber-blasts. This, for me, was a moment of EUREKA! And things started to percolate
What I have been given to write is for someone who needs it, not for someone who will only push my hand away. There are people who need exactly what I am holding in my hand. It is up to me to find them.
My tribe is composed of people who “get” what I get. They are not the well-defended, and I sure don’t want trolls. I am seeking to encourage believers to get “real” instead of “religious” (this distinction is made clear in a movie called The Shack, which is the best portrayal of “relationship versus religion” that I have ever found). People are starting now to “bubble up” through LIKEs and HEARTs on my posts, retweeting them or sharing or commenting, and I am commenting back.
I am also trying to thank these encouragers intelligently, at least once in a while, and for this, Hubspot is tremendously helpful. My entries there are like friends to me now, because they are the ones most constant about encouraging me. I now create a contact on Hubspot for anyone who seems to be bubbling up:
- I enter them (thinking mainly by first name).
- I obtain an email address as often as possible.
- I run lists to meaningfully thank encouragers every three or four months.
So far, I have Encouragers from seven communities: (1) Authors Community; (2) Facebook; (3) Goodreads; (4) Google-Plus; (5) Linked-In; (6) Squeeze Page from my Website; (7) Twitter. In addition, I have some Super Encouragers that I call “Partners in Publicity.” These are relationships that I treat with Tender Loving Care because we cross-promote one another.
Now my marketing plan is simple: weekly, monthly, and quarterly. Weekly, I promote my presence on Goodreads as an author by posting inspiring bits of beautiful writing into a community group I call “Snippets That Inspire.” I am hoping people will share their own favorite quotes and excerpts there and that a relationship might follow. I also promote my book called Whit’s End once a week with a much focused message that, with God, any trial can be turned to triumph. But only with God.
I try to do this by email, but I don’t have email addresses yet for everyone on my Hubspot contact list. I’d say half my thank-you notes are delivered by Facebook Private Message (PM) or Twitter Direct Message (DM). My ultimate goal is to have an email address for every person I have on my personal Hubspot.
A Darned Good Cuppa Joe
It has taken three years to formulate an approach that fits me and makes me available to people who like reading what I write. But it was worth the time. All this percolating has finally produced a “brew” that truly tastes good to me. I actually enjoy what I call Completely Relational Marketing (CRM) which, for me, is less about quantity and more about reaching readers who get me, who like my kind of questions, who enjoy my kind of campfire. They are my tribe.
This particular post is written for anyone feeling allergic to marketing as an author. I know I did, because I needed to be less about numbers and more about relationships. Thanks mainly to Tom Blubaugh, I found a way to embrace many matters of marketing now (instead of running away from them, screaming). It’s largely because of Tom that my “percolator” started brewing in the first place. Now, at last, my slow process of percolation seems to have brewed a darned good “cuppa Joe.”