By Erin Mitchell
2011 was a good, nay a great, year for me. I had no complaints…right up until the waning hours of the year.
If you follow politics, then you know that there are certain important fundraising dates though the year. Candidates and parties have to report on their fundraising, and the goal is to report the biggest number possible, because when the number is big, more people tend to donate in the following months. December 31 is one such date.
In the course of only three hours on December 31, I received no fewer than nine emails asking me for donations. NINE. All saying basically the same thing. I was alternately peeved and fascinated that the supposedly savvy organizations (whom I’m not naming deliberately because I don’t want to support this kind of horrific marketing) were so utterly stupid as to send the same message over and over…and over…and over…and over…and over…and over…and over…and over. Truth? Had I gotten just one (or three) well-written appeals, I might have donated. But waste my time with nine? No chance.
And herein lies today’s marketing lesson.
Debate about BSP (blatant self-promotion) via social media aside, the reality is that repetition has a place in marketing. Think, though, about what you’re repeating. If your message is, say, “buy my book!” this is best repeated via messages that give readers different reasons to buy your book. Not just the same damn message again and again.
Grab a cup of coffee…here comes a case history…I’ll wait…
THE LOST CHILDREN is an amazing project, an anthology of flash fiction (each story is circa 700 words) the proceeds of which benefit PROTECT and Children 1st. How do I know it’s amazing? I bought it, and I read it. I have nothing but admiration for authors/editors Thomas Pluck and Fiona McDroll for their tireless efforts in compiling and distributing this book.
From what I’ve seen, Twitter has served as the primary means of promotion for THE LOST CHILDREN. As Tommy has pointed out, when they tweet the link, they get purchases. When they don’t, they don’t. Makes perfect sense.
Except here’s the rub: the book really is excellent. If some of the tweets, say, highlighted tidbits of that superb content rather than the link with a “buy the book!” message, I think even more people would buy it. Understanding that Twitter’s 140-character limit is more than a bit constricting, there are some gems in the Amazon reviews that could be borrowed for the cause. For example:
The stories in this anthology are disturbing, thought-provoking, and will make you angry: http://amzn.to/zrjac8 (111 characters)
Intense stories drive home horror of abuse of young and vulnerable + support orgs formed to fight such practices. http://amzn.to/zrjac8 (135 characters)
Anthology of powerful stories by international authors highlight theme that monsters are made, not born: http://amzn.to/zrjac8 (126 characters)
To be fair, the promotional tweets have done a super job of directing people to the Twitter accounts of the two beneficiary organizations, and helping raise their visibility is a valuable endeavor. But it’s possible to do both…because selling the book by definition raises their visibility.
So there you have it. Repetition without repeating. With thanks to the politicians who didn’t get my money on New Year’s Eve. Now please go purchase CHILDREN FIRST (which, by the by, is on sale for 99 cents if you’re reading this on Friday, January 6). Or be generous and get the paperback edition.