One of the most common complaints self-published authors make when it comes to marketing is that they don’t have enough time. Authors with this perpetual excuse often use their restricted minutes to pop in on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. In most cases, they’ll find that the limited time they’ve spent has resulted in a limited return. The self-publishing stalwarts who succeed in marketing are extremely selective with the tools and strategies they use.
Certain marketing methods aren’t worth the effort if you can’t make the necessary time investment. An author who has two hours a day to master Twitter will likely trump someone who has two minutes. Marketing with a limited amount of time requires that you cut out anything you can’t do well. Here are some strategies you can effectively employ with limited amounts of time:
1. 10 Minutes a Day
Real-time marketing like Facebook and Twitter shouldn’t be your focus with only 10 minutes available per day. You’ll get a better bang for your clock by setting up a comprehensive email auto responder sequence. No matter how you use this strategy, whether you’re linking to old posts, asking questions for better participation, or providing bonus content, you’ll be able to manage an effective email campaign during your 50 weekly minutes.
It’s important to note that it’ll take you at least a month to set up a long-running auto responder sequence using your 10 minutes. Once it’s up, however, the upkeep and responses should take a minimal amount of time. Use any spare minutes to work on emails for your book launches or any planned promotions.
2. 20 Minutes a Day
Twice as much time will let you finish your auto responder sequence twice as fast, and you’ll eventually end up with another 10-15 minutes to spare each day after it’s complete. You could start dabbling in social media using that surplus, but your time is still better spent on email. Use the remainder of your marketing efforts to research better lead conversion.
Lead conversion is all about improving your email signup landing page, your pop-up or lightbox, and your special gift for signing up. Determine what other authors have done to become successful in this area and experiment with these tactics on your own. You may need to spend some of your 100 weekly minutes on creating a more compelling bonus for subscribers or implementing a new website plugin.
Optimizing landing pages may not seem as flashy as trying to go viral on social media, but it’s a much better use of your time and energy.
3. 30 Minutes a Day
After you’ve incorporated the above strategies into your daily marketing efforts, you’ll have a strong base with which to grow your author platform. The next step is to spend time sending traffic to your optimized landing page. Many authors have had success bringing hungry readers to their email signup pages using links to their compelling offer in their permafree books or by appearing on relevant podcast interviews. To accomplish the same, you’ll need to pitch your free books to email marketing services like BookBub and your credentials to podcasts.
Most of your time on the book advertiser side of things will need to go toward getting enough reviews and making sure your cover and blurb are top-notch. Proper podcast pitching means listening to shows to see if they’d be a good fit and figuring out a good enough reason for the hosts to let you on their program. Listen to the shows in double time on the iTunes podcast app to get through your listening sessions twice as fast.
4. 40 Minutes a Day
Sorry to disappoint you, but social media largely remains off the docket in favor of more list-building strategies when you have 40 minutes per day. You need to keep return on investment in mind when you have limited time and financial budgets. With the other strategies implemented, you’ll want to work on building your email list to new heights through giveaways and Facebook ads.
The best leads are almost always the ones who find you organically, but there are only so many people you can find without paying to play. Putting up prizes related to your genre, like signed copies of books by your more successful peers, is the first step. Learning how to set up giveaways on Rafflecopter and KingSumo and connect them with your email list is the second. Promoting those contests on sites like GiveawayPromote is the third, and all three steps take time and money.
Targeted Facebook ads likewise require extra time and money, but they get you stronger leads for your email list than giveaways. You’ll still need to prune your new followers to keep only the most active around, but you shouldn’t have to do it nearly as often. Without building your own social media presence, you may be able to use giveaways and ads to grow your lists by the hundreds or thousands.
5. 50 Minutes a Day
It’s time to bring social media into the equation, only not the way you’re used to doing it. Trying to interact with some of your fans on Facebook, some of them on Twitter, and others elsewhere will suck up your time with low-converting efforts. It’ll also waste your energy as you switch gears between the platforms. Leave the audience interaction to your email inbox and spend your social media time connecting with influencers in your genre.
Twitter and Facebook are huge for networking with other authors. When a person sees you liking his posts or retweeting his tweets, he’s more likely to remember you later on. Starting a relationship over social media gives you the opportunity to pitch multi-author promotions, connect during future podcast or blog appearances, and chat about your previous conversations in person at conferences and other events. As rewarding as it is to have an hour-long chat with your biggest fan on Facebook, that same amount of time spread out over a dozen interactions with a fellow author could lead to a much bigger return.
6. 60 Minutes a Day
Your email list has a concrete foundation. It’s converting new readers to subscribe at a rapid clip, and you’re connecting with the kind of people who could revolutionize your career. Now you can put some time into social media, but you should still value efficiency with everything you do online. It’s better to become a master of one platform than to become shackled to them all.
Use Your Hour Wisely
Strategies like the ones above seem like they’re meant for an Internet Marketing company at first, but as an author, you need to concentrate on results when you have limited resources. Too many authors will log onto Facebook for an hour, like a few posts, make a comment, and they’ll consider their marketing obligations fulfilled. Nebulous tactics lead to wishy-washy results. You could succeed on Twitter, but it’s not as likely as success from a bulletproof email marketing campaign. You’ll have enough time to thrive as an author entrepreneur if you come in with a detailed plan that you’re willing to follow down to the minute.