Mark Dawson is a successful indie author who writes both fiction and non-fiction. Only recently has he become more popular, looking like a break out success but the reality is that he has been working silently for many years and all his hard work is paying off.
Mark Dawson attributes his success to using Facebook ads to get subscribers onto his email list which is the primary way in which he sells his books. As a result of his success Mark started to teach others on how to use Facebook to get similar results.
John P Logsdon (another successful indie author) completed Mark Dawson’s FB Ads course and went from 27 people on his mailing list to 14,000 in a year.
I don’t use Facebook at the moment (simply to manage overwhelm, I will perhaps get to it after I complete the most important things first aka the writing!).
So what can we learn from Mark Dawson as a successful Author Entrepreneur?
Mark has since used Facebook advertising to grow his business. This looks like a good strategy to use IF you already have a number of books out there and have a marketing budget. I don’t use Facebook myself so have little visibility at the moment of how these ads work. I intend to take a look at this as a viable marketing option closer to the time when I launch my book (and actually join Facebook!).
You may be thinking why I haven’t joined Facebook yet and that is simply because I feel overwhelmed with the amount of things to do as an Author Entrepreneur just starting out. There is a plethora of different social networks out there so I chose to focus on Twitter first. This helps me to remain focused and committed on the most important task of writing the book first. I mean, you can’t really market a book that you haven’t written can you?!
How do Facebook ads work? You pay for adverts to be shown to a particular segment of the market (i.e. young adults aged between 16-21 years, residing in London). These ads then drive traffic to your books or sign up page. You can also target your ads based on things like ‘Lee Child fans’ or ‘Roald Dahl’ fans. So a good marketing tip is to target the same audience of books similar to yours.
Mark started off with a budget $50-$100 per day but now spends as little as $10 which gets him roughly 30 new subscribers a day.
Top Tip: have a good landing page to convert people into subscribers on your email list.
You can use contests to bring more traffic to your site but this is not very effective to building up your email list in the long term as people will typically unsubscribe straight after when they have received the freebies from the contest.
Do Surveys. You can do surveys on Survey Monkey and ask questions to your subscribers to better understand what it is they want and need.
Separate Your Email lists. If you have multiple books that are vastly different then its worth having separate email lists for those groups. For example, Joanna Penn has one list for her crime fiction readers and another for her non-fiction readers. Adapt your lead magnet to the the relevant audience. Joanna Penn gives away a free novel for her fiction group and the Author Blueprint 2.0 for her non-fiction readers.
Start that Mailing list NOW! Use Mailchimp if you are just starting out to build an email list. You can also use Aweber of Infusionsoft. Remember how important it is to start growing your email list no matter where you are on the Author Journey. ( I use Mailchimp).
Tell your readers you have books out there! Invite your readers to purchase the next book in the series. This will turn your reader into a Fan into a SuperFan into a Friend.
Build a ‘Street Team’. Mark has a ‘Street Team’ of 90 people who help to promote his book. A Street team is simply a group pf people who will spread the word for you on your books. They will typically be your readers or beta readers. And they will be super fans of your work therefore happy to promote you.
Slow and Steady wins the race. Amazon rewards you for steady sales over the long run rather than short sharp spikes in the short term when it comes to sales. So don’t focus on having a break out success. As an Author Entrepreneur you need to focus on the long term if you are serious about building a career for the long term. You can read Joanna Penn’s latest income report here which clearly shows how her 6 figure income is a result of sheer hard work and small sales over a long period of time.
The multiple touch approach. People rarely buy things when they see it for the first time. They needs more than ‘one touch’ to actually buy. Therefore marketing is really about increasing awareness of your books and products to the potential customer (the number of times your product ‘touches’ the potential customer). This is known as re-marketing.
Targeting Facebook ads. Mark only does Facebook ads for those people already on his mailing list. So if he already sent an email to his reader about an upcoming book, that reader may or may not see the email (on average 50% of emails are never even opened let alone read). But that person may perhaps see Marks Dawson’s ad in their Facebook feed.
You can create ‘look -alike’ lists on Facebook. This is where you can ask Facebook to build a similar looking audience, up to 2 million people. Algorithms run in the background checking for people who have similar tastes in books etc.
Advertise your reader magnet everywhere. Not just on your website but list it on your social media profiles, your business card, on the front and back matter on your books.
Focus on getting subscribers rather than sales. Subscribers are more valuable to have in the longterm. Build that email list.
Focus on Facebook ads only when you have a small email list already and a budget which you stick to as the ads can get quite expensive. Mark Dawson spends a whooping $250,000 a year on Facebook ads but makes more than 100% return as he has mastered the techniques.
- Mark podcasts at the Self Publishing Formula and is packed with great info and advice.
- He also has a paid course on how to use Facebook Ads . (Note: I have not done this course so cannot comment on that. Visit his site for more details).