A publishing business is a venture that requires a detailed and thoughtful marketing strategy to ensure its success in the highly competitive marketplace.
Your business is your baby, and like a baby if you want it to grow and prosper, it’s going to require deliberate intention, effort and foresight.
This is why a quality strategic marketing plan can drastically increase the likelihood of your publishing business reaching the goals you’ve set for it .
Step 1: Understanding Your Market
The first step starts with understanding.
To develop a truly effective strategy for your business it’s critical that you first understand (thoroughly) the market that you operate in.
Conduct a comprehensive market analysis to understand the publishing industry's current trends, challenges, or opportunities.
Once you have a solid grasp of your market, you can then tailor your marketing strategy in current consumer behaviors – and by extension – the needs of your publishing business.
Especially consider factors such as the size and growth potential of the market, the competition, and emerging trends.
Step 2: Identifying Your Target Audience
Now that you have a general temperature check on your industry or niche as a whole, it’s time to double down and begin identifying your unique target audience. This is found by analyzing the demographic analysis of people most likely to be interested in your publications.
Once you find “your people”, take note of any relevant patterns in age, location, education level, income, purchasing behavior, web browser preferences, etc. The more information you can find the better!
Consider factors like age, education level, income, and interests.
Once you've identified your target audience, you can begin customizing your marketing strategies to speak directly to their interests and needs (as well as their problems and pain points)
For instance, if your publishing business focuses on young adult literature, your marketing strategy might want to be structured to involve social media campaigns, partnerships with schools or libraries, and appearances at young adult literature conventions.
Step 3: Setting Clear Objectives
Most marketing objectives fail because they lack clear markers, goals and milestones. In short, they aren’t specific enough.
Yet, in order to implement an effective marketing strategy you must have a clear set of objectives that will guide your marketing plan to its peak.
They provide a roadmap for your strategy and a measurable standard against which you can assess your progress.
Your objectives should follow the S.M.A.R.T. rules: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Maybe, an objective might be to increase your publishing company's online presence by 25% within the next six months. That’s specific, it’s measurable, very likely achievable, relevant to your end goals and bound by a clear time constraint.
Step 4: Establishing a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
In the crowded marketplace, a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is what sets you apart from the competition. It is the thing that turns a lead into a customer, and an email address into a subscriber.
Now when it comes to your USP, I encourage you to unleash your creativity. There’s no right or wrong way to go about this, so long as the “angle” you take with your USP clearly demonstrates its value to your target audience.
This could be a unique aspect of your books, such as a focus on underrepresented voices or experimental narrative structures, or it could relate to your company’s operation, such as eco-friendly printing processes.
The important consideration, however, is that your USP should be central to all your marketing efforts, and should clearly demonstrate to consumers why they should choose your publications over others available to them.
Step 5: Developing Marketing Strategies and Tactics
Now is when we start developing your marketing strategies and tactics.
So what’s the difference between the two? Is it just semantics? When we refer to strategies , we’re talking about the pieces that represent the broader approaches you'll take to achieve your objectives.
If one of your strategies is to increase online visibility, then your tactics could include search engine optimization (SEO) for your website, content marketing, social media marketing, and online partnerships with influencers or other relevant entities.
Pro tip: it’s always important to continuously evolve and diversify your marketing channels to reach as many potential readers as possible.
However, be sure to prioritize the channels most relevant to your target audience.
Step 6: Budgeting
Allocate some resources (e.g. cash money) for your marketing plan.
But, that doesn’t have to be a major impediment! If you use your funds wisely, you can make a little go a long way. The trick is to make sure to account for each aspect of your plan, from digital advertising to public relations efforts, and paid media spend.
Once you’ve mapped out all your desired marketing channels, create a budget about what a tolerable monthly spend looks like for you.. This way, there can be no surprises.
Remember, the budget should be realistic and take into account your expected return on investment (ROI) for each activity.
Step 7: Implementing the Plan
Now, we implement.
Assign responsibilities, set timelines, and get to work. Regularly monitor, consistently, and constantly, you need to ensure everything goes as per plan.
And don’t worry, adjustments may be needed as you get feedback and results.
Step 8: Evaluating the Plan
Now look back and evaluate.
This consists of assessing whether you have met your objectives and determined the efficacy of your marketing strategies. Did you meet your goals? How was your overall spend? Did you remain within your budget, and if so, what kind of ROI did you achieve?
Tools like Google Analytics for your website, and native analytics for social media platforms can help provide necessary data if there’s any gaps in your findings. If specific strategies are not working as planned, then don't hesitate to revise them.
This is a very long process but what comes afterwards is so fruitful for your business and your books.
The key to a successful marketing plan lies in flexibility and adaptability. As market trends shift and new opportunities arise, so should your marketing plan. Keep it dynamic and responsive, and your publishing business will flourish.