Marketing can be a challenge for new authors working with limited time and budget. The right marketing tools can make all the difference. Here are a few of my favorites.
Not very tech savvy? That's ok, these tools are easy for beginners who are willing to try them!
Read through my favorites, then share yours!
Well-designed promotional materials are essential to presenting your book in its best light. I absolutely love how easy Canva is to create custom images. Choose the image type, from social media cover images to ebook covers, Canva has industry-standard dimensions, and easy drag and drop editing features. And the best part? It’s free. You only pay if you use Canva’s stock images (I usually upload my own from Shutterstock). When your image is complete, you can download it in several different formats, including a high quality PDF, which is a nice option for print ad materials.
The downside: I’ve noticed the editor can be a little buggy sometimes, but usually I can manage to work around the issues. You’ll also need to either pay for Canva’s images, or find your own. See my list of free stock image and video sites.
SumoMe has several marketing tools that you can install on any website to help increase visitors and get more feedback about how your website is performing. I’ve only recently started using it, so I can’t speak to success rates, but it is super easy to install. And it has a free option for users like myself, who are just starting out with a new website.
What kind of tools does SumoMe offer? You can choose several different email capture widgets that help your sign up form get noticed, such as a bar along the top of your website or what they call a Welcome Mat, or a sign up page. You can also include those nifty social sharing icons that encourages visitors to share each page of your website on their favorite platform.
They also offer some great analytics, including Google Analytics, Heatmaps (it shows where people are looking on your page) and Content tracking, which records how much content is actually being read by your website visitors. This can help you learn how to better design your website, and point visitor’s attention to key areas (like your email sign up or book buy links).
The downside: I noticed that the more apps I included, the slower my website loads. As a digital marketer, I know that any website that loads in less than 3 seconds is too slow. You might want to try out a few apps at a time to see what is most helpful, rather than adding too many and slowing down your loading time.
There are lots of website platforms to choose from. I like Weebly because it is so easy to design a custom website, and I can choose to include my own html. The free version of Weebly comes with the drag and drop editor, lots of template options, 10 pages, contact forms, and several multimedia options. Compared to Wordpress, the other popular option, Weebly is super simple and doesn’t have the same learning curve required. Wordpress has more plugins available, but can be challenging to figure out, especially for beginners. Does the website builder affect your website ranking? I haven’t found any evidence in the research I’ve done that would suggest certain website builders rank better than others. (If you know otherwise, I’d love to hear!)
The downside: While Weebly is easy-to-use and has lots of design options, it still isn’t completely custom. Some things, such as how the navigation is organized, can’t be changed unless you change the template, and it also only has a few color options for buttons. But in the almost year I’ve been using the platform, they’ve made several great upgrades that have increased the features available, so they are actively improving the platform.
Also, each additional feature beyond what is offered in the free package costs a fee, and if you want to include them, it can add up pretty fast. But this isn’t uncommon for website builders, and the basics (like custom domain name) are relatively cheap.
his service has been around for some time. I was always a Tweetdeck user until Twitter acquired it and stopped allowing other social media platform posting. I don't use Hootsuite regularly, but I have fellow authors who love it. The service allows you to post social media updates to several platforms, such a Twitter, Facebook, or any other compatible social site, at the same time from one login. You can also schedule posts and track engagement. It can save a lot of time clicking around to different sites, and make sure your posts are getting to your entire audience.
The downside: You're limited with the free version to how many accounts you can use.
Do you have any great tools that makes your life easier as an author?