Monday, December 3, 2012

MONDAY MARKETING Talk Value - It's Not Just About Talking Dogs. #pubtip #indie #selfpub #promo

Welcome back to the regularly-scheduled Webbiegrrl Writer blogs. In case you hadn't already heard, I'm running a Ginormous 30,000th Hit Giveaway and for that milestone, I thank all of you, my regular readers. 

The last time I did a book giveaway, it was hardcovers and paperbacks donated by a  single publisher (pictured below is the massive giveaway Baen Books donated in 2009 to support deployed US Military personnel - I supplied the gift wrap ;-)

This time it's digital all the way and there are almost 70 eBooks from over 50 different authors donated so far--and more coming in each day!  If you're an Indie Author, please join us by submitting your own books by following the instructions at the top of the Facebook Event Page. Readers be sure to peruse the prizes on my Giveaways Page.

Enter now! Enter Often! Enter Daily!

Be sure to enter more than once between now and December 14th to increase your chances of winning. If you want to win something specific, you get 2 entries for leaving a blog comment. You get 2 entries for retweeting my promo tweet so please spread the word. Existing fans of either my Webbiegrrl Page on Facebook or my @webbiegrrl Twitter account get "free" triple entries in one click. Daily!

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled program of Monday marketing advice. Click through the jump-break to dive back into my advertising versus PR debate.

Devil in the Details
There's a subtle nuance that distinguishes the success of advertising versus the success of PR (Publicity or Public Relations or "Press"). When the message has "sales value," it's intended to generate sales directly from the information presented in the advertisement. When a message has "talk value," the intention is that people will simply discuss it with each other--you know, around the water cooler. That's publicity.

The big mistake people (and especially large companies) have made over the years is to confuse the usefulness of talk value with sales value. Just because people are chatting about your advertisement around the water cooler at work does not mean any of them are going to buy your product. In fact, often, the talk value--the hook or gimmick or "thing" that makes the advertisement so interesting to discuss--is not really about the product at all. People are talking about the advertisement and may not even know what the product is!

Years ago, when Taco Bell came out with a talking Chihuaha, everyone talked about the "chillin' Taco Bell Chihuaha." It was not until the ads started having the talking dog say the words "Yo Quiero Taco Bell" (I want Taco Bell) that the talk around the water cooler even included the mention of the brand "Taco Bell." People were talking about the dog, not the product, so the dog had to start talking about the product for them!

Another example, hard as it is to believe, some people actually thought the bunny that "keeps going and going and going" was Duracell's brand mascot. They had no idea it was Energizer's until the advertisements started including the name Energizer in before the word "bunny." It seems absurd now that anyone would be confused about it but at first, Energizer ads had all the talk and were of no value to the product.

The biggest reason these ads do or don't work (the Chihuaha ads are gone, the bunny's drum beats on) is the presence or absence of a motivational hook in the advertisement. The nice little gimmick that has talk value is interesting, but it must provide some kind of motivation to the viewer/consumer to try out the product or it's just a bunch of buzz (talk value) and has no sales value. The ads are fishing without a hook, so to speak and become pure promotional noise.

Motivational Value in Digital Publishing
It's hard to translate traditional publicity tactics to the publishing industry generally but especially to the eBook marketing and Digital Publishing industry. We have the unique challenge of not actually making direct contact with our consumers. Our potential consumers are cruising along on their tablet or web browser in the solace of their home or office or beachfront property (haha) and they are not seeking out our ads. In fact, they are actively avoiding our ads. Our customers--readers--are seeking out free and bargain-priced books so our quality products aren't really the focus of their online browsing.

So how to reach them to publicize our existence if they won't even see our advertisements and assume our products are too expensive even when they do see them?

Talk value. Publicity and talk value comes from brand awareness not just gimmicky advertisements and slick promotional slogans. Don't try to sell books; sell your brand.

People will talk about a brand they know; they won't mention brands they don't know. People like to feel as though they have something to contribute to a conversation by offering valueable insight into new brands their friends haven't tried yet. You cannot advertise to make people talk about your brand. You build your brand in places where potential customers gather to talk by talking with them (not to or at them). Be your brand. Let them know your brand. Let your brand sell you and your books. In fact, let your brand create the buzz and let the customers sell for you! That's the real power of talk value. That's the whole point of branding.

What's Next....
Next week I'll look at market research - the good, the bad, and ugly truths.

Tomorrow's Tuesday Tip will be a quick little look at how to write a novel synopsis. There are a few good essays out there on this subject but given that Nanowrimo just ended and many of you participated, I think it's well-worth revisiting the topic myself.  Hope to see you then!

Please stop by the Giveaways Page to enter if you haven't already (or to enter again if you have already because you need to enter now, enter daily, enter often!  ^)^

Thanks for stopping by!



Anonymous said...

Okay, I have to admit I'm still struggling with my brand. When I came up with it 8 years ago "writing between the lines" I thought it spoke to everything my books are: cross-genre and within each book nuances of things unsaid but obvious. Now, I think it says nothing.

In any case I don't know how to "be my brand" in terms of talk. Can you share how you are your brand in terms of talk? What is your brand anyway?

Webbiegrrl Writer said...

Hi Maggie,

You know, I actually rather like that "writing between the lines" as a tag line...but it's not a branding idea no. The key to defining your brand's "one word" is to keep it as simple and simplistic as possible. It should be something that, when someone hears or sees it, instantly makes them think of you and/or your books/style of books. It's not so much a genre as it is a flavor. Does that help?

In terms of "talking" like my brand, and what *is* the Webbiegrrl brand anyway? :) I've actually got 3 brands, only 2 of which are defined. Webbiegrrl is an Indie Publishing advocate, someone who always pushes for being the special snowflake that is *you* (as opposed to copying the special snowflake that is me or someone else). My "tagline" is on my blog header: I am a unique and special snowflake. Join my blizzard. I definitely do not promote conformist behaviors or "going with the popular crowd" or anything like "cliques." In fact, I hate cliques as they are usually exclusionary and my Webbiegrrl philosophy is more inclusive--of everyone, because everyone is, in fact, a unique and special snowflake...even if they don't know it yet.

I have a separate style of talking and promoting that is specifically snarky like my SciFi pen name and "Friday" is a huge advocate of supporting the troops, being fair to everyone and especially to animals and admitting the truth in the world even when it hurts to see it. Friday and Webbiegrrl are not, actually, all that different but unless or until I purposely connect the two (as I'm doing here for you), there are often people who do not know I am the same person. In fact, several people who knew me as "Sarah R. Yoffa," and had been around in 2006 when the Webbiegrrl brand really started being a "thing" (I started using it in 2003 actually and it dates all the way back to the 1990s to be fair) thought that "Friday" was someone else entirely. In at least 5 or 6 cases, I friended them on Facebook and really believed they knew it was ME but after a few weeks of following my newsfeed, one or another would message me and ask something that illustrated they had no clue it was ME. The fact would be proven out when I'd private message them revealing myself and they'd be all "I had no idea!" Then I remind them it is a marketing decision and please do not ever connect the "Friday" name to the Webbiegrrl name. I often connect Webbiegrrl to Friday but never the other way around. My SciFi fans really have no clue I am anyone BUT Marjorie F. Baldwin aka "Friday" the author of The Phoenician Series. And I like to keep it that way. ^)^ HTH?


Webbiegrrl Writer said...

Oh and I forgot, "Sarah R. Yoffa" (who writes Romantic Suspense) has a BDSM-y flavor with a sort of LGBT-supportive undertone half the time. Although neither of the other two push too hard on those issues, both promote equal rights for everyone - inclusive not exclusive. It all comes from me, but I don't push "edge sex" in my SciFi and my non-fiction persona of Webbiegrrl never gets flirty or suggestive. Sarah always does. All of it. Every chance she gets :)

Sometimes I forget who I am (LOL)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all that info! So, I think I do talk my brand which is something like "find balance" which to mean means learn to embrace the dark side in order to become the light.

Hmmm...I'll have to figure out how to make that more clear in messaging too. I really appreciate your help on this!

Webbiegrrl Writer said...

You're welcome! Glad I could help. I'm really hoping to make time today to just finish reformatting the last 4 chapters of the Marketing book for eBook sales. You can see the Paperback link in the footer of the blog but I make (literally) 4 cents for each of those sales, despite having to price them that high so I hope to make the eBook more affordable/reasonable and worthwhile -- and then enter it into my 30,000 Hit Giveaway. Maybe you'll win a copy!

Enter Now! Enter Often! Enter Daily!

haha, had to say it :)