Guest Expert: Tony Eldridge
There’s something about a contest that gets us excited. When was the last time you entered one? The mystery behind them is that it is often hard to put your finger on what makes them so popular. It can’t be the money or everyone on the planet would enter the Publisher’s Clearinghouse $10 Million sweepstakes every time they get their e-mails.
Often, it’s the small prizes that capture the excitement of the entrants; the signed book by your favorite author, the dinner for two at your favorite restaurant, or an hour one-on-one with your favorite book marketing expert. These types of prizes may encourage authors to enter the contest ten times, a hundred times, or even a thousand times more than authors would enter the Publisher’s Clearinghouse sweepstakes.
The question from a marketing standpoint is simple: How can a contest help me, an author, sell more books?
That question is not always easy to answer. If you conduct a contest in the right way, it can have a huge impact on your potential to sell books. Done incorrectly, and it can waste a lot of your time with little in sales to show for it.
There are a lot of ways you can conduct a contest, but one of my favorite is the Twitter contest. I love it because it requires little, to no, outlay in cash (though it does take a significant time commitment from you to pull it off). The payoff for you, however, can be a significant increase in Twitter followers who are actually interested in the kind of books you write. And the big reason I like Twitter contests is because you can craft them in a way to get industry experts excited about helping you.
Here are some of the things you need to consider if you want to pull off a successful Twitter contest that leads to more targeted followers, which can lead to more people who learn about your book, which can lead to more sales:
1. Know what you want to get out of the contest: Twitter contests are best suited to find followers rather than immediate sales. That means more people who come into contact with your book. But sheer numbers of followers may not always be the best thing for you. 1000 followers who are interested in the types of books you write is much better that 10,000 followers who hate to read. If you can conduct a contest that appeals to the right people, you will be much happier with the results.
2. Put some time into the prize selection: $10,000,000 sounds like a great prize, but not everyone enters those contests. Think about your target audience. What prize would appeal to them? If you can pick a relevant prize, then you are on your way to having a more successful contest.
3. Recruit others to help you promote your contest: It’s much easier to find a lot of people to enter your contest if you can get in front of the established followers of experts and industry leaders in your field. One way to do this is to offer one of their signed books, products or service as a prize. If you do this right, you give them a stake in your contest and they will be eager to help you promote it. The secrete in making their stake significant enough for them to help you promote your contest is to make sure they get a lot of publicity as a contest sponsor.
4. Follow all the rules: Make sure that you know what the rules are when it comes to creating a Twitter contest. Twitter has its own set of guidelines and your local government has their set of rules. It is up to you to do due diligence to make sure you are in compliance with all rules and laws.
There are a lot of other things to consider when conducting a successful Twitter contests but these 4 guidelines can help you create one that really gets what you’re after. On August 12th, Dana Lynn Smith and I will be hosting a teleseminar called “Boost Your Book Sales With Twitter.” Dana will discuss some gems for authors looking to use Twitter to promote their books while I will spend some time talking about conducting Twitter contests that can help you sell more books. We will also have a Q&A session after each segment.
Whether or not you can make the teleseminar, I encourage you to look into how contests, particularly Twitter contests, can help you market your book more effectively.
Tony Eldridge is the author of the action-adventure novel, The Samson Effect, and author of the video e-book, Conducting Effective Twitter Contests. On his Marketing Tips for Authors Blog you can find practical advice on low cost and no-cost methods for marketing your book. Sign up for his free newsletter to get video tips to help you with some of the more technical aspects of marketing your book online.