Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Let's Talk SMAC-Based Digital Marketing for Amazon Authors

Inside Count Val's Lair: CreateSpace and KDP
The innovator in the Value as a Service business model, Amazon's relationship with readers is value dominated and reader-centric.  Thus, Count Val, as I like to call Amazon, the world's most efficient Disruptive Value Vampire, is laser focused on providing value to readers, while making money selling books by the coffin-load. 

Count Val, ironically, doesn't give a bat's butt whether you or I sell books.  Why should he, when inevitably we all return like suicidal book-launch lemmings to CreateSpace and KDP, the value vampire's lair?  Worse, we do so knowing that Amazon's value platform, while a smorgasbord for readers, is for authors a potential coffin in a digital black hole called "the Cloud."

Why Learn to Use SMAC-Based Digital Marketing?
Whatever view we hold of our affair with Amazon (and I admit I'm in love/lust), our goal is to monetize.  Thus, it's critical we know what SMAC is and, in addition, that we know why SMAC-based digital marketing is necessary to slay the disruptive value vampire.  I use "slay" in the positive and cooperative "we're gonna kick some butt and sell like crazy on Amazon" sense because,  metaphorically speaking, we're all brides of Count Val, and we all love him, yes?

What is SMAC?
SMAC means: social, mobile, analytic, and cloud.  With a business model and value drivers that seduce readers, you can use SMAC-based digital marketing to: 
  • Improve the cost and value of your products and services
  • Enhance readers' experience
  • Increase your Amazon sales
Note: SMAC's no panacea.  You still have to deliver a sexy product mix with a clear message and great value, so readers can compare your books and pricing with competitors' and then pick those they wish to buy.  

SMAC is much more than checking in with readers each day on Facebook.  SMAC includes the following:
  1. Web-based technologies. i.e., social media
  2. Mobile platform technologies, such as mobile apps
  3. Analytics, such as Facebook's analytics dashboard
  4. Cloud computing, such as networking
To visualize SMAC, imagine you're holding a sheet.  Pick up the above four items, then toss them into the sheet's middle and fold and tie all four corners.  You did it!  You folded all four SMAC-based technologies in one big sheet, and now they can work together to help you achieve your digital marketing goals.

How Can I Use SMAC-Based Digital Marketing to Slay Count Val?
Now that you're holding your big sheet of SMAC, what do you do with it?

SMAC-based technologies let you engage socially to improve your "value as a service" business model and thus to enhance readers' experience, cost, and value.  Sounds great, you say, but what do I get?

Using SMAC technologies, including for example Facebook's ad for email signup, you can couple your ad campaign with Facebook's analytics dashboard to:
  • Collect actionable data about readers
  • See touch points and the path of interaction readers took to convert or buy
  • Display which audiences engage with your content and convert
  • View readers who hopped from your Facebook app to your Website and back before converting
  • Build custom audiences based on specific insights
  • Segment and re-target readers who followed a specific path to your page

What's So Great about SMAC-Based Digital Marketing?
The main benefit of SMAC-based digital marketing is that it increases a thousand-fold your ability to engage with readers across all marketing channels, without having to piece ad campaigns together and track and measure results on an ad hoc basis.  For authors, the overwhelming task of conducting an ad campaign just leaped forward light years.  In addition, as a result of what you learn through social listening and analytics, you can continuously improve your business model and marketing strategies to increase your share of voice on Amazon.

I use Facebook's analytic dashboard in this post as an example, but you can find an infinite array of SMAC-based technologies to manage your digital marketing.  In addition, the marketing processes (for example, audience targeting and measuring your share of voice against your competitors'), all of which used to suck up huge blocks of time, are now automated and in the cloud.  As a result, you save hundreds of hours of marketing time, and if you use SMAC-based digital marketing correctly, you can slay Count Val in his own lair.

More Resources
For more on business models and value drivers:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

2 Disruptor Rules for Indie Authors on Amazon

22 May 2018: 2 Disruptor Rules for Indie Authors on Amazon

Your Goal: Monetize on Amazon
Indie author?  On Amazon's CreateSpace or KDP?  Then you have a goal.  Or two.  Or three.  But one takes precedence over most others: monetize.  Make money selling your books on Amazon.

Your Problem: No One's Buying
Isn't happening, is it?  I know, I know.  It's frustrating.  You're a pro. You've devoted your life, well a chunk of it, to writing your fantastic novels and . . . no one but your mom or your BFF is buying.  

What's Stopping You from Selling?
Question: What's your Share of Voice?  If you can't answer, you're like many indie authors and, as a result, you're making zip from your books or barely enough to buy your Starbucks.  I didn't know what share of voice (SoV) meant either, but I've spent the last year learning.  As a technical writer with a Master's in Comp Rhet and years of experience examining software systems, I realized that the frustration my indie friends like you--and I--were experiencing, as the result of low or no SoV, was the result of ignorance.  We don't know what Amazon is doing, how it works, or how we should interact with it.  And that's stopping us all from selling.

What's Amazon's Business Model?
Here's another question (I'm so full of 'em): What's Amazon's business model?  

Note: A business model is a design for the successful operation of a business.  It identifies revenue sources, customer base, products, and details of financing.

As stated, I'm full of 'em, so question: what's YOUR business model?  Okay, so you don't have one, and as a result you've set yourself up to become Amazon's perfect value vampire victim.  Because Amazon's business model is a value dominated relationship with readers, it means that you give away freebies, or you sell for .99, or your books sit on Amazon, while you languish as they say "in obscurity."  

Amazon is the innovator in the Value as a Service Model.  It is reader centric and focused on providing value to readers.  Value is realized through readers' Amazon experience, which is a huge value driver, and through Amazon's seamless integration into readers' lives, a key plank in Amazon's value platform. 

My point: Amazon's relationship with readers is value dominated, so any way the disruptive value vampire can suck your blood and give it back to readers as value keeps Amazon fat and happy, while you . . . 

2 Disruptor Rules You Can Follow Starting Now
Rule 1: Hammer out your business model.  Few know how to develop one, but you can and should start defining yours now because unless you have a business model, you have no clear strategy for marketing and selling on Amazon.  And no clear strategy means few or no sales.  I'd like to tell you it's easy and that you can formulate a loose business model overnight, but it's an impassioned endeavor with a steep learning curve.  It requires that you identify and put in place things like your platform, products and services matrices, sales channels, your marketing strategy, and much more.  

Rule 2: Identify your value drivers for readers or clients of your business.   A value driver is anything added to a product (your books) that will increase its value to readers.  These differentiate your product or books from those of your competitor and make them more appealing to readers.

Don't know?  Don't understand?  Better get busy Googling and figuring out what your value drivers are.  It's a new "free" economy, and every reader's shopping options are infinite.  Identify what differentiates your books from your competitors' and then figure out how to turn that into value for your readers.

Where You Can Learn More
I can't tell you how to follow these two rules in a blog post, but I'm happy to tell you about how I've implemented them in my platform.  I can share your pain and help ease it by telling you the steps I took, and those I plan to take, to become a value vampire slayer.  Find me on my Facebook channel, My Facebook Page, Mary McFarland Writer.

Thanks, and please share if you liked this post. 

All definitions were taken from the Web.