Intro & Disclaimer
Today we are going to talk about marketing psychology, specifically, social triggers. These techniques are so powerful, I have been hesitant to talk about them on the podcast. The reason is that they can be used for evil.
With great power comes great responsibility.
Ethical marketing is about helping people make decisions that will benefit those people. If you use what I am about to teach to harm others you are also harming your own soul.
When multiple social triggers work together it can create fads and frenzies like beanie babies, black Friday, and stock market bubbles.
Social triggers don’t work on everyone. Sociopaths, Psychopaths, People on the Autism Spectrum, are all resistant to social triggers.
While we may want everyone to be hyper rational, that is just not how people are. Dance with the way people are not the way you wish they were.
There are a lot of social triggers and in this episode, we are going to focus on urgency.
Why Urgency Works
Why is urgency so powerful? Tomorrow never comes.
The modern education system trains us to wait till the last minute to act. And don’t think you are any different. Most people won’t act without a deadline.
For the majority of people, there has to be “blood in the water” to move them out of apathy.
Urgency is why deadlines are so motivating for you to write. We are so desperate for urgency as a motivation that indie authors (who generally don’t have real deadlines) create deadlines for themselves to motivate themselves to act.
If a reader can put off buying your book till tomorrow, they will never buy your book. Tomorrow never comes.
If a reader can put off reading your book till tomorrow, they will never read your book. Tomorrow never comes.
How to Create Urgency for a Book
Method #1 Launch Window Bonus
Have a launch bonus they only get if the buy within the first two to four weeks of launch.
Michael Hyatt’s Platform promo did this. He created a bundle worth hundreds of dollars for folks who purchased in the first two weeks of launch.
Prizes can include:
- Short stories
- Tip Sheets
- Discount Coupons
- A piece of music that goes along with the book.
- Anything that is valuable to a reader and also inexpensive to give away.
Partner with other authors to create compelling bundles. You don’t have to provide all of the prizes yourself. Just make sure the bonuses are actually valuable to your readers. This tactic was overdone a few years ago by authors giving away useless prizes.
Method #2 Limited 1st Edition Print Run
People love the idea of owning a “First Edition” of a book. Consider printing a specific number of first edition hardback copies of your book. The fact that there are limited quantities creates urgency forcing readers to race against each other to get copies of the first edition before it sells out.
I did this by accident with my book. There was a glitch on the spine of my book when I made the order for the launch party & kickstarter copies. I presented those as rare flawed versions, like a flawed coin. In hindsight, I would have done this on purpose by making a limited edition hardback.
I also did this with the Novel Marketing Mastermind Groups. Those are limited primarily to keep the groups manageable, but it also has a marketing benefit of creating urgency. The prepub group is already full and the Published mastermind group only has a handful of spots left.
Method #3 First Buyers Get a Bonus
This is like method 1 where you give a bonus but instead of limiting it on time, you limit the total number of winners. Example “The first 100 people to email me their amazon receipts get the bonus bundle.”
This kind of urgency protects you if the thing you are giving away is super valuable. You don’t want to bankrupt yourself giving away 10,000 free shirts to all the folks who purchased in the first week.
Method #4 Free Pulsing & Price Pulsing
Price pulsing is a way of reducing the price of your book for a limited time. The key here is “limited time.” This is what introduces the urgency.
This also has the advantage of working with older books. So far the tactics have been about creating urgency at launch but you can price pulse at any time.
We have an entire episode on price pulsing. It is episode 108.
Now you can price pulse a launch. It is risky, but when it works it works really well. This is how James L Rubart became a bestselling author. His publisher free pulsed his book soon after launch and it triggered a firestorm of buzz around his book that went on to sell a lot of paid copies. The people who read the free book loved it so much they talked about it to thier friends who then paid full price.
Method #5 Collective Action
This method works well if you have a large following of people who like you or who want you to succeed for political reasons. Basically this is when you say “If everyone buys in the first week we can hit the bestseller list.”
This is how Ron Paul’s Political Manifesto hit #1 on the New York Times. It is not because he was a popular political candidate, it was because his small passionate followers encouraged each other to buy his book on the same week so he could hit the list.
This method is hard to use if you don’t yet have a passionate following. It is also risky if you don’t hit the bestseller list as a result.
Method #6 Reverse Coupon
A reverse coupon is when you warn that the price will go up at a specific time in the future. So perhaps you launch your ebook at $2.99 but you warn everyone that the price will jump to $5.99 after the first two weeks. This creates urgency to act now.
Of the strategies reverse coupons have one of the higher fomo factors. No one wants to feel like the schmuck who unnecessarily spent more than the next guy.
This is how we created urgency to buy the 5 Year Plan. From time to time we raise the price and before we do, we make a lot of noise about it warning people to get in before the price goes up.
Reverse coupons have the added benefit of reducing the number of people who complain about the price going up. If you give people enough notice they don’t have anything to complain about.
Method #7 Live Events
Host a live event (either online or in person) for people who have already purchased the book. Or a live event that is only valuable to people who have finished the book.
The live event acts as a deadline for people to buy your book.
Live Event Ideas
- Launch Party. While many authors don’t like parties, the extroverted influencers love parties. The party is not for you, it is for them.
- Q&A Webinar for people who have read the book.
- Spoiler Discussion with the author.
There are More Ways to Create Urgency
These seven methods are just to start the wheels turning on how you can use urgency.
Finally be careful how you use urgency, if it feels manipulative or contrived, it can backfire.
Do you have an idea on how to create urgency? Share in the Novel Marketing Facebook Group. Also feel free to share examples of authors doing it well and doing it poorly.
Persuasion is one of the most important things we do as authors. Persuasion is not only part of the selling process for fiction it is also at the heart of good nonfiction writing.
Yet, persuasion is hard to do well and easy to botch. In this video course, I break down the science of how to help your readers to truly change their minds for good. This is one of my most popular and enduring talks.
This course is idea for:
- Bloggers wanting to make a difference in the world.
- Non-Fiction Writers wanting to change minds.
- Authors wanting help persuading people to buy their book.
This course sells for $49 but through the end of February, patrons of the podcast get it for free. After that, patrons can buy it for 50% off. See how I am using urgency there?
Speaking of patrons…
What If You Were Transported to a Land Without Color? And the Only One Who Could Restore it Was You?
You can become a Novel Marketing Patron here.
I have been learning a new kind of marketing lately. Marketing to toddlers.
This is the ultimate challenge, and one many of you have already mastered. What you may not realize is how many lessons apply to grown ups too.
We want to feed my 15 month old daughter protein, especially at night so she won’t wake up hungry in the middle of the night. We already have a newborn crying for food at 3am, a toddler doing it as well is too much.
If Mercy had her way, she would eat nothing but sweet fruit and pizza. We don’t want to feed her pizza all the time, so what I did was cut up some meat for her in pizza shapes and called it “meat pizza”
This is meat that she had previously refused to try. But now that it was “meat pizza” she was curious. She tried it, and what would you know, she liked it!
A lot of book readers are like toddlers. They only want the familiar. They want to read the authors they already read in the genres they already read in.
We can’t change them, but we can work within those limitations. This is why radically new book covers are so risky. A good book cover communicates “this book is like the books you already like.” Just like called meat “meat pizza is like saying “this food is like the other kinds of food you already like.”
Now this only works if the substance of your book matches the packaging. My branding of meat as “meat pizza” would have backfired if the food tasted bad.
So a question for you to ponder. Which successful author are you most like? You need a clear answer to this question. If your answer is “I’m unlike any successful author” readers will tighten their lips and turn away their heads from you, like a petulant toddler, regardless of how good your book is.
Do you have a question you would like us to answer on the show? Call our listener help line! 512-827-8377. You can also send us a high quality recording on AuthorMedia.com/contact.
You have been listening to Thomas Umstattd Jr. on the Novel Marketing podcast, giving you innovative ideas on how to promote yourself and your writing, offline, online, and everywhere in-between. Thanks for listening.
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