by Kim Vermaak
The Power of Author Printed Banners
Are you planning to sell books at events?
Then author banners are a critical part of your author marketing tools. Now I know some authors are just groaning inside. More marketing stuff. I hear you, but in this case, I always remember what sales training guru Barry Mitchell says in his book on Sales “Lazy salespeople have skinny children.” I have a super video on my channel with Barry about selling more books at functions. But back to the business of author banners. Authors who are lazy or stingy when it comes to marketing are going to have skinny sales.
While a printed book banner does not guarantee sales, it does bring attention to your book and that increases your chances of getting sales. So what are some aspects you need to be aware of for good author banners?
First Impressions Count
According to an article in Forbes Magazine, within the first 7 seconds of meeting, people will have a solid impression of who you are — and some research suggests a tenth of a second is all it takes to determine traits like trustworthiness.
You may wonder what trustworthiness has got to do with your book. Well, whether you are a fantasy author or a consultant, readers are trusting you with their time and money. If you have taken enough time to care about your book cover or banner, then chances are that you have taken enough care and attention into writing your book. This comparison may seem insane to you if you have just spent thousands of your local currency on editing, but just because we don’t agree with the rule, does not mean that it does not apply. Just like I may not like falling down, but if I allow my kids to leave their toys in the passageway, I am probably going to trip over them and fall down. Any parent gets this analogy, yet as authors, we still trip ourselves up by not taking basic marketing principles seriously. So back to what is important when designing a printed author banner.
The Power is in the Recall
When you go shopping or are driving on the freeway, you are seeing printed banners all the time. Think of the ones that stick in your mind? The next time you need a product like that, which are the brands that you remember?
The most impactful printed banner I remember reached me when I needed a boost. It was a Johnny Walker campaign. While I am not a whisky drinker, I was in a state of despair about the sales levels I had at the time. This banner had a sales graph dipping below the level of the billboard and then rising on the other side. The message was clear to me, whatever my current troubles. Things would pass. That single billboard message kept me from deciding to quit, to deciding to keep going. And that is a lesson all authors need. Just keep writing and marketing… My point is that you have the power to have an impact space in a reader or customer’s mind
While I love the invention of smartphone technology because it offers simple, high-quality photography capabilities to almost anyone, it does not mean that anyone with a camera can create images that convey a professional impression. To play in the space of traditionally published authors, you are going to need some good quality strong images that build trust in your brand. If you are a consultant, you could add your selfie onto it. But my philosophy is to “Begin with the end in mind.”
Is your end game to build a meaningful following? To get a speaking contract? To touch the hearts of thousands, or even millions with your message?
Then be a professional in your heart and then do the things that professional authors and brand managers do. I know that, as a new author, cash flow is often a challenge. You may have a friend or spouse questioning why you are spending money on this book ‘hobby’ of yours. Just cutting back on a few months of Netflix or a month or two of coffee at Starbuck or Mugg and Bean can mean you being able to afford a press photography session or a graphic designer working on your electronic and printed banners.
What do Book Printed Banners Do?
Book and author banners let people know that your book exists. They familiarise your readers with your brand. A visual makes your banners several times more interesting than those without. They get attention. To make them work, you not only need appealing design, but the banner must stand in as a salesperson when you are not available. You may be asking… If I am at the event, why am I not available?
The answer is that you can only do one thing at a time. You can only sign one person’s book at a time. You can only do one talk at a time. In the time that you are talking to one reader, then another ten potential readers or customers may have walked past your stand. Then who is going to be talking to them? That is where your banner comes in. It does the talking when you can not.
If you have a well designed printed banner using the right image, people will pause just to see what it’s about. You’d have met your goal then. You have brought attention to your book and author brand.
A good advertising banner answers the following:
What is the Product?
The product may be your novel or if you are a non-fiction author teaching people something, then the product is you as well as your book or even the course you are selling.
So you need to have the book’s cover and, depending on your brand, your photo on it. Without the image of the book on the banner, it’s not an effective book banner… is it? You want your book’s image to be embedded in people’s minds, and that means showing them what the book looks like.
What is your book about?
This would be a short description or teaser. Is it a terrifying horror novel, a fast-paced thriller, an enchanting children’s story, or a steamy romance? Or does your book solve a problem, like “How to get ahead in your career when unemployment is rife?”
Readers and customers want to know what it’s about. Give them a hint.
“Reading this book will help you to plan a better marketing campaign.”
What are you promising readers? What experience will they get? Tell them.
How do I know it’s worth buying?
Do you have a review or testimonial? Then add it to the banner.
This adds credibility to the book. You might say that it’s the best book in the world, but who would believe that statement when it comes from the author themselves? An unbiased or published opinion is more believable. So, copy a portion of your 5 star review that you got on Amazon or Goodreads. The more credible the reviewer, the better. If the book has earned badges and medals, please, don’t be shy to add this.
Where can I get it if I decide to buy it?
Where can they buy the book? On Amazon, Smash words, your website? Tell the readers what their buying options are. Don’t make the reader search for the book on Google. Big brand names like Tony Robbins, Stephen King, Wilbur Smith can rely on people walking into a bookstore and asking for that book. But when you are still young in the market, don’t play hard to get. Make it easy for readers to find you.
Call to action
Compelling calls to action on your author printed banner can help you urge readers or customers to buy your book, book you as a speaker or sign up for your newsletter . For example: Subscribe to my newsletter to get free author marketing tips.
Kim Vermaak is a self published author and author marketing coach.
I am a writer merchandice
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