These days, most top brands sell directly to their consumers in addition to selling retail. In doing so, they are able to establish themselves as a brand because they take control of the user experience and have the ability to get quick feedback from their customers before taking the risky leap with retail, which has large capital associated with inventory and much lower margins.
Selling directly to consumers is a long process and requires commitment. But once you establish your brand, it is extremely rewarding. There are many ways to sell directly to consumers; however, building a strong social media presence, creating a book funnel strategy, and smartly working with Amazon are the three most important pillars to establishing and developing a direct-to-consumer brand.
A Strong Social Media Presence
Everyone is on social media these days, but to truly build your brand, social media needs your top attention. Every social platform needs thorough planning and execution. Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are massive platforms, and you need to put together a plan to create meaningful content that will not only help you attract new followers, but also keep your current followers engaged.
In an effort to learn how to increase your social media presence, it is imperative to create dedicated content calendars and post consistently. Additionally, influencer marketing is a rising star in the digital marketing world. These influencers can share your products with their audiences and thus get your brand eyeballs and sales.
Lastly, engaging and responding to your followers is crucial to your online presence. Your social media followers are your direct buyers, and loyal fans, and should be granted special privileges such as behind-the-scenes looks, free giveaways, or first access to your new book.
A Book Funnel Strategy
A book funnel is a marketing strategy that uses a book as a customer acquisition channel. If you are a publisher of multiple books or you have additional products/ services to sell, you can give away a book for free to attract new customers to your website, which ultimately generates more leads. A free first book gives customers a taste of your work and can help you sell other products or services down the road.
Most publishers have physical books along with e-books. E-books play an important role in today’s digital space; however, when you are creating your book funnel strategy, you want to give away a physical book over a digital copy. According to market research, when tangible products are offered in comparison to e-books, your customer acquisition is 40% higher.
Ultimately, a book funnel should help deepen the reader’s relationship with you, the person or business that helps them solve their problem.
Market Smartly with Amazon
It’s a well-known fact that your customers expect to see you on Amazon. Some publishers think if you just list your product on Amazon, it will sell by itself—but that’s not the case. The truth is that Amazon is a big marketplace, and your product gets sold because of you and your brand.
So, how do you build your brand? Most people opt for Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) because it’s easy to hand over the product to Amazon, and their prime service is attractive to buyers. However, does it really help you grow your brand? Amazon takes a large cut of your revenue, your customers, and your brand. So if you choose FBA, Amazon will be keeping the customers and the brand, not you. You will never know who bought your books, and you will never be able to sell anything more to those clients in the future.
However, if you choose Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM), you are directly connected to your customers because you are fulfilling the product under your brand. They become your customer, not Amazon’s. Selling directly to the consumer means you have an open line of communication with your customers. You have the power to educate your customers, interact with them, and learn more about their wants and needs to better align your products. Putting together a direct-toconsumer strategy requires commitment, planning, and resources, but it’s worth the effort to build your brand.
Raj Barman is founder and CEO of Acutrack Inc. Acutrack specializes in direct-to-consumer book fulfillment services and has been serving the industry since 1992.