Planning: The five stages of a digital campaign

We’ve been considering some of the major goals and the ‘big picture’ decisions you’ll need to make. Let’s now take a look at the key phases and tasks that make up a typical digital marketing plan for a single title.


The five stages of a digital book marketing campaign

As you plan your campaign, it’s helpful to think about five, roughly-sequential stages. Here’s an outline of each of these stages and some typical key tasks (click + to expand).

1. Pre-launch
2. Soft launch
3. Launch
4. Maintain
5. Test, measure, improve, re-run

We’ll cover how to go about each of these tasks in the remainder of this course.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

The best time to start promoting your book is three years before it comes out. Three years to build a reputation, build a permission asset, build a blog, build a following, build credibility and build the connections you’ll need later. — Seth Godin

A comprehensive ebook-marketing program should be a marathon, not a sprint. It starts well before a book launches, and it should continue long after. There’s plenty of evidence emerging that the sales lifecycle of ebooks is more likely to be skewed to longer term — a ‘slow burner’ rather than a ‘big bang’. Consider this when you’re allocating your budget.

The quote to the right from author and internet-marketing expert Seth Godin is probably the single best piece of advice online book marketers could receive (emphasis ours).

It’s worth taking a moment to consider the significance of each of the things Godin itemises.

  • Reputation. Reputations help you get noticed. They take time to build. Search engines take notice, too, by looking at the quality of sites and social networks connecting to you and how long you’ve been around.
  • Permission asset. Like an email list — but where every person on it has agreed to be on it. This is gold you’ll mine for years if you create books and services to do repeat business. Essential for publishers.
  • Blog. This is still probably the single best tool for most authors and many publishers to build the rest of these marketing assets.
  • Following. Your best advocates will be the people who want to hear what you’ve got to say next.
  • Credibility. Hard to earn but essential if you want people to act on what you say. It’s easy to squander, too, if you don’t treat people with respect and try to sell blatantly or take more than you give back to the online community.
  • Connections. This is the essential online channel you’ve carefully built up. You’ll need it when you’re ready to launch. It should be full of people who can — and will want to — multiply your message.

So — for publisher or author — an online presence will take time to build. If you’re running late, just start today.


Find out more about this topic on our Digital Publishing 101 useful resources site.


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