In my last article I wrote a brief explanation about Traditional and Digital Marketing, and what would be potentially more beneficial for an author. I touched on one of the most important cornerstones in marketing, knowing who your customer is. (On that note, I am still collecting data to help you with the baseline of this, so if you haven’t filled in the survey yet here’s the link and don’t be afraid to pass it on)
This time, I thought I would discus how you build a customer profile. I have always been a firm believer in writing for yourself, not what trend dictates is popular, but does that mean my customer base is limited to just me? No. There are a vast sea of people out there who will enjoy reading the same things I do, and in order for me to get my book in front of them understanding who they are is essential.
Who are you?
Even in the most basic sense this is a difficult question to answer. Think about it, there is more than just a single thing that defines you, and who you are will grow and change as time, experience, and inspiration tempers you. The same can be said about your potential readers.
In its rawest form, building a customer profile is no different than creating a character. You build up a picture of them, who they are, what they enjoy, habits, likes, hobbies. As authors you are already familiar and competent at doing this, so transferring this skill to a marketing profile isn’t too big a step.
Let’s start with the basics – Customer demographic.
One of the easiest way to pinpoint your customer is to discover their demographic.
Country, age, and gender are just the starting blocks, and yet without the correct information it can seem almost impossible to assess. You need to know what countries are most likely to respond to your genre, what age range are most likely to pick it up, and based on several older studies gender can be a key factor.
There are a number of things you can use to start your basic customer profile, and I will touch on them below.
Where are you?
If you already have a book out there, then you can look at your historical sales data to see where you made the most sales.
In my case, despite being a British author 63% of my sales come from the US, while 22% come from the UK. So straight off, my customer profile should reflect my customer as American. So don’t assume your own location is where you will hold the most influence.
If you haven’t released your book yet, then locating your audience can be trickier. To that ends you can use Google Trends to search for keywords relating to your book and see what locations ‘google’ them the most.
Since reading is a very global market, you may simply wish to consider targeting a specific language, rather than making a profile based on a single country. So instead of saying, ‘My customer is American,’ you could say, ‘My customer reads English.’
How old are you?
Unlike location, however, gender and age are harder to discern. You have to use your own judgement. You have written the book, so you have to assess who it is suitable for. You don’t want to target a child when selling graphic violence, equally, The Harris poll done in 2010 shows men over 65 prefer to read non-fiction where women over 65 are more inclined towards fiction. Age can be a broad spectrum and span many brackets, but for a customer profile, to start with, just focus on one bracket. You can always add more profiles as you understand your readers more.
What gender are you?
Finally gender. This is quite tricky when it comes to books. After many hours of research, and checking historical studies, I happened upon a report completed by Goodreads. It shows which gender reviewed which genre. Since as authors we always appreciate a review, it seemed a good resource to share and use as general guidance.
Using this chart as a reference you can see which gender is more likely to read your genre. However, the results in themselves are flawed. They only reflect which gender reviewed which genre most, and does not include those who purchased a book and didn’t leave a review. So while it can present a picture, this must also be taken into account.
Understanding who your reader is will be essential to reaching them. Starting with a basic profile of location age, and gender you can start to design a marketing campaign to reach them, however, your customers’ demographic is just the first step of building your customer profile. In my next post I will discuss how to flesh out your customer profile, much in the same manner you add depth to your characters.
I hope to see you here again.
Article by K.J. Simmill (KS the Dreamer)
Since I still have your attention, and this is a marketing post, it must be time for some shameless self-promotion – check out my award winning books here, and have a great week x