Thoughts from one of them
Today’s Marketing/Promotion Question:
Are promotional postcards mailed to libraries and bookstores effective, or are they a waste of time/money/paper?
What say you, blog readers? (All opinions welcome, but please, don’t throw food.)
Alan - I'd say promo postcards that are dropped off at libraries and bookstores can be effective. You know, when you can actually shake the hand of the person who's responsible for publicity. Then that person has, I think, more of a mental obligation to consider your book. Mailing?? I'm sorry but I'm not so sure. I think it's too easy for things like that to get "lost in the shuffle." I've actually found it useful to ask for and use EMail address and send out flyers and things that way.
I've heard librarian say they toss them...but then I've seen real results on the mailings that I've done. I'd have to say the jury's out.
I agree with Margot that postcards and bookmarks dropped off in person can be very effective, but I'm convinced these days mailings have gone the way of the dodo bird. I have compiled a large list of library/librarian e-mails and they received my quarterly newsletter. There is always a big surge in my sales after the newsletter goes out.
I mailed cover letters with my postcards. Didn't see much in the way of library sales, although they do make nice giveaways at conference. Most libraries rely on reviews in the major publications. I think I prefer bookmarks, which I hand out in lieu of business cards. They are good conversation starters.TerryTerry's PlaceRomance with a Twist--of Mystery
Ha! I was going to refer to Elizabeth believing in them, but she's already responded. My instinct as a former advertiser? If you've created buzz so it is a REMINDER and a notice it is NOW AVAILABLE, it should work. If this is first time they see it, it has too much competition to get noticed. (but that is totally an educated guess based on my no-longer current advertising knowledge)
Margot - Yeah, in person contact is nice. I do have plenty of bookmarks for that.Elizabeth - I know you've done a fair bit of mailing, with good results. And you are my marketing role model...Sue Ann - I could always do emails in addition to USPS...Sure, I've got unlimited time!!Terry - I like bookmarks, too. And I just ordered new business cards. In this "on-line" world, I've sure got a lot of printed stuff!Hart - Right. The elusive Buzz. Too bad you can't go to Vistaprint and order some buzz!
It really helps if you know how the receiving venue displays/keeps promo info. I've seen places where regular customers rifle through promo stuff to see what's coming up, a favorite author, etc.; other places where the material is relegated to an out-of-the-way hard-to-find spot (thus undercutting their very reason for being); AND how long does the location display info? Do they frequently cull/sort/toss dated info? Do they have a bulletin board or regular print flyer of coming events posted or in a rack (bonus points for cash register-adjacent)? Is material handled by the buyer, or relegated to a random staff member? I've seen it all.
I sent out some, but have no clue if there were positive results from the effort. I’m not sure if I’ll send any when my second book is released – especially based on the other comments.
circuitmouse - All very valid considerations. If only there were a database with all that info.Jane - I figure I'll just check the bestseller lists a week or two after I mail the postcards.
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