Do you know what harder working links are and how they can help you with your marketing and even sales?
As an author, you hear about a lot of great ways to maximize your income from your published work. Unfortunately, most advice around implementing new, or optimizing existing revenue is somewhat time intensive and often means taking something off your plate to make room for trying something new. Don’t get me wrong, experimenting and continuously trying new things is essential, but we are big fans of mastering the fundamentals first and picking the lowest hanging fruit.
One of those things we’d consider a marketing fundamental is the links you use in your marketing. You know, those things that actually take someone interested in your literary work and gives them a way to act on that interest and purchase your book. We are a bit biased of course, but we think the link is the most critical piece of any promotion (though a great call to action, solid copy, and an enticing visual are good contenders).
It’s likely you already use links in every marketing and promotional project you work on. But stop for a second and ask, “Is that link working for you as hard as it could be?”
Let me quickly introduce you to what we call “intelligent links,” the hardest working links on the internet. These aren’t the links you copy out of your browser window or a shortened bit.ly links, but rather supercharged links that can help you sell more books and unlock a new stream of revenue. And the best part is that you are already doing the hard and time-consuming work, swapping in the use of “intelligent links” doesn’t take much extra time at all.
Whether you call them a smart URL, a universal link, or an intelligent link doesn’t matter but knowing what they are and how they can help you increase your bottom line is what is essential. The gist is that an intelligent link often looks like a short link (which is the only similarity to a Bitly link), but are specially designed to do more than take everyone to the same destination.
Note, intelligent links may be short but most short links aren’t intelligent links!
An intelligent link is what happens when a short link goes to college to learn new skills, then puts on a superhero cape with the mission of helping your fans. Technically we identify an “intelligent” link as one that can offer some of the following additional functionality:
But for the author and publisher focused industry, there are four key benefits that an intelligent link offers.
- International Readership
- A Choice of Where to Buy
- Nurturing Your True Fans
- Affiliate Marketing
These are grouped together in two categories – helping you sell more books, and helping you earn additional revenue.
Sell More Books
At the end of the day, the more books you sell, the more gratifying all that hard work writing a book is. You want to sell more books, we want you to sell more books. Let’s make it happen! Below are three ways an intelligent link can help you do exactly that.
Chances are that if you are an author, then your books are available on Amazon.com. But did you know they are also probably available on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.ca? With Amazon’s self-publishing tools or most distributors, it is so easy today to have your books available for sale around the world with a click of a button that most indie authors don’t even realize they are doing it.
With Amazon now having 15 independent storefronts around the world, the challenge then comes in marketing your book to your readers who likely don’t all live in one place, even if you only publish in English.
One of the superpowers that an intelligent link might have is called “link localization,” and this is the ability for a single link to send different readers from around the world to the same book, but in their local storefront. For example, a single link would send someone from Seattle to Amazon.com but someone in Toronto, CA to Amazon.ca, someone in Melbourne, AU to Amazon.com.au and someone in London, UK to Amazon.co.uk.
This improvement on an amzn.to link, that will send everyone to the same place, can lead to a significant increase in your international sales, as you are reducing the friction in the buying process.
You are making it easy for people to buy your book. With a regular link, a reader from Canada, Australia or the UK would go back to their local Amazon store where they can’t actually complete the purchase. As a result, all of your international readers then have to search for your book, find it and finally buy it. A multi-step process assuming they don’t just instantly give up. By helping each shopper skip over these unnecessary hurdles, you are helping your link convert more clicks into sales.
(A UK based shopper getting sent to Amazon.com can’t buy the book!)
Don’t think you have international readers? You’d be surprised! I’d challenge you to that and encourage you to set this up and see how things look in six months. I’m guessing you’ll have clicks from around the world from interested readers!
(Much better! A UK reader at the UK Amazon store can buy the book, in their local currency!)
A Choice of Where to Buy
Honestly, many people still like to buy their books at places like Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, WalMart or their favorite indie bookstore. If you’re selling your book internationally, well, people are even less likely to just buy at Amazon. In Australia for example, Amazon’s market share is closer to 50%.
Have you ever shared a tweet with multiple links to your book, each in a different store? That has been a sad reality for many authors. Fortunately, this is another problem that an intelligent link can help you with.
If you’d like to provide your readers with an option to purchase a book in their favorite online store (as not everyone loves Amazon), Choice Pages are the way to go.
What’s a Choice Page? It is simply a mobile-optimized landing page that is specifically designed to showcase a single product, then provide multiple buying options. Instead of sending your readers directly to a storefront to purchase your book, the Choice Page gives them an intermediary page that allows them to buy your book in the online retailer of their choosing. Note: the music industry is obsessed with these and now uses them for almost every release!
Check out this example of one of our author clients’ using a Choice Page. Try clicking this link.
Giving your readers a choice of where to buy is a total game changer when it comes to driving more sales for your book. Don’t assume that everyone just buys from Amazon, or that people enjoy seeing four different links in a tweet. Sell more books by giving people more choices to buy – all in one link.
Also, as an added bonus, you get to learn what stores your fans prefer when given the option.
Nurturing Your True Fans
This benefit of an intelligent link is especially pertinent when you’re planning to sell more than one book.
Have you ever heard of retargeting? A better question yet, have you ever been retargeted? When you’re trying to buy that new pair of leather shoes online, don’t, and then all you see are ads for leather shoes for the rest of the month. That’s retargeting, and it works.
With an intelligent URL, you can fire a retargeting pixel every time someone clicks on a link you share – even if it goes to a website you don’t control (that’s where retargeting pixels usually fire).
Nerd alert here: every time that pixel fires, you’re building a retargeting pool which can be used with ad platforms such as Google and Facebook. The downside is you still have to pay for those ads, but usually, that’s a pretty limited and effective investment – as now you’re only targeting people who have shown real interest in your work before and clicked on one of your links.
Those are the people most likely to buy again, so when it comes time to launch your next book –they’re the first ones you should try to reach.
By the way, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend you read 1,000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly.
Your goal is to find your 1,000 “True Fans,” and then continue to communicate with and market to them. The retargeting functionality of an intelligent link will help you with this.
Earn Additional Revenue
Royalties from book sales are great. But they aren’t the only way to see the fruits of your hard work promoting your book. You can also earn affiliate commissions for all of the sales that come from the people you refer to your favorite bookstores. Amazon, Apple, Walmart, Kobo and Barnes & Noble all offer affiliate programs that reward you for sending them interested buyers, even if it is for your own books!
Yeah, yeah, I know, you’re an author, not an affiliate marketer.
But hear me out. By taking advantage of the fourth superpower of an intelligent link, auto-affiliation, your smart, short links can add a nice extra percentage of income to every click that resulted in a sale. Commissions can range anywhere from 1-10% depending on which store’s affiliate program you are using and what people end up buying. Further, you earn commissions for most everything the people you refer are buying, so when someone buys a TV on Walmart.com after clicking your book link you still get a commission for the TV and your book.
Trust me, it took me a long time to start affiliating book links I shared, but now it’s easy and effortless and something that happens automatically every time I share a smart link. And honestly, easy and effortless are the key here because I just couldn’t do this when I always had to log back into Amazon’s affiliate dashboard and try to create new affiliate links. When you use an intelligent linking tool for this it is automatically done for you.
Last, but not least, by affiliating your links you also get some extra sales information that can help you better optimize your promotional efforts moving forward. If this is of interest to you, then check out this blog on how to really use Amazon’s affiliate program for tracking with your marketing.
There are a growing number of intelligent link management tools, but there are a couple I’m partial to.
Booklinker is a great first step for those initially looking to start using an intelligent link management tool to promote on Amazon or are early in their writing career and need a free tool. BookLinker’s superpowers are focused around #1 – selling to a global audience.
Booklinker is used by over ten thousand indie authors and is a great free tool for promoting books and author pages across Amazon’s global network of stores. You can sign up free here: https://www.booklinker.net
We started building Geniuslink nearly a decade ago to help marketers solve some of their most frustrating problems, our goal was to provide links that worked smarter. Over the years the tool has evolved from being focused on supporting iTunes and Amazon to being an open-ended link management platform that solves numerous challenges. We are fortunate to count the marketing teams of some of the world’s largest companies along with affiliate publishers, bloggers, YouTubers, musicians and indie authors like yourself as our clients.
Geniuslink offers the four superpowers mentioned above (link localization, Choice Pages, retargeting pixels and auto-affiliation) as well as many others. While Geniuslink is a premium tool, our passion for helping all marketers encouraged us to price it in a way that even beginners can access the same tools that the pros use daily.
Signup at https://www.geni.us/pricing to get started right away or comment below to be eligible for one of the two free years of service we are giving away for #NaNoProMo 2019. Each winner also gets an onboarding session with our team to ensure they can get maximum value from our service.
You are already doing a lot of hard work with your marketing and with a few tweaks, you can get even more out of that work. Call it being efficient or call it being smart, either way, make sure your links are working hard for you, you deserve it!
We look forward to any questions or comments you have about taking advantage.
2 One-year Subscriptions to the Geniuslink service
This includes unlimited clicks and access to all of our tools including Choice Pages, Amazon localization and auto-affiliation and link pixeling.
Additionally, we’ll throw in an hour-long onboarding session for each free account to make sure the winners are able to maximize their marketing efforts and international book sales out of the gate. Valued at approximately $200 – $2000 / each (depending on the account’s click volume).
Want to win this giveaway? Simply leave a comment WHY below!
All comments must be left prior to midnight on Monday, May 13th, 2019 in order to be eligible to win. Winners for the week announced on Tuesday, May 14th.
Jesse Lakes | geniuslink
Jesse is a Native Montanan and the co-founder and CEO of Geniuslink – or, as he likes to say, head cheerleader. Before Jesse co-founded Geniuslink, he was a whitewater rafting guide, worked at a sushi restaurant, a skate/snowboard shop, was a professional student, and then became the first Global Manager at Apple for the iTunes Affiliate Program. Outside of the office, Jesse enjoys taking his family on adventures and firmly believes that “time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
Have you signed up for my newsletter yet?