Monday, March 14, 2011

Small Press Month, Tip # 14

March 14 - Do a direct marketing profile study of your target reader. Call or email a few people who are in your target audience and ask them to save their physical direct mail, catalogs, magazines and other material they commonly read or refer to for two months (longer if they will do it).  Also ask them to forward you any blogs, listserves, websites, Yahoo! or MeetUp Groups, or emails they receive from other marketers about the subject -- make sure they understand that you want emails that target the part of their profile that matches your book (in other words, ask them not to forward spam). HINT: You are likely one of these people, so save your materials for this study too!  (Make this easy for them and don't bug them too much - just give them a paper sack and thank them each week for remembering to save their stuff for you.)

EXAMPLE: Your book is about the history of toy trains. You probably are an enthusiast or you would not have cared enough to write the book. A fellow train enthusiast is also a business owner with three children, a house, recent experiences purchasing online, two cars, an eclectic art collection, a yearly vacation to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, in addition to his fascination with toy trains. This guy probably gets a lot of mail and email. You want to see everything he receives related to his hobbies in any way. Sometimes they aren't overtly direct, and you want those too, because this is what your profiled reader is trusting for information. 
What you gain from looking at this material is an understanding of your target reader, but also the messages that work and don't work, price points, trends and marketing strategies.  It also gives you insight into experts for future endorsements, marketing budgets of competitors, and collaborations and partnerships. All very valuable to a person marketing a product to the same audience -- like you!

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