Blogger: Rachel Kent
Yesterday, I was reading an article in the CBA Retailers + Resources magazine (April 2015) about welcoming little children into Christian bookstores (to increase sales) by having a large children’s section with toys and books for sale and also for the children to play with while in the store. As a mom, this set up is likely to increase the amount of money I spend at the store because I nearly always purchase something for my daughter at a bookstore and if she’s occupied with some toys in a visible play area, I am more free to browse. This type of store does make me feel more welcome and will result in my spending more time and money there.
The article got me thinking…how can authors make readers feel more welcome? Authors are trying to sell books and readers that feel included and welcomed into the author’s space are more likely to continue to buy from that author. Many readers like to feel close to the author, even if they’ve never met him or her before. How can you make your website, Facebook, blog, etc. more welcoming to readers–inviting them in to spend some time with you and hopefully increase the chances of their purchasing your book?
And yes, as Christian writers, it’s not all about sales–but to spread the message you are hoping to share, people do need to be purchasing your product.
Here are a few suggestions I have to make readers feel more welcome and I’d love to hear yours!
1) Create a Q and A section on your website that answers the most popular questions you are asked in your emails. Do get a little bit personal, but don’t share private information, 0f course.
2) Share pictures on Facebook, in your newsletter, and on your blog. You don’t need to share pics of your kids if you are uncomfortable with that, but put pictures of you on trips, with your pet, doing research, and more. Visuals are really important these days.
3) If you create a special “street team” don’t announce that to all of your fans. You want everyone to feel special and you don’t want to make any of your readers feel less special than others.
4) Include snippets from reader emails (with permission) on posts or in newsletters. This shows all of the fans that you are paying attention and care about what they are saying. What they share with you can really be life changing for you, too, and it’s good to let them know that you are touched.
5) Create a guestbook on your website–these can allow for fans to “check in” and show where they live on a map of the world. The guestbook doesn’t need to allow comments or pictures–they come in all different types. You might not want comments or pictures if you don’t want to spend much time approving the posts. Find one that fits your needs.
How have you made readers feel welcome? What new ideas have come to you as you’ve read this post? Please share! 🙂