Friday, November 9, 2012

Turning Marketing Messages Into Actual Purchases: My Nikki Navarre Adventure

Morgan here with a Field Report from the Emerald City Writers' Conference in Seattle, WA.

Lately, Therese and I have heard many a tale of woe and frustration from published authors who feel their marketing efforts are wasted energy.  Speaking from personal experience, I can't stress how much marketing is a marathon NOT a sprint.  You have to give your marketing efforts time to marinade.  Give it time to soak in and "Don't go changing to try to please <them>....<They> love you just the way you are...." to quote Billy Joel.

A good retail marketing campaign won't reap real results for four to six months.  (Yes, months!)  In my day job, we just booked a five figure order from a customer that I've been working with for almost two years.  (Yes, years!)  So, take the time to design your campaign, target your efforts, focus your execution, and go write your next book!

To give you some perspective on marketing turn around time to an actual sale, I would like to recount my adventure with the ever lovely and wise Laura Navarre during the Emerald City Writers' Conference.

My first encounter with Laura Navarre (aka Nikki Navarre) was via our conference goodie bag.  She included two free read booklets in our bags.  Both free reads were professionally printed with full color covers.  Each booklet contained the first chapter of her latest works. Normally, I am overwhelmed with the amount of stuff in my conference goodie bags.  And I felt overwhelmed this time, too....there were at least five or six free read booklets in the bag.  BUT, since I've been a Russian history buff since an elementary school lesson on Peter the Great and his 'Window to the West', Ms. Navarre's "The Russian Seduction" cover caught my eye. {PUSH marketing in action: the booklets were handouts in the goodie bag.}

Free read booklets in our goodie bags.

My second encounter with Ms. Navarre was during the bookfair.  Therese and I were running around chatting with our friends and taking pictures of author book signing setups for this blog.  Though I didn't know her, Ms. Navarre caught my attention.  She was wearing a Russian military costume, complete with embroidered medals and epaulets.  (I'm not quite a slave to fashion, but I do recognize a cute outfit when I see one.)  Plus she was incredibly engaging.  I complimented her on her costume and chatted with her about her experience as a diplomat, stationed in Russia, charged with looking for weapons of mass destruction.  So, now I'm thinking, "Hey, my WIP features a Russian billionaire.  This book will be a great research buy."  BUT, I already had three signed books in my hand and I was trying to stick to a budget.  I thanked her for her time and asked if I could take the picture below, then ran out to the cashier before I ran out of money. {POP marketing in action: Though I didn't know her or her books, I was drawn to Ms.Navarre at a point-of-purchase.}

Laura Navarre in her Nikki Navarre persona at the book fair.

The next day, I attended Ms. Navarre's writing craft workshop titled: Sympathy for the Devil: Dark Heroes in Popular Fiction.  During this session, she used movie clips to illustrate her points.  The posters from her book signing table were a silent beacon for her works during her preso.  She also had a stack of free reads ready for us to take.  Once again, I was impressed with her knowledge and professionalism.  I actually went up to her after her talk and apologized for not buying her book the previous day. {PULL marketing in action: The topic of her workshop 'pulled' me to her session where her signs silently PUSHed her books.}

I quickly rectified the whole 'not buying' situation via the Barnes & Noble app on my iPhone.  I purchased the Nook version of both her featured books, as I sat in the writers' lounge.  I then followed her on Twitter and shot her a Tweet about buying her books.  She took the time to respond to my she has a raving fan!

Overall Comments:
  • It is clear that Ms. Navarre put thought, time, and energy into her marketing strategy for this conference.  How much time?  I'm not sure, but I'm sure if you visited her website, and asked her nicely, she might tell you!
  • She also made a monetary investment.  (Did I mention she had an ad placed in the conference booklet?) But all her investments of time and money can be easily recycled and reused for other conferences and workshops.
  • Note that her session was on Dark Heroes.  She could've easily done a session on a Russian related topic, but for this conference she chose a more general topic to attract a broader base of people.  Brilliant!
  • Note: her messages touched me THREE times, before I made a purchase: 1) free read in the goodie bag, 2) during the bookfair / signing, and 3) via her workshop presentation.  (I didn't see her ad until after my purchase.)
In the end, her marketing led to my purchases and set the stage for others to make purchases during the conference and in the near future.

    Put a coordinated, multi-touch, marketing campaign to work for you!


    1. Thanks so much for your positive feedback, Morgan! The Emerald City conference was definitely a major focus of my marketing strategy this fall, strategically timed as it was right after The Russian Seduction came out!

      In addition to the items you mentioned, I was also on the organizing committee for the conference--I was the Goody Bag Chair. So a lot of the investment was time for me. My financial outlay was the booklets and the program ad, which were both affordable.

      Nikki Navarre

    2. Hi Nikki!

      It is our pleasure to feature your GREAT marketing plan at work.

      I especially love the fact that you volunteered time in support of the overall conference. Being active in your local RWA chapter reaps so many rewards and contacts!

      Please keep us posted on what you are up to...and if you ever want to write a guest post on your marketing plans and adventures, please let us know!

      Hugs, Morgan :D