Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What Can You Get Back On Book Giveaways?

When I recently displayed at a writers conference on behalf of the book publicity firm that I work for, I filled my table with fliers and business cards.  But I noticed other booths had giveaways – not T-shirts and mugs, but pens, pads, books, and similar items.  Everyone likes swag, but what really makes the most sense to give out to attendees?

One strategy is to pick something people will use repeatedly.  Pens and pads or notebooks fill that requirement.

Another strategy is to provide something functional and useful, an item that won’t just get tossed in a drawer.

Some like giving away an item that people might display – like a paperweight or a hat, thus, advertising to others and not just reminding the initial user of their existence.

Occasionally, the premiums are something of quality – a decent tote bag, a nice umbrella, or a useful tech accessory.

Other giveaways are limited, distributed only by a raffle drawing or some type of qualifier.

Giveaways should fill a need of the recipient, but sometimes they may appeal to children – stuffed animals, balls, or toys.

A big issue determining the freebie of choice is budget.  How much do these things cost and how much do you want to spend?  This may depend on the value of a new customer.  If your customer buys a $15 book, the give-away will be less expensive than what a car dealer, hotel resort or expensive consultant gives out.

The giveaway should be durable.  If it fails to work or falls apart quickly, not only will the recipient not have a reminder of you around, he or she will recall that you handed out junk and associate you with garbage.

Food and drink giveaways buy short-term gratification but people won't remember you after they belch.

A good idea would be to get a sponsor – or a partner – who will allow you to put your info on a giveaway and they will foot the bill.  All that you’ll need to do is stamp their logo on it as well.  You can get someone from an unrelated, non-competitive industry – or you can get someone who complements but doesn’t compete with what you do.

Or you can give away a book – but then what will you sell?

Actually, the book giveaway could lead to more sales.  Theoretically, recipients read your book, love it, and tell enough people about it so that sales come about.  If you wrote several books consider giving away the older one as a loss-leader to generate interest in your new book.

Another thing you can do is get a sponsor for the giveaway.  Let’s say the book costs $2 to print.  Add in the shipping cost of getting it to the conference.  Now take that cost, multiply it by 200 or however many copies you want to give away.  Now hit up a sponsor or two to cover the costs.  That sponsoring company should be someone with a cross-promotional tie-in, based on the content of your book.  Would a car dealer help you give out books if the story is along the lines of Fast & Furious?  Heck, you can even do the give away at the dealership.

Giveaways should make people feel good and to think of you in a positive way.  Spend a little more to deliver something of value and the ROI should take care of itself.  If that doesn’t work, hand out $2 bills with your website printed on a card, telling them they will “enrich” their lives with your book.  Ok, a little corny, but they’ll remember that you gave ‘em two bucks – and hopefully recall the name of your site or book.

Writers, please never violate these three rules!

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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