Talk to any savvy digital marketer these days and you’ll find that the trend everyone is discussing is “micro-moments.” It should come as no surprise that the phrase was coined by Google to describe those “intention-laden moments” that drive users who want to “know, go, do, or buy.”

While these intentional moments are critical for Google to understand what ads to push down to the user, they can also be important moments that writers can use to build community, introduce, and sell their books. They are moments when you can shape the perception of your potential audience. Don’t lose the opportunity to do so!

But first you must understand where the audience — and therefore the opportunity — is. Let’s start up at the macro level and then we’ll move to specifics. Traditionally, marketers (spurred on by work done by various companies, most notably Proctor & Gamble), thought of the customer-buying journey as consisting of three steps or “moments”:

* Stimulus

* Shelf Experience

* Experience

The advent of the Internet created an additional step, one that now takes places after the stimulus, and is referred to as the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) — a term popularized by Google’s Jim Lecinski and discussed in his ebook, ZMOT: Winning The Zero Moment of Truth.

The ZMOT is that decision-making moment when a consumer turns to the web to do research on a specific product. As Lecinski notes, “Whether you sell yachts or shaving cream, your customers’ first impression — and quite possibly their final decision — will be made in that moment: ZMOT.”

More recently, digital marketing maven Brian Solis has added another step: the UMOT. Solis writes that “The UMOT signifies the instant when a customer creates content based on an experience with your product or service and publishes it in their community or network of preference for others to find. The intention of doing so is a combination of self-expression and the desire to inform others.”

The Customer Journey is now five steps, then. Below is a graphic that Solis has done to illustrate the steps along the way.


So, what does this have to do with you — the writer looking to sell your book? Well, first and foremost it establishes a new Mental Model for the way you locate, build, and reach out to your potential audience of readers. Let’s call it The Audience Location Model. Let’s map that model to the five marketing steps pictured above.

We’ll start with the first step of the journey: the stimulus. How do you 1) “stimulate” a potential reader’s awareness of and interest in your book? Or, alternatively, 2) how do you identify a stimulus (an event or trend) that provides an opportunity for you to build community, or even pitch your book?

We suggest a two-fold strategy. First, play the long game — and play it well. Find great people to follow, build a community, engage in conversations, retweet, favorite, like, and when the time is right, mention your book. This strategy works, but it takes patience — and reciprocation, what we refer to in our office as The Social Contract.

Second, you should also follow events and trends that are closely tied to your book. Of course you’ll need to identify what those might be. We suggest you start by identifying the following three types of events or trends that are relevant to your book (there may be more). Here are three you can begin with:

  1. Internal – refers to events or trends in your book (e.g., Pearl Harbor)
  2. External – Birth and death date, awards, sales figures, etc. of comparable authors.
  3. Trending – current events-hashtags that can provide marketing and community-building opportunities.

There are a number of tools you can use to engage in this “forensic marketing.” Of course Twitter and Facebook have trend feeds and Google has a number of tools, including Google Trends, that can be helpful. But the secret sauce lies in the ability to understand that a specific trend or event has a causal connection to your book in some way and provides a marketing opportunity. For example, if you have written a book about female pilgrimage, you would want to join in on conversations about the movie Wild. In short, to identify that causal connection, you have to know your own work and you have to keep a watchful eye on the social channels — a time-consuming activity!

In our next post, we’ll take a look at the second step of your reader’s journey, the Zero Moment of Truth, and discuss how you can use it to shape your reader’s perception of your work.

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