Using your book to drive customers to your website

A quote attributed to Herbie Hancock goes, “One thing I like about jazz is that it emphasized doing things differently from what other people were doing.”

A lot of what I see offered in website driven marketing involves revamping the website whether it be a new design, SEO, key words and so on. Not so much different today than what was recommended yesterday. What’s needed is something that is truly different, that piques the curiosity, that generates interest. Rather than depending on being at the top of search results, which is important, what if they came looking for you?

Also, unless you can identify the visitor by getting them to log in and give specific information how do you find out where they are located and other information that can help with the overall marketing efforts. I visit dozens of websites a day, look around, but rarely engage the site and leave my calling card.

Recently, I was approached for a project that was to involve a book that the author wanted to somehow get interest in the other offerings on his website. While it may help to have a QR code, website address and other identifiers either on the cover or inside. The question I asked was, “What’s going to compel the reader to go to the site in the first place?”

The book was to be one of three parts available for purchase. The book itself is a training guide, another book was to be a workbook and then there were to be additional materials which would be available in some manner wherever the book was sold. Doable, but logistically problematic. You end up with three separate pieces that optimally would be sold as a set but not necessarily so. After giving it some consideration I asked, “Why not combine the first two into a single book and have the supplemental materials available on the website?”

What we came up with is to create a unique copy of each book. On one of the pages there will be a unique number that when the reader goes to access the supplemental materials will require creating an account and entering that specific number. There is nothing magical about the number other than using it as the customer account number. But the act of creating an account and logging in will give information as to who it is, where they are and other information that can be used later in other marketing efforts. Once in the system, they can access the supplemental materials for free.

The key to the process is VDP, Variable Data Processing. We create a string of unique random numbers which are applied to the target location in the book during printing. Since the content of the book is the same there is no need to register a new ISBN for each. It’s only the identifier within the book that changes on a per copy basis.

We’ve done this before in both cover and in interior applications. What’s really great is that it does not cost any more to print than without the unique identifier, but does require some knowledge of the systems involved and how the process works.

So how does this benefit you? If your book is non-fiction you could offer more or updated information that comes after the book is printed. For fiction you could offer discussions and insights into the characters, settings, and other information that you may have related to the book thus elevating potential interest in the storyline. Do you have other books to sell? Do you have other items that are related to the book? And the list goes on.

Plus, having the user’s information gives you insight as to where your marketing efforts are paying off. When books are sold on Amazon or through a wholesaler you rarely get any information as to who it was or where they are located. Is your marketing effort in LA working better than that in Miami? It would be nice to know wouldn’t it?

Basically, this strategy can be a significant part of the broader marketing effort that drives traffic to your website. I can think of a dozen ways where this application would benefit anyone looking to generate interest for their website and compel the reader to visit. And it can work with just about any book that you may have whether it is new or one you are looking to reissue and want to expand interest for.