The Common Mistake Made Marketing Online

[5 Min Read]

As I’ve continued my journey becoming a writer and posting more on the internet, the more people I’ve found myself engaging with. We exchange stories and advice, but as time has gone on, I’ve noticed a strange marketing trend among my peers. A marketing technique I like to call, cold DMing.

What is cold DMing?

Its when you’re scrolling through Twitter, minding your own business, then out of nowhere you get a Direct Message from someone you’ve never heard of pitching you their book.

As a new author myself, I get the need to market your product. It doesn’t matter how much effort you put into your pride and joy, if you don’t market, no one will find the work you spent months and month laboring over.

Now, I won’t sit here and claim to know all the answers. There is plenty for me to learn, but what I do know from working in sales is that cold calling, emailing, DMing is the worst way to move your product.

Years ago, I used to sell instruments for a major music company. When times were slow, the company would push us to pull up a list of all our customers with rewards cards, and cold call them in hopes to drum up business. We all hated doing it because no one was ever happy to hear from you.

Because, why would they? They are either enjoying a meal with their family or at work, and then some random salesman is trying to sell them a tuba?

To my memory, I never sold ONE instrument cold calling. However, what method did work was talking to my customer.

I’d be on the sales floor, and I would notice some dude browsing guitars. I would walk up to him and see how he’s doing. I wouldn’t even mention the guitars or pitch him any sort of accessory. I’d just shoot the shit, maybe play a few of the guitars with him, and he’d leave. A solid 3/4 of the time, the same guy would come back a week later and purchase that very guitar we played on together.

When we talked, I didn’t once ask him if he wanted the guitar or spewed a bunch specks to him. I just hung out with him and chatted. That’s how I sold most of my instruments and managed to make an okay living in sales.

What does this have to do with online marketing?

When you cold DM me about your book, giving me a pitch or synopsis entirely out of the blue, I promise you, I will avoid your book like the plague. Because the reality is, in that particular interaction, I give about as much of a fuck about your book as you do mine.

I don’t know who you are, and I don’t have time to give a crap about your random work. Only you and your mom have the passion for your writing you do.

So what’s the answer?

Obviously, we all need to market our product if we want a single hope of being successful. Thing is, if you’re going to do it right, you need to put in the hard work.

Find like-minded people and engage with them. Actually, read other people’s works and comment with your thoughts. Build a dialogue and open your mind to different perspectives and methods. Not only will you become a better writer, but the community you are building with have the incentive to check out your work too!

It wasn’t until I started engaging with strangers on the internet, and in writing communities, did I even begin to see any kind of movement in my own fandom.

My suggestion

For the love of God, stop DMing me with your random BS and actually try to get to know the people on your spam list.

Engage with others and stop having your sole focus be pushing product. Reach out, make friends, and open up your mind to learning. It’s then, with time, your audience will find you, and you will ultimately find success in the field you love so very much.

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