How to Promote Your Association’s Publications to Boost Sales

21 Mar How to Promote Your Association’s Publications to Boost Sales

Publications from your association can both increase your authority in the field and bring in much-needed income. However, many organizations have no idea how to promote their publications, other than advertising them on their own websites or selling ecourse texts. Read on to learn five tips to give you a wider audience and boost sales, whether you are selling one-off books or periodicals.

Advertise and Sell Within Your Industry

You’ve got to get out of the insular world of your own website and internal publications to really get the sales you desire. While you don’t have to sell with competitors, finding niches within your industry that are related will serve you well.

Trade journals are a particularly good place to start. For instance, if your organization serves healthcare providers, look for places to advertise with readers in medical device, biotech, pharma, supply, and similar fields. Think about who has discretionary income to spend (students, salespeople)? Who is looking for insider information in your field (job seekers)?

You may not have to pay for advertising space either. If your book is unique and useful, it might be able to grab some free editorial promotion. You may have seen excerpts from books printed in major magazines like The New Yorker or The Atlantic. You can try that within your industry as well, whether in a trade journal or newspaper.

Sell via Online Marketplaces

There’s no reason you can’t sell your organization’s books via online marketplaces like Amazon, just as if you were a novelist or travel guide writer. It’s easiest to sell digital copies only, but for publications like how-to manuals with a lot of graphics, you may want to consider print on demand. Avoid pre-printing copies until you have a better sense of whether or not your book will actually sell.

If this feels too daunting for your association, it’s relatively easy these days to outsource the entire process, even the writing. You can hire agencies or freelancers to compose, edit, layout, and upload your publications, including cover design. You can also outsource promotional tasks, such as writing marketplace descriptions, soliciting legitimate reviews, and the like. It costs a bit up front, but you can view it as an investment.

Try the Traditional Publishing Route

We take self-publishing so much for granted lately that it’s easy to overlook the traditional publishing route. Although this doesn’t work in every case, it’s ideal for scholarly works, books that won’t become dated quickly, and other publications that would normally sell in conventional or university bookstores.

This is a more time-consuming method, with no guarantees of success. Some publishers do not accept unsolicited submissions, so you must get a literary agent or manager first. But with some legwork, you can find publishing houses looking for your content and willing to put up an advance (a lump sum payment against initial sales).

The good news with nonfiction books is that you don’t have to write the entire publication to pitch it to a publisher. Instead, you submit a book proposal that includes an outline and a sample chapter or two, along with information about your credentials and the market for your publication.

Create a Monthly Magazine or Journal

If you’ve only been publishing books or manuals so far, you might try starting a monthly publication, like a magazine or journal. Like with books, it’s easier to start with digital editions and move on to print copies if the demand is there.

The great thing about periodicals is that once you sell a subscription, you’ll likely get repeat business every year. This can be a cash cow if you create quality content consistently.

If you already produce a periodical but it’s members only, think about opening it up to the general public. You can find other ways to produce exclusive content for members, and it’s worth it for the potential revenue you bring in by increasing your potential market.

Consider the 1-2-3 Strategy

Is your association is new to publishing? Consider the 1-2-3 strategy to introduce your publications to readers:

  1. The first publication is free to everyone–easy to advertise virtually anywhere or give away as hard copy.
  2. The second publication is free to members, but others must pay.
  3. The third publication costs everyone to purchase.

In each publication, include teasers for the others in the series to entice people to buy them.

Looking for more ways to make your association more efficient and financially healthy? Jaffe Management is here to help. Reach out today to tell us how we can help with membership, events, website management and more.