300 Seconds

IndieNext Nominations Due Today

indienext-logo1Today is the deadline for nominations to the May 2015 IndieNext list.

The ABA makes nominating titles easy. Use this form on their website or click here to send an email. They recommend that you write conversationally, as if you were handselling to a customer. (And they even promise to take care of grammar and punctuation.)

If you’re looking beyond May, all of the deadlines for 2015 lists (and part of 2016) have been updated on the site here. So if you just finished a book that will not be released until later this summer, go ahead and nominate it. They’ll hold onto the nomination until the appropriate time.

Verify Customer Data

Today’s 300 Seconds marketing task will actually take just a few seconds. But those few seconds will be repeated throughout the day.

The customer information you have in your POS database is only as good as you are. As you check out customers today, take a few seconds to verify that the information you have on file is correct.

  • Do they still live on Main Street?
  • Is the land line still accurate or do they only have a mobile number?
  • Do you have their name spelled correctly?
  • Is their electronic mail address correct?
  • Have they been receiving your electronic mail newsletters and updates? (If not, check your “bounced” list.)

Social media has yet to pass electronic mail in terms of marketing reach and effectiveness. You can reach a lot of people through social media, but the messages are constructed for the masses and aren’t perceived as personally as electronic mail can be. But you can only achieve that reach and “connection” if the recipient information you have on hand is correct.

Get Up to Date

Take 5 minutes today to check your outgoing messages to see if they’re up to date. Here are a few places to look:

Auto-Reply Messages

  • Are you back from Winter Institute?
  • Are you still closed for President’s Day?

Electronic Mail Signatures

  • Are you promoting an event that occurred last week?
  • Have you finished that book you’re reading and moved on to another?


  • Are you promoting current events?
  • Is there a new sale or program you can promote?
  • Have your seasonal hours changed?

Answering Machine and Voice Mail

  • Just give it a quick listen to see if the outgoing message is accurate.
  • Remember to give callers an alternate way to reach you, if appropriate. “If you’d like to try to reach me through electronic mail, send me a note at beth.golay@booksandwhatnot.com.” or “We’re always open online! Visit us at booksandwhatnot.com.”

These methods of subtle outreach are so convenient and can be very effective. They work so well behind the scenes that it’s easy to overlook them when they need to be updated.

Cross-Promotion, in Reverse

Yesterday we looked at cross-promoting our marketing efforts to make sure your Facebook followers know you have a newsletter, your Twitter followers can find your website, etc. Today we’re going to spend our 300 marketing seconds by reaching out to our newsletter readers who are not aware of our social presence.

If you send a store newsletter through electronic mail, encourage social media “likes” and “follows” by inserting a “house” ad, like the one below. Just create an ad to fit the width of your newsletter column, then link the image/ad to your profile page for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Just remember to make the ad specific to one platform, because you can only link to one page at a time.



Cross-Promote Your Marketing Efforts

Unless you survey everyone who walks into your store, it’s difficult to know how individuals are connecting with you. Did they find out about a specific book through your newsletter? Did they see an event mentioned on Facebook? Are they faithful readers of your website?

Do they even know that you promote your store through all of these platforms?

It’s important cross-promote your marketing efforts. Tell Facebook users about your newsletter. Send readers to your blog or encourage social media “likes” and “follows” through your newsletter. To do so, you just need a hook, an image, a link, and a landing page.

Today, take 5 minutes to do just one of these things. For example, why would Facebook followers want to receive your newsletter? Does it offer more than they receive through social media? Probably.


There’s an old advertising adage that says to capture the consumers attention you have to be first, best, or different. The same is true of the consumer experience. They often like to be first, best, or different. This promotional graphic above (which you should steal) offers that opportunity.

Post the image in a Facebook post with a link to your newsletter sign-up page. Then you can reach potential customers who might not realize you have a newsletter, and you can remind those who do receive it what a great value it is for them. If you want to specifically track this campaign, you can shorten your landing page link in bitly and then track the analytics.

That’s enough for today’s 5 minutes. Tomorrow, we’ll look at reversing the cross-promotion.