Thinking about my own promotional efforts, I realized that there are four primary benefits I receive from them, one or more of which are present in each promotion. They are:
Name recognition is such a valuable asset that it can be helpful to do promotional activities solely for the purpose of getting your name out in front of people. Whether you attempt to get yourself, or your book, mentioned in a magazine or newspaper article, or you create a humorous or inspiring video that you hope will go viral, publicity give you either credibility, or recognizability, or both.
One way to get your name and writing circulating on the web is to give it away with no strings (or opt-in) attached. Article marketing is a good example of this. Of course, free content usually contains a short bio, contact information, some basics about your book or business, and an opt-in offer to entice the
reader to come to your website and learn more. Freebies definitely earn their keep.
In general, most promotion has a publicity element to it, as whatever you do has at least your name, book title, or product information on it.
2. Relationship Building
While you want to constantly be promoting yourself and your book, you don't want every tweet, or blog post, or video to be selling, selling, selling. You would quickly lose most of your potential readers that way.
Relationship building is a time honored form of promotion, and blogging is its leader online. The beauty of relationship building promotional activities is that what you're writing or talking about can be focused directly on your book, or its subject, so there can be a direct relationship between your book and the promotional activity, without there being any direct selling.
Yet relationship building goes beyond talking about your book, and touches on the personal. It's a chance for people to get to "know, like and trust" you, not only as an author, and expert in your field, but as a person. Twitter is exceptional at blending the personal and professional, while allowing you to connect with your readers in real time.
3. Product Creation
With today's emphasis on content marketing, on creating and giving away valuable content in order to entice your audience to want more and buy your book, service, or product, your promotional efforts can actually be the basis of new information products. Promotional activities such as creating a content rich teleseminar, blogging, article marketing, and creating an informational video series, can all be repurposed into products of their own.
You may want to wait awhile after your current promotion ends before reusing your content, but how long you wait is up to you. If you're continually generating new traffic, there's no need to wait long at all.
While not all promotion can or should be turned into its own product, as you want to continue freely distributing promotional material that supports your book and other income generating activities, the potential for future product creation is certainly worth considering when you're mapping out your promotion plan, and deciding which promotional activities to invest your time in.
Last, and nowhere near least, is promotion directly tied to generating book sales, or other income. It's perfectly okay to say, "Buy my book!" But you don't want to be saying that all day every day, tweet after tweet, email after email. It will get old fast. Yet you also don't want that to scare you away from keeping your readers informed about the many stages of a particular offer. It's a balancing act, and like any other skill the more you practice it the better you'll get.
That's why it's important to mix-up your marketing, and do some things that are only about getting your name out there, or are only about building relationships, while doing some promotion that includes two, three, or all four of these primary benefits.
Putting it all together
Like writing, marketing is creative and very personal. So, experiment and play. Find out through experience what works for you. When you've got your promoting hat on, what comes easily? What do you struggle with? How do you feel after the promotion's done? What created the most income?
When you know the answers to these questions, and have evaluated the different promotional activities you're considering using the four primary benefits I've listed above, you'll make better choices, and be a more confident and fearLess promoter of your own gifts and talents, which is what your books, products, and services really are.