Posts Tagged ‘subtitle’

Testing your book’s title before your book is printed is the only way you can be sure that you’ve chosen the right title and subtitle for your book. Title testing is easier and cheaper than it was ever before.

It just takes a little effort to test your book’s proposed title and subtitle, but it can save you a lot of frustration and lost opportunities down the road.

Testing titles on your website

Here are some of the tools and techniques you can use to test proposed titles and subtitles on your website:

  • ŸLanding pages. Start by creating separate landing pages for each proposed book title. Landing pages don’t show up in a website’s navigation; visitors have to know where to go to get there. (You can keep search engines from indexing your landing pages by adding the HTML NOFOLLOW command to the header of each landing page.)
  • Setting up a test. Populate each landing page with identical content, but add a downloadable incentive, such as a tip sheet or table of contents, on each landing page. This will allow you to not only track the number of visitors to each page, but the number of visitors interested enough to download your incentive.
  • Driving traffic. There are several ways you can test the drawing power of different titles. One way is to drive traffic to your landing pages using blog posts, or Tweets, that contain different titles. Another option would be to create an A-B home page test, or an A-B-C test, so that every second (or third) visitor encounters a slightly different home page, i.e., a home page with a link containing a different titles.

The advantage of this approach is that- -assuming you know how to add and link new pages on your website and work with online resources like Google Analytics—there’s virtually no cost involved.

The disadvantage of this approach is that, depending on your blog and website traffic, you’ll soon get an idea of which title drives the most landing page traffic and downloads. However, it may take a week, or more, to come to a definite conclusion about which title draws the most traffic.

Pay-Per-Click options

You can speed-up your title testing using pay-per-click search engine advertising. In this case, you would create a pay-per-click campaign with 2 or 3 ads, with a different title in each ad.

Pay-per-click ads provide you with immediate feedback. Within a few moments of setting up your campaign, you’ll begin to see patterns developing.

The disadvantage, of course, is that you have to pay for pay-per-click advertisements. However, you are always in control; you can specify how much money you want to spend on your title testing each day. In addition, you can fine tune by targeting specific geographic areas, or excluding certain areas (i.e., foreign countries, etc.)

Using online surveys to test proposed book titles

During the last few years, a variety of online testing sites have appeared. Survey sites allow you to create and post online surveys hosted either on your site or the survey’s website.

Examples include: Free Online Surveys, Poll Daddy, SurveyMonkey, Zoomerang, and hundreds of others.

The best online surveys are not only free, but they offer a variety of survey formats: multiple choice, ranking, fill in the blank, and ratings. Many sites start-off free, but charge minimum monthly subscription charges for more advanced displaying and reporting options.

Best practices for online book title surveys

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your free online book title surveys:

  • ŸProvide a context. Set the stage for your title options with a short introductory paragraph that explains what your book is about, who you wrote it for, and the benefits it offers. Explain that you are looking for the titles that best describe the book you’re writing.
  • ŸProvide multiple options. Don’t just test titles, test the subtitles, too. And separate titles and subtitles. Just because you’ve paired a specific title with a specific subtitle doesn’t mean they work best in that order. Use separate questions for titles and subtitles, testing title against title and subtitle against title.
  • ŸInvite suggestions. Don’t assume that the title and subtitle options you provide include all the possibilities. Provide a text box for participants to use suggesting new alternatives.

Once you get started with testing book titles and subtitles, you can refine the process as much as you want to. For example, you can invite participants to rank the various possibilities, or ask them to rate the alternatives on scales of 1-5. You can also explore ways to qualify survey participant responses according to the likelihood of them purchasing each title and subtitle alternative.

Surveying the right people

The quality of your survey results depends on how effectively you have targeted the right market. It would be futile, for example, to invite everyone living in city of Dover, NH, for example, to comment on proposed titles and subtitles for #BOOK TITLE Tweet: 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Compelling Article, Book, and Event Titles.

A better choice would be to survey the faculty of the University of New Hampshire’s Writing Program, or- -even- -students participating in the program. Even better, however, would be to survey Published & Profitable friends and members, or readers of my blog. So, always make sure you target your surveys to the right audience!

To learn more about surveys and market testing

To learn more about market research, I recommend Jay Conrad Levinson and Robert Kaden’s More Guerrilla Marketing Research, which you can learn more about here. Unlike many books on the target, this book was written for business owners interested in a fast track to results. I’ve interviewed Robert, and he has a refreshingly candid approach to the topic.

The book’s subtitle summarizes the book’s purpose: Asking the Right People, the Right Questions, the Right Way, and Effectively Using the Answers to Make More Money.

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Roger-Step1-PlanOne of the most important decisions you should ask yourself during the planning process is, “Who is my intended reader?”

Your answer to the question will have a lot of bearing on the overall profitability of your book publishing project as well as help you make faster progress. Your response will influence your book’s title and subtitle, your book’s contents, as well as how you market your book.

More important, by carefully answering the above question, you can not only serve your most target market better, but you might also be able to write a shorter book and get it to press faster!

All readers are not created equal

Roger-Parker-Post-2-Reader-IDentif-Plnr-TWO.jpgThe market segments you want to sell to in the future should determine the readers your book targets. As every business owner and marketing professional knows, some segments are more profitable, more loyal, and easier to deal with than others.

By identifying your most desired clients as early during the planning process as possible, you tailor your book to your A-list prospect’s needs, rather than “spinning your wheels” with more B-list and C-list prospects.

Thus, start to plan your book by analyzing your firm’s past and current clients. I recommend creating a worksheet similar to the Published & Profitable Reader Identification Worksheet shown at left. Worksheets make it easy for you to answer questions like:

  1. What characteristics do my most profitable, A-list, clients have in common?
  2. What are their problems and goals?
  3. Why is this reader segment important to me?
  4. What problems and services do I hope to sell them in the future?
  5. What keywords do they use when searching for information online?
  6. Who are the experts this market segment trusts?

What your answers will reveal

Your responses to the above questions will help you get started planning a profitable book, one that will open doors of opportunity by attracting qualified prospects and search engine traffic.

Let’s analyze each question and the information your answer will provide:

  1. What characteristics do my most profitable, A-list, clients have in common? Your response will help you better understand the readers market segment most likely to turn into profitable long-term clients.
  2. What are their problems and goals? By focusing on your most profitable market segment, you can tailor your book’s contents and marketing message to their particular needs. You can “go deep” and better address this market segment’s needs, without diluting your message by attempting to appeal to the needs of every market segment.
  3. Why is this reader segment important to me? Your answer will reinforce the reasons for focusing your book to appeal to a few, key, marketing segments. You can state your answer in terms of average cost per sale, frequency of purchase (i.e., cash-flow), the number of referrals they generate, the promptness of their payments, their long-term loyalty, or ease of dealing with them.
  4. What problems and services do I hope to sell them in the future? Knowing what you want to sell them in the future helps you identify the content needed for your book. You’ll be able to subtly plant the seeds of future purchases in your book, highlighting areas of your expertise and describing the benefits of taking action with the help of your tools or your qualified assistance.
  5. What keywords do they use when searching for information online? Knowing the terms that attract appropriate search engine traffic will help you choose the right title and subtitle for your book as well as the right section titles and chapter titles. Book titles that contain relevant keywords enjoy a great advantage over their more creative, but less SEO-friendly, competition.
  6. Who are the experts this market segment trusts? Your answer will help you identify your competition, existing books in your area as well as the blogs and websites that are competing for your ideal client’s attention. Addressing this question now saves you time in the future when you are preparing the “competing books” section of your book proposal.

As you can see above, there are numerous benefits to beginning your author journey by identifying your most desired readers. In addition to doing a better job of serving their needs, by focusing on your ideal prospects, you might be able to write a shorter book. A book that serves “everybody” has to be encyclopedic, but books that target specific markets can focus on just the desired market’s information needs. Thus, a shorter book that can be brought to market faster.

Take action now

Your Reader Identification Worksheet doesn’t have to be fancy. You can create one by simply taking a sheet of paper and dividing it into three equal columns.

  • Ÿ  Left-hand column. Label the left-hand column “A-list” or “Most Desired Prospects.”
  • Ÿ  Center column. Label this “B- and C-list” or “OK prospects.”
  • Ÿ  Right-hand column. Label the remaining column “Least desirable” or “More Trouble Than They’re Worth” prospects.

Then, thinking about your client and customer experiences over the past few years, look for commonalities shared by your best clients and ways they differ from your “just OK” and toxic clients.

The business of books

If all this sounds familiar to your previous experiences preparing business and marketing plans…that’s because books are businesses!

Just as a strong business plan begins with identifying the intended market and their needs, nonfiction books should begin the same way. Books have to be sold–that’s the bottom line. It’s a waste of time to write the perfect book, only to find out after it’s been published that nobody wants it.

So, as you begin your author’s journey, identify your ideal prospects and plan to write the book they want to buy!

Offer

I’ll send the first 10 readers who e-mail me at Roger@Publishedandprofitable.com a copy of the Reader Identification Worksheet shown above. Please mention Reader Identification Worksheet in the subject line