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Like many small business owners and entrepreneurs, authors are hesitant to invest in online marketing. A fair amount of confusion arises among them when they ask “What is online marketing?” Not only do they get confused by the term, but also they couldn’t think it would help boost their book marketing and promotion.

Part of the problem lies in the misconceptions that persist about online marketing. They dissuade authors from going fully digital. Little do they know that online marketing involves a combination of a website, social media networks, and search engine optimization (SEO), all of which an author or any professional need to strengthen their image online and attract the audience they desire.

Online marketing is still new and authors have much to learn about it. It pays to clear up the common misconceptions, which are actually just challenges authors should overcome:

1. Online marketing is not relevant to small and medium-sized businesses.

Replace “small and medium-sized businesses” with “authors” and there exist one of the common misconceptions about online marketing. It’s not just for well-established, popular, and moneyed authors but also for new, self-published, and cash-strapped authors who want to communicate and engage with their audience. Even if their books don’t get sold by major bookstores, they could directly sell on a global scale.

2. Online marketing is not a significant part of an author’s marketing strategy.

Replace “small and medium-sized businesses” with “authors” and there exist one of the common misconceptions about online marketing. It’s not just for well-established, popular, and moneyed authors but also for new, self-published, and cash-strapped authors who want to communicate and engage with their audience. Even if their books don’t get sold by major bookstores, they could directly sell on a global scale.

3. Authors don’t need a website; you just need social media.

Authors need more than just a Facebook page or Twitter account – they need a website or else a complete online marketing package. Don’t put all the eggs in one basket; diversify to spread the risks, as the popular sayings go. Authors should first consider getting themselves a website before signing up for social media as it is the cornerstone for all their online marketing initiatives.

4. Online marketing is only successful with significant website traffic.

Engagement (especially that leads to sales), not website traffic, indicates online success for authors. Online marketing focuses on attracting the right kind of website visitors. It’s a quality versus quantity thing. It’s easy to attract hundreds of visitors to a website but difficult to turn a fraction of them into buyers. Of the number of people who’d visit a bookstore, how many of them would actually buy a book?

5. Online marketing is expensive.

If it is, try failure and the lack of sales. Actually, it’s cheaper than any forms of traditional marketing even if authors pay for premium accounts. But with the abundance of free platforms and tool on the Internet, why should they pay? Or if they decide they need professional help, the only expense they need to cover is the cost of hiring an online marketing expert to design a strategy for them.

These misconceptions will persist and continue to proliferate even in this increasingly digital world. But it’s a good thing to give authors the tools and information they need to make an informed decision about online marketing.

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