It’s one of the most common misconceptions in marketing: that a marketing tactic is the same as a marketing strategy. Not understanding the difference between the two leads to a whole lot of pain and frustration for many authors as well as entrepreneurs, speakers, and other professionals who use the written word to grow their businesses.

Have you ever heard someone say “I’m going to use Twitter to market my book,” or “I’m going to use the Internet to market my business?”

This sort of statement rarely leads to success.

This is because most of the time, the speaker is already talking about marketing tactics but has skipped not just one but two critical steps: setting a specific, measurable goal and developing a strategy for reaching that goal.

(If you’ve ever said this sort of thing yourself, don’t worry, practically everyone has at one time or another. I’ve made this same mistake myself; multiple times, in fact!)

The first thing you need to do before you can develop a marketing strategy is to identify a specific, measurable goal.

Let’s say that your goal is to sell a hundred copies of your book in the next month.

Your book is a how-to guide for new moms about how to navigate the first six months of motherhood. (It could just as easily be a techno-thriller in the same vein as a Tom Clancy novel.)
The first thing you’d do is identify where your target market—new moms, in this case—hangs out.

You’d brainstorm a list of all the places new moms might be found. Maybe they shop at certain stores. Maybe they subscribe to certain magazines. Maybe they visit certain websites. And so on and so on.

Then you’d develop a strategy for reaching these new moms and getting your message in front of them. You know that building goodwill with your target audience is a tested, proven approach, so your strategy might include offering a sample chapter of your book, “7 Tips to Stress-Free Grocery Shopping with Your Newborn,” as a free download from your website.

Then, you’d deploy one or more tactics, including running print advertisements in new mom magazines, or guest blogging on popular mommy blogs, or planning a workshop at a local baby boutique to let new moms know about the sample chapter of your book available as a free download on your website.

Predictably, this approach works like magic. As a result of your tactics (print advertisements, guest blogging, and boutique workshops), a thousand new moms download your sample chapter. Ten percent click through to visit Amazon to buy your book, because it’s exactly the sort of information they need.

You sell one hundred books, thus achieving your goal!

Again, to summarize: your goal was to sell a hundred copies of your book. Your strategy was to get in front of your target market where they hang out and offer them something of value that they want or need (the free sample chapter.) The tactics were the methods you deployed in the service of your strategy.

It seems so simple when you take the time to reason it out, but it’s also so easy to overlook an important step. The most commonly overlooked step—your strategy—is the “secret sauce” that leads to book sales or whatever other goal you set for yourself.

Come up with a book marketing strategy for your titles, and marvel at the results!

If you feel like your book sales could use a shot in the arm, why not join us for this month’s Authors Academy presentation, which will be about developing your book’s marketing plan?

Your book’s marketing plan should contain all three of these critical pieces: your goal, your strategy for reaching your goal, and the tactics you’ll use to execute your strategy.

Our guest presenter, Echo Surina, has a ton of experience developing effective book marketing plans. She’s also a direct-response copywriter who’s written for one of the top marketers on the planet. That means she knows how to get folks to buy what she’s offering!

If you’re not already an Authors Academy Gold member, what are you waiting for? It’s never too early to start working on a marketing plan for your next book—or too late to start creating a marketing plan for a re-launch of one of your current titles!

You can claim your charter Gold membership in the Authors Academy at

Until then, happy marketing!