12 book marketing buzzwords you need to know

book marketing buzzwords

I don’t like when industry buzzwords and terminology are dropped into conversations with people who don’t work in that field.

You know how it goes . . . social workers never tell anyone anything. They share with them.

Educators don’t work with groups. They’ve got cohorts.

And there are no phrases with words in the military and financial services field — those folks love their acronyms. They’ve got a POV or ARM for everything.

Authors are guilty of using buzzwords, too

Authors do it, too.

How many times have you mentioned to someone who doesn’t write that you’re trying to decide whether to add POD or just use KDP for your next book?

Marketers are no different. They might even be worse!

I get frustrated when I see them using the latest buzzword (or any buzzword) with authors without pausing to explain or define industry expressions.

No matter who does it, it’s a way of setting up boundaries that separate those in the know from those in the dark. I prefer inclusion over exclusion.

Learn these book marketing buzzwords

With that in mind, here are a dozen common marketing buzzwords you’re likely to come across as you learn how to market your books. The list is not exhaustive, but it’s a good start. (And for terms not covered here, check out this helpful “Ecommerce Jargon Buster” from VE Interactive.)

1. CPC

This means “cost per click” for an advertisement. Authors interested in advertising on Facebook need to understand this because Facebook ad pricing uses a CPC model. CPC shows how much  each link click costs you. In general, it’s often used when advertisers have set a daily budget. When the budget is hit, the ad is removed for the remainder of the billing period.

2. Funnel

This concept describes the journey a reader takes from the first interaction with your book(s) to purchase. It typically moves from awareness to opinion to purchase, as shown in this illustration. (Note that it looks like a funnel.)

Not everybody who becomes aware of your book will go on to purchase it. Those who do move through the complete cycle shown in the illustration and come out the bottom of the funnel as your readers after they purchase your book.

By Steve Simple – Own work, CC BY 3.0

3. Landing page

This is a simple web page with a single purpose.

For authors, that could be joining your email list or buying your book.

Because a landing page is so focused on just one goal, it is visually simple and has no menu or toolbar with other options to distract visitors.

My landing page offering the “Build Book Buzz Guest Blogging Cheat Sheet” is an example of one that’s designed to get subscribers for my newsletter.

4. Lead magnet

Also referred to as a “lead generator,” “opt-in bribe,” or “freebie,” this is an irresistible gift you offer your target audience in exchange for their contact information.

While marketers might encourage you to collect full mailing addresses, don’t. First, you don’t need that much information — all you need is a name and email address. Second, people won’t provide it. If you force them to fill in their address to get your lead magnet, they’ll close the window and you’ll lose your chance to start building a relationship with someone in your target audience.

My “Guest Blogging Cheat Sheet” mentioned above is a lead magnet,  as is my “Book Marketing Plan Template” and “How to Respond to HARO Requests Cheat Sheet.” (Can you tell I like cheat sheets?)

author marketing buzzwords 35. Opt in

Opt in is a verb that describes what people do when they add themselves to your email list (often because they want your lead magnet). They opt in.

Best practice for email marketing is a 100 percent opt-in list. Don’t add people to your list without their permission. They need to decide whether they want to hear from you or not.

Note the example on the right; you’ll also find it on the right sidebar of this page.

For more on this subject, read “Author email list lessons” and “What should I send to my author e-mail list?

6. Optimize/Optimization

For authors, optimize refers to making the most of your Amazon sales page, Amazon author page, the text on your website for SEO (see below) reasons, or your blog images. It’s often used in conjunction with search terms people will use to find you and your books.

7. Pixels

Pixels also refer to images but in this case, it’s an advertising term referring to a piece of code that is used to track behavior on a website. It’s often used when talking about the effectiveness of Facebook ads that drive traffic to a website.

8. Re-targeting

Have you ever noticed how a product you looked at on an e-commerce site shows up as an ad on Facebook and many other sites you visit? That’s re-targeting. It’s designed to get you to give in and go ahead and make the purchase.

Here’s an example of re-targeting and really, it’s kind of creepy. After my daughter’s dog had surgery, I asked her via text how she got the pup to take pills. She sent me a picture of this product . . . which showed up on ad on a page I was reading on my phone’s browser this morning.

book marketing buzzwords 49. Plugin

This is software that you add — plug in — to your browser or website that gives it more functionality. An example of one that helps authors is any of the social sharing toolbars you can add to your blog.

10. SEO

Search engine optimization — SEO — is what to do to your website (see optimize/optimization above) so that it gets found by search engines. The better your site’s SEO — meaning, the more content you create that fits what your target audience is looking for — the higher your site pages will show up in search engine results.

For more on SEO for authors, read, “4 must-have tools for better author SEO” and “15 easy and evergreen SEO tips for authors.”

11. Split testing

Also referred to as A/B testing, this function allows you to test website or Facebook ad features such as headlines, text, or images or email message subject lines and content.

You create two versions of what you’re testing — such as a landing page — and show one version to a sample group and the other to a different sample group. Then you track the performance of each version to see which one does better.

book marketing buzzwords 512. Upselling

When you upsell, you’re either suggesting that the customer buy a better version or encouraging them to add a complementary product to the purchase. The most recognizable example is “Would you like fries with that?”

Authors might upsell by offering a discounted price on a companion workbook, providing a volume discount, or selling additional merchandise or services from within the book.

Bookmark this page so you can find it easily when you start to feel like a marketer or trainer is speaking a foreign language.

Is there a marketing buzzword you don’t understand? Maybe we can help you. Share it in a comment. 

Get more helpful free book marketing information in the “Build Book Buzz” e-mail newsletter.

Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her BuildBookBuzz.com site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested.

Download Sandra’s free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” and you’ll also receive the free weekly “Build Book Buzz” newsletter loaded with book marketing tips and advice.

10 Responses to 12 book marketing buzzwords you need to know
  1. Kathy Steinemann
    September 6, 2017 | 9:19 am

    Kudos for explaining these terms, Sandy. I’m sure many authors will bookmark this post.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      September 6, 2017 | 11:06 am

      Thanks, Kathy! I *do* hope they bookmark it and come back for help.


  2. Gigi langer
    September 6, 2017 | 10:58 am

    What a great article! I too–a former member of academia–dislike jargon & the assumption that everyone knows what a term means. I do understand the need for shortcuts. But for a new indie author just about to launch my self-help/memoir book, it’s been bewildering!
    Thanks again.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      September 6, 2017 | 11:07 am

      Thanks for the feedback, Gigi. It often feels to me like the jargon builds walls between people. I hope this primer helps!


  3. Kim langley
    September 6, 2017 | 1:40 pm

    Thanks for this article and I love your spirit of inclusion. It keeps me coming back! Warm regards, Kim

    • Sandra Beckwith
      September 6, 2017 | 6:46 pm

      Thank you, Kim. I’m SO happy that you understand my intention. I don’t want anyone alone in a corner, confused!


  4. Jim O'Brien
    September 6, 2017 | 6:33 pm

    Sandy, you’re the best. the info you provide is both needed and inspiring. the only problem is, I wish I had time to follow all of your suggestions. I have a Sandy file that I refer to. Many thanks

    • Sandra Beckwith
      September 6, 2017 | 6:45 pm

      Jim, you are definitely my new best friend! Thank you!


  5. patriciaruthsusan
    October 22, 2017 | 6:56 am

    Thanks for this helpful information. I never dreamed when in college I’d ever need marketing skills. 🙂 — Suzanne

    • Sandra Beckwith
      October 22, 2017 | 8:35 am

      It’s a mindset, really, Suzanne — a way of seeing things. And hey, what you would have learned about marketing in college probably wouldn’t have helped anyway!


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