It’s every attendee’s favorite perk of a writing conference—the goodies table (or even goody room)! And there are plenty of choices: posters, flyers, freebies, giveaways, and a myriad of promotional items. With all the competition, how do you make your marketing items stand out from the crowd?
Convincing people to pick up your item is only half the battle: to really make your author promotional giveaways work, you need to turn people who are simply looking to score some free stuff into your book-buying fans.
To succeed, your promotional items must do three things:
- Attract attention
- Serve a purpose/have value
- Offer an incentive for visitors to stay in touch with you for the long-term, and make your book a priority over the many other books on their TBR list.
It’s a tall order, but not impossible! We can help.
How To Use Promotional Items To Maximize Your Marketing Impact On A Writing Conference Goodies Table
Think digital. The space available on any goodies table is limited. So what can you give away online that might be of value to potential readers? A free novella? A guide to planting flowers in your region? Create a flyer or other promo item that announces your freebie in big, bold text. Then, ask visitors to join your author mailing list once they’re on your website in exchange for your free offering.
Maximize your rack card. Whether you’re paying a professional printer for your rack card or creating your own, consider using both sides. Include an excerpt, a photo of yourself (people love that), your cover art, your website address, your social media profiles, and maybe even information on how to get a digital freebie.
Think beyond the goodies table. At a conference, writers spend days mingling and circulating. What can you do to get people talking about your books while you’re there? One possibility: Use the goodies table for totes with your cover art and logo, and have a sign stating “one person who is spotted carrying this tote will receive a free tablet by the conference’s end.” You’ll definitely be the most talked-about author there!
Use QR codes. Having a QR code (a scannable code that automatically opens a website on a phone or tablet) can get visitors to your author website fast. You can set up a page on your website JUST for conference attendees. Your promotional material call-to-action can be, “Scan this code to visit my website! Every visitor will receive a free download of one of my books.” You’ll get lots of new Web traffic and hopefully some new fans too. This marketing idea will require working closely with a good Web developer to set up the necessary infrastructure.
Point people toward your social media profiles. Offer an incentive to anyone who follows or likes you on social media. For example, you can create a flyer to announce your contest—which will conclude when the conference ends. Details about prizes and entry requirements can be made available to your social media fans and followers.
Come up with a catch phrase that personifies your author brand. On your promo materials, you might not have room for your cover art, images, etc. Choose a phrase that encapsulates your brand. Are you writing fast-paced exotic adventure novels? Heartfelt stories of hope and family? Use your words—and your available space—wisely.
Give away something with long-term usefulness. In other words, choose a promotional item that would not be quickly discarded: a rubber jar opener, a mini-flashlight, pens, or totes. Your potential fans will remember you every time they use your product, and be less likely to forget your book. Showcase your URL with your tagline. Bonus if your promo item can incentivize people to visit your author website, where you can turn a visitor into a fan.
Use bait. No, we’re not talking about worms! We’re talking about an inexpensive edible treat. The promo items we’ve already mentioned aren’t cheap. Keep costs down (and convince people to pick up your promo item from the goodies table) by attaching a small candy with some tape or ribbon to your author business card. And be sure to maximize the effectiveness of your author business card so that it successfully drives traffic to your website.
Photo by donovanbeeson
QUESTION: What are your favorite promotional items found on a writing conference goodies table?
I like the tablet idea! Sure, it’s expensive but if you get everyone there carrying around your bag it’s amazing exposure!