ebooks marketing data-driven data analytics content marketing pubsoft publishing dbw14 discoverability authors self-pubThere’s still buzz from January’s Digital Book World 2014 hot topics about ebooks, the decline of physical shelf space, and book discoverability for publishers and authors. Despite all the talk and worry, there aren’t a lot of solutions on the table. Of course, there’s mention that publishers need to utilize data analytics as a means of expanding the discovery of books and their authors.

And let’s be honest, data is definitely the name of the game for publishers of all sizes, great and small, indie and trade. Those who ignore the necessity of data-driven marketing will ultimately perish in the dust. This is a digitally-sound future we’re moving into—technology is only going to advance, with social media and the mobile market becoming even more intrusive.

But understanding and utilizing data in a strong, viable way is a means of survival in a fast-growing digital, mobile market. Still, discoverability doesn’t just hinge on data gathering alone. Publishers need to find innovative ways to use this data. There are many tools at a publisher’s disposal that can be used to drive interest and sales for their content. Multi-channel purchase points, author websites, and a strong recognizable brand are all great ways to maximize resources and expand discoverability across multiple platforms. But as Peter McCarthy has said, “Data changes everything.”

Data analytics is a great way to track the behaviors of readers, to find out where their interests lie (Are they fans of movies or TV shows with marketable themes? Do they only buy certain genres?), what their buying habits are (Do they buy only books by certain authors? Do they one book at a time or many?), and the lifespan of their purchasing activity (Do they browse? Go straight to a particular link? Read author bios? Make their purchase and leave?). This kind of information can be a boon to expanding discoverability and marketing adjacent content to readers.

For publishers to engage readers and make books discoverable, it’s necessary to have a good content marketing strategy. Using ebooks as marketable content to loyal, new, and potential customers can help publishers maximize a customer’s engagement, expand discovery of authors and content, and build a strong brand.

Let’s say you have a particular customer whose buying habits include two specific authors who write psychological thrillers. There’s a new author who just wrote a psychological thriller and together, you are building a brand. You offer this customer an ebook version of the new author’s book as she’s checking out, based on a “comp,” which McCarthy defines as the titles that are deemed comparable to a particular publication—such as the psychological thrillers authors your “customer” is always buying. So you offer her an ebook comp from this new author. She reads it, loves it, and voila—your new author has a loyal fan, all thanks to the marketing of an ebook.

As a recent study suggested, 30 percent of marketers agreed that there were numerous benefits to marketing adjacent content based on data analytics. And 40 percent of marketers agreed that multi-channel purchasing points were beneficial in using data-driven strategies. The ebook as a marketable content tool not only markets adjacent “comp” content, but it utilizes a multi-channel strategy that brings a customer’s purchase behavior full circle through data-driven marketing.

As a data-driven marketing tool, ebooks can be used for fiction and nonfiction comps and exit purchase leads, which creates engagement and fosters an environment for discoverability of new authors or new content. And as we’ve said before, now is the time to invest in ebooks!