The bookish community is like any other online community in that it brings together a group of likeminded people with a shared interest. Because of that, you could argue that the tips we’re going to share are relevant to every community, but the internet’s book lovers have a few added quirks of their own that it’s worth paying attention to.
For example, book lovers tend to be collectors and completionists, and when they find an author they like they tend to stick with them. There are parallels here with the way that we make purchases: people do business with people they like, and if you’re able to build relationships with your customers then you’ll become like a new favourite author and have people queuing up to buy from you.
The bookish community can also remind us of the importance of customer reviews, which are arguably one of the most valuable forms of user-generated content and social proof that there is. With books, at least as much as with movies and arguably more so, we turn to recommendations from the people we trust when we’re looking for something new.
Not every book is for everyone
One of the things that makes the book community so interesting is that everyone has different tastes and what works for one reader won’t necessarily work for another. Even big name authors have their detractors, from Stephen King to J. K. Rowling, and that’s a good thing. If everybody likes and disliked the same books then there’d be no need for reviewers.
This is relevant to marketers because it’s a useful reminder that each of our customers is different and that we need to cater to their differences with targeted messaging and by using their preferred communication methods. Much of marketing is about reaching the right person with the right message in the right place and the right time.
Our experience as readers of books is much the same, and our enjoyment of a book can be heavily influenced by the context with which we’re reading. For example, if you have to study a book for school then the chances are that you’ll enjoy it less than you would have if you’d found it on your own time.
As marketers, we often make the mistake of assuming that everyone else is as interested in our companies as we are. We can also forget that there are real people on the other end of our marketing messages and that they could be having a bad day or be dealing with some sort of personal tragedy. Of course, there’s no way for you to know that, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bear it in mind. Context is everything.
One final lesson from the bookish community focuses on that keyword: community. Despite the fact that every reader has different tastes, the shared love of reading brings people together in a cause that they’re passionate about. If marketers can follow in those footsteps, even on a much smaller scale, then they can create a community of their own.