Book Marketing: the Power of Personalization

As a professional marketer, I’m immune to most gimmicky marketing campaigns.

So, how did Shutterfly’s email (below) pause my normal “delete” reaction? They even caused me to consider a service that I’d only used once.

Oh you wickedly smart people at Shutterfly, you tapped two strong emotions: nostalgia and personalization.

Most of us have experienced a wistful gust from the past. A hankering for “the good old days.” Shutterfly took this to the next level by triggering nostalgia with my own pictures from a years-old Christmas album. Right in my inbox, my boys goofed for the camera, handsome and silly, more innocent than their current teen selves. I’d forgotten these photos and lingered, remembering that cold December day.

Then it struck me, if Shutterfly could produce this reaction, what could an author do?

For those readers with whom you have a relationship, consider ways to strengthen that connection.

As thought starters:

  • send them a personalized announcement of a new release that excerpts their review of your previous book
  • for the next book in a series, write the book announcement in the voice of a favorite character
  • create a sweepstakes where the winner receives your book, and the hero or heroine are named after them (executed through print-on-demand)
  • keeping your spotlight on the audience, could you personalize bookmarks and other giveaways

Get creative with the tactics (within legal privacy limits). Let me know – how would you use the ideas of nostalgia and personalization to reach your readers?

Happy writing,



Carol Van Den Hende, MBA

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