There are times when it’s enough to tell your fans that they should buy your book. Sometimes, however, you want them to buy your book in a specific timeframe. There are even times when you’ll want them to buy your book right now.
There are a variety of marketing tools that can help you build a sense of urgency in prospective purchasers. The basic idea is that if you do something special and set a time limit for action, people will be more inclined to act quickly.
Language is a major factor. If you have a sales page for your book (and you should), then changing the language of your sales page to reflect the new sense of urgency is important. Any other communications you use to raise awareness about your book should also use language that implies this urgency.
Another popular way to suggest urgency is to offer a sales price for a limited time. The time frame will depend on your sense of urgency. If you are launching your book, then the price you charge for the first day may be your book’s lowest price to increase sales on the day that matters most for bestselling status. The price you charge for the first week may be lower than usual to capture sales you missed on the first day. Then, towards the end of the quarter—or however your returns are determined—you might want to have a short sale (three days max) to boost sales for a particular quarter. You may use sales around appropriate holidays or even make your birthday a sales day for your readers.
Another popular way to suggest urgency is to throw a drive. If, for example, your hometown is hit by a natural disaster and you want to raise relief funds, then you could offer your book to readers with the understanding that a percentage of sales will be donated to relief efforts. If your book ties into a specific cause, you can throw a drive on a regular basis or keep the drive constant, but that displaces the sense of urgency you can create with the drive. Remember, however, that if you claim a certain percentage of the sales price will be a donation, then you need to make the donation. You may way to specify a percentage of your earnings from the book, versus the sales price, for legal and accounting reasons.
The obvious problem with either sales or drives is that it lowers the amount of money you get (or can keep). However, the sense of urgency may induce people who are reluctant to buy your book to give a try, which can add up to more money in the long-run. Whatever tools you use, communication is the key to creating urgency in potential buyers. You have to feel it, you have to mean it, and you have to pass your urgency onto them. Good luck!