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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Audible’s One Book launch: Why I’m disappointed with it

    Posted by Cameron Bartlett

    I love Audible. It has accompanied me through many exciting-yet-long road trips, my commutes into work, and many workouts. I especially love the books read by the authors, themselves. I’ve enjoyed books like Yes Please by Amy Poehler, Wild at Heart by John Eldredge and Do Over by Jon Acuff.

    So, when I noticed that Audible had changed its iPhone app logo and started suggesting something to me called One Book, I was stoked! I remember signing up for Audible mostly because I could get my first two books free, while that most other advertisements offer just one free audiobook to all new subscribers.

    At first glance, One Book sounded amazing! I get to send a free book that I’m reading to a friend. One per month. Sweet! I didn’t know if that meant it only lasted for a month or that I was just loaning it to them, in a sense, so I couldn’t view it while they were listening, or something. Either way, I hoped it meant I could share books with friends. This was’t really the case.

    One book let’s you send this book, for “free”, to a friend who hasn’t yet joined Audible. This is the same deal they’re already giving people who want to join for the first time. The only thing different is that you get to invite them and you also dictate which book they get for free the first month.

    Let me just say, I get it. It’s a great idea from a marketing standpoint. Audible is leveraging the friendships of its users’ to help them gain new customers. They're encouraging them to offer a book to a friend who hasn’t yet joined and asks them to say, “Hey. I really want you to join and listen to this with me. Plus, I can send you the book for free, so you don’t even have to buy anything upfront.” It’s a better way to let friends invite friends with less initial financial pressure. It just wasn’t what I was hoping it would be.

    What I was hoping for in One Book is a way to share books with my friends over time, not just a referral program. This situation serves as two great reminders about customer experience for all of us as marketers.

    1. Keep your users at the forefront. Always remember that it's about them, not you. With any campaign you're cooking up, always remain cognisant of what's in it for them. 

      Had there been more value for me in what turned out to be a referral program, I might have been more excited about it. But as it was, I was left pretty unmotivated to participate and pass One Book on to my friends. 
    2. Be very clear in your campaign messaging. My disappointment was a direct result of unclear communication by Audible. The messaging about One Book and the ability to share a book with a friend simply wasn't clear. I was left to fill in the gaps in their communication with my own assumptions and then, when my expectations weren't met, I was disappointed. 

    So Audible, I love the new logo. But I can't help but feel like you led me on a bit. It might be a little while before I'm able to trust again. I guess I’ll just find a great self-help book to listen to. If that helps, maybe I’ll share it with a friend or two. They just can’t already have an Audible account, or it won’t work. Oh, One Book… this could have been the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

    If you haven’t yet joined Audible and want to know how to get two books, instead of just one you can search for a link on Google or use this one I found from someone’s recent blog post about Amazon’s Audible. 


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    image credit: moyan brenn/flickr cc


    Topics: Inbound Marketing