7 Marvelous Methods on How to Market Audiobooks Using QR Codes

Maybe it’s a thought-provoking personal story that’s your companion on long journeys or a gripping tell-all to make a commute race by. Or perhaps it’s an insightful exploration of science or history that manages to make housework seem much less of a chore? If any of these scenarios sound familiar to you, it’s because audio content is everywhere — and the market for it only seems to be growing.

For an author like you, there are a myriad of methods and means to ensure your work finds the eyes — and ears — of those readers who will appreciate it most. And if you have gone that extra mile and recorded your published work as an audiobook? Even better — that huge market of eager listeners is yours to connect with.

But how can you promote your audiobook? Or do you still need convincing that turning your published work into an audiobook is worth it? To get your audiobook flying off the proverbial shelves, you’ll need to dive into the how-tos of audiobook marketing and learn how to create a brand identity that can elevate your status as an author. 

Sounds like a challenge? Fear not, dear reader! Tackling all this marketing jargon is easier than you think. For every marketing move you need to make to promote your audiobook, there’s a specific QR Code there to help.

Let’s take a look at how publisher QR Codes can teach you all the marvelous things you need to know about how to market your audiobook.

Why publishing audiobooks is so important

When paired with its upstart cousin, the podcast, it might seem that audiobooks have some fierce competition for our ears. But rather than letting this format flounder, readers and listeners are making more time than ever to tune into both fiction and non-fiction books. 

In the audiobooks vs reading debate, there are many reasons why listening to a book has its perks. Busy would-be readers who want to become more engaged with their favorite topics or authors can listen while they multitask. For others, it’s a useful method of cutting down on screen time. 

There’s also another factor at play: having someone tell a story aloud can animate it and imbue it with extra feeling and emphasis. For some bookworms, listening to Michelle Obama or Glennon Doyle narrate their own bestselling memoirs can impart a unique perspective and illuminate some aspects in ways the printed page just cannot do.

But for authors like you, there are other reasons why you might want to know how to share audiobooks with your reader base and why you should get to grips with how to market an audiobook. Knowing how to promote an audiobook will help you build your readership, but first, let’s look at the state of the industry today.

The audiobook industry is booming

With the proliferation of smart speaker technology in the home, listening in has become just as appealing as leafing through pages. In the US, readers are becoming ever more enamored with audio content; according to a 2021 report from Edison research, almost half (46%) of all adults have listened to an audiobook.

As a medium, audiobooks are not new. With the advent of the phonograph, Thomas Edison himself had envisioned his invention as a means of bringing the joy of books to the blind, and almost 150 years later, his wish that every American family had a phonograph has been surpassed to an extent that he could never have imagined. His instincts about the public’s appetite for spoken word and audio content were proved right, and this very modern, thriving industry continues to go from strength to strength.

More than fiction

Publishing audiobooks is not reserved for fiction storytellers — there’s a wealth of audiobooks out there focused on business, history, marketing, and other topics. Indeed, topical non-fiction titles rank among some of the industry’s most-listened-to books.

Non-fiction lends itself particularly well to the audiobook format. For time-poor readers who want to be better informed about certain subjects or issues, a spoken-word, narrated form can make it easier to consume chunks of information — more like listening to a lecture than a book. If you’re a writer specializing in nonfiction, you could find a world of listeners willing to consume your content as audio instead.

More freedom for authors

When deciding how to publish an audiobook, different audiobook platforms will have their pros and cons. And, as a writer, you’ll have to make decisions about whether or not you would like to go it alone and self-publish — a situation similar to traditional publishing.  

When choosing among audiobook platforms, ACX will come out on top — but there are others. Ultimately, this gives you the freedom and flexibility to decide among the different platforms and to decide where you would like to publish.  

How to use QR Codes for audiobook marketing

Doing audiobook marketing with QR Codes is an intuitive, simplified means of introducing your readers to digital content. The attractiveness of QR Codes lies in their ubiquity — having popped up everywhere from restaurant tables to billboards, scanning these nifty little codes has become second nature to many over the course of the pandemic.

When wondering how to market an audiobook you have taken the time and effort to record, QR Codes undoubtedly have their benefits. Firstly, you can add them to just about anything: promotional posters, social media accounts, flyers, and invitations to readings and other events, just to name a few. Secondly, QR Codes for audiobook marketing allow you to incorporate richer media in ways a simple poster or email cannot. Think adding audio to your email campaigns or being able to link future readers directly with an audiobook download.

To get your inspiration flowing, let’s take a look at seven marvelous QR Code marketing strategies you can use to promote your audiobook.

#1 Leverage your preferred platform

If your published audiobook is exclusively available from selected platforms or streaming services, and you would like to promote a particular one, you can direct your readers and listeners straight to it with an App QR Code.

When someone scans your App QR Code, they’ll be able to see all the App Store or Google Play store links for your favored platform in one place. Should the person who scans the QR Code already have the app, there is also the option to add a customizable CTA (call-to-action) button on the App Store QR Code’s display page that can send users to a landing page or other link where they can download the audiobook.

App QR Code landing page for eGo Gaming Studio to download Shuriken Chronicles in the customer’s preferred app store
An App QR Code connects users directly with an audiobook platform.

PRO tip: QR Codes are fully customizable, both in terms of the QR Code image and the display page. You can use a QR Code with scan me as its frame and add elements such as your or your publisher’s logo or colors that match the theme of your audiobook. 

Other than the Dynamic URL QR Code, all QR Codes come with a mobile-optimized display page where you can include a blurb or description of your book, social media links, and more.

#2 Share teasers with fans

To get your listeners excited about your upcoming release, using QR codes for audiobook marketing allows you to share snippets of what’s to come. The process is easy: just convert an extract of your audiobook into an MP3 QR Code, and add it to posters, emails, invitations, or however else you best communicate with your reader base.

When you create your MP3 QR Code, you can include a CTA directing the listener to a platform where they can stream or buy your book, or, if you would like to use an extra-ingenious marketing ploy, create a QR Code contest or giveaway.

Three examples of how an MP3 QR Code is used to preview an audiobook
An MP3 QR Code being used to preview audiobook trailers.

#3 Get the most out of your socials

You have a devoted Twitter following, ready to lap up every word you narrate? Or your Instagram profile is full of luscious pictures of things that inspire you as you write? Or you have just started out making audiobooks and need to build your brand as an author? 

Whichever is the case, QR Codes for social media can be used for you to promote your audiobook in two major ways. 

First, if you would like to connect your social media profiles directly with a platform where readers can either listen to or download your audiobook, you can add your QR Code into your social media posts themselves. This works particularly well with Instagram, which does not permit clickable links in its posts. By scanning the QR Code, followers can easily access external content. 

MP3 QR Code on Lionspring Publishing's instagram page post prompts people to scan and listen to the first chapter of a new release
An MP3 QR Code on an Instagram post lets followers listen to a teaser.

Second, if building your profile and brand as an author is an important part of your strategy, use the Social Media QR Code on the flyers, posters, and invites you use to promote your book. You can include pretty much any social media platform that matters to you with this QR Code — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.

Social Media QR Code on a new book release brochure prompts people to scan and follow the author on social media
A Social Media QR Code promotes an audiobook author’s social media profile.

#4 Combine your audiobook and ebook in one

As wonderful a coupling as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcey, ebooks and audiobooks are meant to be together.

By incorporating a QR Code into the cover design of your ebook, you can give readers the opportunity to either download or listen to the audiobook version. The MP3 QR Code is a natural choice for this — readers can simply scan the code to tune into the audio version — but there are other uses, too.

An ebook QR Code can be used to direct readers to your author profile featuring extra audio content, such as interviews, or a platform where they can download and buy the audiobook for themselves.

Social Media QR Code in an ebook prompts readers to scan and let the author know if they loved the interview
A QR Code in an ebook directs the reader to the audiobook version of the content.

#5 Send it via email

Far from falling out of fashion, newsletters have newfound fame in publishing — after all, they’re perfect for establishing a dedicated, long-term relationship with your readers. 

If you have a Substack or other subscription newsletter, you can leverage QR Codes to bestow special bonus content to your readers. For your subscriber-only mailouts, try including an MP3 QR Code and gift your readership with on-the-spot downloads of extracts from your audiobook.

 It’s also possible to use your QR Code’s content in emails in another form: the customizable QR Code short URL. A more concise version of a standard URL that’s generated alongside a Dynamic QR Code, adding the short URL to your newsletter or other emails allows the reader to access other content.

QR Code in an email newsletter prompts recipients to scan and set their preferred genres of books
A QR Code on emails makes audiobooks accessible via desktop and mobile

#6 Bring your print ads to life

Just like how a narrator can invigorate your audiobook with extra depth, a QR Code poster design can help your audiobook promotional campaigns spring right into life, too. 

Using QR Codes for audiobook marketing means that you can enrich printed promotional campaigns with extra content — audio, video, social media. On print ads, this gives them an extra dimension: all readers need to do is scan the Code and leap right into your story. 

You can also learn more about the people who are interested in your audiobooks. By using QR Code analytics and tracking, you’ll have insights into where and when someone discovered your audiobook promotional campaign, and learn more about your readers, too.

QR Code on a poster ad for a new book release prompts people to scan and listen to the first chapter on their phone
A QR Code on a poster ad enables instant access to audiobooks

#7 Promote downloads via your website 

To make your audiobook literally fly off your (web)page, just add a QR Code! It’s the simplest strategy for encouraging readers to download your audiobook directly onto their phones. 
To learn more about incorporating a QR Code onto your author’s website, you’ll need to brush up on our guide: how do I get a QR Code for my website.

MP3 QR Code on a business consultant's website prompting visitors to scan and listen to their strategic growth methods audiobook
A QR Code on a website creates a bridge between desktop and mobile for easy audiobook access via smartphone

When doing audiobook marketing with QR Codes, you can do much more than promote your work itself — you can also use them to build your profile as an author. Whether you’re self-publishing for the first time or you’re an experienced author trying to build an audience, audiobook marketing with QR codes can add depth to how you market them and captivate the listener.

When asking how to promote your audiobook, think of it from the listener’s perspective: just like how a voice can animate the words on the page, a QR Code can add a touch of magic, too.

Aoife McKeown

Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Aoife has been living and working in Berlin, Germany, since 2012. Her work focuses on creative writing, editing, and marketing copywriting, and she’s currently a Content Writer with Egoditor. Feel free to connect with Aoife on LinkedIn or reach out to her via her website.

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