Archive | Marketing 101 for authors

Does online advertising work for books?

Cover of IBPA's The Independent showing computer keyboard

For a recent article in IBPA's The Independent, Linda Carlson put the question of which advertising works to independent publishers and got some interesting, and insightful answers.

Linda's questions focussed on:

  • Print Media Coverage
  • Paid Reviews
  • Giveaways and Deep Discounts
  • Public Relations, and
  • Online Ads

The consensus from those responding were were singularly unenthusiastic about online ads. An example being Devorah Fox's comments, president of Mike Byrnes & Associates in Port Aransas, TX, who reported:

“When we hit 100 likes on our Facebook author page we received $50 in free Facebook advertising. We used it to advertise our book The Lost King with an ad that—per Facebook—could be seen by 22 million people and a Sponsored Story that targeted 940 users. There wasn’t a single click-through, and we can’t attribute a single sale to it.”

The full report is available at: IBPA online - Marketing whatever you have to market - promotion opportunities and issues - part 2

Back in November 2013 I wrote about a recent poll  conducted for USAToday and Bookish, a website designed to help people find and buy books, which asked readers what factors created interest in a particular book for them. The poll got the following responses:

  • 57% - their own opinion of the writer's previous work;
  • 43% - opinions of a relative and friend (ie "word of mouth");
  • 17% - professional reviewers and other writers;
  • 16% - the book cover; and
  • 10% - internet opinions by non-professionals (10%).

In short, people are interested in a book based on previous knowledge of the author's work, word of mouth, or professional reviewers. Advertising simply doesn't get a look in. And if you don't believe that then you need to consider the click-through rates we get on our own adverts:

  • Click Through Rate = 0.05%, i.e. for every 2000 views of an advertisement, we expect to get 1 person clicking the advertisement to visit our site; and
  • Click Rate = 2%, i.e. for every 50 people visiting our site we expect to get 1 sale.

Back in May 2014, for a series of blog-ad designed to be viewed 86,000 times we were paying $330. That probably gave us 43 click-throughs, and some where between one and two sales. It simply doesn't make financial sense. For more information you can read my previous post on this (Marketing for authors: what to expect from click-through and conversion rates).

So does online advertising work for eBooks work? In a word - no.


If, however, given this information you still want to undertake some social marketing then you may want to check out the article in the same edition of The Independent:
IBPA online - A practical guide to social media advertising part 1

For more information about the USAToday poll, and another poll conducted by ebookfairies you can read my previous posts concerning them at:

 

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Marketing for authors: what to expect from click-through and conversion rates

CTR tag cloudBeing presently involved in an advertising campaign for our latest release Lights Over Emerald Creek by Shelley Davidow, I thought I'd check to see how our advertising compares to industry averages for click-through rates (CTR) and conversion rates (CR). Surprisingly, given the poor return we're getting, it turns out we're actually achieving average rates in both categories.

Specifically:

  • CTR = 0.05%, i.e. for every 2000 views of an advertisement, we expect to get 1 person clicking the advertisement to visit our site; and
  • CR = 2%, i.e. for every 50 people visiting our site we expect to get 1 sale.

And no, the financials don't necessarily add up. For a series of advertisements designed to be viewed 86,000 times we're paying $330. That will probably give us 43 click-throughs, and possibly between one and two sales (at $5 each). At the moment we are still working to improve future CTR by focussing our ads in those blogs which give us the best return (the ads are presently being tested across 8 blogs, all with either a focus on YA Fiction, or SF&F). However, we are also using alternatives which have the potential of either increasing the CTR, or reducing the cost, for those with limited budgets.

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Marketing 101 for authors: Designing a landing page for a book

Graphic of a landing pageOver the last two years I've been constantly working to improve the landing pages we use to try and convert interest in one of our books into a purchase. The latest iteration of the design is now fully responsive, allowing people to read a sample of the first four chapters of 'Lights Over Emerald Creek on their smartphone. That said, I'm not actually sure why someone would want to read a book on their smartphone, but they can. More importantly,  with the addition of the QR code to our book-business cards I thought it important that when someone did scan the code they were provided with a page they could actually read (see Marketing 101 for authors: business cards for books).

But first, back to basics, what is a 'landing page'?

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Marketing 101 for authors: business cards for books

Image of Front and Back of business cardIn this post I discuss what I have found to be the most effective marketing tool for ebooks - the business card. 

In a November 2013 blog I discussed a poll conducted by USA TODAY which found that a majority of those surveyed (57%) cited their own opinion of the writer's previous work as the major factor in creating interest in a particular book for them. Opinions of a relative and friend ("word of mouth") came in second at 43%. Lower on the list were professional reviewers and other writers (each 17%), the book cover (16%) and Internet opinions by non-professionals (10%).

From this, it would appear that the most effective way of selling a book is for the reader to actually meet the author, allowing them to form a positive view of the author and their work. It is for this reason that authors attend conventions, and it also why authors (or their publishers) take big stacks of paperbacks to conventions that the author is attending, for sale. That's all very well for authors with a traditional book, but how do you achieve the same for eBook, because by the time the reader has gone home and is sitting at their computer, ready to purchase the book, they may have forgotten the name of the book, or even the author.

Hague Publishing tackles this problem by producing business cards for each book it publishes.  Continue Reading →

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