Episode 60 :
Despite having a desire to test out the latest marketing techniques all the time I’ve recently discovered that often simpler techniques help provide the greatest results. This has mainly been in the area of marketing this podcast rather than my books.
In the previous episode How do you revive sales in a book that doesn’t sell? (Episode 37) I mentioned that I was going to try and do a marketing push for my book Magpies and Magic. It was as much of an opportunity to try out some new marketing avenues as anything else. As is often the case with new things I wasn’t expecting success, which was good because I didn’t have much. Some the things I tried showed real promise, while others I will probably not repeat.
Marketing I tried for my book:
- Snapchat Geo-Filters
- Localised Facebook Ads
- Famebit.com influencer platform
- Facebook Canvas Ads
- Goodreads Giveaway
In terms of what worked in this list? In terms of visibility Snapchat Geo-filters showed me very good stats in Snapchat (in terms of who used them) but converted into hardly any sales. The great issue was that they don’t give any easy way to push people to a website or social media profile. Text with website addresses or social media profiles aren’t allowed. While there is some leeway here (for example you can say “Buy on Amazon” you can’t say “Buy on Amazon.com”) it makes it hard to get enough interest for people to go an buy your book. While these filters aren’t expensive, they aren’t cheap either.
Going on the local theme I had the bright idea of setting up local Facebook Ads around Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta, which is the busiest airport in the world, in the hope that I might be able to get sales from bored people waiting for connections at the airport. This didn’t work at all. To be fair I think trying to sell direct from Facebook is always going to be difficult, so I think localised advertising like this might work if I gave if I was doing a giveaway.
Taking a totally different track I heard about a site called Famebit.com. As is often the case I heard about this while watching a video promoting it as a platform for creators to earn money for their YouTube videos. I always look at these things from both points of view: either for potentially earning money or for promoting my books. In this case I decided to try the platform out by launching a campaign for my Magpies and Magic book.
Of the four people I recruited to promote my book, three were on Instagram and one was on YouTube. The great issue I found was that most of the creators didn’t want to do very much for the money I paid them. One created a fairly beautiful post of them holding my book that they posted just once. Another posted two posts and then deleted them a day later. A third wrote a review on their website and posted on Instagram. They charged the least and gave the most return. The YouTube creator has just disappeared off the face of the earth before creating anything. I think there is potential here, but it is the Wild West in terms of promotion and if I were to do it again I’d be a lot more explicit in what I am expecting before commissioning people to do things. I’d also try and tie them in to a wider campaign.
Facebook Canvas ads are mobile-optimised ads where you created a sliding experience. They are actually great fun to create and I got lots of likes of my Facebook page off the ads but a grand total of zero sales. To be fair I was struggling as to who to market them to and didn’t spend the time I should have done to identify a decent target audience. So to me the jury is still out on Canvas ads. They are definitely novel and striking but still require some thought before using.
The last thing I did was two Goodreads book giveaways (one ten book giveaway and one two book giveaway). This has lead to an awful lot of “to-read” statuses (553) on Goodreads for Magpies and Magic, but not at the moment a lot of reading or purchasing of the book. This may lead to a trickle of sales in the future if I am lucky though.
Marketing I’ve tried for this podcast:
- Snapchat Geo-Filters
- Facebook Lead Ads
- Twitter Lead Cards
- Consistent Posting on Instagram of Quotes
- Consistent Posting on Pinterest of Quotes
In terms of promoting this podcast in many ways things are easier – I have content where I don’t expect someone to pay for anything as their first interaction. Of course I could do something similar for my book by giving books away or attempting to create a blog or podcast based on promoting the book. My aim here is to get more downloads of the show, more subscribers and more e-mail sign-ups to my free self-publishing course. This difference is one reason I also tried Snapchat Geo-Filters for my podcast, and I did notice a surge in downloads after doing one. Enough to justify the expense? Maybe not immediately, but it was effective.
Facebook Lead Ads and Twitter Lead cards are ways in both platforms of presenting a way for people to sign-up to your e-mail list directly from the platform, with a pre-populated e-mail sign-up form. Facebook and Twitter already know your e-mail address so can pre-fill in the details. These are very powerful in that it is extremely frictionless to actually get e-mail lists.
As far as I am aware you have to pay to do a Facebook Lead Ad, while with Twitter Lead Cards, you can do them for free if you like as well as paying to promote them. Twitter advertising is not yet something I have yet experimented with, but to set up Lead Cards you need to get it set up, but you can then set up free Twitter Lead Cards and create them as normal tweets at no cost.
It is possible to integrate both these Lead Ads into services such as Mailchimp. To do this on Twitter is free, while on Facebook you need to pay to use a service like Zapier to connect Facebook to Mailchimp. If you don’t have an automation set up like this you need to keep checking your Lead Ad and download e-mail addresses and add them to your e-mail list manually. I found this very stressful.
In terms of Facebook Lead Ads I did find them relatively effective, though I will save doing too many more of them until I have a course or something else to sell to justify the cost of running them.
It’s a bit early to tell with regard to Twitter Lead Ads. I’ve pinned a free one as the top on my time-line on my BeginSPPodcast Twitter account and so far the only person to subscribe is me for testing purposes. That said it did work fairly efficiently. If you have Mailchimp you need to set up the Lead Card in Mailchimp and then it imports it into your Twitter advertising account where you can create a tweet containing it. I then pinned this Tweet to the top of my profile.
In terms of simple things worth trying, something I’ve seen some initial success with is just consistently (every day) posting quote graphics on my Instagram and Pinterest accounts like this:
This has been amazing for growing interest in my Instagram account for this show beginsppodcast. By scheduling out every day to post one quote (using Buffer) I’ve noticed a spike in likes and follows on this account, going up from about a hundred followers to 175 in a week. I’ve also noticed a very slight increase in downloads from this. It’s an amazingly simple strategy and it seems to have worked (fingers crossed) at the moment, and by batch producing graphics and reusing a common set of hashtags it doesn’t take that much effort to do.
On Pinterest I’ve not noticed much difference, but I think I may need to tweak things a bit there to get results. It has got me wondering if I have just been over-complicating things with some of my marketing. I’m now going to take some quotes out of my books and try the same on another Instagram account (not sure if to use my general Stonehampress account or create a new Instagram account) and see if it works as effectively.
While I don’t regret trying all these things it does seem for me that moral of the story is that often consistent action seems to lead to better results whatever the platform. I am still a great believer in trying out the new platforms but I think I may need to temper things a little and focus more on simple consistent strategies rather than getting disillusioned when something new doesn’t work with minimal effort.
If you liked this then you might like Book Marketing (Episode 9), Was I Wrong about Fiction Book Content Marketing? and Using Instagram to Market Books with Jenn Herman