Monday, July 17, 2017

Should Have Done This Sooner

So in the last few weeks, I've tried a couple of experiments, to see how I can increase my audience and as a result, also my sales. A very tight budget has kept me from doing some things I want to try, so I needed cost-effective ways to make that sales increase happen.

The first experiment wasn't as successful as I'd hoped, though part of that is due to my not paying attention to it as much as I should. The launch of my new website, as well as a new newsletter that is set to be released late summer/early fall occurred a few weeks ago. It hasn't generated a lot of traffic, just a trickle, despite the enticement of winning - anyone who signs up for that newsletter will be entered into a contest to win free books, all sorts of fun goodies, and a $25 Amazon GC. If you haven't yet ventured over to the new site, take a minute to check it out – there's  info about each of my books, as well as any upcoming events and of course, the place to sign-up for news from me. I plan on sending out the newsletter at most 4-5 times a year, with a few special notices regarding new releases and the like.
Experiment number two was much more successful - placing an ad through Amazon Marketing Services. Again, budget was keeping me from doing this, but I decided to bite the bullet and take a shot. Turns out, it isn't as expensive as I thought it would be.

I chose to do a Sponsored Ad, where the book shows up on the pages of other books. My first attempt was rejected, and the explanation they gave was about the cover showing sexually suggestive images and content. I had actually researched ads that contained covers and books that were similar in tone/content to mine, so I reached out to support for some clarification, guidance and advice to bring the ad in line with their rules. Turns out it was my custom ad text that was the problem – a capitalization issue which was an easy fix, and once completed, was now acceptable for placement.

I'm about a week in now, and I have to say, I am very pleased with how the ad is working so far. After a couple of days watching the metrics, I learned how to narrow my targeted keywords – I followed the advice from others who ran successful ads and have about 300 keywords for the ad, though I did not use all of them at first. I still haven't used all of the initial words on my list, though I have added some I didn't have before, after seeing where my ad showed up and what other books appeared beside it. It's been very interesting to watch, and a lot of this brings me back to my corporate days of working with advertising campaigns and determining what gives the greatest ROI.

While the number of impressions (the number of times the ad appears) is actually quite - pardon the pun – impressive, it's watching and determining how to best utilize specific keywords that are generating the most traffic as far as clicks go. Studying which keywords gave the highest number of impressions and clicks helped me determine where to up the bid per click (and as a fangirl, it's awesome that some of those keywords are my favorite authors. Squee! lol)

Anyway, I figure all those impressions are at the very least getting me exposure, and the clicks are most definitely generating sales. What I noticed however, is that though the ad is specifically for Norseman's Salvation, and the ad has gotten me nice sales of that book over the last several days, I've gotten way more sales on the first two books in the series, specifically Norseman's Revenge. Since the end of the first day of the campaign, all three of The Norsemen Sagas books have consistently been in the Top 100 in the Viking Romance Category, most of the time in the Top 50. My overall sales have increased very nicely, spreading to my other series as well. In general, the ad has been successful – and I have more than tripled sales (across all my titles) compared to what I've spent so far (on one title). 

So for those who were curious how things were working, there you have it. I strongly suggest trying an AMS ad campaign to increase your sales – while I haven't sold thousands of books in the last week, I am very pleased with the increase I am seeing, and will continue to keep this ad campaign going as long as I can. And with the relaunch of the fourth Magiste Chronicles book on the horizon, I will be starting a new campaign.

The only regret I have about this is that I didn't do it sooner.

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