Marketing Journal: I Like Sales, But I Can’t Overspend

Marketing Journal: I Like Sales, But I Can’t Overspend

Gretings all,

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on the marketing efforts, and this turned out to be as good an opportunity as any.

I started out continuing the plan I had been working on. Spending $174.47, I had four sales and 1,646 pages read directly tied to the clicks I had.

I say directly tied because I had more than four sales.

The month of December had a was a bright spot for me. I had ten sales, which held true from my last run in November. Continuing in the direction I was going always led to an increase in sales. The problem was that my ACOS (the Average Cost of Sales) was still just too high. Sure, I got orders. Sure, I got reviews. But spending $147 to earn less than $60 isn’t good business. I didn’t want to panic though. I wanted to wait one more more month to see what would happen.

I also wanted to try something new. You see, I read this post (somewhere on Kindlpreneur bout marketing to a German audience. It basically said there is indeed a market for fiction books written in English, so I figured, why not?

So I walked through the process (it was fairly simple) and uploaded a few of my pre-made folders I had already set up. Since starting, I’ve spent about $40, but I did sell a paperback!

Then the numbers for January came in.

I did have another ten sales, and that’s great (sales are always good) but more than $200!? Something had to change. I did a little more research, and came to a conclusion:

No one in their right mind should bid $.45 for a click. I don’t claim to have been in my right mind, so I don’t feel too ashamed. I really started digging into my numbers and the research.

First: Most of my purchases came with great ACOS, the problem was they were buried in keywords that weren’t resulting in (obvious) sales. There were a few keywords where the ACOS was too much, but I was paying out the ear for sales that weren’t making up the difference.

So I started going to my reports and looking out for any clicks that cost more than $.25 cents. This is a good spot to start. Ideally (according to my research), you should expect any keyword to take between 10-20 clicks before you get a sale. So my goal is to work with keywords that are effective at bids between $.15-$.25 while eliminating those above.

How’d it work out? Well, the good news is I’ve brought my cost for February back down to $126.97 (as I type this). That did have an effect on my sales.

As I type this, I only have four sales for February. I’ll admit, for that stretch you see from Feb. 11 – Feb. 23, I felt awful. I kept having to tell myself that it’s just bad business to spend more than $200 for only about $28 in sales. I still lose about $170. I can’t do that, and I don’t want new authors to have that issue. Yes, more impressions leads to more sales. Yes, more clicks leads to more sales. this month proved that even though I don’t see the sales on the Amazon Advertising page, those sales are related in some way.

So the next step in this evolution is to optimize my campaigns as I mentioned above. I’m still going to use keywords to generate more keywords. I’m still going to work on what I call the King Keyword list, a document composed strictly of keywords that resulted in sales and/or pages read.

I will continue to eliminate all campaign bids greater than $.25. I’m also pausing any keywords or campaigns that have proven to be ineffective. For instance “Batman” as a keyword got me more than 60 clicks, but those 60 clicks didn’t net me a single, observable sale.

What I learned in doing that was that I do have keywords that are performing well (a Click Through Rate higher than 1% and ACOS below 70%). I just have a lot of keywords that aren’t working for me, and I have to manage and refine those keywords. Any new campaigns I set will be based on the range from $.15-$.25. I’m letting the Germany Add Campaigns work for a while. Most of the research I’ve seen says it take about three months for a campaign to gain traction. I’ve also started some of AMS’s Product Sponsoring campaigns. Those will also run for three months while I observe the data. Then I’ll start working to optimize those campaigns.

The hope is to evolve on this platform until I earn money from marketing rather than just spend money for the sake of making sales.

I hope this is helping some of you out there to take note of what to watch out for as you prepare to release your books.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Marketing Journal: A Push For Impressions!

Marketing Journal: A Push For Impressions!

Greetings all,

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Stock photo from Pixabay.

So a few weeks ago I talked about Reedsy. I also mentioned Publisher Rocket. Given that I’m still in a holding pattern on the rest of the Oneiros Log, this turns out to be a good time to offer you an update.

Naturally, I hope for this to become a profitable business. However, the unfortunate reality is after five years, I’m still losing money. This in no way reduces my love for writing, nor does it affect my resolve to keep at it. What this truth does do is challenge me to look at what I’m doing and try to get better.

When I talked to marketers, I had two conversations. The first validated a truth I accepted when I started. I have ten titles available. If I use the wide umbrella of “paranormal,” I could argue that six of them are in the same genre. One of those six is YA. Three more of those six are parts of the first book. When one doesn’t write to market, it’s very difficult to build a platform. I went into this dream with my eyes open to that truth.

caught-front-coverIf you were a hopeful author who didn’t care what you wrote, I’d recommend you search the categories (more on that below) and write to one of the smaller markets and build your following. However, I have stories that have been stuck in train wreck between my eyes for decades, and they want out. Some are more demanding than others. I don’t think I could stick to one thing if I wanted to. This means I have to be willing to accept that I don’t have a lot going for me in terms of platform and market. I am trying to get the Oneiros Log done, and that will give me a complete trilogy (quadrology if you count Repressed, but, again, that is a YA outrigger story) to market to one audience.

The other marketer and I spoke via chat, and we have a meeting scheduled for later today (Saturday). I was clear about my goals and my struggles.

My ultimate goal is to earn $7,000 per month in profit from my writing. That’s the target that will allow me to become a full-time author. I’d probably continue working for two years just to get everything stabilized. Then I would focus on being the author I’ve always wanted to be.

This meeting is hopefully the first step toward making the books I have out contribute to the goal rather than continue to budget for my author career the way some people budget for vacations.

The next thing I did was possible because of some overtime I worked. I finally purchased Publisher Rocket. My desire was to skip straight to the AMS Marketing Keywords, but I held off. I learned a few things by doing that.

Rocket logoA while back, I talked about using the seven KDP keywords to help get you placed into more specific categories. They do, but those keywords are even more powerful. I sort of think of them like free marketing keywords. So I spent the last week going through all of my titles and refining those keywords. Now, since those titles are old, and I don’t have much of a platform, I can’t really expect there to be any night and day changes.

The next thing I did was use Rocket to help me find categories that gave me a better shot to be visible. When one first publishes on KDP, they see some 600 categories they have to try and fit themselves in. Amazon has way more categories than that, and Rocket has a way to find them and rank them based on how many books per day you’d have to sell to be the best seller for that category. From my understanding, being a best seller or a number one best seller for a category does wonderful things for a book and an author’s bank account. I still have to move those titles into those categories, but I just finished identifying them, and getting put in those categories is only an email or phone call away.

As for marketing: I’m actually having trouble finding the first article I researched, but what it taught me (and other sites reenforced) is that each of my book should have at least 100,000 impressions per month.

I was nowhere near that. The short math:

Impressions must happen for anyone to click. Clicks must happen for anyone to buy. You want clicks to lead directly to buys.

Last weak, I took stock of what books were generating the most impressions. Caught was getting somewhere around 40,000 impressions per month. So, without having Publisher Rocket, I just went at it. I created about two new campaigns a night until I reached the point I am at today. As of May 21, Caught had 78,804 impressions during the last 30 days.

This tells me I should be hitting my goal soon (if I haven’t already). The next step in my plan is to get the rest of my books going.

Once I have all of my titles pulling in 100,000 impressions a month, I can use that data to look at my click through rate.

So I thought I’d give you a snapshot on just how far off I am. My hope is, as I get better, you’ll see that I’m doing is working. Why isn’t it working now? Because I haven’t been doing too much of anything. Time is a valuable resource. I spend the bulk of my time happy with my wonderful family. I spend time with God studying the New and Old Testament. So I was using my time to write (which I love), but my books aren’t selling (which makes me sad). The goal is to turn things around by focusing on my AMS marketing. Will it work? Stay tuned and find out. (You can help by purchasing any or all of my books!  Just saying.)

My Current stats:

BOOK                                    IMPRESSIONS                  CLICKS         ORDERS (BOOKS BOUGHT)

Caught                                  78,804                                38 (BAD)       1 (NO FUN)

Bob                                       20,453 (BAD)                     12 (BAD)        0 (SAD)

Power of Words                 40,069 (BAD)                     11 (BAD)        0 (SAD)

Repressed                            34, 740 (BAD)                    9 (BAD)         1 (NO FUN)

Sojourn                                 29,210 (BAD)                    22 (BAD)       0 (SAD)

Stealing Freedom               4, 718 (TERRIBLE)          5 (BAD)          0 (SAD)

Testimony                             33, 028 (BAD)                  11 (BAD)       0 (SAD)

 

I left out info for the individual parts for Bob because I only have about one campaign for each of them, so it’s probably not good.

It looks like we got Caught up to speed. I’ll know for sure June 1. I’ll probably do a few more campaigns just to be sur. My first goal will be to get them all to 100,000 impressions a month. Then I can worry about that devastatingly bad click-through-rate. According to my research, I should be getting clicks about 35% of the time or more. I think my highest click-through-rate is about 7%.

One thing I can do now though (and intend to do during my meeting with the Reedsy marketer) is work on converting those clicks into buys. How often do I want that to happen? Let’s look at the math.

Screen Shot 2020-05-22 at 12.58.28 PM
My current AMS page looks depressing.

After Amazon takes it’s cut from one of my sales, I make a maximum profit of $2.79 (on average. Most of my books are between $2.99 and $3.99, but let’s just work with this number for now). If I pay 25 cents a click, that means I could have about 10 clicks before I lose money. My goal is to convert one out of every eight clicks into sales. The way that happens is making sure I get my book blurb on point and reviews. I can’t actually do much about reviews. I hope people read and review my work, but I don’t have a way to make that happen. I can look at my blurbs and make them as strong as possible. My hope is this marketer will help me with that.

Why one for every eight click? Because if I can keep it that low, I could make 9 cents a sale. Not the best sales rate ever, but I have to start somewhere, and my current one per fifty four clicks is costing me about $20 a month. The perspective is that flipping it from a loss to a profit is the right progression.

We have to think positively. Rather than stay fixated on the lack of sales and reviews, the more-productive (and less painful) mindset is to look at what can be done to get better.

So here is the starting point and plan of action, the two things anyone needs to execute a plan.

Wish me luck!

Thanks for reading,
Matt

An Amazing Gift! The Results From Caught’s Birthday.

An Amazing Gift! The Results From Caught’s Birthday.

Greetings all,

caught-front-coverThere are simply no words to express how overjoyed I am. To say the giveaway was successful would be an understatement. I’d like to walk you through how things went.

The event kicked off with a start that already had me thrilled.  Ninety-seven people downloaded Caught. I’m always happy when I get a lot of downloads during free events, and that was just amazing.

Day two brought similar results as eighty-two people downloaded the book. I was on cloud nine.

When I set up the giveaway, I also set up a BookGorilla campaign. I’d used them a few times before, and I wondered how things would change if the book was free. I went to church and then we got to my in-laws’ place. I brought up my phone, expecting to see another hundred or so downloads.

What I saw first was the bar graph KDP uses to show sales. The bar for that date was much higher than the others. Much. Higher. I zoomed in and touched the bar: More than 300 people downloaded the book. I jumped off my seat, telling my family what was going on. I rushed to Caught’s Amazon page and learned I was ranked seventh in my category (Paranormal Suspense).

Screen Shot 2019-01-28 at 6.48.02 AMI would have been out of my mind with joy if it had stopped there, but that bar just kept going. I saw that I had 500 downloads and moved up to fifth. 748 downloads later, I had landed in the top three. Number 3 in my category.

Monday came, and 183 more people downloaded my book. The campaign finished Jan. 30, and fifty-seven more people had downloaded the book.

In total, 1,166 people downloaded the book. There just aren’t words. I could say thank you 1,166 times, I could say it 1,166 times 1,166, and it wouldn’t be enough. To all of you who picked up the book, THANK YOU! I hope you enjoy it.

If I shut off the overjoyed artist for a moment or two, I can talk about the overall goal. The first goal was to get about 300 downloads. Well, that goal got obliterated. The next goal is one that I’ll have to track.

Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 8.57.31 PMYou see, it’s common for people to simply grab up a copy of a free book. Who wouldn’t? The hope is that any percentage actually read the book. My hope is about 100 people read the book. I can’t really track that, but the last metric gets to the main hope of the campaign. Every author hopes for the most cherished thing they can have. Purchases are nice. Compliments are wonderful, but the thing that really helps an author is a review. My goal for this? 10 reviews.

I’d love for all of those to be glowing praise for my creative mind, but if I get ten scathing reviews, it would still be a successful campaign in my eyes. I’ve already seen a bit of reaction. My Goodreads page for Caught shows two new ratings: One two star and one five star. I can live with that sort of breakdown.

Th campaign hasn’t even been over for two days, so the fact that two people have already rated the book  is just amazing. Now all that’s left is the wait.

Even if I don’t get any reviews, it’s just amazing to see that so many people have at least shown the interest in Caught to download it. I can only hope everyone who tired it enjoy it. Whatever you think of the book, I just want you to know how grateful I am. You’ve made a silly old dreamer so happy, and I don’t even know how to show my appreciation.

Bless you all.

Thanks for reading,

Matt