Social Media Tips & Blog

Three Reasons to Experiment with BookBub Ads (Guest Post by Anne Janzer)

We reached out to author Anne Janzer after she shared her experiences below in her own newsletter. Anne's books are marvelous examples of nonfiction done right, and we appreciated her willingness to share her experiments and conclusions with our readers.

BookBub is renowned for its Featured Deals. Every author I’ve spoken with who ever got a Featured Deal sings BookBub’s praises.

But here’s the thing – I’m a nonfiction author, and those deals are harder to come by. (So far, I’ve landed two “international-only” featured deals in the self-help category, but none in the US. Harumph.)

Lucky for me, there are BookBub Ads.

BookBub ads haven’t been around as long as the Featured Deals, and the company has been making changes to the platform. But from my perspective, they’re terrific.

If you’re considering using paid advertising to support a book launch or promotion, BookBub ads definitely worth a look. Experiment and see if they find a place in your book marketing plans.

How they Work

BookBub sends its subscribers emails with the Featured Deals for the day. At the end of that email, there’s an ad. Here’s one from a recent email to me:

The advertiser provided the image. At the bottom of the email, you can see that BookBub showed me this ad because I follow Daniel Pink. If I click on it, it takes me to my preferred ebook source (in this case, Amazon in the US).

While these ads may be less compelling than the Featured Deals, they can perform well. My own experience has been that they can and do send people to the book page and generate sales, with a few caveats (see below).

Three Reasons to Consider BookBub Ads

Successful Facebook advertising still stumps me. Amazon advertising is tricky; getting Amazon to scale up your spending can be a challenge.

In contrast, BookBub ads are consistent, reliable, and have definite advantages for indie authors. These are the things I most love about them:

  1. Control—You control when the ads show. If you bid high enough for a number of impressions, BookBub will show your ad.
  2. Scalable Spending—You can spend as much or as little as you want. For example, test the waters on an ad image by running it as a “pay-per-click” campaign, in which you pay only when someone clicks on the ad. If you’re happy with it, you can drop $30-50 on “pay-per-impression” ads and get a burst of traffic for a few days.
  3. Author Targeting—BookBub lets you target fans of specific authors. This means that if you choose well, you’ll send the right kind of traffic to your Amazon page.

A Few Caveats

As with any advertising strategy, it takes careful copywriting, financial tracking, and a sound strategy to make sense. In particular, pay attention to the following:

Your landing page: If you spend a bunch of money sending people to your Amazon page and it doesn’t do sell your book, then you’re wasting your advertising budget. Start by tightening up that page.

The ad image: You don’t have a lot of territory in the ad image to earn a click. It helps if your book cover is compelling. See this post on the BookBub blog: Top 20 BookBub Ad Designs Readers Want to Click.

The price: BookBub readers sign up to get the heavily discounted books, so these ads work best when you’re running a discounted promotion, or your ebook is priced low. You probably won’t sell a bunch of $9.99 Kindle books using BookBub ads.

The authors: Target fans of authors who would appeal to your readers. People who have big sales on Amazon don’t always have followings on BookBub. Go to BookBub and search for the author’s name to see how many followers they have. You may have to think creatively to find your ideal set of authors.

Your financial comfort level. Your advertising campaign should pay for itself. You can blow through the money using “Pay per impression” ads, so pay attention to how they are performing. Consider allocating a small budget for ads, then tracking your results. Think of it as an investment in learning that should pay for itself.

Success requires experimentation. Run the same ad to different authors, or different ad images to the same authors. Try an ad campaign as part of a launch, or schedule a promotion and advertise it on BookBub. As with everything in book marketing, there’s no single right answer.

Be willing to experiment.

For More Information

Learn before you start advertising. Here are a couple resources:

Anne Janzer is an award-winning author on a mission to help people communicate more effectively through writing. Her books include The Writer's Process and Writing to Be Understood: What Works and Why. Find her ramblings at AnneJanzer.com.

Persistence and Regularity Are the Keys to the Marketing Marathon

Watching traditional advertising all our lives, we've learned the lie that marketing = big splash.

Advertising, a small part of marketing, can benefit from a big splash.

We're talking about marketing, your ongoing efforts to connect with people who'll benefit from and appreciate your message. Like any relationship, it takes time.

More than that, it takes persistence and regularity. No friendship ever came from a single interaction, or meeting three times a year apart. Close connections come from regular contact and conversation. It's work. That's right, having relationships is work (you knew that) and marketing is about relationships, therefore, marketing is work.

You knew that, too.

Show up every day. That doesn't mean blog every day, or do any one thing every day. Blog regularly. Weekly is better than monthly. Chat on Twitter, Facebook, wherever you hang out. Ping an old client or another author who writes like you. Give away a book at the coffee shop. One of yours, or someone else's even.

Persistent regular activity is the endless dripping that makes marketing effective.

Help Us Make More Connections

After a challenging first half of the year we're keeping ourselves alert to the connections we're making in the industry. The more people we help, the better our own business does.

Sue wants to do more of her Getting to Know You calls. While these calls never include a sales pitch of any kind, the honest personal connections that result have been consistently helpful—on both sides.

Who do you know in the publishing industry? Could be an agent, a publisher, a designer: if they're in publishing, point them to this post and let them know two things:

  1. We'd love to connect to learn about them.
  2. We abhor pushy sales pitches disguised as 'friendly chats' so when they talk to Sue, they're safe.

Do You Really Need to Be Online?

The Dream

Every time social media as a marketing tool for authors comes up, someone mentions that famous author who doesn't blog, the rich author who has no online presence whatsoever. The argument is that you don't need an online presence, blogging, social media, to become rich and famous, or succeed in whatever way you define success, as an author.

Back to Reality

Yes, it’s possible to become a best-seller, rich and famous, without ever going online.

It’s also possible to cross the ocean in a rowboat. I’ve read about it. It’s not fun.

If you truly deeply hate social media, find other ways. But if you just don’t want to do the work of blogging and interacting online, or if you’re just being contrary, you’re making it so very hard on yourself.

Speaking in absolutes is always counterproductive (oh, I see what I did there.) But as a general rule, it is best if an author has a blog and posts regularly. It is best if an author has a social media presence and engages there regularly. It is best to make use of the tools that will engage with your potential audience where they are: online.

What's Your Plan?

Most business folks spend their days being nibbled to death by ducks.

You want to print the meeting agenda but the printer is out of ink.

Your website manager still hasn't updated your bio.

That new client postpones their call. Again.

The prospect can't meet for lunch at noon so would 1:30 work? Or next Friday?

The path to success requires relentless focus on what's important but that's hard to do with mallards and drakes nipping at your heels.

To Stay on Track, You Need a Track

If you don't know where you're going, you'll probably never get there, and even if you do you won't know it.

In the frantic scramble of the average entrepreneur's workday, marketing your book is one of the first things to fall through the cracks. If it's not a priority, it won't get done, and if it's not part of the plan it won't be a priority.

The Plan

You need to have your own plan, of course, but here is the big picture for a business person who has written a book to support their business:

  1. People engage your services because
  2. they read your book after
  3. they followed your blog, Twitter feed, and other social media when
  4. they saw your insightful generous comment on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, or another blog, which happened because
  5. it was on your schedule.

Getting Started

My father used to tell the story of little Billy, who told the teacher he was late because he ran beside his bicycle all the way to school. When she asked why he did that, he said "Because I didn't have time to stop and get on."

Make the time to stop and get on the bike. You'll lose a few minutes now, and gain them back manifold in the coming weeks and months.

Write down your plan. Even if, at first, it's as vague as my list above, write it down. What's the path someone will take from total stranger to client?

Until you have that, you're flailing in the dark.

Once you do have it, you're ready to create a formal marketing plan.

If you need help with that, or even with the informal plan that comes first, give Sue a holler. We love helping folks figure out social media.