Social Media Paint-by-Numbers

A recent research article by HubSpot helped me see why I like certain social media platforms and dislike others. It also contains lessons on how to make better use of both those we like and those we don’t.

As we’ve written before, there’s no magic bullet, no perfect time to post or special place to find all your business in one fell swoop. There is, however, meaningful data on how to use each platform to get the most out of it.

In the coming weeks I’ll be writing about how people (mostly unconsciously) perceive the major social media platforms, and what that translates to for your own use (and, of course, how it affects the services we provide for our clientele.)

Watch for it each Wednesday for the rest of the winter.

The Series


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

Using Evernote to Stay Organized

Virtual office professionals need to be well organized. One tool I use to help me stay organized wherever I’m at is Evernote. The free version is all I need and I can use it on my laptop, my tablet, and my phone. It syncs seamlessly between all my devices.

Evernote is a digital repository for information of all kinds. Some of the things you can do with Evernote are:

  • create to-do lists
  • take notes for a client
  • save web links you want to return to later
  • take photos of documents
  • make note of content ideas for your blog

I’ve found it very useful to create my shopping or errand lists and then have it with me on my phone or tablet. You can even create check box lists and check off each item as you purchase it or do the task. The notes you create can also be shared to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You can send them via email as well.

The basic version, all I’ve needed is free. However, they do have a Premium version that’s only $5 month or $45 for the year. The premium version allows you to:

  • use it offline
  • share with others and allow them to edit
  • get 1 GB monthly upload storage in the cloud
  • password lock protect your files on your mobile device

evernote screenshotA very nice feature is that you can take photos inside of Evernote and save or share them. Now you can take a photo of a document instead of needing to find a scanner. You can also snap a photo of a business card and save all the information to Evernote instead of having a pile of business cards in your desk drawer.

On your desktop or laptop computer you can install a web extension for Evernote’s Webclipper. With the Webclipper you can even take a screenshot. The image you see here was taken with Evernote’s Webclipper screenshot tool.

Do you use Evernote? How has it help you stay organized?

Here’s a link to another article with more information about Evernote and other note-taking apps.

Are You an Employee or a Business Owner?

The Commonsense Virtual Assistant
The Commonsense Virtual Assistant

Sometimes new virtual assistants think of themselves as employees. But you are not! You work for yourself. You are a business owner!

Since you are a business owner, you need to understand what it takes to run a successful business. It takes more than just having the skills your clients expect you to have to help them in their businesses.

You need to now how your clients think and what they want. You also need to know what you want – what you expect from your business.

To help you succeed as a business owner and get out of the employee mindset, the book, The Commonsense Virtual Assistant – Becoming an Entrepreneur, Not an Employee, was written.  Here are what some readers have said:

“This book is a must read for anyone looking to get into the virtual assistant industry and it is a blueprint for success for those who are already in the industry. It guides you through a mindset shift that shows you how to operate as a highly successful online business.”Lucinda Cross, Life Coach, Vision Board facilitator, Business Mentor

“While this book is directed towards Virtual Assistants, business owners of all industries will find it very useful in their pursuit of the American Dream of owning their own business. It will help you understand and overcome the limitations you place on yourself, consciously and subconsciously, that stand in your way of becoming a confident, successful business owner. It helps you develop an understanding of how your customer thinks, why you think the way you do, how to best utilize resources, and put processes into place to help you become the successful entrepreneur that is in every one of us!” – Michelle Randolph, Gold Force Administrative Support

“This book is a great reference for anyone considering a career as a Virtual Assistant (VA). It is well-written and gives a roadmap of the entire VA process from how to think like a VA, the skills needed and even to to how to operate your VA business. I especially love the resource chapter.” – Sandy Plarske, Elite Administrative Services

To get your year started right, begin by reading this book. The Kindle version is available at Amazon for only $3.99.

Tips for Your Business Blog: How to Get Started, What to Write, How to Promote and much more!

tips for your business blogBlogging is just one piece of the puzzle in your social media marketing strategy. Yet it is the very foundation for your social media marketing. You use your blog as a starting place to post at Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and any other social media sites you use.

To help you create a blogging marketing strategy, I have created a special report that includes basic blogging information, resources and a questionnaire.

The topics covered include:

  • Getting started with the basics of blogging including why you should have a blog and what the benefits are of having a blog
  • Three keys to successful blogging
  • When to post, finding time to write, ideas on what to write
  • Promoting your blog via social networking sites
  • My personal recommendation on which blogging platform to use and how to get started affordably

You can download this free report now. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have.