So I’ve been experimenting with ads on some various places, trying to – you guessed it – increase exposure and sell books. I’ve used Blogads.com, which is a pretty good consolidated site where you can purchase ads on dozens of different blogs. I’ve also placed ads on authormarketingclub.com (not worth it) and ereadernewstoday (a bit expensive, but more effective).
The Blogads and Ereadernewstoday ads have something in common – the engines that run the advertising allow you to load several different versions of your ad that will rotate into your space. You can also link each ad differently e.g., to different books. But what does this matter, you may say? Doesn’t it make more sense to just hammer away at the consumer with the same thing in hopes of hardselling him into buying?
You can see where this is going. Consumers have to be wooed, not browbeaten. Unless you are in an automobile showroom, the hard-sell is just not going to work, triply so on the web where relief is just a click away. More to the point, while new site visitors might have the same average response to your ad, repeat visitors will quickly tune it out after they have seen it a few times. If they made that split-second decision not to click it once, they will probably make the same decision again…unless you have something different there this time.
Different things catch different peoples’ eyes. Let’s say you are selling a book series – oh, hey, that’s what I am doing. Let’s say I am selling my book series Plague Wars. I have several covers, with different colors and a related theme but each is a bit different. One has a hunky undershirty gunman that I hope will attract a broad spectrum of genders and types of readers. Another has a modern warrior more suited for those interested in modern military, and a third had a space marine and a planet scene for the sci-fi types. Same series, but since it progresses from Earth eventually to space, it makes sense.
In all cases, I link not to the particular book – I don’t want to get people to buy and be upset by getting a later book in the series – I link to the series page on my web site, which then has links to buy. Then hopefully they will 1) see it’s a series, 2) divine that they should probably read book 1 first (always on sale at lower price from the rest), and 3) buy from that page where I get a few percent extra profit because of Amazon Associates (if they buy from Amazon).
If you have several books that are not a series, it’s just as easy, because each “creative” or “version” of your ad is in essence advertising a different related product. You should get some synergy sales if they like you as an author, but since each book is a standalone work, you don’t have to strategize on how to make sure they go for the first book in the series – just take them to a buy page, either where you have an associates link or straight to the purchase site (Amazon, Kobo, B&N, etc.)
So, you ask (I know you ask), how do you know this, Dave? Are you just spouting conventional wisdom?
Actually, no. Being an intuitive and impatient person, I usually want to try something out before I read the instructions. In this case I was able to do “before-and-after” comparisons. So first I loaded one ad version for the first book in the series, The Eden Plague. Once I had a good baseline for click-thru rates and cost per click, and incidentally now I had the time and motivation to generate more ad versions using PowerPoint and Paint, I then loaded two more version, making three in rotation. This is what the ad sites recommended in their FAQ, but hey, baby steps, right?
Roughly speaking, my click-thru rate doubled, and my sales increased a measurable amount, varying between 10 and 50% per day. All it took was some time and effort to create and load the versions, there was no difference in cost. So clearly, this strategy is more effective than just running the same ad day after day.