It’s time to discuss advertising as part of your marketing strategy. Traditionally, advertising came in three forms: direct response, awareness or saturation, and image ads. The rise of the Internet created new opportunities for marketing in conjunction with ads. Over the next three posts, I’ll look at these different advertising types, what to expect from each, and which venues give the best results based on anecdotal information and personal opinion*. In this post, I’ll give specifics for direct response advertising venues I’ve experimented with and have seen others use effectively.
If you’re new to this series, here are the highlights of previous posts: In the first four posts, we discussed the basics of Indie Marketing. Guest blogger Nick Stephenson gave us a great post about growing your email subscribers. And last week guest Beth Jusino exploded myths and relieved marketing stress in 5 Marketing Tips.
The three types of ads, in broad strokes, break down like this:
Direct Response – The advertiser expects the consumer to buy something when they see this ad. In the olden days, these appeared in your mailbox from magazines and clubs, or late night TV ads, “Call now and save $10!”. For today’s indie author, these are email lists dominated by Bookbub. I examine three direct response sources below.
Awareness – These ads do not expect you to respond immediately, but they do expect to make you aware of the product and its value. Think Geico ads on TV. These ads are often purchased in large blocks to saturate a target audience. Eventually, they will wear you down. For Indies, think about banner ads on websites. We will discuss these next week.
Image – On TV, you’ve seen ads about how great a company is or how they sponsor the Olympics, etc. These ads are designed to make the consumer trust the advertiser thereby creating a long-term customer. Most indie authors promote image via social media but the day is not far off when you will see authors advertising themselves as writers without a specific book in the ad. Look for more about this in two weeks.
Specific experiences for direct response ads are what you used to get in your mailbox from Columbia House Book-of-the-Month Club and magazines, etc. It was a flyer that elicited a direct response from you: act now to save $10! Today, these are emails that have morphed from true spam to lists you subscribe to for special deals. The reason these are the most effective use of your money is due to the people receiving them have specifically asked to have information about books sent to them.
BookBub – These ads are hideously expensive. As of this post, $460 will get me on an email to 1 million people who asked for information about special deals for thrillers. With rare exception, everyone I know who has placed an ad for this service has made more than the $460 (see their price list here) back. Still, very few report a corresponding jump in reviews.**
Book Gorilla – The second start up to challenge BookBub in the same space, I tried it a long time ago with no noticeable increase in sales to show for my $50. The reach of this list is connected to Kindle Nation Daily, a respected website (see their pricing here). Unfortunately, I heard from a small number of people while preparing for this post and they’ve had the same experience, unnoticeable sales bump, no reviews.
Fussy Librarian – A new, upstart competitor to BB, it is small but appropriately priced. $6 will get my thriller in front of 13,500 subscribers. I’ve done two of these and broken even both times. That is a value worth supporting and keeping an eye on for the future.
What have you used and how did it work for you?
* I’d like to offer statistical analysis, but at this stage of indie publishing, it isn’t realistic to gather consistent, repeatable numbers from anyone.