Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How I Increased Book Sales With Facebook Ads

If you are in the business of selling anything, this post is a must read. But it is especially important for authors trying to figure out how to market their books. I discuss how as a complete newbie to Facebook ads, I increased my book sales significantly over a five day period. During that period my book, "Presidents, Pilots & Entrepreneurs" shot to #6 on Amazon in the entrepreneurship category. This was a total trial by error experiment that has thoroughly convinced me of the power of Facebook ads.

Imagine what life would be like if the very people you want to reach with your book came to you and told you exactly where you can find them and what interests them. Instead of you having to hunt them down, they send you an invitation with their exact location and what you need to say to peak their interest. Well, that is exactly what Facebook is for authors and entrepreneurs of all stripes--roughly 800 million people voluntarily telling you what they like. This is a marketers dream land.

How I Started

Well, I did not know where to start but Google is my friend, so I asked "the professor" (that's what us IT consultants call Google search). I came across this Mashable article that did a fantastic job of explaining how to get started with Facebook ads. Less than 30 minutes later I had an ad up on Facebook which started receiving clicks almost immediately. This surprised me as I thought most people simply ignored the ads like I do. Well in my case most people did ignore my ad but my target was 471,980 people and according to Facebook stats, my campaign reach was 64,466. Facebook explains campaign reach as follows:
"The number of individual people who saw sponsored stories or ads in this campaign during the dates selected. This is different than impressions, which includes people seeing them multiple times." 
In other words, 64,466 people saw this ad and according to Facebook, they saw it an average of 4.5 times. Wow. So, when was the last time 64,466 people visited your book's website or blog?

Choosing the Audience

Here is the key and the true value of Facebook. You can target with a level of precision unheard of with other tools. But first you have to understand your market and what interests them. Fortunately, I have done my homework and know a lot about my audience. It is also helpful that I am part of a subset of that audience.

I also included key information in the ad--two high profile endorsements. The book received an endorsement from Mike Michalowicz, author of "The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur and "The Pumpkin Plan" and another from best selling author Greg S. Reid, author of "Three Feet from Gold."

Here is the breakdown of my target Facebook audience taken right from the campaign page:

Here is the actual ad that was presented to the target audience:

Choose Your Budget

This is one of my favorite parts--you can set a daily budget to whatever amount you feel comfortable with as well a campaign duration. I chose a budget of $20 per day over a 5 day period. On day 5 I decided to extend it for another day for a total of 6 days. Too much? No problem. Choose whatever amount you wish. That's the best part!

The Results

My ad received a total of 118 clicks over that 6 day period, which is a click through rate of .041%. Hmmm. Some may not be impressed by this number but remember these are qualified leads. A few qualified leads are worth far more than hundreds of unqualified leads. This is especially telling when you consider the ad ends with the command "Buy Now!" What do you have to do as an author to get your book in front of 118 qualified readers who are ready to buy? I did all of this from the comfort of my living room in under 30 minutes with zero prior experience. How many books have you given away just to get more exposure? Well, those books cost something. Invest a portion of those dollars into Facebook ads for a better return on your investment.

The sales results paid for the ad and then some. More importantly, the book got into the hands of my target market who apparently spread the word to like minds within their circles. To my surprise the book shot back up to #6 by the end of the campaign in large part due to this campaign along with other marketing efforts during the same period. In part 2 of this post, I will include a detailed sales report for this 6 day period.

Authors, regardless of your genre, you are entrepreneurs. You created a product that you must get in the hands of your target market. This is no different than creating any other widget that you must sell. Unfortunately, many authors see themselves more as specialists (writers) than as entrepreneurs. Build it and they will come? Nope. Like any entrepreneur, you have to know your market, engage with them and promote your book and your ideas. Facebook ads is a great way to get more qualified eyeballs on your product (your book) without breaking the bank. Good luck!