Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Marketing by the numbers

Quick marketing vocabulary lesson.

ROI (AKA Return on Investment): This is a business term used to detail the amount of money you make compared to the amount of money spent on any given activity.

Example: If I spent $50 on a paid advertisement and am able to directly correlate $300 in sales from that add, then I would say I have a 6:1 (read six to one) ROI on that ad because I made $6 for every $1 spent.

When we run marketing campaigns it's important to track this ROI as best we can so we know what does and doesn't work for us. In order to do that, we spend a lot of time looking at the numbers of it all. And while that's important that we understand this so we don't waste money, it's also important to know when to stop looking at the numbers.

Because, as authors, there are so many places to go looking for numbers. So many places. Here's a short list that I cooked up off the top of my head:
1. Blog visitor count
2. Adds/Reviews on Goodreads
3. cover up votes on Netgalley
4. number of reviews
5. Star ranking of reviews
6. Amazon sales rank
7. Number of sales
8. Page listing on "most requested lists" on Netgalley (this might win for the weirdest)
9. Number of email subscribers

Seriously, it could be a full time job bouncing from site to site all day checking out where we rank on this list and how many stars we have over there. And I'll admit, I've spent my fair share of time staring at sales charts and trying to over-analyze every piece of data available. It's just right there, in my face, and I NEED TO KNOW.

But the truth is that I don't need to know. Not every day. Because staring at the numbers isn't going to change them. They won't fall apart if we don't keep an eye on them. Those numbers are going to do their thing regardless of how many times a day we refresh the page.

I get the draw, seriously, I get it. But as authors, we need to stop letting those numbers control us. We can't let our mood, desire to write, or confidence be affected daily by and up or down tick in one day's worth of sales. It's enough to drive a lady insane.

Yes, check your numbers when you need to. Keep track of your ROI. Have a general idea of where sales are going. You need to do this to be successful at know how and when to launch different marketing efforts for your book. But keeping track doesn't mean checking your stats five times a day. How often you take a peak will depend on what your marketing efforts entail and how time sensitive they are. But don't tell yourself you need to check every hour when you're running a static 3-day sale.

I imagine this gets easier the longer you've been in the game and the more books there are to keep track of. Please, someone tell me this gets easier. But in the meantime, try to keep your focus on areas that you can control, like churning out more words for your next book. Focus on what you do best, and let the numbers take care of themselves.

If you have tips for staying away from those pesky, tempting numbers, I'd love for you to share them in the comments.

3 comments:

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  2. The real question, for me, is how to TRACK your ROI for various publicity options. Book tours, for instance. Or anything you do on goodreads. Do you have any tips to share?

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    1. It's really hard. One way is to use different vanity links for your different efforts. You won't be able to track sales, but you can track clicks. Also, just watching sales and ranks on the various sites when you run time sensitive promotions. Also, if someone contacts me about the book, I just ask how they heard of me.

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