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Do online ads work for writers?

Hey Freelancer!

Jake, the Min Pin is just about 19 years old. That old coot’s really getting up there! In fact, I adopted Mini-Me (the wonky eyed, rough coat, Jack Russell) a year ago because I knew Jake’s passing would be tough. He’s been with us for so long and I rather like having him around!

But… he rallied. And a year later he’s sound asleep behind my chair snoring like a fog horn.

His time with us feels bittersweet. On one hand, I feel sorry for the old boy. He can’t see very well. His hearing is terrible (until I open the dog treat bag). Sometimes he’s cranky.

On the other hand, every day he reminds me to treasure sun beams, stand outside and breathe deep, and walk exactly as fast as I desire. So far, his good days outnumber his bad.

I hope, just for today, you become Jake. Sit in the sun. Snore. Growl when you need to.

Oh, and don’t forget to write!

Talk later!

Beth 🙂

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Do Online Ads Make Sense?

Today we’re doing math. I know. I’m a writer, not a mathematician! Not to worry. I’ll keep it simple.

I decided to tackle this topic because of a number of misconceptions I’ve encountered in the writing world concerning advertising, intended audiences, and a somewhat common “if I build it, they will come” attitude regarding websites. This is also an exercise illustrating that with just a tiny shift of thought, things aren’t always as they seem…

So, let’s break it down by discussing something relatively easy to sell: Books.

If you haven’t written a book, you probably should consider doing so. It’s a great credibility builder. You can sell it on Amazon and use it to attract clients. Sometimes a book will generate buzz. We’ll talk more about this type of promo later, today’s all about ads. In the meantime, here are a few numbers:

On a typical .99 ebook, Amazon will pay you around .35. On a 2.99 book, you’ll net close to two bucks. Remember these numbers.

So, let’s skim the surface of this topic (and I mean REALLY skim it) and start with a few terms:

CPC (Cost per click) – This is what you’re charged when someone clicks your ad. Bid – What you’ll pay for that click. Impressions – when your ad shows up and someone sees it. Keywords – the word or phrases someone inserts in a search bar to find your book.

First, regarding impressions, lots of people will see your ad. But, it’s generally not a great idea to pay for “impressions.” If I placed an ad and it landed on your Facebook Feed, just scrolling past would be considered an impression. Nope. I’m not a fan of paying for that type of interaction.

Bids: If you’re lucky, you can pay a dime per click assuming you’ve got some great keywords. On Amazon ten cents is the minimum and bids in my industry can easily go north of a dollar. Obviously, you should shoot to keep your CPC low while still getting your ad presented to a bevy potential buyers.

Keywords: Pick these carefully! Keep ‘em very specific, target your audience, and keep your CPC low. For example: “Dog” would target a much wider audience (and more clicks) than would “Jack Russel Terrier.” But if your product best targets Jacks, go with that to weed out folks who love Labs. That said “Rough Coat Jack Russel Terrier” is even more narrow. Narrow keywords are sometimes less expensive and better targets your potential audience. You’ll get fewer clicks, but the clicks you get are targeted better. When selecting keywords, think ultra-specific.

So, let’s talk about that book again. From what I’ve read, if you nail everything right (cover, copy, keywords, etc,) many authors can expect around two sales for every 100 clicks. That means if you’re spending a dime per click, you just spent ten bucks to make 70 cents. On the higher priced ebook we discussed, you’d spend ten to get four.

Looks bad, eh?

Again, it depends. If you’ve got a strategy in place and are using that book as a loss leader, you just may be fine when readers start purchasing the rest of your series… or hire you to write for them. It all depends on your call to action and overall plan.

Better yet? Once you get the hang of this, you can use online advertising to sell not only books, but every service you provide.

This is a pretty complex topic, one that I’ll talk about extensively in an upcoming issue of The Creative Entrepreneur Newsletter.

To summarize, although on the surface, your campaign may look like a bust, that may or may not be the case depending on your ultimate goal and how that loss leader pulls in clients or other book sales.

In the meantime, carefully monitor any online advertising program. Those babies can spiral out of control fast.

(And lastly… if you’re keen to sharpen your writing skills and sell your writing, buy me a mocha. Lucky subscribers receive deep details on how to make 2019 the best year ever… fun stuff to cut the learning curve…)

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