- CREATE GREAT AD IMAGES!
Join Shutterstock or another stock image site. Buy a licence for a great image that works as a backdrop for your super awesome cover. Landscapes work well. Maybe urban landscape if your book is a thriller set in a city. If your readers are predominantly female, choose a woman in the background or an eye-catching object relevant to the book. Think about how the image appears in people‘s feeds. It needs to fit, but also “pop”. Orange or pink work well with the blue Facebook look. You can’t use a lot of text on your image anyway or Facebook won’t approve the image, but I would recommend as little text as possible anyway. A short quote, maybe. And just a sentence on ad copy, because the same rules apply as anywhere else. Keep it short and snappy, make your target audience curious and have a strong call to action at the end.
- HAVE A GOAL!
Before you create your ad, ask yourself: What do you want to get out of this ad? Do you want to drive sales on Amazon, for example? Then join the Amazon Affiliates Program, create a new tracking ID for every Facebook ad and use the specific tracking ID link for the “Super Awesome German Translation” page on Amazon in your ad. Only then you can monitor sales conversions! Don’t bother with this if your book is 3.99 EUR or under. It’s very unlikely that you get a decent ROI. What worked best for me is an ad for a higher-priced ebook box set. My Connemara-Saga box set sells for 8.99 EUR on Amazon. In my ad I tell people what a great bargain this is, because if they’d buy all the books separately, they would have to pay 14.96 EUR. I point out that my Connemara books got over a hundred five star reviews. I draw the attention of young women who read romantic fantasy with an image of a young girl in a magical forest. My affordable advertising budget allows me to break even with 5 purchases a day. Even on a bad day, I sell more than that. My ad has been running for months and so far, it still does it’s job. Another thing that has worked really well for me is to use Facebook ads to get people to join my mailing list. I don’t get any instant earnings by doing this, but it‘s still money worth spend, because my mailing list acts as a funnel. Sign up and you get EICHENWEISEN, book one of the CONNEMARA-SAGA for free. I don’t think a lot of German authors do this and advertise it on Facebook, so there isn’t a lot of competition. It might be an idea to set up a mailing list for your German readers and reward them for signing up by giving away the first book in a series. Hopefully they like it and want to buy the next instalments (don’t forget to set up an automated email sequence to tell them about the next books in the series, though!)
I have advertised my first HIGHLAND-HEXEN-KRIMI with a direct sales link to Amazon, even though it sells for 2.99 EUR. I did this in order to get the book higher up in the bestselling charts so it would get selected for an Amazon Kindle Deal. That always pushes a book even higher in the charts so readers who might have never come across it see it there. In other words, it helps with that pesky discoverability problem and in turn you get good and steady sales for a while. I only chose this strategy after I had already been approached by Amazon and my book was a Kindle Deal maybe, though. Again, be smart about the risks you take with this, or else your money goes straight into Mark Zuckerberg kid’s college fund!
Facebook gives you many options where to send people who click on your ad. Check them out, but my advice is, definitely don’t send them to your facebook page. The Facebook page like button appears on your ad no matter what. Having lots of new followers is a great bonus and can give you an indication how well your ad is doing.
- KNOW YOUR READERS!
Take the time and do some research on your target audience. Facebook gives you many options for your ad targeting. Unless you are writing non-fiction, don’t even bother with interests or hobbies as a target selection. I have tried this and it doesn’t work. Just because someone likes to travel to Scotland, it apparently doesn’t mean they are inclined to buy paranormal mysteries set in the Scottish Highlands. Just because someone likes “reading” doesn’t mean they read paranormal mysteries set in the Scottish Highlands. Just because someone watches the British mystery TV series Rosemary and Thyme doesn’t mean they like … You catch my drift. Find popular books in your specific genre. Just check out the Amazon.de Kindle bestseller lists or visit the German reader community Lovelybooks. Just like on Goodreads you’ll find lists for very specific genre niches. Then target your ads to readers of those books and authors.You just need to type in the book or author and it comes up automatically if it is a targeting option.
It worked really well for me to target “Like Facebook Page audiences” (other people like the ones that already like my page) and even more so my “Facebook friends and their friends”. These days, your posts don’t appear on many of your followers‘ timelines anymore. Pay for ads and they do. People who “like” you and already know you are more likely to actually “like” your ad or comment on it. (This sentence makes sense, promise, but if not substitute “like” for a thumbs up. 🙂 ) This is social proof for their friends who might not know you and your books yet. In other words: It’s word of mouth in social network world. But I guess this could be difficult for say US-authors who don’t have a big German readership yet and not a lot of German speaking Facebook friends. That’s why you are probably better off working with “like author audiences”. In any case, be sure to set the territory to Germany, Switzerland and Austria. You don’t need to choose a language “German” because that’s something users might or might not specify on their profile, but Facebook always knows where we are (spooky, I know, but good for ad targeting). Also, don’t forget age and gender. If you write romance novels, you probably don’t want to advertise to male facebook users.
If after reading all this you think: It all sounds great and I’m glad that it worked out so well for you, Felicity, but I don’t really know if I want to spend all that time and money. It sounds like a big commitment and I already spent lots of money on Super Awesome German Translation, just to see if my book sells on the German market.
I’ll give you advice that you might not like: Invest more money. Being successful in a foreign market takes commitment. If you just put one book out and see how it goes, it’s unlikely you’ll make your money back. Have book two and three in your series translated, too. Get great reviews for your first book (hire a German speaker to host “Leserunden” (reading groups) on Lovelybooks, for example. A fan might even do it for free in exchange for a few signed copies and goodies.). Create a box set. Maybe give your first book away for free to people signing up to your German newsletter. Advertise.
And I’ll end with one last positive thought: Facebook ads have been my most profitable marketing strategy yet.
Have you done Facebook ads yet? I’m interest to hear about your experience. Have you got any other tips? I’d love to see your comments!