After spending five days eating, drinking, and sleeping (well, maybe not so much sleeping as lying awake with the brain on overload) the promotion of my free Kindle download last week, I’ve come up with what I call ‘Jan’s TIP’ for any writer planning a similar online marketing blitz.
Choose your campaign dates carefully. My book, A Murder of Crows, takes place in October and opens with a scarecrow display; picking an October date for the promotion was an easy choice. It also afforded me lots of tie-in opportunities: I could mention the book in response to any blog, Facebook or Pinterest item that was about Halloween or scarecrows. Think seasonally!
Timing is also about when you post on social networks. I read blogs on Social Media Examiner and subscribe to Rob Eager’s marketing posts, and I’ve learned the best days and times to post to get the most fan engagement: Wednesday through Sunday. I kicked off my promotion with announcements on Sunday and pushed hard with posts Thursday and Friday.
Finally, timing is about you, and how much time you can devote to managing your promotional campaign. I spent at least four to five hours a day online posting, emailing, commenting on blogs, updating lists of contacts and prospecting for new ones. I spent two more hours each day strategizing what to do the next day, exploring new markets and tracking sales/download data. If you want to run a successful campaign, it’s a full-time job!
Research has shown that images are the keys to social network sharing. To keep posts fresh and continually attention-grabbing, you need to switch up the images you post. I developed six images to use during my five days of promotion, and changed the images I posted every day, with different short text messages. By the end of the week, I’d seen all six images reposted on different networks. It kept my message alive in the universe of Facebook and Pinterest, where the typical ‘life’ of a post is only three hours.
I spent weeks – years, actually – preparing. I made solid contacts in my target audiences over the last few years and asked for book reviews and assistance in promoting my free Kindle deal. I put together a team of fans, reviewers, bloggers, and key influencers to help me focus on getting the word out the week of the promotion, and supplied them with my prepared images and text to use on their own networks. My list of websites and FB pages to contact during my promotion week numbered over 100 (and in the course of the week, it continued to grow as I stumbled on new connections – which are now part of my data base for future book promotion).
So that’s ‘Jan’s TIP.’ Take it for what it’s worth. For me, it was worth around 4000 Kindle downloads in five days…and a bump in the sales of other books in my series.
Do you have a tip for free ebook promotions?