Tips on Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads. The two words that haunt our author marketing nightmares and can either increase sales or drain your bank account. Few authors have mastered the art of Facebook Ads, and I wanted to bring an expert in to share some tips on this elusive, but effective, marketing tool. Please welcome Skye Warren, the New York Times bestselling author of dangerous romances such as THE PAWN.
Thank you so much to Alessandra for letting me chat about Facebook ads with you!
Most of you have probably heard about authors using ads to sell more books.
Maybe you’ve even boosted a post on release day?
Today I’m going to give a peek behind the curtain of running profitable ads for your books, both for a new book and also boosting your backlist during non-release months.
Sometimes I see people save their pennies for their releases, and I understand it. I’m a fan of big book launches. All the marketing you do is magnified during that short time period. But it’s also very hard to see the effect of each individual effort. It takes more time to learn something, which you’d be cramming into a release week probably already full.
The absolute best time to learn Facebook ads is between releases.
And the best way to learn them is on backlist books.
It’s easy to see the impact on sales for a book a year old. That’s important for honing your ads so they are as effective as you can make them. You have the time and space and visibility you need to learn.
The other upside is that you can turn those pennies into even more pennies. I see some people say, I would spend on Facebook ads, but I don’t have that kind of money.
This is where I get the money for big releases, from backlist sales. I didn’t inherit any money. I didn’t marry a Greek billionaire. What I did was spend small amounts on backlist until I had medium amounts. And then medium amounts on releases until I had large amounts.
It’s a snowball effect, and even if you email me right now, and say, Skye, I have so much money in my bank account, and I’m just dying to spend it on Facebook ads. Should I go all in on my next release?
I would tell you the same thing. Start with backlist.
Because not anyone can be a bestseller by spending a bunch of money, I promise. It really can go down the drain without resulting in sales. Only once you can reliably turn a profit with small amounts on backlist are you ready to spend large amounts on your new release.
ROI IS IN THE SELL THROUGH
ROI stands for return on investment. It’s the amount of money you make compared to what you put in. It’s getting twenty dollars in sales when you spent $10 on ads. And it’s important because an effective ad does return the money, and then some, despite the weird idea floating around that it doesn’t. This is not for rank or lists. Those are side effects.
This is art and business.
And one of the reasons you should start with backlist ads is because there’s so much profit in sell through. When I push readers to book one, a certain percentage will go on to book two.
And that percentage of sales still came from the ad.
In fact the most profitable way I run ads is to a free book, so if you’re only looking at the royalty on that book… well, I’m not doing so well. Of course that would ignore the hundreds of thousands of dollars I make on book two. And book three.
There are so many things I love about pushing readers to a free book.
When I make it clear in the ad, I get a higher click through rate. And of course more people are willing to download a free book once they get to the sales page. The reader gets to read something by me, so they find out themselves if they love my story. In the end it’s not the ad that determines whether I make any money, but my writing itself, because if they don’t love that free book they don’t buy anything else from me.
You don’t have to point your ads to a free book, but it’s really important to point them to the beginning of a series. That sell through will be a huge part of your return-on-investment. And it’s a cushion that will make it more likely you turn a profit even while learning. The hardest way to run Facebook ads is to a standalone book.
The other thing about this step is that it exposes any weak links. What happens if you’re making sales on book one, whether those are paid or free, and no one’s converting to book two? That means you have another problem. It could be a writing problem, sure, if book one isn’t compelling enough to drive them to book two, but it could also be bad back matter.
Is it crystal clear which book they should read next after this one?
With a link to the book on that specific retailer?
Every aspect of the back matter can increase or decrease the number of readers that go on to read book two. This impacts way more than Facebook ads, but every single way that you find readers. Any marketing you do or plain old discovery. If you have a weak link in your sell-through chain, you’re shortchanging all the books that come after it.
So those are some important tips for running profitable ads!
Start with $5, $10, or $15 a day on the first book in a backlist series. This will give you time to test different ad creative and targets. If you aren't turning a profit you aren't ready to spend more.
And once you are turning a profit, take that extra money and reinvest it back into the business.
Thank you again to Alessandra for having me!