Promoting a book through blog advertising
Blog advertising is not for everyone, but if you are looking for intelligent readers who are comfortable with technology and have a wide range of interests, you could do a lot worse than look at blog readers.
Blogs come in all flavors and address almost every niche of life that you can imagine. Not all blogs carry advertising but I feel that this situation will gradually change over time as blog advertising become more sophisticated and better at matching the mood of the host site.
Just as TV ads became almost as entertaining as the shows that carried them, blog ads may become useful and entertaining to readers. We are not there yet, but progress is being made.
To promote my book, Danger Quicksand – Have A Nice Day, I placed simple graphic ads on weblogs of several friends. These friends, who are listed on the left sidebar, as "Bloggers who support my self-publishing efforts" did me the incredible kindness of running these ads as a favor. I wrote a post about these people titled, I get by with a little help from my friends…
With their help, I came to see that every weblog had a characteristic
ability to deliver traffic to the site where I sold my book online. Since many of these friends wrote a few words recomending the book to others, I was able to see that a single mention of the book in a post generated more traffic than the ads I placed on that site.
After a while, I could see that some of these weblogs kept sending traffic to my book site for month upon month, while others generated much less traffic. The difference was not due to the volume of traffic on the originating site, it appeared to be related to the type of traffic on the originating site.
Over time, the responses to my simple graphic ads started to fall off and Jennifer at DrinkThis created a new ad for me with quotes and this ad caused booksales to increase again.
I discovered Henry Copeland’s BlogAds and used the new ad created by Jennifer to advertise on high traffic sites which carried Blogads. My book site traffic climbed steadily and I could almost envision getting a real income from the sale of this book.
That’s when I discovered that the free downloads were taking off because of my advertising and visitors were choosing the free download instead of buying the book. (This is a real problem when your potential buyers are technically astute and don’t mind reading lots and lots of text on a screen) As I explained in my previous post, I stopped competing with myself and shut off the free download of the entire book.
My book site traffic has jumped markedly and my book sales have gotten back on track since the ChangeThis link was killed.
Success comes at a price and the same is true for blogads. The host sites set the price for the ads on their site. The prices do not necessarily relate to the traffic on the site. Some seem to be set arbitrarily high as a matter of prestige. Furthermore, as sites get discovered and become more popular, the ad rates can skyrocket.
I had one ad contract which was ready for renewal and found that the ad price had gone from $100/mo to $180/mo although the traffic volume had grown only modestly. (That site now has only one ad instead of the three that used to be there.)
But in the blogging world, technology always seems to come to the rescue. BlogAds are graphic images with text and take up a fair amount of valuable real estate. There is text-based advertising by AdBrite which seems to pull as well as my earlier graphic ads on the same site. For $25/mo vs $100/mo, I have no problem investing in text-based ads.
The catch, and you knew there had to be a catch, didn’t you, is that BlogAds are screened by the company and by the host and are generally tasteful and are placed on sites where they will do well for the advertisers. AdBrite is in the volume ad business and they run ads on whatever sites will make space for them.
As I sorted through the sites that carry AdBrite ads, I found many that I did not want my ad to appear on. I did find some legitimate employment-related sites and I placed ads that read as follows:
Anxious about your job?
Don’t sit frozen in your cubicle until your name is called – act!
They are already generating some traffic, so I will keep my eye on them and let you know how it goes. I expect to run a mix of graphic and text-only ads and will keep tuning to get the best return for my money and time. I am also going to replace all of my existing ads with smaller, less intrusive ads with better graphics.
Another thing I discovered was that small changes in the book site text produced changes in book order volume. I’ll try to capture that in the next post in this series under the topic of "date coincidence".