Spend Your Advertising Dollars Wisely!
As an Indie author, one of the greatest challenges that I face is finding not only effective ways to advertise my works, but finding ways to advertise my books that don't waste my precious advertising dollars.
My advertising budget for promoting and selling my books is not insignificant, but it also does not approach that of a major publishing house. I need to make every dollar count in order to effectively convert my ads into sales. During the past several years, I have tried all sorts of different ways to advertise my books, from inexpensive ads placed in reader newsletters to paid ads on Facebook, Amazon and Bookbub.
I have had mixed results with all methods of advertising, with sales going up and down seemingly at random. Some services offer minimal data analytics, but the information that they provided proved less than helpful to me. I had very little idea of the actual number of interactions my ads generated with my website and, since I often ran more than one ad at a time, I knew little about which ad was most effective.
I have become familiar with URL shorteners over the past few years, and I have used them frequently in my social media posts. For those that are unfamiliar with how these work, it simply creates a short, clickable link to replace a much longer website URL. For example, my author website is: www.bloodlinesauthor.com which uses a total of 24 characters. Using a short link, I can bring the character count down to gusurl.com/6zs3A which is 16 characters. Reducing the character count by 8 may not seem like much, but when you are sending a text, or using some social media sites like Twitter that limit the available character count, you want to make every word count to get your sales pitch across to your potential customers, not waste them on long website links.
Using social media to raise awareness of my books often seemed to have a positive impact on my sales and, other than paying for some of the creative content, they cost me nothing more than my time. Still, I wasn't really sure if all of my Facebook, Instagram, Linked In and Twitter posts were really helping me to sell my books. I needed something more than the standard "user hit" information that each site provided.
I looked at various short-link creation programs but the costs associated with monthly or annual memberships in order to gain some insight with analytics were too expensive, or lacked the detail that I needed.
Then, during a lunch meeting earlier this year, I came across a great URL shortener that a friend had developed for use with her company. As we talked, she explained all the data that was available to her by using the URL shortener. By the end of the meal, I was intrigued about this new URL shortener and she gave me access to create a series of my own short-links which I used for various ads, both paid and non-paid. That was back in early February and by the end of February, I had a load of data that allowed me to carefully allocate my advertising resources so that they were more productive.
Not only did the data tell me which posts performed well, but which media platform generated the most website visits, and vice-versa. The data also provided insight as to the times that I should be making my posts in order to achieve the greatest number of customer interactions with my ads. Most importantly, the use of customized short-link URLs also showed how well or how poorly paid advertising performed compared to no-cost social media posts.
Excited about having all this performance data available to me, I have been able to minimize my paid advertising costs while increasing the performance of my ads. I have also been able to make a bigger impact through user interaction with free social media posts. I continue to experiment with different hashtags, different photos and videos as well as different posting times, but by using the performance analytics that I now have available through my short-links, I have cut my paid advertising down to virtually nothing, and my sales continue to increase.
When I discussed my successes with my friend, we both soon decided that this would be a valuable tool for other indie artists as well as small, medium and large sized businesses. We then collaborated to turn the URL shortener into a stand-alone product and I am happy to say that this fantastic new URL shortener will be available to the general public on Monday, April 27th.
The new URL shortener is called "G.U.S." and the feature packed application will be available in both free and paid format. Paid pricing starts at a very competitive $20.00/month (USD) and we are even offering commerical applications for large businesses. I am happy to say that there are no other URL shorteners on the market that I am aware of that have as many features packed into it at such a low price.
To find out more about G.U.S., visit his homepage at: www.gusurl.com and sign up for updates. I think that you will be more than happy that you did!
Stay safe everyone, and keep doing your Indie-thing!