Using Google Display Ads to Sell Books – Goals & Budget - article

All writers want to sell more books and the key to increasing sales is making sure readers know about the book. There are many marketing tools writers can use to create awareness and exposure for their work. One way writers can broaden their reach is by putting visual ads on websites across the internet using Google’s Display Network AdWords program. The Google Display Network has targeted access to more than two million websites and 650,000 apps, with more being added every day. To take advantage of this incredible reach it’s important to first understand these three factors:

  1. Your goal
  2. Your path to that goal
  3. Your budget

Your Goal

The end goal of any advertising is to sell more, but running an ad should not just be something you do. It should be part of a carefully planned sequence of events you’re trying to get a future reader to follow. Is your goal with this ad series to sell books right off that one ad click? Or, do you want first to introduce yourself to your potential readers? Do you want to sell them on the idea of your book before you show them a buy button? Do you want to get them on your mailing list so you can sell to them again and again?

Take some time and think through exactly what you want your prospective reader to do, and then imagine whether or not you’d be willing to complete that sequence of events yourself.

Your Path to that Goal

Now that you have a defined goal, you need to consider all of the supporting materials needed to move your prospective reader through the process of seeing your ad to buying your book.

If your goal is to get them to buy the book immediately by having the ad point to your bookstore page, is that bookstore page ready? Have you or your publisher written the best, most compelling product description possible? Does it entice the reader to want to know more?

If you plan to point the ad traffic to your website, is your website ready to receive these prospective customers? Does the page they land on match the messaging from your ad? Is there a unified visual scheme so they know they’re in the right place? Is it easy for the reader to get from the landing page to your bookstore page to buy the book?

What if your goal is to build a mailing list? Is your sign-up form ready? Do you know what the first e-mail to these prospective readers will say and how it will lead to your bookstore page?

You have a goal with your ad, but creating the ad is only half of the process. Make certain you’re prepared for the traffic you’re about to acquire.

Your Budget

Even if you’re hiring someone else to run your GDN campaign, make sure you know how they intend to spend your money, and make sure they understand your budget. Small mistakes can have huge financial impacts, and it’s very easy to lose a lot of money in online advertising. Take the time to make sure everyone involved, even if that’s just you, understands how to spend.

If you’re working with a professional, find out if your campaigns will be based on pay-per-click (you pay when your ad is clicked) or pay-per-impression (you pay when your ad is displayed, regardless of whether or not it’s clicked) fee structures. Your goals will tell you which fee structure is right for you.

If you’re running your own campaigns, do your homework. Start small, be careful, and make certain you understand each step of what you’re doing before you turn your campaigns on. Watch your budget and spending closely.

The success of your campaign will depend on how measurable you’ve made your goal. If your goal was to sell books directly, did you sell any more books? If you wanted to get traffic through to your website, did your traffic increase? Pause your campaigns often and reevaluate your goals and ads.

The sheer size of the Google Display Network means it can be a hugely powerful tool for writers, but you must be careful, educate yourself, and have goals before you dive in.

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