You Pays to Advertise

You Pays to Advertise

My Journey to the Top of the Best Seller ListChuckSnearly-090215_Qtr-3

I haven’t posted in awhile because I was waiting to see the results of my experiment in advertising.

The results are in.

They are encouraging, but inconclusive.

Here’s the story:

After looking around and comparing audience demographics, reach, cost and other factors, I decided to advertise in Metro Times ( Metro Times is a weekly alternative news, arts and culture newspaper in Detroit. I liked it because its demographics fit my novel: young hipsters who are into Detroit and want to stay involved in the vibrant arts and cultural life of the city, as well as a surprising number of baby boomers who aren’t afraid to go to a “bad” neighborhood to see a good band or have a great meal. (Rock ‘n roll never forgets!)

These are my peeps – since my novel is as much about what’s happening in Detroit as it is about what’s happening to the characters in it. I’m following what I call my Bob Seger marketing plan: become a regional hit before breaking out into the national market. The bottom line of this plan is that people who are really into the revitalization of Detroit would enjoy reading a novel set in the middle of it. Detroit hipsters, young and old, are my target audience.

A quick disclaimer: I’m not an advertising or marketing professional, I am communications professional. I know how to craft and communicate messages, and deploy them strategically. Paying people to distribute my message for me, not so much.

The people at Metro Times were very helpful in explaining how their ads worked and putting together the cool looking ad posted above. I ended up buying a package for $1,600 that included two ¼ page print ads and a month’s worth of online ads: on their web and Facebook pages, on their mobile site for cell phones, interstitials, and an e-mail blast. As I learned, an interstitial is when someone clicks to see a page and your ad pops up first. The e-mail blast was my ad sent to subscribers via e-mail.

The Guardian of Detritus got lots of views and exposure. My pop up ads had a .59% CTR, which stands for Click Through Rate. That is the percentage of people who, instead of cursing when my pop up ad came between them and the page they wanted to see, actually clicked on my ad to read more about it. I’m told that is a really great CTR. (If you want people to think you are an online advertising guru, just say, “The CTR for my interstitial was through the roof!”)

But as in any thoughtful discussion of books, the question that inevitably arises is: Did you make money?

In this case, it is too soon to tell.

I am still sorting out the numbers, but the sales of my book definitely went up. (Getting sales figures is not as easy as you would think, but I am saving the details of that ordeal for another post.) I don’t think the ads have paid for themselves yet, but the exposure was an important first step. As a communicator, I understand the importance of repetition in getting your message across. How and when I repeat the message is something I am still sorting out. I will let you know what I decide to do when I figure it out.

In the meantime, please enjoy the cool ad Metro Times helped me create.


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