When it comes to online marketing, independent authors like to think they’re ahead of the curve. Social savvy, internet savvy, and savvy in other miscellaneous ways.
But just because you made a Facebook Page and have a Twitter account doesn’t mean that they’re helping sell your eBook.
Online marketing is a mysterious mix of luck and gossip. Whenever social media is brought up – whether by indie authors or bands, or in a corporate boardroom – a reflective hush falls over the crowd. The sound of doubt.
Social media or a blog campaign can help promote your eBook. But you need to know how to measure those efforts to see what’s actually working and what’s just hype (such as paying $599 for social media services). Amazon won’t give you any kind of dashboard to see where sales are coming from, so it’s up to you.
Here are three ways to do it:
Bit.ly is a website that tracks how many clicks a link gets. That’s it. Make an account, insert the URL into the “URL shortener,” and use it when you’re linking to your book’s Amazon page.
This is really handy if you’re getting in touch with book bloggers who are willing to review your book or you’re getting stuff syndicated on news websites like Huffington Post. Give reviewers the bit.ly link and ask them to use that, so you can measure how many people are clicking to the Amazon page from a certain blog or contributed piece to an online publication.
2. Twitter Analytics
Tucked away among the “Twitter ads” options is a comprehensive analytics engine that shows how many clicks your links get, along with other social activity. To get there, click the little sunburst icon, click “Twitter ads” and then click “Analytics” > “Tweet activity” from ads.Twitter.com.
3. Jetpack / Site Stats
WordPress has a pretty robust dashboard that can show you “Referrers.” You can get there by hovering over the “Dashboard” and clicking “Site Stats.”
On WordPress.org, this often shows up as the “JetPack” plug-in. By looking at Referrers, you’ll be able to see what social media sites, blogs and news websites are referring traffic to your author website. This isn’t as direct as tracking clicks to Amazon, but it can give you a much broader overview of how people are getting to know you and your writing.
Authors & Analytics
It pains me to no end to see the constant flood of automated, promotional book tweets whenever I log onto Twitter. I only continue to follow the authors out of sympathetic companionship. Not once have I clicked a link.
By really digging into statistics, authors can uncover some of those important truths. Is social media contributing any meaningful clicks? Does one blog in particular seem to drive a lot of traffic to the Amazon page? Is a personal blog actually becoming a place for readers to find out about you and your books?
Most importantly: what actually works?
In the indie world of self-promotion, knowing where to spend your energy is invaluable. So take a step back, take a deep breath, and start measuring.