Well, the numbers are not officially in, because there are technically still 20 days left in 2017. But, I am savvy and realistic enough to know when to call a game.
Our marketing efforts this year were… lackluster, despite my big talk way back in January. I don’t need to dissect our numbers (or my budget) to find the reason why, however.
The main culprit: I didn’t publish my book this year. I think most would agree with me that this was a wise decision, but it has necessarily delayed my own marketing efforts.
Still, there are some key lessons I can derive from this non-campaign. But first, let’s dig into the numbers. Here were my original marketing goals for this year, focused mostly on growing our audience.
2017 Audience-Building Goals:
- 6,000 unique visitors and 8,500 views on RSPC
- Earn 450+ WordPress followers in 2017
- 1,000+ unique visitors on book-related landing pages (such as my synopsis page)
- 150+ Likes on the RSPC Facebook page
- 100 newsletter subscribers
Let’s look at how we did, shall we?
6,000 Unique Visitors and 8,500 Views on RSPC
As it stands, we will end the year with somewhere in the range of 4,600 visitors and 7,500 views on RSPC.
Now, part of this goal included my projection of 1,000 unique visitors from PPC campaigns. I didn’t run any PPC campaigns this year, so accounting for that obvious loss, our realistic goal was 5,000 visitors and 7,500 views.
We achieved the views, and somehow our views-per-visitor rate has been higher than in 2015 or 2016. I’ll get into this more in my post-New Year Numberbrag.
The visitors are slightly concerning to me. We saw at least 350 visitors every single month this year until November. History tells us that end-of-year numbers should be higher on average than other times of the year, so I haven’t been able to identify the reason for this drop-off yet. More to come in Numberbrag.
Earn 450+ WordPress Followers
I’m still not sure why our WP followers decide to follow when they do. I just know that I’m always excited to see that someone else is interested in what we’re saying. That’s about the only real validation we get at this point, aside from likes or comments.
We currently have 352 followers, which is awesome! I suppose the 450 estimate came from my assumption that at least a small fraction of our PPC visitors would be on WordPress and elect to follow us from their accounts.
That may still be true, but the jury is out until I actually begin those campaigns.
1,000+ Unique Visitors on Book-Related Landing Pages
Another projection that was predicated on our PPC campaigns. Without these deliberate efforts to bring eyes to these pages, the impact has been minimal. I’m not even going into the numbers, because they will depress me.
150+ Likes on the RSPC Facebook Page
This goal we actually may yet achieve before 2018. We currently have 139 followers on our Facebook page. I have no idea how many of those followers are bots, and they do not seem to equate to meaningful engagement in the form of Likes, Shares, or Comments.
I’m not even sure it’s worth keeping the Facebook page active going into 2018. We’ll revisit.
My periodic email newsletter, The Evening Satellite, is pretty much non-existent. My push for subscribers was tied in part to the timing of my publication, so maybe I’m being hard on myself.
Or maybe I need to get better at pushing early subscribers. I have ideas in mind to do so, but I don’t want to tease anything until I know for sure I’m going to do it.
What I Could Do Differently in 2018
Overall, I was way off from achieving my marketing goals this year. And sure, a lot of that had to do with pushing back the publicaiton date for The Warden of Everfeld: Memento, but there were probably other things I could have been doing to increase our following.
Get My Newsletter Off the Ground
Forging ahead with my email newsletter may have been a safe bet, since direct marketing is the best way to attain and keep followers.
I have hesitated, however, because I do not want my newsletter to simply be an extension of this blog, with weekly or monthly content round-ups. I want the newsletter to be unique and exclusive content, so that the people who subscribe feel like they’re getting something worthwhile out of it. That inbox space is valuable. I don’t want to waste it.
Find a New Path in Social Media
Whether that means reevaluating my Facebook page or closing it entirely, whatever I was doing this year was not working.
Imgur is the only other social media platform I really use with any regularity, so I’m comfortable with it. But I’m not a graphics designer or photographer, so I’m not sure what unique content I have to offer an image-based platform.
Every writers’ blog ever says to get Twitter. I’m holding out. There’s too much noise in my life as it is, and I feel like I would resent Twitter. Pinterest could be an intriguing way to collect inspirational images and photos and share them with fellow writers. I’ll look into it.
And there’s always the option of getting more involved in writerly fora. I have Goodreads (dia820), NaNoWriMo (dia820), and KBoards (WardenofEverfeld) accounts, but these I only use sparingly. Reddit’s author and fantasy threads are another option.
Continue to Grow the Blog
We’ve had a solid routine on RSPC for several months now. I have posted every Tuesday and Sunday, and every Friday but one this year, not to mention the odd Wednesday Reblog or other random post.
That consistency has been good for us. Jessie being more consistent might help a bit 😛 but I’m not putting it all on her. I need to find a way to make my blogging more engaging.
As it stands, I’m not going to add any more days to my blogging schedule. Two posts and one haiku per week take up enough of my time, not to mention a newsletter or new social media endeavors.
But I have a feeling that unless we keep this blog fresh, our view, visitor, and follower numbers will plateau in 2018.
To the story board!
How have your book marketing efforts evolved over this year? Is there anything you want to improve or change?