Mid-Year Marketing Report: How Are We Doing?

June is just about over, and that means we’re halfway through 2017. I set some pretty lofty goals for both my marketing and publishing efforts this year, so I think it’s only fair that I update you all on my progress so far.

Here’s how my 2017 marketing campaign has gone through six months.

First, we’ll need to have a look at our original goals for this year. My marketing efforts were designed to focus on simply building our audience — we want more people finding our website and reading our content.

This is mostly based around indirect marketing, whereby we bring people to our online platforms in the hopes that they are interested enough in what we do that they come back, poke around a few times, and potentially buy a book. It’s a long-term strategy predicated on building a “fan base”, rather than going for outright book sales from the jump.

So let’s refresh. What are our audience-building goals for this year?

2017 Audience-Building Goals:

  1. 6,000 unique visitors and 8,500 views on RSPC
  2. Earn 450+ WordPress followers in 2017
  3. 1,000+ unique visitors on book-related landing pages (such as my synopsis page)
  4. 150+ Likes on the RSPC Facebook page
  5. 100 newsletter subscribers

So how are we doing so far?

Goal One: 6,000 Visitors and 8,000 Views on RSPC

I aimed moderately high for this goal in anticipation of some paid ads and a ramp-up of site activity once WoEM is set for pre-release.

Halfway through the year, we have 2,300 Visitors and 3,800 Views.

The Visitors total is honestly lower than I would have liked at this point. We’re currently on pace for 4,600 visitors in 2017 — far below our goal of 6,000. However, once I begin using pay-per-click campaigns to bring people to the site, the visitors total should see a healthy uptick.

Our View:Visitor ratio has been higher this year, so the View total is not as concerning. We’re on pace for 7,600 Views as it is, so those PPC ads will only increase them further and push us well over the 8,000 mark.

Assessment: On Pace. We can anticipate reaching these goals once our PPC campaigns begin.

Goal Two: 450 WordPress Followers

Right now, we have 317 WordPress followers –thanks guys! We began the year with 254, however, so we’ve only added 63 followers in six months. We’ll need to earn 133 — more than double the first half of the year — just to make this goal.

May and June brought us 11 and 12 new followers, respectively. We’ll need to average 22+ new followers each month just to make this goal.

Assessment: Poor pace. Honestly, I’ve always found it difficult to gauge when or why someone follows us, so this goal may have been an overreach from the start. We’ll see.

Goal Three: 1,000 Unique Visitors on Book-Related Landing Pages

could consider any post tagged with my novel title as “book-related”, but that would be cheating, because most of my posts have something to do with my writing. A proper landing page should provide substantive information about my book. Let’s break this down so we’re all on the same page.

My “Exploring Úr’Dan” series provides world-building information about my fantasy universe. Between three posts, this series has earned 28 visits. Not bad.

My recent “Character Spotlights” for Aston and Jaed have tallied 13 visitors.

The menu page for The Warden of Everfeld: Memento  serves as a summary of my novel, complete with the anticipated release date and a synopsis. This has 8 visitors in 2017. Pretty low, considering this is the main page for my book’s info.

Finally, the menu page for Evening Satellite Publishing, the current host of all info pertaining to our publishing imprint, has received 10 visitors.

59 visitors to pages or posts directly related to my book. Not as high as I’d like for organic visits, but we still have the PPC ads to make up the difference. That’s the main reason this goal is so high.

Assessment: Poor pace, but this can easily be made up with PPC campaigns.

Goal Four: 150+ Facebook Likes for RSPC

I’ve said time and time again that I am not paying for “boosted” posts on Facebook. I just don’t see the benefit. Right now, our page has 87 Likes, so we are well on our way to 150.

The problem is, I don’t see any benefit to these Page Likes so far. Likes or Shares on our Facebook posts are few and far between, and never seem to come from the 60 or so “fans” I don’t know personally. This is why I will not pay to boost my posts on Facebook; I just don’t know what good it will do.

Assessment: On pace, but the benefit is unclear.

Goal Five: 100 Newsletter Subscribers

Confession time: we have 0 newsletter subscribers. Okay, okay, we have 7, but that includes myself (to ensure the newsletters look okay in email) some family, and my alpha readers.

I have not done much to advertise our newsletter yet, frankly because I spent a lot of time thinking about how best to utilize it as a platform. I now have some exclusive content prepared for an approximately monthly newsletter — we just need subscribers!

I’ve added a space on the right menu bar to sign up for The Evening Satellite, so hopefully this will generate some interest. The next step is to look into promotional programs for newsletters.

Assessment: Poor pace. Still working out how to remedy this and convince people to sign up.

Overall Assessment

On the surface, it’s difficult not to be discouraged by these numbers. However, there is also a very obvious reason for our slow audience-building this year:

I haven’t put much effort into it — deliberately.

I first started designing and testing our newsletter in March, but when it came time to attract a few subscribers, it felt premature. I was then just over halfway through the second draft of WoEM, and I did not want the newsletter to fizzle out before it even started.

I have been down on our Facebook page for a while. I’m just not sure it’s worth it. I’ll keep it going through publication just to see what comes, but I don’t have high expectations that 150 Likes will actually benefit us in any meaningful way.

Our website traffic has been disappointing. January through April were really strong months, pushing 400 Visitors and 700 Views each. May and June have been noticeably slower.

The simple explanation is that it’s summer in my hemisphere, and people are busy not being at home inside all day. Understandable. I definitely spend less time reading through my blog roll during the summer.

I will definitely use PPC ads to bring more external views to our website. Not only does it boost our (largely cosmetic) stats, but it will also bring attention to Evening Satellite that we might not otherwise get — attention from outside of the blogosphere.

I will also put more effort into all of these marketing channels once  pre-release and publication are very real and forthcoming events.

Until then, we’ll see how this plays out. There is hope yet!

Steve D

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