Marketing With No Money - Part 6

Marketing With No Money - Part 6

If you have ever developed a website then one of the things that you’ll be looking for is traffic. I’m a numbers guy and I need information to determine how successful my marketing efforts are for each channel. This article will provide insight into what I’ve built to do all this….

First of all let me say that there is absolutely no point in spending huge amount of time telling people about your product or service if there isn’t any response. You need to clearly define what your goals are and then measure them to see if you are succeeding. For me with the marketing of my Battleframe I’m ultimately after two things:

1. Sales

2. Sign-ups to my website

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Since I’m a new author I’m less concerned about item one and I really want to focus on how to get the sign-ups happening.

So what have I built to track all of this information? If you’re wondering why I decided to build a system then here’s the answer. I’m a firm believer in forcing myself to keep my development skills up to scratch. As one of the founders of ParkLogic it allows me to more fully understand both the challenges of our development team and also what our client’s may be wrestling with. It’s also one of the reasons why I maintain my own personal Unix server.

I personally believe that clients should have the confidence that I not only know ParkLogic’s offering but that I can intelligently discuss solutions that may involve some additional development to meet their needs.

Secondly, when I looked at the different products for tracking advertising I either found them, too complicated, expensive or written by a person that has no idea about the business requirements.

So back to my simple tracking system…. The first thing that I wanted to do was build something that would scale across multiple websites. Each website would then have multiple campaigns and each campaign multiple redirection links where I can track both impressions and clicks.

Although it looks pretty rudimentary the tracking system does all of these things plus a few more. For example at each stage (website, campaign and redirect) I can get a quick report that tells me how they are going.

Tracker 04

The website tab lists the websites and I can either bore down to the campaign level, Archive the website, get a report on overall performance, add a tracking SubID (work in progress) or edit the website details.

Tracker 01

As can be seen from the Campaign’s tab I have a number of different traffic sources that have similar functionality to the websites tab but at the campaign level.

Tracker 02

If I select one of the campaigns it displays a list of all of the redirects that are currently being used to track the traffic. It’s important to realise that each redirect is simply a URL and this means that they can be applied to links, images or anything else.

Tracker 03

At any stage I can Archive a website, campaign or redirect. This means that they will be removed from the reports but it doesn’t mean that they link will break. I will build a series of reports that will show the archived items at a later date.

So as you can see it’s a work in progress but it’s getting there.

The most important next step for me is to start interpreting the data so that I can more fully understand where to focus my efforts. The science fiction book market is incredibly fragmented and it would be really easy to waste a lot of time on marketing channels that really produced no results. So wish me luck as I take these next steps :-)

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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Marketing With No Money - Part 5

Marketing With No Money - Part 5

So how are my marketing efforts progressing so far? In a nutshell, things are looking up. Sales of Battleframe are continuing to increase and traffic has just taken an order of magnitude step up. So what have I done?

In a word, the key would have to be engagement. I’ve started participating in the writing, gaming and science fiction communities. What’s really important is to be genuine about your interest in the communities and to not just spam them with advertising about your own product.

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Think of it as if you are at a party and all you talked about was about your product or service. Pretty soon the people around you would get fed up and you would end up being by yourself....not fun! When you engage a community, be polite, participate in the conversation and do what you can to help the other people out. If you do this then you'll find that that many of the community members will reciprocate and help you.

A number of major forums have very strict rules about the number of posts that you need to make before you are allowed to mention your own product/service. My advice is to obey the rules, play the long-term game and enjoy the journey.

So the result of all of this work is that yesterday Battleframe was presented to nearly 1,000 people directly in my target market and this didn’t cost me a penny. One of the nice things about this approach is that the numbers are continuing to grow each and every day.

Yesterday I made the decision to start publishing pre-release episodes from Book Two of the Mindwars and already I can see that this has helped get the message out there a lot. I think that the reason for this is that people like to know that there will actually be a book two after a book one.

What’s my goal in releasing episodes from book two? I want feedback. There is nothing quite like a reader telling you what they think of something to make the final published manuscript that much better. I did this with Battleframe and the end product looked completely different from the raw episodes that I published every few days. Feedback has been really positive to readers that have now read both the initial episodes and the final novel.

So what are my next steps to growing my audience? One of the biggest challenges has been to entice people to sign-up on my site at michaelgilmour.com. Once they sign-up I can then more meaningfully engage them in a dialogue which ultimately will result in a book sale (hopefully). I have some free stuff that I’m giving away but it’s clear that I need to increase the carrot a lot more.

So I’m now developing an area of my website which will showcase the different book characters, locations, technology etc. I will make this information available to registered users only…..so I’d better make it really good! One thought I have is to engage my cover designing artist to create some additional artwork.

I’m a firm believer that the key to any good marketing is consistency. In other words, consistently update your blog, forum participation, content, writing, promotional material etc. It’s frustrating playing the long-term game and holding off spending money but it’s still really rewarding as I learn about a completely new market.

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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Marketing With No Money - Part 4

Marketing With No Money - Part 4

There’s a saying in marketing that only 20% of marketing efforts are successful. The problem is that no one knows which 20%. It’s applying the old 80/20 rule with a bit of tongue in cheek. In this day of the internet I don’t subscribe to this saying…..so what have I been working on?

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Over the past week I’ve built a tracking system that will help me work out which marketing effort seems to be more successful over another. This has been going really well and I’ve found some interesting information….but I’m still refining the data as it comes through. What I’d really like to do is tag Amazon so that I can get conversion data…..I’m not sure if this is possible as yet.

As a by-product of my tracking system it has also become a short URL creator. I can do things such as sp4a.com?rid=34 and it will display an image with a URL this long http://michaelgilmour.com/images/banners/2015Year/20141220_battleframe_468x60.jpg This capability is great if you are doing tweets!

I decided to put together a promotional video that is designed to sell Battleframe to the masses. I really want to see if I can put this video out into the mainstream to get a bit of interest for my book. I’m definitely not a Stephen Spielberg but it seems to hang together. Check out what happens after about 30% of the way through….I’d love any feedback….so here it is:

So how did I make the video? For a start I came up with a creative concept that reflected the book. I then used a JVC handicam mounted on a tripod or held in my hand for the principle footage. I edited the video in Microsoft Movie Maker (comes with windows) and Camtasia (costs about $100) and downloaded free sound effects from the Internet. I also recorded my daughter, wife and myself for the dialogue. Voila! There you have it.

Now that I have the video, banners and blogs….I plan on getting them out into the marketplace. Let me know if there is anything that you can do to help out....trust me when I say that I'd be happy to reciprocate. Cheers!

Battleframe

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. He also recently published his first scifi book Battleframe.

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Marketing My Book With No Money – Part 3

Marketing My Book With No Money – Part 3

Since my last post a few days ago I’ve been trying a lot of different ways to market my book, Battleframe. Please treat this as a case study rather than me “pushing” my product as many of the principles I’m tackling are very appropriate for any business.

I’ve done a lot of things over the past week. For a start I’ve joined a number of forums and taken part in the many conversations. If you plan on doing this then please ensure that you obey the moderators rules about self-promotion as they can be a little testy.

For instance, in one forum I haven’t promoted my book, domain name or anything about me at all. They have a rule that you need to get to 100 posts before releasing anything about yourself. In some ways this makes sense as by a 100 posts you should be pretty well committed to the community by then.

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After a bit of googling around I’ve setup profiles on a number of commercial websites such as goodreads.com. This allows me to interact with new readers and at least be available.

There have been a couple of developmental tasks that I’ve been working on. The first is setting up a link area to thank domainers, friends and others for linking from their websites to  http://michaelgilmour.com. You can see this area under the community menu on my site.

If you have linked to my website either by using one of the banners (which are pretty cool!) or with a text link then please let me know so that I can return the favour. I’m a firm believer that what goes around comes around….so let us help each other.

The next project I’ve been working on was to develop a system for tracking the effectiveness of any future marketing initiatives. So I dusted off my PHP skills and got programming a redirect and tracking system so that I can know how often an advertisement has been displayed, how often it’s been clicked and ultimately…..with a bit more work, whether a sale as resulted.

After a few hours work I can now redirect traffic to anywhere, log everything, work out the average budget for a website, campaign and redirect. From here I can work out my approximate cost per thousand visitors to help sort the wheat from the chaff. I think that I have about another 4 hours or so left to work on the system before I can use it in anger.

Another change that I made was to move onto the Kindle Select Program. This means that I have to be 100% with Amazon for at least 3 months. This was fine with me as I had a lot of other things on my plate. A couple of things that this does is expose me to a raft of new marketing initiatives via Amazon and also to the Kindle subscriber system that allows people to get books for free.

I’ve also made the first overtures towards a games company. The goal here is to add value to the game via my book while generating a few dollars for both parties. It will be interesting to see if they take up the offer….!

I big piece of work that I would like to get completed tomorrow is the 2 minute promotional video. I have the concepts worked out but I now just need to execute them so that there is something that people can look at that will get them inspired to fork out a few dollars and buy the book.

So far, I’ve had no day with no sales. This either means that I’m lucky or something is going right…..fingers crossed that it's the latter. :-)

Battleframe on Kindle

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. He also recently published his first scifi book Battleframe.

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Marketing My Book With No Money – Part 2

Marketing My Book With No Money – Part 2

Since I wrote the last article I’ve sold between one to ten copies of my book Battleframe per day. Not bad when you consider that all my marketing efforts have cost exactly zero dollars. So what’s the next steps?

I’m doing a number of things, all of which are important and all are crammed into the time I have available while I keep on working in my company ParkLogic.

Grow the Content

Marketing is useless unless you are also growing the content on your website. You’ll find that michaelgilmour.com is constantly changing and being tweaked with upgraded graphics, new articles, forum posts and anything that would be of interest to a potential reader. I’m also encouraging people to sign-up to the website by providing free maps of key locations from the book, news updates and access to the forum area.

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I’m the first person to say that I’m not an SEO expert but there is one thing I know and that’s Google loves regularly updated content. In fact, I’m a bit of a cynic when it comes to SEO….just give Google what it wants and be done with it!

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