6 Ideas to Borrow from Creative Social Media Carousel Ads

Are you considering Carousel Ads? Below is a great article that share some thoughts you might find interesting!

If one picture is worth a thousand words, a carousel ad is worth 10 times that. Literally. According to data found by Kinetic Social, advertisers using carousel ads see a click-through rate 10 times higher than other ad formats on Facebook and Instagram.

Carousel ads allow advertisers to use up to 10 photos or videos within a single paid post on Facebook or Instagram. Each image has its own link, which means more space for advertisers to stretch their creativity.

On Facebook, carousel ads drive 30 to 50 percent lower cost-per-conversion and 20 to 30 percent lower cost-per-click than ads with a single image.

Want to test your own carousel ad campaign? Read on for some examples and ideas to get you started.

6 examples of creative carousel ads

1. Airbnb

Airbnb repurposed one of their slideshow posts on Instagram as a creative carousel ad promoting their new Experiences offerings.

The post is a beautiful panorama photograph of a long paddle boat, divided into three shots. The text accompanying the post highlights the hosts and how they use Airbnb to give guests a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Arriving in a city—or living in one—can feel overwhelming and isolating. Local hosts Nicki and Pamela bring groups of travelers and natives together for three days of peaceful adventure. You’ll bond over a beach bonfire, explore Muir Woods on a meditative hike, and paddle the bay in unison with your new friends. Don’t be surprised to find yourself feeling calm and connected and right at home. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Click the link in our bio for other outdoor San Francisco experiences, from low-tide sand art to camping on Angel Island. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #AirbnbExperience

A post shared by Airbnb (@airbnb) on Apr 6, 2017 at 10:26am PDT


With this carousel ad, Airbnb shines a spotlight on their valuable hosts while showing users the unique benefits of traveling with Airbnb. The post’s call to action includes a link to other San Francisco experiences available through Airbnb.

Like Airbnb, your brand can use a panorama format with carousel ads to:

Show off your new office space
Share an event experience
Give a behind-the-scenes look at your team with a series of team photos
Showcase long product shots such as a tablescape, or a line-up of different products
Share a lifestyle image featuring your product, for example, a scenic mountainscape with your brand’s hiking boots visible in one of the frames

2. Tanishq

Tanishq, one of India’s most prominent jewelry brands used carousel ads to boost sales and reach a broader Facebook audience. Tanishq has both online and brick and mortar stores and they wanted to use Facebook to marry these two spaces for their customers.

For their one-month campaign, Tanishq showcased stunning close-ups of their products and offered special discounts through carousel ads on Facebook. They also included a “Shop Now” button to further entice their audience to take action.

With their carousel ad campaign, Tanishq saw a 30 percent increase in in-store sales and a three times higher return on their ad spend.

You can entice your customers with visuals like Tanishq by:

Following Facebook’s recommended image size of 1080 x 1080 pixels
Using product imagery to target returning or high-intent customers
Using lifestyle imagery to target new customers
Using images related to one theme for each ad sequence
Making sure that every image within the carousel format has a similar visual style created through lighting, colors, and composition
Demonstrating your brand identity throughout images with a watermark or recognizable branding, colors, and tone

3. Wondermall

Wondermall is a mobile app that gives shoppers access to over 100 stores and 1 million products. As a fashion-focused platform, Instagram was a great fit for Wondermall’s carousel ad campaign.

Wondermall used highly-targeted carousel ads to reach American women aged 18 to 44 who have summer-based keyword interests (sunglasses, sandals, swimsuits, etc.) and like relevant Pages.

To appeal to their audience interests, Wondermall used carousel ads to feature curated summer goods available through the app. The ads featured a call to “Download on the App Store” and a “Shop Now” button.  With a goal of increased mobile app downloads, Wondermall partnered with Facebook Marketing Partner Taptica to launch and measure the campaign.

The nine-week campaign drove 36 percent conversion rates, 28 percent of shoppers putting items in their carts, and 8.5 percent completing the purchase.

Wondermall got to know their customer before they tried selling to them, a tactic you can apply to your own carousel ad strategy. Like other Facebook and Instagram ad formats, you can reach your target demographic with:

Location targeting, including a radius around your business
Age targeting
Gender targeting
Interests targeting (based on what they’ve Liked)
Behaviors targeting (based on what they’ve previously purchased, device usage, what they click, etc.)
Connection targeting (to reach people based on if they Like your business Page, app, or event)

4. Fido

Fido is a Canadian mobile service provider aimed at young millennials. To promote the introduction of new streaming and mobile services, Fido launched their #GetCurious carousel ad campaign on Instagram.

As Instagram explains, Fido’s “#GetCurious campaign had a handmade, whimsical quality that was consistent throughout their ads.”

Using a specific hashtag for the campaign, the brand was able to easily monitor post engagement and encourage their followers to submit their own #GetCurious posts.

With the campaign, Fido reached over 2 million people, saw a 21-point lift in brand awareness and a 19-point life in ad recall. Their target demographic accounted for 53 percent of their impressions, and they saw a four-point boost in brand recommendation across every demographic.

Use the power of hashtags like Fido did, by:

Gathering user-generated content
Creating a carousel ad highlighting customers’ grouped by features such as geographic location
Telling a story through the images contributed by your audience
Grouping user-submitted images by color (or your brand colors) for a fun aesthetic effect

5. Kit and Ace

Technical apparel brand Kit and Ace used Facebook’s carousel ad format to introduce a new model of their cashmere pants.

The ads featured numerous images of the garment in different scenarios. Each image was from a different angle and highlighted one specific feature of the pants. As Facebook says, “The more information you give customers right away, the more reasons they’ll have to click.”

In addition to the focus on features, Kit and Ace incorporated images of the pants on models. This allowed audience members to imagine how they would look in the pants and how the pants could fit into their lives.

6. Target

Target’s Style department used carousel ads to help launch their new Marimekko home and lifestyle collection. The ads show a model moving through the different “rooms” created with the multiple frames of the carousel ad.

In each room, she is wearing a different outfit from the collection, and interacting with the household products. The ads featured colorful homewares and clothes with buttons encouraging customers to click directly through to the product purchase page.

This immersive approach is not only creative and engaging, but helps the audience imagine themselves using the featured products.

As a business creating your own carousel ads, think about creative ways you can use the format to your benefit. A seamless movement between frames such as Target’s might be an option to consider for your future campaigns.

Carousel ads are a great way to showcase your brand’s best products and features.

Easily schedule Instagram content and manage all of your social media accounts with Hootsuite.

Learn More

The post 6 Ideas to Borrow from Creative Social Media Carousel Ads appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.


Source: 6 Ideas to Borrow from Creative Social Media Carousel Ads

A Practical Guide On How to Get Out of Gmail’s Promotions Tab

A Practical Guide On How to Get Out of Gmail’s Promotions Tab

Since Google rolled out its tabbed interface, many marketers started seeing a significant decrease in their email open rate.

The introduction of an automatic filtering system for emails into Primary, Social and Promotions categories was the culprit in most cases.

Sure, it’s a great way to organize your inbox. But sometimes valuable content is caught by that filter and never given the full attention it deserves.

If you’re someone who sends email newsletters out to your subscriber list, you may not even know that your emails are being filtered into your recipients’ Promotions tab.

But the below stats show that it’s time to start paying attention.

Why does it matter if you end up in Gmail’s promotions tab?

According to Return Path, a whopping 19.9% of Gmail users never check mail under the Promotions tab. Yet the Promotions tab placement rate is fairly high at 84.5%, and the read rate is only 19.2%.

So how do you shift your placement in Gmail from Promotions to Primary to increase engagement, opens and ROI? Do you know what elements make Gmail categorize your emails as Promotions?

In this blog post, I’ll share a case study and actionable tips to help you fine-tune your emails and send them to Gmail’s Primary tab instead of Promotions.

My case study is performed from a Gmail user’s perspective. I found this email in my Promotions tab and thought it was a good example for our purposes.

I used the GlockApps spam testing tool to test it, which provides the seed list of dozens of test email addresses including Gmail email accounts. It’s a great alternative to Return Path’s Inbox Monitor if you need a fast way to test your inbox placement.

Step #1 – Reduce the number of links

One of the most common reasons why emails are filtered down to the Promotions tab is that they contain a high number of images and links.

In the email I tested above for our case study, there is little text and lots of links including linked images and icons with links to social profiles.

I began my test by removing the “View in browser” header with its links, and images with links to social profiles.

I re-tested the email and got this:

The email still landed in Promotions.

Interesting, I thought to myself. I’ll try again.

Step #2 – Remove images

I hypothesized that the problem might be an image-to-text ratio. I deleted the company logo at the top and the big image in the middle.

I tested the email again.

No luck! I was still stuck in Promotions.

Okay, I thought to myself, let’s see what else I can do.

Step #3 – Change the footer

I shortened the email’s footer and made it sound less promotional.

The third test showed that the email was delivered to…  the Primary tab in all test Gmail accounts! Mission accomplished!

But that’s not the end of the story

I decided to re-add some of the deleted elements to the email to pinpoint exactly when it started getting categorized under the Promotions tab.

I added the big image and tested the email.

It showed up under the Primary tab. So far, so good.

I added the logo and tested the email.

Bad news! It landed under the Promotions tab.

My conclusion? The image-to-text ratio does matter.

I deleted the logo and added the “View in browser” header with the link.

Again, my email was sent to Promotions.

I then removed the link to view the email in the browser and left only the text.

It didn’t help. Gmail still sent the email to Promotions.

You see, it turns out Gmail associates the “View in browser” header with bulk promotional mail.

Getting out of Gmail’s promotions tab for good

So here are five straightforward ways you can increase the chance that your email is delivered to Gmail’s Primary tab and therefore increase the chances that it is opened.

Watch your image-to-text ratio. It should be approximately 40:60. Too many images and too little text sends the email straight to Promotions.
Watch your links. Include a reasonable amount of links, ideally 2-3, but remove social icons and links as they are characteristic of bulk mail streams.
Watch your header and footer. Header text like “View in the browser” and footer text like “Unsubscribe from this mailing list” or similar, makes Gmail (and probably not only Gmail) think your email is promotional. If you are sending emails using an ESP, edit the default footer (if possible) and correct it. At the very least, replace “Unsubscribe from all future mailings” with a simple “Unsubscribe”.
Make it personal. In my experience (our team investigated hundreds of test reports and messages), Gmail doesn’t like emails sent out as subscriptions to mailing lists. Personalize your email as much as possible. Write simply and clearly, as if you were composing a quick note to a friend.
Keep it simple. Try to avoid fancy email templates provided by email service providers. Create a custom template associated with your brand. Keep the template as clean and basic without background images, scripts or complex HTML coding.

One final thing that Gmail looks at besides the email content is the level of recipient engagement. So the people you are writing to can actually help you get your email out of the Gmail’s Promotions tab!

Here are some bonus tips for capitalizing on this:

Encourage a reply. Wherever possible, craft your email so that it engages a recipient in a conversation. Ask them to reply to you and share their opinion, thoughts or experience. The example below offers a great example.
Encourage the move yourself. Ask the recipient to drag your email from their Promotions tab to the Primary tab. Ian Brodie developed a good case study of how this method helped him get out of Gmail’s Promotions tab jail.

If you are able to achieve recipient engagement, it will show Gmail that your emails are wanted and should be delivered to the user’s Primary inbox. Over time, Gmail will learn from the recipients’ actions and will start sending your emails to the Primary Inbox straight away.

One last important thing to note is that if your email is purely a promotional newsletter, you should probably leave it to stay in the Promotions tab. Otherwise you may end up with multiple complaints and unsubscribe requests as recipients may think your content is irrelevant.

Wrapping up

The content of your email really does inform its deliverability and categorization. To investigate why your email goes to the Spam or Promotions folder, start by testing your email content as I did in the case study above.

Changing particular elements in content can often solve deliverability issues, provided that you are sending the email to a confirmed opt-in list and that other elements of your sending infrastructure are in order.

Deliverability is, by nature, changeable and unpredictable. You may never know how each mailbox provider will treat your email and where it will land, but with consistent testing and the above tips, you should be able to navigate yourself out of Gmail’s Promotions tab.

Guest Author: Julia Gulevich is an email marketing and deliverability expert and customer care service consultant at G-Lock Software with over ten years of experience. She has authored numerous articles, essays and ebooks about email marketing, list building and email deliverability on her blog.

The post A Practical Guide On How to Get Out of Gmail’s Promotions Tab appeared first on Jeffbullas’s Blog.


Source: A Practical Guide On How to Get Out of Gmail’s Promotions Tab

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It

Today’s post is from Hootsuite’s blog. I answer a lot of questions on Facebook’s Pixels – how to insert them, what to do with the information, etc. This article explains Facebook Pixels very clearly. Enjoy and be sure to visit Hootsuite’s blog for more educational content!


If you’re using Facebook ads—or you plan to use them in the future—there’s one key tool you should start using right away to get the most out of your social ad budget: the Facebook pixel.

What is a Facebook pixel?

A Facebook pixel is code that you place on your website. It helps you track conversions from Facebook ads, optimize ads based on collected data, build targeted audiences for future ads, and remarket to qualified leads—people who have already taken some kind of action on your website.

It works by placing and triggering cookies to track users as they interact with your website and your Facebook ads.


Bonus: Download a free guide that teaches you how to turn Facebook traffic into sales in four simple steps using Hootsuite.

Benefits of using a Facebook pixel

There are several ways you can use data collected from Facebook pixel tracking to refine your Facebook advertising strategy.

Track conversions

The Facebook pixel allows you to monitor how people interact with your website after viewing your Facebook ad.

You can even track customers across their devices so you know, for example, if people tend to see your ads on mobile but switch to a desktop before making a purchase—or maybe it’s the other way around. This information can help you refine your ad strategy and calculate your return on investment.


Pixel tracking data allows you to show targeted ads to people who have already visited your site. You can choose to get really granular here—for example, you can show people an ad for the exact product that they abandoned in a shopping cart or added to a wishlist on your website.

This capability is why you should create a Facebook pixel now, even if you’re not using Facebook ads yet—so you have retargeting capabilities from your very first Facebook ad.

Create lookalike audiences

Facebook can use its targeting data to help you build a lookalike audience of people who have similar likes, interests, and demographics to people who are already interacting with your website, helping you expand your potential customer base.

Run effective ads

Using a Facebook pixel can make your ads more effective by improving the quality of the ads you run, and by improving the targeting of the people who see them.

In addition to improving your ads based on tracking their effectiveness, you can use Facebook pixel data to ensure your ads are seen by the people who are most likely to take your desired action.

For some examples of companies using the Facebook pixel effectively, check out our post 5 Surprising Ways to Optimize Your Facebook Ads.

How to use a Facebook pixel

You can use Facebook pixel tracking to collect data on two different kinds of events: a set of nine standard events that Facebook has predefined, or custom conversions that you set up yourself. An “event” is simply a specified action that a visitor takes on your website.

Standard events

The nine standard Facebook pixel events for which you can simply copy and paste standard Facebook event code are:

View content: Someone lands on a page on your website.
Search: Someone uses the search function to look for something on your site.
Add to cart: Someone adds a product to their shopping cart on your site.
Add to wishlist: Someone adds a product to a wishlist on your site.
Initiate checkout: Someone starts the checkout process to buy something from your site.
Add payment info: Someone enters their payment information in the purchase process on your website.
Make purchase: Someone completes a purchase on your website.
Lead: Someone signs up for a trial or otherwise identifies themselves as a lead on your site.
Complete registration: Someone completes a registration form on your site, such as for a subscription product.

Custom conversions

You can use custom conversion events in place of standard events, or to collect more details than Facebook pixel standard events can provide.

Custom conversions use URL rules based on specific URLS or URL keywords. So, for example, you could use Facebook pixel tracking to record views of a specific category of merchandise on your website, instead of tracking views of all content using the “view content” standard event—perhaps to separate dog owners from cat owners based on which sections of your pet supply website they viewed.

Before you can use Facebook pixel custom conversions, you’ll need to help Facebook understand the details of the conversion event you want to track. To do so, head to your Facebook Ads Manager, then go to Custom Conversions and click Create Custom Conversion to define your custom conversion event using URL rules.

You can also create Facebook pixel custom events by adding more details to standard events using additional bits of code called parameters. These allow you to customize the standard events based on:

How much a conversion event is worth
Product name, category, or ID
The number of items someone adds to their shopping cart
A specific search string
The status of a registration

How to create a Facebook pixel and add it your website

Now that you know what you can track, and why you would want to do so, it’s time to create your pixel and put it to work on your website.

Step 1: Create your pixel

1. From your Facebook Ads Manager, click the hamburger icon (≡) and choose Pixels.

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It | Hootsuite Blog

2. Click Create a Pixel.

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It | Hootsuite Blog

3. Name your pixel, accept the terms, and click Next. When choosing the pixel’s name, keep in mind that you only get one pixel for each ad account, so the name should represent your business, rather than a specific campaign.

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It | Hootsuite Blog

Step 2: Add the pixel code to your website

To put the pixel to work gathering information on your website, you now need to install some code on your webpages. There are two ways to do this depending on the tools you have incorporated into your website. We’ll use the copy-and-paste method here. The other option is to use an integration or tag manager.

1. Click Copy and Paste the Code.

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It | Hootsuite Blog

2. Copy and paste the pixel base code into the header code of your website—that is, post it after the tag but before the tag. You need to paste it into every single page, or into your template if you’re using one. When you’re finished, click Next.

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It | Hootsuite Blog

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It | Hootsuite Blog

3. Copy the appropriate event code based on the actions you want to track on your website. For custom conversion code, click Custom Event. This Facebook help article can help you figure out which type of setup is best for you: basic, recommended, or advanced.

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It | Hootsuite Blog

4. Paste the event code in the appropriate location on your webpage based on the action you want to track. It should go just below the tag for a new page that opens as a result of the tracked action (like a thank you page). Or, you can attach the code to specific HTML elements like buttons that trigger actions within a page. When you’re done, click Next.

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It | Hootsuite Blog

Step 3: Confirm your Facebook pixel is working

Before you start relying on the data from your Facebook pixel, you should confirm that it’s working properly.

1. Download the Facebook Pixel Helper extension for Google Chrome.

2. Visit the page where you have installed the Facebook pixel. If the extension finds the pixel, the icon will turn blue, and a popup will indicate how many pixels are found on the page. The popup will also tell you if your pixel is working properly. If not, it will provide error information so you can make corrections.

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Facebook for Developers.

Note: The current Facebook pixel combines two older pixel versions: the conversion tracking pixel and custom audience pixel. Facebook discontinued the conversion tracking pixel on February 17, 2017. If you were using the Facebook conversion pixel, you’ll need to switch over to the new Facebook pixel. You can learn how to do so in this Facebook business help article. If you were using the old custom audience pixel, these instructions for Facebook pixels explain how to upgrade to the new version.

Get the most out of your Facebook ad budget with AdEspresso by Hootsuite or Hootsuite Ads. Both are powerful options that make it easy to create, manage, and optimize campaigns.

Learn More

The post The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.


Source: The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It

How to Prepare for Self-Publishing: Marketing

Source: How to Prepare for Self-Publishing: Marketing

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

self-publishing, authors, indie publishing, writingThis is part six of a six-part series.

You’ve written your book, had it edited, sorted out the formatting and typesetting and done everything you can to make sure it’s as good as it possibly can be. Your cover design makes your book stand out to potential readers and you’ve polished the blurb until it gleams. So what can you do to get it in front of as many people as possible and get those sales rolling in?

Getting your book reviewed

It takes a long time to review a book. Reviewers often have a backlog that they’re working through, and naturally you want them to read the whole thing and give their considered opinion. You need to plan your campaign well in advance and start much earlier than you might imagine. If you want national publications or well-known/tastemaker bloggers to review your work, you’ll probably need to allow four to six months’ lead-in time, and remember that it’s likely they’ll want hard copies.

Plan ahead and get creative!

If you’ve written other books before, you should already have been using these as a platform to generate excitement among your readers and get them anticipating your next one. Even if this is your first book, you should always try to create a buzz on social media. The more resources you are able to create, the better your campaign will work. This could even include writing short stories based on some of the characters in your book. Try some point-of-view changes, experiment with pre-releasing a prologue, write a poem, start a story and invite your readers to finish it as part of a competition—this is your chance to really get creative!

Social media

It’s better to use just one social media platform well than to try to do everything and not get the results or engagement that you’re looking for. We recommend Twitter and Facebook as starting points, but if Pinterest, Instagram or something else is your thing, then go for it.

Every platform has its benefits and reaches a different audience, so it helps to know who your target audience is beforehand and to determine which platform they are likely to be using before diving in there yourself. It’s important to be enthusiastic about the platform you’re using rather than seeing it as a chore; this will shine through in the way you use it. You can use a scheduling tool like Buffer and then plan some time in your schedule to create your updates all at once rather than letting it eat away at your writing time. Try not to use formal language (unless it suits your target audience), and don’t forget to check back on your notifications and to respond to your followers!


Lots of self-published authors recommend free giveaway periods to generate interest, get further up the lists that matter (recommended reads, etc.), gain reader reviews on sites such as Goodreads and then start gaining some traction elsewhere on the web.

Save your money

Be cautious about going for paid reviews. They aren’t necessarily bad, but the general consensus by both authors and tastemakers is that they aren’t worth the money or the effort. Reader reviews have a more engaged reader base behind them and are more honest, therefore perceived as more trustworthy and of greater value.

Keep the momentum going

Think about how you are going to sustain interest for more than just the initial release period. You might want to plan some longer-term projects to keep the enthusiasm going, or look at how you can use this book to start marketing the next! Keeping your fanbase engaged over a long-term period is the key to a successful writing career. Is there an aspect of your life or a theme in your book that you can use to connect more personally with fans and use as leverage in your marketing?

If your main character is a baker, for example, and this is important to the story, why not target baking or related trade magazines and see if they’ll give you an interview or feature? If a character has a health problem, would a related charity like to collaborate with you to raise awareness of what they do? Whatever the theme, create content based around this and start conversations on a regular basis; this can be anything from blog posts or Q&As to a mini video series.

In the real world

There is a wealth of information about how you can promote your book online—use it to your advantage. But don’t neglect real-world promotion as well. Bookstores are often keen to promote local authors and may be able to help you stage events like book signings. Libraries might welcome the chance to get more people through their doors, too.

Don’t use social media as your sole method to drive sales online. Try some old-fashioned promotional tools like bookmarks and flyers as well, and try to get people back to your own website and to join your mailing list. Remember that you don’t own your fanbase on Facebook/Twitter etc. The network does, so by converting likes and followers into mailing list sign-ups, you have more ownership over their contact details. You can then use this to create higher engagement and better relationships with the people who are genuinely interested in your writing.

To get all the ebook and digital publishing news you need every day in your inbox at 8:00 AM, sign up for the DBW Daily today!


Fiction Writers: A Simple Approach to Build a Better Email List


Source: Fiction Writers: A Simple Approach to Build a Better Email List

You likely know that getting more people to subscribe to your mailing list should be one of your top priorities.

Failing to do so would be a huge business mistake. Besides, as a fiction author, email marketing is one of the best ways to cultivate a readership.

The problem? It’s easier said than done.

You have to get people to subscribe.

You have to send out engaging emails.

You have to compel your audience to support you.

These are huge marketing challenges. And while improving your persuasion skills is a good idea, there’s another adjustment you can make that’s also effective.

Best of all, it’s simple to do.

The surprising benefits of choosing a smaller target audience

Let’s start with a brutal truth: People don’t like giving out their email addresses.

That means it’s hard to get a signup from someone who isn’t already enthusiastic about your work. And even if you do, it’s challenging to hold their attention with the emails you send.

So what if you focused your email marketing on people who have enjoyed at least one of your stories?

This is a different mindset than trying to get anyone with some interest onto your mailing list. Targeting readers who have experienced and liked your fiction writing makes your email marketing choices clearer. By tailoring your actions to a very specific group of people, you’ll increase the chances they’ll positively respond.

The areas of your email marketing that will benefit include:

Attracting subscribers

The magnet for fans is your storytelling. Offering free eBooks is great as a lead generation tactic as well as an incentive for email list signups.
It’s clear that asking for a subscription to your mailing list at the end of each of your fiction pieces is one of the best places to do it.
You know if you’re not getting more subscribers, it almost always comes down to one of two reasons:

your fiction is not yet seen by the right people,
or, your writing needs additional refinement

Sharing content that engages

Once you know you’re emailing fans, then coming up with ideas for your emails should be a lot easier. If you understand why they like your storytelling, then you can figure out ways to elevate their enthusiasm.
Remember that existing readers have a certain level of interest and familiarity with your work. You can make references from your world that outsiders wouldn’t get. The engagement level is high.
You can show your appreciation by giving stuff that you know will be valuable to your fans. Maybe that’s your time by responding with a personalized email, or your writing by sharing some flash fiction.

Presenting desirable offers

If you’ve done the hard work of finding and engaging people who like your fiction, then you shouldn’t have to make any hard sells. Your offers are geared for an audience who want them.
You’re also in a position to ask for non-monetary support such as book reviews and spreading the word on social media.
If you track your analytics, you’ll see open and conversion rates that are reflective of a true readership that you’re connected with online.

Photo: pixabay.com

The post Fiction Writers: A Simple Approach to Build a Better Email List appeared first on The Book Designer.

An Intro to BookBub Ads (Insights From NINC 2016)

Wanting to dabble in BookBub Ads? This is a great article from this year’s NINC. Enjoy!
NINC Master Class - BookBub Ads




BookBub’s partners know us in the context of Featured Deals. But BookBub now offers more than just a single marketing channel to our author and publisher partners. In our workshop at this year’s Novelists, Inc. conference (slides below), we focused on explaining the differences between Featured Deals and BookBub Ads in order to help our author partners determine when, why, and how they should think about using each marketing tool. Our new BookBub Ads platform is not yet available to all our partners, but it will be in the coming months, so we hope this information is helpful even for those of you still on the waitlist.

Featured Deals provide authors with predictability. Most of you are familiar with the Featured Deals process: We decide which books get selected (and have strict requirements for what can be submitted), we determine the category (or which readers you’re reaching), we choose the timing, and we quote you a price. Having this control allows us to fairly accurately predict how Featured Deals will perform. We’re able to charge fees intended to generate positive ROIs, and we know the majority of partners will be successful.

On the other hand, BookBub Ads provide authors with flexibility. We’ve heard from partners for years that they want to reach BookBub’s audience with different kinds of book content, and we launched Ads to address this pain point. With Ads, you can advertise whatever book you want. It doesn’t have to be discounted or meet any of our other Featured Deal requirements. You decide what runs, when it runs, how often it runs, what your ad looks like, which readers you’re reaching, and how much you want to pay. That’s a ton of control.

The downside to flexibility is that the onus is now on you to make your campaign work. Flexibility means Ads won’t work for everyone. It will work best for partners willing to test and optimize their campaigns. We will continue to evolve the product to help you run successful campaigns, but Ads will always be more hands-on and more variable than Featured Deals.

The value is that you now have another marketing channel in your toolbox, and when BookBub Ads work, they can be enormously powerful. You’re now able to reach BookBub’s millions of active, engaged, hungry book buyers with any book you want to promote. The power is in your hands. Now, as Tim Gunn would say, it’s up to you to “Make it work!”

The presentation below is from the workshop we gave at NINC on how to run successful Ads campaigns. Browse through the slides for some key takeaways, and please remember that BookBub’s Partners team is always available to help. We’re here to work with you on your marketing strategy and help you get as much value out of our partnership as possible. So please feel free to email us at [email protected] any time!

Note: If you’re interested in running a BookBub Ads campaign, you can join the waiting list using the form at the bottom of this article or on the right side of this page. We’re only able to support a small number of advertisers at this time, but we’re busy expanding capacity, and in the months ahead we’ll gradually invite members of the waiting list to use the tool.

How Will an Author Platform Make You a More Successful Author?

Another great article by Rachel Thompson! Author platform – topics that authors need to pay attention to. Enjoy!

How Will an Author Platform Make You a More Successful Author?, Rachel Thompson, BadRedhead Media, @BadRedheadMedia
(This post is for those in need of understanding book marketing. We’re not here to discuss the craft and art of writing, which is another subject entirely, and something, I would hope, each author has spent many hours on already.)

Every day I hear prickly, sometimes even angry authors, discussing the evils of book marketing:

“Blogging is a waste of time. I could be writing.” 

“Social media doesn’t result in sales, so forget it. Not worth it.” 

“Author platform is just a dumb term some bean dip in a suit made up. Next year they’ll call it something else.” 

Oh, dear. Let’s deconstruct.

Author Platform Defined

Many writers run kicking and screaming from the term author platform, but they need to get over it. If you have any hope of marketing your books — er, selling your books — you need to understand that selling books is a business. Art is commerce. You are part of the machine that you are so vehemently protesting.

Irony, huh?

Simplified, think of your platform as a big wheel. To make the wheel turn, you have to place the spokes. Everything we are going to discuss today is a spoke.

Further defined:

Your platform consists of how visible you are, your authority on a particular topic(s), proven reach, and knowing your demographic (Source: Jane Friedman). Most authors I work with have or know maybe one of these. Do your homework.

According to Bowker data (2013), over 1,000 books are released every day (if you have updated data, please pass it along). That’s about 400,000 books each year.

How do you plan to stand out if ‘writing is all that matters?’

Branding, platform, marketing, advertising — all those crazy ‘buzzwords’ — don’t sound so crazy when you are faced with the herculean task of trying to get someone to notice you, your book, and actually you know, sell your book.

Smart Work, Hard Work 

I’ve released four books (award-winning, bestselling) in the last five years (slow by some people’s standards but hey, I’m a busy girl, what with running a business, being a mom, and writing my next two books). I can tell you that getting all four of my books to #1 best seller status on Amazon didn’t come from magical fairies sprinkling bestseller dust over me while I write or sleep (I miss sleep).

It happened because I made it happen. I work hard and smart to build relationships with readers, authors, publishing and industry folks, book bloggers, and reviewers. I don’t sit back eating bonbons while the fairies dance around me, making the magic happen. How do I do it?

Author Platform Secrets 

My secret? It’s not a secret because I blather on constantly about building relationships. You’re probably sick of it by now, but it’s so true. How do I build relationships? Let’s look at Jane’s definition above and break it down.

Demographic: I share lots of interesting content (other than ‘buy my book!’ because dear god, if that’s all I knew how to write, why on earth would anyone buy my book at all?), articles, other people’s posts and articles, quotes, pictures, videos, and yes, the occasional promotional giveaway or sale, all having to do with what my demographic is interested in because I targeted specific people with similar interests.

I do the same for my clients. We share their own blog posts of course, but also articles about their topics of interest, and interact/follow people with similar interests.

Visibility: I’m very visible: I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram — social media is best used for building relationships, not for blasting ‘buy my book!’ links. I blog weekly (on both my author blog and my business blog), I guest blog, I write for Huffington Post, IndieReader.com, FeminineCollective.com, I pay for low-cost ads, I do occasional blog tours and book promos. If you google RachelintheOC, BadRedhead Media, or Author Rachel Thompson, you’ll find me.

I rarely discuss my books other than to share visual quotes or teasers; rather I focus on sharing real-life stories, others’ stories, and meaningful articles and information. Being ‘other-focused’ and generous is like catching flies with honey.

Social Media: At the very least, you want to be on Twitter, have a Google+ brand page, and a Facebook author page. Why Google+? While most people have written it off, Google hasn’t, and they index every update. In terms of SEO, Google+ ranks much higher than Facebook pages, hands down. (Twitter and Google have an agreement as well, so Twitter updates are also indexed.)

YouTube (note: owned by Google), Instagram, Pinterest and SnapChat are the next tier and terrific visual channels. StumbleUpon, Medium, Reddit are great aggregators as well.

Where are you spending your time? If you’re like most authors, you’re on your personal Facebook whining about book sales. I suggest rethinking that strategy.

Authority: This one seems to be trickier, but it’s really not. Everyone is good at something or knows a particular topic intimately. That’s not usually the issue. The issue is giving ourselves permission to be an expert on what we know, what we’re good at, and share that information in a way that initiates discussion. I use my almost two decades from soul-sucking Big Pharma to help me in my current business. We all come from somewhere.

Share what you enjoy, what you are good at, even your struggles. Be authentically you. People respond to that.

Proven Reach: Your branding, author platform, social media, SEO-optimized website, and consistent blog posting is the best way to build a readership and fan base. It’s also how you will connect to book bloggers and reviewers, yet I hear from many writers how they’re too busy to interact with readers online.

Let me get this straight: you want readers to find you, but you don’t want to interact with them. You just want to write.

You want a traditional contract because you think everything will be done for you (not) — I have traditionally published clients right now who hire me to do their social media because their publishing company doesn’t do any of it.

Here’s the bottom line: publishing companies will look at your manuscript to see if you can write, of course, but they will also look at your ability to bring in readers. Publishing is about making money. Are you a sure thing?

That’s how I eventually got an agent and signed to a publishing company. They will check your social media numbers, website visits and comments, and how you interact with people. They want to see your brand, how well you market, and if you can prove that you have reach.

How can you have that, if you don’t have that? 

Author Platform – A Basic List

  • Active and interactive social media (Twitter; Facebook — both a personal account to connect not sell, and an author page; Google+ brand page, and either Pinterest or Instagram; and, depending on your demographic, LinkedIn or Snapchat)
  • StumbleUpon and Medium
  • A fully SEO-optimized website and blog
  • Blogging consistently (minimum once-weekly)
  • Minimum 25 reviews of your book (debatable; some say helpful, others say this number is BS. I say, how can it hurt?)
  • Blog tour (debatable, but helpful for visibility; not so much for book sales)
  • Awards and/or writing contest wins
  • Guest articles, interviews, blogging
  • Writing for publications
  • Advertising
  • Subscriber list and email newsletters
  • Promotions, contests, giveaways
  • and, most importantly, building long-term relationships with influencers and readers!

Don’t forget the face-to-face interactions as well (more of a PR tactic which as a businessperson, I don’t focus on; but as a writer, I do):

  • Signings
  • Conferences (aka, cons)
  • Library events
  • Bookstore events
  • Speaking opportunities

Bottom line: your author platform is what it takes for you to market your books. Will it guarantee sales? No. There are so many other factors: pricing, promotions, fan base, timing, competition, reviews (we haven’t even discussed that yet!), and so much more. But it’s absolutely the foundation to get you rolling.

Have patience, be realistic, have a plan, and work that plan!


Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again! I will never share your email and that’s a promise. Follow me on Twitter @RachelintheOC or @BadRedheadMedia for social media, branding, or marketing help. Increase your blog traffic by participating in #MondayBlogs (a Twitter meme I created to share posts on Mondays — no book promo)

All content © 2016 by BadRedhead Media aka Rachel Thompson, author, unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.



Source: How Will an Author Platform Make You a More Successful Author?

We Didn’t Know How to Promote a Podcast. So Here’s All We Learned

Do you have a podcast? Are you thinking about starting one? Marketing a podcast is something that many people struggle with – like audiobooks, it seems to be difficult to find the right audience. This is an excellent article from Buffer. If you don’t already subscribe to Buffer – please do – an excellent source of information!


Before we launched our Buffer podcast, so much of our time and energy (99.9% of it, I’d wager!) was spent getting the sounds and feel just right. We did all the podcast things we were supposed to do in order to make a really great podcast — the interviews, the mixing, the uploading — and now that the time had come to press publish …

… we needed a plan to promote the podcast.

How do people promote podcasts? We didn’t know. We’d never promoted a podcast before!

So we went to work, researching all the best tips and strategies for getting a podcast seen by as many people as possible, downloaded as many times as possible, and maybe hopefully listed on iTunes’ New and Noteworthy list.

Here’s all we found and all that we’re excited to try. We’ll be sure to report back with what works!

The #1 Goal: Do Really Great on iTunes!

iTunes is responsible for as much as 70% of a podcast’s listens and downloads


In the process of researching how to promote a podcast, much of the advice kept centering on iTunes as the key channel for growth and attention. I hadn’t realized just how key iTunes really was!

Nieman Lab claims “70 percent of podcast listening happens through iTunes or the native iOS Podcasts app.”

Scott Britton says, “Listens on SoundCloud and YouTube are pretty insignificant compared to iTunes.”

Erik Diehn says, “There’s basically Apple and then everybody else.”

I’ve heard similar rumblings from others, too. When we launched our culture-focused podcast, CultureLab, my teammate Courtney’s primary goal was getting to a good spot in the iTunes listings. She was our oracle: iTunes is really important.

We’ll report back with the specific numbers that we find for The Science of Social Media podcast. If you notice that a majority of the advice in this post is iTunes-related, now you know why. 🙂

How to promote a podcast: 10 strategies to try

Many thanks to the people and brands who have been generous to share their podcasting tips online. Some of the best advice I found dated all the way back to 2012, which shows just how long some folks have been excelling in the podcast game. I’ll link to some favorite resources at the end of this article as well.

Here’s the big list of podcast promotion strategies we’re keen to try.

1. Leverage your guest’s audience

Make it easy for guests to share by creating snippets and quote images

We’re fortunate that our podcast has an interview format, where we get to talk to amazing people like Rand Fishkin of Moz and Meghan Keaney Anderson of HubSpot.

These people have big audiences.

Rand has over 335,000 Twitter followers.

HubSpot has over 1 million Facebook fans.

What we’d love to do is make it easy for our guests to share and promote their podcast episode. One idea is to send them a note on the day their podcast goes live and include a series of shareable media:

Prewritten tweets and status updates

Here’s an example of one of the images we made for Meghan’s episode:

Meghan Keaney Anderson quote - get hired on social media

Here is the email we sent for Rand’s first episode (feel free to copy it if you’d like):


From this thread on Growth Hackers, there’s some interesting advice to treat podcast promotion like you would content promotion, an area in which we have a bit more experience. Here are the specifics from the Growth Hackers thread:

Quality > Quantity
Solve a problem
Provide actionable insight
Hustle just as hard to distribute as you did to create
Leverage your guest’s audience

^^ It’s this last one that we’re excited to experiment with in some fun ways.

2. Promote on social media … in a dozen different ways

Share rich media, soundbites, video, images, teasers, evergreen — anything you can think of

We’re so lucky to have the amazing social networks that we do. There’s just so much creativity and fun to be had with promoting a podcast on social media.

For starters, share an update when the episode first goes live. 

Then, keep sharing.

Here are some ideas:

> Pin your episode tweet or Facebook post, featuring the iTunes URL.

> Create quote images in Canva or Pablo. Share these as standalone social updates with a link to iTunes.

Here’s the Canva template that we’re using.

> Create 15-second soundbite clips. Upload to Soundcloud. Then share on Twitter.

Twitter has a really neat implementation of Soundcloud audio specifically. People can play the audio right from their Twitter stream.


> Tease the next episode 24 hours ahead of time.

> Reshare the podcast episode multiple times. 

We do 3x to Twitter the first day, 2x to Facebook the first week.

> Talk about the behind-the-scenes stuff in an Instagram story.

3. Release at least 3 episodes on launch day

“I actually received negative reviews from people who had listened to the first episode and were upset that there was only one.”

The above quote is from Pat Flynn, the founder of Smart Passive Income. His advice about launch quantity is right in line with the best tips from others, too.

Publish 3 to 5 episodes when you first launch.

From our research, the very minimum number of episodes to have at launch is three. In general, the more the merrier. We had seven interviews complete before we launched our podcast, with three episodes planned for launch day and two apiece for the following two weeks.

This multi-launch strategy is a key part to Jason Zook’s plan for hitting the New and Noteworthy section of iTunes, which, as we mentioned above, is a huge way to get traffic.

Jason’s plan hinges on these two concepts:

Record and release several podcasts on launch day (3-5)
Build your audience before launching if possible

4. Convert the audio to a YouTube video

Name your video “Interview with …” for potential SEO

One thing we’d love to be able to do with the podcast is to repurpose it in as many ways as possible. Some companies do neat things, mixing live video (on Facebook and Periscope) with the live podcast interview. We’re excited to try a slightly different route.

We’re keen to add every episode of the podcast to our YouTube channel.

With a YouTube version, you get a handful of benefits:

Video to share on social media
Closed captioning and transcripts automatically from YouTube (great for accessibility if you’re not going to transcribe)
SEO benefits

This last one is really exciting.

In some cases, Google values video 53x as much as text.

So while we’re hopeful that our show notes help us rank a bit for long-tail terms in Google, we’re also excited that having a YouTube version could boost our rankings as well.

Scott Britton used this strategy to good effect with his interview podcast, choosing a specific strategy of ranking for “[Guest Name] Interview.” So for us, this might look like:

Rand Fishkin interview
Interview with Rand Fishkin

By adding this to the YouTube title, fingers-crossed, we’ll see some good results!

To convert audio (.mp3 for instance) to video (.mov), you can use a variety of different tools. Google’s support center recommends iMovie for Mac users and Windows Live Movie Maker for PC users. I quickly hopped into Screenflow to build a fast video version of our podcast.

Choose a canvas of 2,560 pixels wide by 1,440 pixels tall for best viewing at 2K resolution (there are a handful of other ideal dimensions here if you’re not interested in 2K)
Grab free stock video footage from Videvo or Pexels. Looping video is best; search “loop.”
Include a quick thumbnail either of your show’s logo or of your guest (or both)
If you’re feeling especially proactive, you can annotate the video with links, cards, and more from within the YouTube creator studio

Here’s one we made for our first podcast episode:


5. Submit your podcast to podcatchers and aggregators

Podcatchers — a pretty cool name, right? — are simply apps that play podcasts. The most popular one is the main podcast app in iOS; it’s the one with the purple icon and a picture of a microphone.

Beyond the iOS podcatcher, there are dozens of other apps that collect and play podcasts, and there are a host of websites that feature new podcasts and assist with discovery.

Here’s a quick list of 10 of the more popular ones:

Podcast Addict
Podcast subreddit
PodcastLand (your podcast is automatically listed here if it’s in iTunes)
Bello Collective
Podcast Republic

PodcastLand has a featured podcast of the month, which is chosen by user votes.

(In many cases, your podcast will work great with any of these services, particularly if you’re already on iTunes. The best bet is trying each app out for yourself to ensure a smooth experience for your listeners.)

6. Transcribe the audio

Try a service like Rev.com ($1/minute) or Fiverr ($5)

A lot of highly successful podcasts offer a full transcript of the entire show. We’re choosing to take a slightly different route with this, pulling out highlighted portions of the transcript and including these in the show notes.


Would you rather have the full transcript? Or selected excerpts?

The transcript is great for SEO benefits and as a place to collect leads (you can add lead capture forms and links to your show notes page). We hope to capture some of these benefits still, while saving time and money from doing the full transcription.

7. Throw a two-week ratings party

One of the most significant factors in driving a podcast up the charts in iTunes (and into the New & Noteworthy section) is the rate at which you collect downloads and positive reviews in the first couple weeks.

You have eight weeks from when your podcast launches to get to New and Noteworthy. The first two weeks of these are especially crucial.

Here are a few party-planning components that can help make these first couple weeks after the podcast launch feel like an event:

Run giveaways (more on this below)
Throw a real party on launch day, either in-person or virtually via Facebook Live
Publish two weeks of podcast-themed blog content. This post is an example!
Switch out the email signatures on your personal email and on your team’s support emails
Get your teammates and company execs to post and tweet about it
Email 10 friends per day

8. Run a giveaway contest

How to enter: Leave a review on iTunes

The allure of free stuff and discounts can be a powerful motivator to get more listens to your podcast. And here’s the clincher: Ask for a review on iTunes as part of the entry requirements for your giveaway. This will hopefully earn you more reviews, which will boost the social proof on your podcast and get iTunes to take notice.

If you have the budget to allow for it, these might make some great giveaways:

Product discounts

And if you don’t quite have the budget:

Mention in the show notes
A shoutout at the end of the show
A 5-minute guest spot on the podcast

The best way to go about this is to simply kick off the contest either on social media or by mentioning it on the show. Ask people to leave an iTunes review in order to enter.

One of the tricky things with this is how to get in touch with someone who leaves a review. There’s no straightforward way to do it, but the good news is that most usernames now are a close enough approximation of someone else’s social media handle that you are likely to be able to find them, DM them, and get in touch.

Here’s one we did on Instagram where we hoped to spread the launch of the podcast by encouraging people to @-mention their friends.


9. Find partners to mention you

Mention brands in your podcast. They might just mention you back!

This strategy has roots in content marketing where there’s often a reciprocal effect when you mention a business in a blog post. You’ll often find that business then mentions your post on their social channels.

For podcasts, it can work in a similar way. If you mention any businesses or brands in your episode, this provides an opportunity to reach out to those brands afterward to give them the good news of being featured.

Or, if you see a connection with your podcast and another brand, a simple email might be enough to do the trick.

Scott Britton of Life-Long Learner tried this outreach with Feedly, and it worked like a charm:

In addition to Facebook and Twitter promotion, I got Feedly to feature my show’s audio feed as the 3rd ranked recommendation in their “entrepreneurship channel.” This is essentially a curated list of content sources for people interested in Entrepreneurship.

They included my show for a few weeks and it resulted  into 1k+ feedly subscribers to my podcast feed.

10. Be a guest on other people’s podcasts

Just like movie stars hit the talk show circuit to promote a new film or politicians travel the country before an election, you can head out on a podcast tour and make guest appearances on podcasts in your niche.

Booking guests for regular, weekly podcast episodes can be a bit of a challenge. We’re noticing just how much work this advanced planning can be as we fill out the interview calendar for the Buffer podcast.

Many podcasts are likely to appreciate the proactive outreach. Any who take you up on the offer will make for a great promotion opportunity for your new show.

To find a listing of podcasts in your niche, you can visit the iTunes listing page and view podcasts according to dozens of categories. In the “Business” category alone, there are nearly 240 shows!


Bonus: How to get in the New & Noteworthy of iTunes

The New & Noteworthy section of iTunes is one of the most highly visible spots within the iTunes podcast area. You have two months (eight weeks) to get there before your podcast joins back with the rest of the podcast listings.

Though they don’t release the specifics of how podcasts are chosen for New & Noteworthy, iTunes seems to weigh the following factors quite heavily: number of subscriptions, downloads, and reviews in the eight weeks after launch.

There’s a lot of great advice out there from people who have successfully earned the New & Noteworthy distinction. Much of it we’ve covered here in the post. Here’s a quick recap:

Build an email list or outreach list before your podcast launches. This can be blog readers, product users, social media followers, etc.
Record 3-5 podcast episodes before you launch.
Pick a launch date. Note: It can take 2-4 days for iTunes to show your podcast after you’ve submitted it.
Create assets like images, clips, and shareable quotes.
Launch day!
Message your list to ask them to listen and review.
Keep publishing new episodes consistently. 


Further reading:

Everything You Need to Know About Podcasting – Inc

What You Need to Know to Launch a Successful Podcast – Smart Passive Income

How to Promote a Podcast – Inbound.org

How to Get Your Podcast to No. 1 in iTunes – Chris Drucker

Over to you

I’ve been really lucky to have heard lots of great podcast advice over the past few months from a handful of readers and Buffer customers. I’d love to keep learning! If you have any tips or wisdom to share about what has worked for you and your podcast, it’d be awesome to learn from you here in the comments.

Or, if you’re keen to share any thoughts on our Buffer podcast or promotion strategies (which ones feel good to you, which ones feel like too much), that’d be great, too!

Excited to keep the conversation going!

Image credits: UnSplash, Pablo

Source: We Didn’t Know How to Promote a Podcast. So Here’s All We Learned

The Anatomy of a BookBub Blurb & Ebook Description Copy Tips

Blurbs are the source of stress to many authors. BookBub is clearly the master when it comes to creating something compelling. Learn from the masters 🙂

Source: The Anatomy of a BookBub Blurb & Ebook Description Copy Tips

The Anatomy of a BookBub Blurb & Ebook Description Copy TipsWhen authors and publishers promote books via BookBub’s Featured Deals email, each promotion includes a blurb. Each BookBub blurb is carefully crafted to appeal to readers subscribed to that book’s category. We often get questions about these blurbs: Who writes them? How are they written? How do we decide what to include?

At BookBub, we have an editorial team that produces each day’s email and writes each of the blurbs. We craft these blurbs based on the copy and information that we know appeals to members subscribed to each of our categories. Much of this is based on data we collect — what copy engages readers the most, A/B tests comparing copy variations, and popular trends and tropes in each genre.

In this post, we’ll shed some light on our process for writing blurbs, explain how we run A/B tests, and share some of the insights we’ve gained from all our tests.

General Best Practices

When writing blurbs, we generally collect as much information about a book as we can. We use sources like the retailer product page, editorial reviews, and bestseller lists. Then we use our set of guidelines to shape this information into a well-crafted blurb:

Length: Blurbs should generally be under 50 words. Keep them as concise as possible, and avoid drawn-out plot summaries that may lose a reader’s attention.

Plot points: Keep blurbs broad to appeal to as many readers as possible without being deceptive about the plot. Avoid categorizing books in overly specific ways (e.g. “inspirational cozy mystery”) that may discourage certain readers from clicking.

Accolades: Include any major accolades — the bestselling status of the book, past bestselling status of the author, and/or awards the book or author has won.

Review counts: Include an impressive number of reviews. Examples include: “More than X five-star reviews on Amazon” or “Nearly X five-star ratings on Goodreads.”

Quotes: Weave quotes from good sources into the blurb for variety and acclaim. (e.g. “This “unputdownable” memoir (Better Homes and Gardens)” or “Hailed as “beautifully observed” (The New York Times)”)

Comparables: Use comparative titles, authors, movies, or TV shows (e.g. “Perfect for fans of Game of Thrones”) when applicable.

Author track record: Mention well-known backlist titles (e.g. “Bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code”) when applicable.

Emotional connections: Particularly for nonfiction, when possible, try to highlight what the book can do for the reader. Some examples include:

World War II history buffs will love…
For those of you who want to make money in your pajamas
If you love chocolate cake, this book is for you

Language: Use active and exciting verbs and avoid the passive voice whenever possible. Try to include laudatory adjectives, such as:


How We A/B Test Our Blurbs

We use data to make our blurbs as strong as possible. Often, that means running A/B tests to see what kind of copy and information resonates with readers.

We run A/B tests by randomly sending a slightly different version of the same promotion to two groups of our subscribers. For example, Group A might receive a version of blurb copy including the book’s number of Amazon reviews while Group B would receive a variation without this information, though everything else in the promotion remained exactly the same.

BookBub Blurb A/B Test

The version with the highest click-through rate is the winner, and we run the same test across multiple blurbs in multiple genres. This method allows us to isolate the copy and find out which version appealed more to our readers.

Top A/B Test Results

Here are some of the most interesting results from the A/B tests we have run.

Content that increases click-through rates overall

These results are consistent across multiple genres, so we are able to use this data when writing blurbs across the board.

Including a high number of reviews. In the example above, we found that including high numbers of reviews in the blurb increases engagement. When a book has at least 150 five-star reviews on Amazon or Goodreads, including the number of five-star reviews in the copy increases clicks an average of 14.1%.

Include comparable titles. Mentioning comparative titles, authors, movies, or TV shows (e.g. “A mind-bending psychological thriller for fans of The Girl on The Train”) increased clicks an average of 25.7%.

Include quotes (aka, testimonials). Our tests showed that book descriptions with testimonials from authors or publications got an average of 22.6% higher click-through rates than those without.

Choose quotes from authors instead of publications. While quotes from both authors and publications increased engagement, descriptions that included a quote from a well-known author got an average 30.4% higher click-through rate than descriptions including a blurb from a recognizable publication. Note that in many cases, the authors quoted were big names in the specific genre of the book, so the results will depend on how recognizable the author or publication is in a particular genre. But our data shows that all else being equal, showcasing a quote from an author is a better bet if one is available.

Include author awards. If the author has won an award in the past for any book, including this fact would increase clicks an average of 6.7%, especially if the award signified the genre of the book (for example, the Shamus Award for mysteries).

Cater to audience interests. Our A/B tests showed that catering the copy to your audience’s interests (e.g. including “if you love [genre]”) positively influences engagement. Copy like “If you love thrillers, don’t miss this action-packed read!” instead of “An action-packed read!” increased clicks 15.8% on average.

Content that increases click-through rates in specific categories

Here are a few examples of results in specific categories. We use this data to help us decide what elements to include within these particular genres.

Historical fiction: Including the time period in the description increased clicks an average of 25.1%.

Chick Lit: Mentioning the age or age range of the protagonist increased clicks an average of 8.4%.

Business: Mentioning publications or media in which the authors have been featured increased clicks an average of 18.8%. For example: “The team behind this aspirational book has been featured on NBC’s Today Show, Forbes, and more!”

Cookbooks: Mentioning specific recipes included in the cookbook decreased clicks an average of 8.0%. Readers engaged more with blurbs that focused on the benefit — for example, time-saving recipes or a two-week eating plan — without naming recipes.

Contemporary romance: If the protagonist in the romance is a single mother, mentioning that fact increased clicks an average of 5.2%.

Content that didn’t make much of a difference

For several tests we ran, we were surprised by the results in that there were no results — these changes didn’t make a difference in engagement whatsoever!

Bestseller type. Whether a book is a New York Times bestseller, USA Today bestseller, or Amazon bestseller, including one versus the other in the copy didn’t make a difference. Including the fact that the book was a bestseller did help!

Posing the hook as a question. We tested posing the hook as a question versus a sentence, and it made no difference. For example: “Will Cora discover that he’s the perfect guy?” and “Cora may discover that he’s the perfect guy.” yielded the same exact results.

Mentioning a debut. If a novel is an author’s debut, mentioning that fact one way or the other didn’t make a difference at all.

Including the name of the series. If a novel is part of a book series, mentioning the name of the entire series didn’t have very much of an impact on engagement.

If you have any questions about our blurb-writing process, let us know in the comments below!

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10 BookBub Myths Busted

As the title suggests, there are a lot of myths out there about Bookbub. Since it is considered to be the gold standard by many, these myths deserve to be cleared up. I hope you enjoy this article!

Source: 10 BookBub Myths Busted

BookBub Myths BustedThere are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there about how BookBub works — from how we select books to feature to what kind of behavior will get authors on a “blacklist” (this one baffles us!).

We wanted to put some of the rumors we hear about most often to rest. Below are ten myths about BookBub, and the honest truth!

1. There is a BookBub “blacklist” – FALSE

Many authors think that if they do something “wrong” — such as cancel a Featured Deal, resubmit too many times, or encounter any issues setting up a discount — we’ll “blacklist” them and never select their books again.

We can assure you that no such list exists. We know that running price promotions can be complicated and unpredictable, and that your plans or circumstances may change, so we won’t penalize your future submissions for that! We just ask that you abide by our policies and notify us as soon as possible to any potential problems with upcoming features. Additionally, we have no problem with partners resubmitting a book again after four weeks.

The editorial selection process is absolutely not personal. Our editors rely on data from past promotions and their knowledge of our readers’ tastes to select the books that will be most appealing to our audience. Our selection criteria is influenced by a number of factors that can change over time, including the preferences of our readers and the volume and quality of other books being submitted to that category. If your books haven’t been getting selected, you can review some tips for optimizing your submission here. We’d also encourage you to check out the current deals in your book’s category on our website to get a sense of what types of themes, plots, and covers are appealing to our readers right now.

2. You need a minimum number of reviews to be selected for a Featured Deal – FALSE

Many authors think you have to have a certain number of reviews in order to even be considered for a Featured Deal — 50, or 100. The truth is, there’s no minimum number required to be considered or selected. Reader reviews are only one part of the editorial team’s selection process. Equally important, if not more so, is making sure that a book will be a good fit for our particular audience in each category. A book with fewer reviews that hits of all of our readers’ buttons might get selected for a feature over a book with hundreds of reviews about a topic our readers aren’t interested in.

While there is no minimum number required, reader reviews do allow our editorial team to get a better sense of your book’s quality and content, and we’ve seen that our readers respond well to well-reviewed books. For instance, if a book has at least 150 five-star reviews on Amazon or Goodreads, we’ve found that including the number of five-star reviews in a Featured Deal blurb results in an average 14.1% increase in clicks. So having lots of reviews can certainly help make your Featured Deal submission more competitive. You can find tips on how to get more reader reviews here.

3. The longer it takes to hear back from BookBub on your submission, the more likely it is that your book will be selected – FALSE

The truth — it’s random! The time it takes for us to get back to you can vary based on the particular time of day that you submitted your deal, the editorial team’s schedule on any given day or week, and the number of other submissions in our queue. We’ll do our best to get back to you within a few days, but please let us know if you haven’t heard back from us within a week of submitting.

4. If your book is not selected for a Featured Deal in one category, you can resubmit for a different category right away – FALSE

Our editors consider alternate categories during the selection process, and we’ll always let you know if they would like to select your book for a different category than the one you suggested on your submission form. The only time you can resubmit the same book without waiting four weeks is if you submit for a lower deal price than the one you first submitted for.

5. It’s bad to refuse or cancel a Featured Deal offer – FALSE

This is a fear we’ve heard from many authors, and it’s related to the mythical BookBub “blacklist.” However, we can assure you that there are no repercussions to canceling as long as you give us at least seven days notice before the date of your feature (but we appreciate you letting us know as early as possible!). If you do cancel a feature, you can resubmit the same book again at any point — no need to wait four weeks or six months — and it won’t affect the editorial team’s consideration of your future submissions. However, since our selection criteria is always evolving based on our readers’ ever-changing preferences and the other submissions we’ve received, being selected once doesn’t guarantee that your book will be selected again when you resubmit.

If you do resubmit a book you’ve cancelled a feature for, it’s helpful for us if you note that the book had been selected and explain your reasons for canceling in the comments. That way our editors won’t be surprised to see your book again so soon, and our partners team will recall any scheduling concerns you may have had the first time.

6. You have to accept the date we originally schedule your feature for – FALSE

If you’re not satisfied with the feature date we offer you for any reason at all, please don’t hesitate to let us know. While we can’t guarantee that we’ll have schedule space on the days you request, we’ll always do our best to accommodate your preferred promotion dates.

7. If one retailer isn’t discounted on the day of your Featured Deal, it will jeopardize your entire feature – FALSE

If one of your retailers isn’t discounted on the day of your feature, we’ll just leave that retailer out of the email — we won’t cancel your entire feature. However, we won’t be able to offer a refund, so you may see a slightly lower ROI if you don’t reach our whole audience in your category. In order to maximize your ROI for a Featured Deal, it’s best to include as many retailers as possible.

Most discounting issues our partners encounter are related to price matching or international pricing. You can learn how to make your book free here and how to avoid common international discounting errors here.

8. We prefer 2-D covers for all box sets – FALSE

There tends to be a lot of confusion around our rules for box sets, but particularly in regards to our guidelines for box set covers. You can read our complete box set and anthology guidelines here, but in a nutshell, we can feature single-author sets of full-length books (for most categories, over 150 pages). In addition, we can feature single-author or multi-author anthologies of short stories or novellas. Our cover guidelines for each type of collection are designed to make it clear to our readers what types of books they’ll be getting in the set.

Box sets of full-length books can have 3-D covers — in fact, we encourage it. A box set image that displays multiple book covers or spines makes it immediately clear to readers that they’re getting multiple full-length books in their purchase.

Box Cover Comparison

On the other hand, anthologies have to have a single, flat, 2-D cover image in order to be considered for a Featured Deal. We’re very careful not to mislead our readers about the lengths of the books they’re purchasing, so any collection of novellas or short stories that includes images of multiple book covers will not qualify.Cover Comparison

9. Only authors who have run Featured Deals can claim a BookBub Author Profile – FALSE

Author Profiles are actually open to any author with ebooks available on major retailers, regardless of whether you’ve worked with BookBub in the past or whether you’re traditionally or independently published. While we do require that authors “claim” their profile in order to edit it, any author can do this and will be approved if they are actually the author. Our claims process is simply meant to ensure that Author Profiles represent real authors, not spammers or imposters.

You can learn about the benefits of claiming and completing your Author Profile here.

10. You can add books written under a pen name to your Author Profile – FALSE

Claiming an Author Profile allows you to list all of your books on the BookBub website, but you have to claim a separate profile for each pen name you write with. To claim additional Author Profiles, you’ll need to create a new Partner Dashboard account here using a different email address. By associating each profile with a unique partner account, we can ensure that all of our book information is accurate for each author.

If you’d like our users to be able to discover books written under all of your pen names, you can link your profiles. If you’d like to link two of your profiles, just contact us at [email protected] letting us know the two or more pen names you would like to link.

BookBub Pen Name

We hope that this has cleared up some confusion about common myths and misconceptions about BookBub!

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Click to tweet: There is no @BookBub blacklist. There is no minimum review # to get a Featured Deal. More @BookBub myths busted: http://bit.ly/1LqWOZw

Claim Your BookBub Author Profile

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