Sooner or later, anyone in self-publishing needs to deal with marketing. It’s a topic that we all know is supremely important, yet many indie authors (me included) dread. So it’s a good thing there’s expert advice out there to help, including today’s guest post. I’m very excited to have Rae Steinbach of Taktical Digital explain the keys to that all important toolkit for promoting your book: Amazon Marketing Services.
Amazon is a unique platform because it gives both established authors and self-published writers the opportunity to reach customers from all over the world. Some self-published authors have even earned millions of dollars without traditional publishers by leveraging the platform.
Of course, not everyone will be so successful. There are simply so many books available through Amazon that ensuring yours stands out from the competition requires understanding how to market them.
Luckily, Amazon also makes this easy thanks to Amazon Marketing Services. Want to know how to use this set of features to boost your own sales? If so, keep the following points in mind to succeed with Amazon marketing.
Amazon lets authors promote their books via cost per click ads. This means writers only pay for clicks their ads receive. That said, there are a few types of ads to choose from. Each offers its own unique benefits.
Sponsored Product Ads
This type of ad is ideal for authors who want to target shoppers based on certain keywords. For instance, if you published a book on “getting started with a keto diet,” you can create an ad that will show up in the results page when customer use these or similar terms in their searches.
Product Display Ads
Sometimes authors want to associate their books with other, more well-known titles. Perhaps you wrote a book that’s similar to another bestseller. You might want to let people interested in that book know about yours.
That’s what this type of ad is for. It lets you place an ad that shows up as a recommendation when a shopper views the page for a similar title. It also lets you target customers by general interest.
You need to have at least one title published via Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform to take advantage of AMS features.
Once you do, you can get started by signing into your account, finding the title you want to promote on your bookshelf, and choosing the “advertise” option. Amazon will then prompt you to choose an ad type.
Creating a Sponsored Product Ad
Start by deciding on a name for your ad campaign. This simply helps you identify it later if you launch multiple campaigns and want to study how a previous one performed.
Next, you’ll set your maximum daily expenditure. This is the maximum amount of money you will be billed for during each day of your campaign. Again, because you only pay for the clicks your ad receives, you may end up paying even less.
It’s a good idea to start with a low budget if you’re new to this process. You can study your campaign later to determine what did and did not work. By beginning with a smaller budget, you won’t waste money on ineffective tactics.
Amazon also lets you decide whether you want to limit your campaign to a specific period of time, or whether you want to let it run indefinitely. You may want to limit the timeframe at first so you can experiment with new tactics in your next campaign, rather than paying for the same campaign for longer than necessary.
You’ll finish the process by selecting keywords to associate your title with, determining how much you’re willing to pay overall, and adding up to 150 characters of custom ad text. Then, all that’s left is to launch the campaign.
Creating a Product Display Ad
The process of creating a product display ad is similar to the one described above. However, instead of selecting keywords, you’ll choose to associate your book with another title or a general interest. You can also give Amazon permission to place your ad near other similar products you may not know about. If you’re not totally familiar with the books your readers might be interested in, this is a smart option to consider.
There are a few other points worth remembering if you want to leverage these features to their full potential. For example, if your book is available in several formats (paperback, kindle, audiobook, etc.), you can promote all of them in a single ad to cast a wider net.
If you’ve published several books in a series, consider promoting the first one to reach new readers who may then purchase the other books in the series. You should also think about how you might include additional promotional materials in your books. For example, if you run a blog, offer services, or have a mailing list, let readers know about them. This helps you promote both your book and any additional products/services you offer.
Of course, the more you experiment with AMS, the more you’ll learn. Try new tactics with each campaign and monitor your performance. Over time, you’ll learn exactly how to optimize your return on investment.
Rae Steinbach is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing (of course).
Taktical Digital is an internationally recognized performance digital marketing agency with an obsessive focus on maximizing ROI, driving success across e-commerce and lead generation verticals with paid social advertising, search marketing and lead generation.