This is the transcript for Episode 009 | Advertising.
Jack has wasted a lot of money on advertising, while Jennifer has spent even more but has seen much better results. What’s the difference?
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Jack: Hello and welcome to this episode of Get To Art. This time we will be talking about graffiti – art or vandalism? I am your host, independent humor author, Jack Roach, and I am joined as always by.
Jennifer: Some chick that he met online and brought back to his house.
Jack: Technically, I did meet you and bring you back to my house and that was 19 years ago.
Jennifer: Oh my god, was that long ago? Anyway, I tricked him into marrying me and I am Jennifer Roach, and I am a photographer in Atlanta.
Jack: Premier photographer in Atlanta.
Jennifer: I am not going to say premier.
Jack: So Jennifer, how do you feel about graffiti?
Jennifer: I am pretty much in favor of it. Have you been down to the belt line and seen all the murals and stuff down there?
Jack: I have. It is lovely.
Jennifer: Yeah, it is very artistic, very well done.
Jack: Alright, and that concludes the Get To Art portion of this podcast. Let’s get on to the Get To Art segment. This week we are going to be talking about advertising and our experiences with it. Jennifer, life got in our way this week.
Jennifer: As it usually does.
Jack: So this is going to be a little bit more off the cuff done I would have preferred but se la vì.
Jennifer: Yup, it happens.
Jack: You and I have both spent a lot of money in advertising. I am proud to say that you have spent way more than I have but along with that you’ve had a lot more success than I have.
Jennifer: Well, I don’t know. Have we run the numbers of how much? I don’t know how much I’ve done advertising.
Jack: You are running about $200 a month; I’m running about $20, so you are spending a lot more.
Jennifer: Okay, I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
Jack: Well, every time one of your ads converts though you get, what, $2500, $2000, something like that? I get $350, so it is different scales. But let me start talking about my experience with it.
Jack: I hate advertising and I think it is a waste of money.
Jennifer: Okay, well, that about wraps it up for this week.
Jack: The advice that I saw going around was don’t bother advertising your first book and I said, well, it is the only book I got. What I am going to do? Boy, were they right, because I have not seen much of any return on the advertising I’ve done either on Amazon which is the main place, Facebook which was a huge money thing, and even BookBub which was one of the major places I could recommend you are putting your dollars into.
Jennifer: And that didn’t work out for you?
Jack: No, I had a conversion rate that was below 1%.
Jennifer: Oh wow.
Jack: Significantly below so that was rough. And they weren’t bad ads, so the lesson that I learn is to back off on advertising till’ I’ve got a couple more books in the Comeback Kid series which is a drag because the next book I am working on is not a Comeback Kid novel.
Jack: So I’ve got at least three more books before I really want to get into it.
Jennifer: And how long do you think would that take you?
Jack: Probably until mid July. No, in a couple of years. I wouldn’t anticipate the very earliest being done the three books if I rush it is end of 2020, and I’m not sure can meet that.
Jennifer: Yeah, that’s even kind of pushing it.
Jack: I’m not a, what they call it, but I saw on one of the Facebook groups where author is a woman who is celebrating her 54th book in 18 months.
Jack: That’s a little bit less than a book a week.
Jennifer: Were these like fill in the blank or journals? I mean, I could only imagine that like she wrote the cover and was like, alright you fill in the rest.
Jack: It was Mad Libs that she would fill in.
Jennifer: That’s insane.
Jack: And that’s a lot of what some of these independent publishing groups promote in the indie world, indie author world. There is a line that you quickly cross when you stop thinking as an author and start thinking as a publisher because you are an independent publisher. And it is mostly pulp writing which I have no problem with pulp. I read a lot of pulp in my life. It is not a value judgment but that’s not a pace that I am comfortable keeping up with. I don’t think that I could be proud of my output if my goal is to get books out and not to write the best book I can. And some of the people in my writing group, you know, [unclear name – 4:47] working on this book for four or five years, you know. And I shared some of these with them and it blew their mind. I couldn’t write that many chapters in that timeframe.
Jennifer: Yeah, that’s just insane. That is an insane amount of work in a timeframe.
Jack: And I haven’t read these books so I can’t really comment on their quality. But when somebody tells me I wrote a book a week for a year and a half. I don’t expect that to be something I would enjoy reading unless there is some sort of mastermind, you know, an absolute genius. But generally the longer someone spends writing a book the better it is.
Jennifer: Yeah, because you can’t do like drafting and revisions and stuff in that amount of time but have to be I would imagine one draft type things.
Jack: There is a philosophy in business that says be careful what you measure because that becomes what you produce. And if you are measuring the number of books you published you are going to emphasize getting books out regardless of quality. And Like I said, I can’t really speak to it because I haven’t read any of them and nor do I intend to but I know that if it were me they would be a direct.
Jennifer: Well, I mean it is not so much of commenting on the quality or anything of those books in particular. It is just like that’s not what you want to do and what you want to be, like that’s not your goal. Your goal is to be an author and not a publisher.
Jack: I just want to write a book and then, hey, maybe I can make some money out of it.
Jennifer: The advertising in those channels hasn’t worked out for you so far yet.
Jack: Not in the cost per click model. I’ve had a little bit more success with newsletter swaps and stuff that I would call less advertising and more marketing and that’s a distinction that maybe we could talk about the differences between. But in terms of going into Amazon, or BookBub, or Facebook, or whatever and say I will pay this many cents per click. No. No, I’ve had no success in that.
Jennifer: What about Google ads? Have you done any Google ads for it?
Jack: I have not.
Jack: Again, I don’t see that there is value in that. I don’t see that there is really value in the Facebook. I know that certain major figures in there love Facebook but mostly for its targeting. Facebook has the most powerful demographic targeting around I think.
Jennifer: Oh yeah, definitely. You can pin point pretty much like an exact person.
Jack: Maybe Google does know that much but Facebook probably knows a lot more about individual people because we sit down and fill up a form, and we keep them up to date about what’s going on in our lives.
Jennifer: Yeah, we let them know. They don’t have to do any kind of tracking or anything like we tell them.
Jack: For me, my experience, no. With one book for an independent author advertising is a waste of money. Now, once I have a series put together and by series I would say call at least three books. I will come back to you and report to you on that but I am currently not advertising in that sense. I am more promoting newsletter swaps and content marketing than I am in this sort of cost per click advertising.
Jennifer: Okay, because I was just about to ask you, like you are telling authors out there with one book, “Hey, don’t waste your money on this channel of advertising.” What would you suggest someone that’s got one book out that doesn’t have a series? So how do they get that book out to people?
Jack: I would focus on getting in touch with other authors and asking for newsletters mentions. That is free, thank goodness. I would never pay for that.
Jennifer: Yeah, no. Actually, if anybody ask for your money that’s a scam.
Jack: Yeah, but that will get you more exposure and if you can make a connection with an author that’s really in your field, and author, they are very, very generous. If they find somebody that’s similar and that they like, they will bent over backwards especially if you have a good personal rapport with them. They will help you because it doesn’t cost them anything. Authorship is not a zero sum game so it is not. Well, if they are buying your books and not buying mine…
Jennifer: It is not a competitive field.
Jack: Right. No, obviously, there is a finite amount of money that people are going to spend but it is not really viewed like that. But that’s how I’d spend my time and not my money, my time. So I would get up at newsletter swaps, trying make friends with other people in the genre and get them to help you out reaching their audience in particular and then focus on writing more good books. It is free, it is very cost effective and it will help create relationships which I think isn’t a very important aspect of life. I am not talking about marketing or having a creative side. That’s one thing like that. I think that just as a person is good to make connections.
Jennifer: It is. And it is especially helpful to make connections with people that are also in your field which is something that I didn’t understand and that I waited out too long when I first started. I wish I had tried to get involve in more of a community right away as opposed to looking at it as more of like a competition and staying away from my competitors and that kind of stuff.
Jack: To that point you actually have a little group of friends that you have formed kind of a coop with where you recommend each other to people that aren’t a good fit for you or maybe don’t fit your schedule or anything.
Jennifer: Yeah, that’s been something that’s been very helpful that’s come about within the last year or so. These were girls that I had met and click in with larger group, Tuesdays Together, which is more of a national group, and their chapter meetings, and local groups. But we became, like the four of us, really good friends. And so we have met a few times to have coffee and just chat about our calendars and we keep each other connected with our calendars so that when something like where ever happen to one of us then someone would take over those wedding for that person. And if someone inquires on me and I’m not available then I recommend them to them. We also get together and swap headshots and take pictures of each other for social media and that kind of stuff.
Jack: Now, this Tuesdays Together that you mentioned is this part of the Rising Tides Society or is this offshoot?
Jennifer: No, it is. It is the Rising Tides Society, the community over competition, so we go to there, but that’s how I met them.
Jack: And they have been over to our house and exchange very awkward conversations about their love lives and our lack of love life. Good people. I hope to have them on the podcast really soon to talk more about their journeys.
Jennifer: Yeah, it is nice having friends that are part of my field and that I can talk to about things and that they understand what I am talking about or what I am going through.
Jack: I feel attacked.
Jennifer: You don’t get me. They do. You know, just someone I can talk to about what’s going on or they can give me advice that they’ve been through that same situation or that kind of thing. We can second shoot for each other pretty often and that kind of thing.
Jack: I did see you got a text from one of them while we were hanging out with an absolutely crazy situation that you and I have been talking about previously, so it is pretty co-incidental. And so I reply to her with my advice because I knew what you would say.
Jennifer: And then you confused her.
Jack: And then you immediately apologize for me.
Jennifer: Yeah, I had to apologize for you. She had no idea what was going on. You are texting her from my phone.
Jack: Because I was pretending to be you so it is fine.
Jennifer: It confused her.
Jack: Sorry, Shelby. So, Jennifer, let’s talk with your experience with advertising.
Jennifer: Okay, let’s. When I first started out I feel like I felt the same way that you do when I felt like it was a waste of time and money and then I wasn’t getting any kind of return on it. I don’t honestly remember what all I did in those early days but no Facebook ads were a big part of it.
Jack: Actual Facebook ads, clicking through the business manager, and putting together and audience and all that?
Jennifer: Yeah. Facebook ads and boosting posts which is a lesser variety of Facebook ads. I know you set me up with Google ads, but I don’t really know. This is back in the flip flop photography days.
Jack: Those Google ads are still running by the way. I get a bill every month and go should I turn this off? And then you say, no.
Jennifer: I thought I checked them recently and turn them off.
Jack: One of us is spending $60 a month on Google ads.
Jennifer: Well, it is probably me because I know there was one that was still running.
Jack: So you started out with Facebook ads and Google ads. Well, Facebook boosted posts.
Jennifer: Yeah, boosted post but I did for real but I was so cheap like I was a cheapskate. And so I can’t really speak to how well they work because I refused to spend much money on them.
Jack: You can’t be cheap and run Facebook ads.
Jennifer: No, you cannot. I would down that dial as far down as it would go to where it would only charge me like $5 or something.
Jack: It will give you a warning. Only one person is going to see this and it is going to be you, are you sure you want to do it?
Jennifer: You can’t be cheap and chart around Facebook ads. It’s just they want their money. They are greedy, greedy. But I know that after a while, because we’ve talked about this when I ran some budget wedding specials because I was panicked over how empty my calendar was, and I threw up an image on Facebook and run a Facebook ad like, “4-hour wedding for $400”, and that kind of thing. I got a lot of response from it, from those ads. They work. People see them. I think it just a matter of the audience as opposed to if you are running something… because now I don’t bother with Facebook ads because to be honest the majority of people that would see them are not my ideal client. They are not the ones that are going to want to pay $2,500 for wedding photography. But they were the ones who would pay $400 for wedding photography and so that’s why those ads work. I know they work because they’ve worked for me before. So it really just depends on what your in-game is. If you are wanting to shoot a wedding for 4 hours for $400 I would not recommend it but if you are really wanting to you can run an ad on Facebook and find people and they will see it. That’s how I got people to start letting me take their pictures in the park when I first started taking pictures long before I even did weddings when I was just doing pictures in the park. I’m doing family pictures and maternity pictures, I had boosted posts and we put a little bit of money into them to run targeted for women who were expecting, or if they had a family, or whatever, like whatever the target was. I wouldn’t spend much money in it but they would find me, and then I would do their session and then I just kept getting my name out there. So it really just depends on your in-game I think for Facebook ads. Now, like I said, I don’t bother with them because I don’t get anything from them. I’ve noticed that throughout the last couple of years. My Facebook ad budget went a lot higher, so I was spending a lot more on Facebook ads.
Jack: What did you call me?
Jennifer: A moron. Keep up.
Jennifer: But I wasn’t getting any bookings from it whereas where I spent maybe a quarter of that amount, you know, a year before that and I got bookings. So it’s really just spent on your audience and your in-game.
Jack: And then you transitioned into more direct advertising.
Jack: The Knot.
Jennifer: Yeah, The Knot, and now I am also on Wedding Wire too because they have joined forces and now they are The Knot Worldwide, so they are part of the same company but I still have to pay for two different profiles. I was confused about that. Like hey how come you are the same company but I have two different profiles.
Jack: So you transitioned from pulling that knob all the way back just so far back to try to get another computer that come up behind it and keep on pulling.
Jennifer: It is like $5.
Jack: To paying premium advertising prices. A monthly cost of about $200 wasn’t it?
Jennifer: The Knot is $179 a month. And the Wedding Wire is… Now, these are with discounts too. I got discounts on the stuffs sort of been grandfathered so this wouldn’t be the prices that a new person would get. But for what I pay is like $179 for The Knot and $150 for Wedding Wire.
Jack: Almost about $350 together you are paying. And the Wedding Wire is new.
Jennifer: The Wedding Wire is new. I’ve only have it for a couple of months because when The Know and Wedding Wire joined forces they sent out an email with a discount code for everyone who already had a Knot profile to get a Wedding Wire profile for cheaper, you know, with the discount. So I was like, might as well.
Jack: But as much as someone who is listening to this and who is trying to do this on a budget is kind of freaking out about those prices. They’ve really returned around for you.
Jennifer: They really have. When I rejected both The Knot and the Wedding Wire year after year, when I first started doing weddings I looked into both of them and got their prices and everything and about have a heart attack. I was like, no, I am not paying this much money. That is ridiculous because like I said I was a very cheap person.
Jennifer: Was, am, whatever. And I didn’t see the point of spending money on things where I was trying to make money which was dumb. I didn’t understand investing. So I didn’t want to spend money when I was trying to make money. So when I first those prices for The Know and Wedding Wire I was like, “Uhuhm, I can’t afford that I’m sorry.” And even when you set me up with Google ads I was like still pull that down lower. And then you explained to me that no one is going to see it if it goes that low. So I took a couple of years to warm to the idea of The Knot and the Wedding Wire. I check back in with them every year so see if their prices had changed or anything. They never had. They’d always actually gone up a little bit I think.
Jack: Funny how that works.
Jennifer: Yeah, isn’t it weird. But I decided, it was last year, because I’ve had The Knot for a year now because it just came up for renewal like last week and I had to renew it. At first it wasn’t much, and I was starting to get a little panicky like have I spent a lot of money on something that’s a waste. That’s one of my biggest fear is to waste money on something and I was getting a little concerned about it. But then I started getting more reviews in there which is a big deal. The more reviews you have the better. Feeling out my profile more and then at the end of the year I got one of those awards that they give out where if you have a lot of good reviews or you’re like one of the top reviewed ones you get this badge that goes on and that says that you were the best of The Knot. And not long after that my bookings as well went up from there to where now I would say probably 90% of the weddings that I have booked for the rest of this year and for 2020 have all come from The Knot.
Jack: But that’s not come from the ads alone. It comes from getting that badge because I do remember when you got the badge and your bookings skyrocketed.
Jennifer: Yeah. I mean, I think that’s something that draws couples in and/or that they pay attention to. I mean, it must have mattered somehow because I went from. I was floored when I got my first booking from The Knot. I was like, “Oh thank God. Now, this thing is paid for itself.” So if nothing else at least I have broken even, and then I got another one from there, then I got another, and then I got the Best of The Knot badge. Yeah, and it went way up after that. To where like I said, almost all of my weddings have come from The Knot.
Jack: We have vastly different experiences with advertising because we’re in different markets, we have different thing products, services.
Jennifer: Yeah, and I hear people saying like, “Oh, well, The Knot didn’t work for me”, or “Wedding Wire hasn’t work for me.” And I can’t speak for Wedding Wire yet because like I said I’ve only had it for a month. But The Knot has been a total success for me. Definitely, the investment has come back on it way more than I expected.
Jack: But from what I can see only because you got that Best of The Knot badge.
Jennifer: Probably, yeah. I would definitely say anyone who’s considering getting The Knot or Wedding Wire because Wedding Wire has the same thing so their little awards, there are couple’s pick, so they give out the couple’s picks. So if you are planning on getting either one of these services definitely get as many reviews as you can. Go back to all of your past clients and ask them to go on there and do a review for you or anyone that you’ve worked with so that you can qualify to get one of those badges and your inquiry should go way up.
Jack: And don’t be shy about it because the responses that you got from past clients were overwhelmingly positive when you said, “Hey, can you please leave me a review here.” None of them I think said would you please stop bothering me you got your check go away.
Jennifer: No, no. I mean, well, I’ve been lucky to have the majority of them have been very good clients that I’ve loved working with and I’ve stayed in touch with after their wedding. So it is not uncommon for me to reach out to them and ask them for a review or ask them for a quote that I can use in a magazine I’m making or something like that. And they’re all very friendly and would love to help me out anyway they can.
Jack: So you, dear listener, both of you, if you have a good product or service and you treat your clients right don’t be shy to ask them to tell other people about it.
Jennifer: Yeah, their reviews are going to count way more than just you putting on your website how great you are. You want testimonials, and reviews. And there is nothing wrong with going back and asking even if it’s been a couple of years since you worked with them.
Jack: Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Jack: So guys, obviously Jennifer and I have had different experiences as advertisers and I’d like to hear what you think. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us about your experiences or your thoughts about that. That’s it for us. Jennifer, tell everybody goodbye and where they can find you?
Jennifer: You can find me at jennifermariephotographer.com. I’m also on Instagram @jennifermariephotographyga, and we’ll see you guys next week.
Jack: And you can find me at jackroachauthor.com and on Instagram @jackroachauthor. Until next time, make sure to take time out of your day to get to art. Thanks for listening.