I believe that there are two kinds of people in the world: words people and numbers people.
Thankfully, being one doesn’t preclude you using the other, but if you’re more comfy with one or the other, stepping outside that comfort zone can require some nudging. Effective marketing, however, requires both.
Sales figures, reader numbers, engagement, usage…they all matter. Word count, page count, dimensions…these are all figures I deal with daily.
Most folks think one or the other is more important, and in some situations that’s true, but generally I find that they work together. Brand awareness drives sales, but that’s had to measure. Tactics that look effective by the metrics can result in sales, but they don’t necessarily. A newsletter that reaches several hundred people doesn’t always generate book sales. A promotion that results in a few hundred book sales can be the start of a snowball that rolls onto bestsellers lists. An ad on a site that has a relatively low CTR (click through rate) can be more effective than one might expect because of the implied endorsement of appearing in conjunction with content people trust and engage with.
And then there’s the difficulty in finding reliable statistics.
I’m a words person, but over the years, I’ve learned to love numbers too (most of the time). Excel is the best thing to ever happen to me because I can use it to put numbers into a context that helps me make informed marketing decisions.
These are some of the sources I use for stats:
- Facebook Page Insights (link is above the cover image on your Facebook page)
- Twitter Analytics (accessed via the ads interface)
- Facebook’s Newsroom
- Goodreads book and giveaway stats (click Rating Details on the book detail page for the former; the latter is available in the giveaway interface)
- Pew Research Center
- Smart Insights
- NovelRank (this is squishy data–an estimate based on a formula–but it helpful for a sense of figures when looking at whether a marketing tactic is working)
Of course, none of this tracks qualitative data, which I believe to be just as important for books. The two, however, go hand in hand. If you’re not a numbers person, make sure your marketing/publicity person is.