We won the Interwebs with our Amazon Sale!

Happily we achieved the main goal, to become a Best Seller in our highly competitive categories on Amazon in the KIndle Store.

While Amazon does not disclose who bought books, they do provide running stats, and my publisher has confirmed what shows in the data screen shot I have included here.

I promised to spill the beans on my first-ever Amazon sale, so here goes!

6 Things I Learned from my Best Seller Sales Campaign on Amazon

1. Make a list of everything you expect to do during Sale Week.

I decided to do a One-Day 99¢ Sale on the first anniversary of my first book in the trilogy series. After jotting down ideas for a couple of months, I scheduled it for 3 weeks out with my publisher. Then I had to get serious about the tasks I would need to do. Here’s the list for the week itself. The Sale went public on Thursday, and jay about 100% of my time was spent on the sale from Monday thru Saturday, except for a half dozen 60-minute phone meetings previously scheduled for Monday Tuesday and Friday.

What I learned: Always start earlier! I was greatly aided by these lists, but I encountered a need to post much more frequently than I expected. (See #2 below) The good news is that the more I posted, the higher my ranking went, so I felt this blitz was worth the extra time it required to create new image-rich posts as I went along. (Click the chart to magnify the gory details.)

2. Aways have a back-up Plan B of action.

I was totally blind-sided when I ran into a brick wall with the Facebook Event I had planned as a spin-off of my Business page..

I was easily able to set up the event, drafting and editing it with no problem. The day before the Sale launch, I was ready to invite friends and Page contacts. I pulled up the “Invite” window, and it looked like it was giving me permission to invite everyone, about a thoudanss people. Great! Yet partway through checking each name on the list, a counter-ticker appeared saying I could only invite 500 friends. Eek. I adjusted my expectations and checked of 500 exactly, one-by-one, ready to meet the FB requirements. Lo’ and behold, I was notified I was being “temporarily blocked” because they though I was not the Page Admin, which I clearly am!

I waited a few hours, slightly rattled. Trying again, I dramatically scaled the number I checked to invite, down to 138. Blocked again! This time the message said “you are going too fast,”.??? Clueless about what that meant, I waited until the following morning to try again, but sent a message to FB “Help” features saying PLEASE HELP. Facebook did not offer any help. I tried agin in the morning, on the actual day of the event, and this time I tried to invite a measly 36 people. BLOCKED AGAIN! For the bizarrely unclear infraction of “going too fast.”

Facebook would not allow me to invite even one single friend! Of course they were happy to take my money for paid post “boost,” so I did that. They approved that right away, as I had requested a manual approval, but hours later they sent another warning that there was too much text in the ad they had already approved! Well, it tuns out they count the type on my book cover, shown in the image, as “text.” Oy! After several tries to replace the image wth a stripped down virtually text-free version, I gave up and hit cancel the ad. Only then did they reveal a window to replace the image, and let me proceed with this paid “boost” ad.

That’s when I had my meltdown. I complained to a friend who is my champion fan for such marketing efforts. She was ready to buy every book she could in bulk just to make this work. I thanked her for such loyalty, and explained that Amazon does into allow such bulk Kindle purchases, and told her I would have to come up with an alternative. I knew what the alternative was: I had to send individual personal emails to my closest friends and supporters, completely side-stepping Facebook, asking them it they would help publicize my sale. it took forever, because I was unwilling to do a cookie cutter spammy message.

I was greatly heartened to get a hearty YES from fully 50% of those I contacted, and they followed though mightily. I was back on track!

What I learned: Meltdowns are gonna happen. But I have noticed that the key to staying untrapped my them is two-fold: (1) Don’t hold onto the meltdown, and  (2) Do NOT try to think while ini the midst of the meltdown. Shout, cry, drink water, walk around, whatever is healthy to let the steam escape out of your emotions and clam down naturally. This too shall pass. Only then will you be ready to take on Plan B. Of course the best thing is to have a Plan B in the wings so you do not have to dream it up on th spot t when you are adrenliin-overloaded. Fortunately, I had my Plan Be pre-dreamt up, and i was able to b get into action pretty darn quickly.

Being in action on Plan B removes the negative charge from whatever obstacle could not be tamed. The obstacle not longer has the power to hold you back, even if the challenge to reach your goal is a bit spicier now!

3. Social Media works great, except when it doesn’t.

These days, so much of life happens onsocial media, and there are plenty of stats proving the images and better yet, videos, are key to getting the attention you want

There are two main social media image formats, square and horizontal. It really improves your effectiveness and ease to use the right format. I had pre-designed mostly horizontal posts, but had to adapt some to square once I realized that Instagram crops horizontal images very poorly. They look awful. As a designer, I could not live with chopped up images. So there was lot of image editing I did on the fly as I prepped each flight of posts.

I also had forgotten that Pinterest likes vertical images, and after fiddling with that a bit I decided to cross Pins off my list since it is not one of my top channels as a rule. I had too many other tasks that were higher priority.

What I learned: It was well worth spending time to make sure my posts and images were the best quality I could craft, visually, and message-wise. Quality rules! I also used Pretty Links to make a really nifty link to go directly the the Amazon sale space: www.themarketingdeal.com/99centsAmazon. Their URLs are hundreds of gobbledygook characters long, and a real typing turn off. Condensing the URL link was well-worth it, as I have far more retweets than I ever expected for my purely promotional Tweet-storms! Plus, I left into Facebook Live videos, short and sweet mirrors to my other posts: qsick to make, and in the flow.

4. A One-Day Sale online can go on for days.

My publisher told me that an Amazon “One Day Sale” can go on for an indeterminate amount of time. In many ways, that is a good thing, as it gives you more time to rise in the rankings.

What I learned: I took an unnecessary risk by creating a sense of urgency by emphasizing the “One Day” message. I thought I would need to do that to boost the Amazon rank within that compressed timeframe. In hindsight, I would emphasize the “SALE” rather then the tight timeframe. I might have been able reach out to more people in two flights, and A and a B group, to double my prospect universe since the sale did not end nearly as quickly as I expected.

5. Mesure Measure Measure.

When I refocused myself into action after the meltdown I mentioned earlier, my brain started working again. I began grabbing screen shots of my rising Amazon sales ranking. Even though they provide no access to the sale volume (you only see that if you are the publisher) Amazon updates rankings on each Sales Page just about hourly. It gave my confidence a much needed boost since I had ranking data to confirm that sales were actually happening! I went from ranking #443 to #6 in my top category in just over a day, even with the tumultuous to switch to Plan B.

What I learned: Measuring makes you feel good! Even thus elf us who are naturally right-brained. Despite being blocked from inviting even a single person to my event on Facebook, my other social media posts, paid boosts, and private individual emails were having a positive, measurable impact! Measuring kept me focused on what to do next. Every few hours, I checked in to keep the running tabulation up-to-date. I made a folder of these time-stamped screen shots titled “Amazon stats” and will save this for future planning.

6. Enjoy the unexpected ROI.

My Plan B yielded some very unexpected results. I would have been quite thrilled to have 25% of those contacted via email agree to post for me to their own followers, or perhaps send my info out to their own contacts. To have 50% say yes and actually do it was over the top wonderful.

What I learned: Most importantly, this reaffirms that I am hugely blessed to have such generous people in my life and business communities. Some are people I have known for many years. Other, I met within the past few weeks. Relationships are silver and gold, as the Girl Scouts always said in my day. Out of this effort, I’ve reconnected with some folks I’d lost touch wth, and have some catching-up time happily scheduled with them.

.More silver: I am reminded of how much power we each hold in our hands with 21st Century technology.

More gold: As people shared with me what they are up to, I see so many who are a yes to helping others, and a yes to making a positive difference in the world. I am renewed and refreshed as I know that marketing can be a very powerful means to serve both these realties. Thank you!

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