Victory! I used a free service called Thunderclap.it to set up a far-reaching free ad post for my last sale. It was a huge hit (by my measurements.) It was also one of my toddler-like “What’s that? It’s shiny! Let’s poke at it and see what happens…” experiences, so I learned a lot by breaking things and doing them all wrong.
Here’s a summary of things I did wrong/ would do differently next time. These are my reminders to myself but are possibly useful to others. Presented without judgment or any claims of Big Knowledge.
- Aim low. 100 is the lowest number of supporters Thunderclap will accommodate. HeadTalker is a site I’ll consider for future coordinated post attempts. It has a lower minimum to hit, as low as 25 backers, which takes eases the “Gotta push this!” competitive pressure I feel whenever I do one of these things.
- Campaign for supporters for at least a two week run-up before the post date. I would consider a month optimal for a sale post. I tried this on impulse at the last-minute– a ONE week turnaround– to distract myself from other life problems, not with any expectations. It DID succeed; it went off to specyacular effect thanks to an amazing bunch of supporters. But. Getting to the goal line took a LOT of posting, outreach, and outright begging. I am bowled over with gratitude and delight by the response I got, but I wouldn’t want to push my fans and friends so hard too often.
People do run Thunderclap sign-up campaigns for much longer than a month, but I don’t know if that would help a sale post much. My experience with giveaways and sale campaigns is that the best response comes in the first few days and the last. A long, slow build-up makes sense for a new release announcement– support posts are an awareness booster in their own right– but I would keep the time compressed to a month before a sale or a giveaway. Just for my own sanity as much as anything else.
- Make at least two catchy graphics. Thunderclap lets you change the graphic for the campaign any time you like during the run-up to the final post itself. And if you’re promoting a sale, for example, or a new release, you have TWO messages to send.
A. During the run-up, you want a graphic that boosts awareness on why you’re doing a Thunderclap: saying what the Thunderclap will do — to encourage those who see it to join in. This is the graphic that will be seen when your supporters share their “I supported” posts on social media. If I was running a long campaign I would change up this halfway through (or week to week/month to month, to keep the “please support me” posts looking fresh.
B. a separate graphic can release with the Thunderclap post itself. Something big as splashy showing an eye-catching background, relevant sale dates, or new release info, author site links etc.
IMPORTANT: it takes time for Twitter & Facebook image caches to clear, so give any changes 24 hours to show.
- Explain exactly what you’re doing in the area provided in the Thunderclap page, and show the final post graphic that will go out as the Thunderclap there so people know what they’re supporting. Remind supporters that they can change up the message and add to it too.
People love numbers, so here are my results:
- 280 downloads of the free book linked to the Thunderclap post. Half that total occurred on the day the Thunderclap post went out.
- 14 sales of the 99 cent book shown in the Thunderclap post graphic.
- Kindle Unlimited reads for the sale title during and after the sale dates.
- sales & page reads on both titles after the sale.
That’s three times the response for my last free promotion, and almost four times the response to my last countdown sale. And I was significantly less stressed. Overall, it’s a win all around. Got specific questions? Ask away, I’ll answer as best I can.