An advertising hack for getting your business in front of the right readers

advertiseI don’t do a lot of advertising, but this year I’m planning on attending some writing and author-related conferences to build my platform (I’m even speaking at one).

Attendance usually costs a few hundred dollars (plus travel), but necessitates that you actually talk to people, otherwise those valuable face-to-face meetings are wasted.

If you’ve built up relationships before hand, meeting them in person can be great fun… but if you’re trying to meet hundreds of strangers at a conference and impress about them how awesome your book or service is, that’s a tall order – you’ll probably do better with advertising.

Advertising in event programs (the on-site brochure) is usually a great idea; people are likely to look through their programs a dozen times during the conference (to kill time, or to look busy, or as a safety/comfort thing). That means your ad will get seen, read, and thought about more than it normally would.

TIP: rather than just advertising your normal business, make sure you have an enticing offer, discount, giveaway or something else time-sensitive and attractive, to hook people’s interest.

There are a couple of events where a full page ad costs about $200 – for me that’s well worth the price.

I probably wouldn’t try and advertise a book, since I’d have to sell at least a hundred copies to make the money back; but for my book editing services or book cover designs  I only need one new client (out of the hundreds that attend the conference) for it to be worthwhile.

But there’s another conference this summer where full-time advertising costs about $500. That price, although it might still be worth it, definitely makes me a little uncomfortable. It costs the same to put an ad in their mailed newsletter, which goes out to over 10,000 members.

Is there any way to “steal” that list of members and reach them directly, at a greatly discounted rate?

YES – it’s called Facebook

It’s actually pretty easy: that same organization has a Facebook group with over 12,000 likes. I can boost a post or use a sponsored ad, and choose to only target fans of that organization.

Under “interests” I just type the name of the group until it shows up; I select it and choose my budget.

Facebook says it will cost $100 to reach 10,000 people.


But actually, the number of people it reaches depends on the amount of interaction. If other people like or share it, Facebook increases the reach: so rather than posting something spammy, if you have a great offer or something cool, and people comment, share or like, it will reach more people for less money.

In my experience, you can reach about 7,000 people for just $15 if it gets 10 likes.

Extra Benefits

Advertising on Facebook gets people where they spend their time, and at their computers. It’s more likely they’ll click and actually visit your website (whereas, a print flier may get circles but later lost or thrown away, or forgotten).

And, since it’s cheaper, I could advertise 5 times a year for the same prize, increasing my brand recognition and probably getting more likes to my own Facebook pages, or signups on my email list.


About Derek Murphy

Hey there! I'm a philosophy dropout and book cover designer with a PhD in Literature. After spending a decade as a starving artist, I vowed to create the life of freedom my restless spirit demands. I covet a cabin full of cats, where I can write young adult fantasy novels and do a few editorial critiques to pay for my cake addiction. Sometimes I live in castles. FREE GUIDE: Book Marketing is Dead.