KDPs and other Metrics
KDP is short for key performance indicator. A KDP is any metrics used to monitor your performance and they’re key to determining what is working (and is thus worth spending more money on) and what isn’t (and should be curtailed). Bets practice is to measure both terminal KDPs (sales) and intermediate KDP’s (things that contribute to sales). Examples of KDPs include:
- Visits to your website
- Book sales
- Sales rank on Amazon
- # reviews and #stars
- Community (followers, fans, subscribers, as well as real connections to readers and other writers etc.)
- Engagement on social media (likes, shares, retweets, repins, etc.)
- Ad performance such as click-through rates (CTR) and reach (ie. number of views), etc.
- Number of book signings and attendance at the signing
- And any other metric that contributes to your sales
KDPs don’t mean much by themselves. It’s important to track your performance across these measures and to monitor them over time. For instance, you can construct a graph in Excel to track growth of your subscriber list over time with a few simple clicks.
It’s also important to see how your KDP metrics correspond with your goals. Before you start on your marketing efforts, set goals for those aspects of your marketing that contribute to sales (I’ve set this up as a task in the marketing plan that’s in Appendix 2). Then, maybe in your Excel spreadsheet, enter your goals and, when you graph performance over time, compare that to a graph of your goals over time. Did you do better than expected or worse? How big is the gap between your expectations and actual performance?
Once you know how your metrics compare to your performance, you can adjust your plan to improve performance. By tracking the performance of various KDPs, you can track back your results (either better or worse) to which marketing tactics did best and which did poorly. You can adjust your marketing tactics to emphasize things that performed well.
This brings us to the notion of ROI (return on investment) a critically important metric. Let me give you an example. Angie recently attended a book fair (we’ll talk more about book fairs later). Turnout was low and none of the authors seemed to be selling many books, even though some offered them at a deep discount. The event took 4 hours out of her day and cost about $40 in swag (bookmarks and candy) offered to entice people to stop by her booth. Angie didn’t sell any books. Given the amount of time she spent planning and attending the event as well as the tangible cost (important metrics, along with sales, to determine success), Angie determined that it wasn’t profitable to attend the event again.
In determining which marketing efforts to continue, you need to look at both the profit and how much it cost (in both time and money). You don’t have an infinite amount of money and you certainly don’t have time for marketing tactics that don’t work. After all, time spent marketing is time you don’t have for writing, editing, or publishing your next book.
If something didn’t produce much profit but didn’t cost much, then you might consider continuing it as the payoff might occur in the long run. A good example of this is your newsletter. Collecting subscribers is relatively painless (ie. having a sign-in sheet at a book fair or book signing). Sending out periodic emails to subscribers also takes very little time and no money (if you use Mailchimp). In this case, it makes sense to continue this marketing effort even if you can’t directly trace any sales to the tactic.