Imagine the shock when Orson Scott Card’s book signings revealed that his readers and fans were not the adults he had written his prolific novel, Ender’s Game for, but instead, it was teenage boys.
He never thought of his science fiction novel to be a young adult (YA) book, but indeed, there standing in line for his autograph at book signings was mostly boys between the ages of 13 and 16.
Card misunderstood who his “real” readers were initially, but once he discovered his audience, he and his marketing team altered the book cover and their marketing strategy–then the book soared.
Sometimes authors and bloggers write for who they think their audience is, without actually knowing.
Without knowing for certain who your readers are, you might be missing out on your next big book or viral blog post.
These three tools you can use to discover who your readers actually are–and they’re free!
SimilarWeb is a free website you can use to gain valuable information for any website (or app).
When you go to SimilarWeb.com, you can type any website URL in the search bar to discover.
You can enter your own website information to learn more about the visitors you already have. You can also find similar websites to yours (your competition) to learn how they are getting traffic to give you ideas for your own site.
SimilarWeb will tell you important information like:
- Total number of visitors
- Where in the world visitors are from
- Where traffic is coming from
- Which websites your readers are coming from
- Which websites your readers are going to
- If they use advertising for traffic
- Other interests of your audience
- Similar websites
You can check out my video to see how I use SimilarWeb and the powerful website information it provides in action.
It can help you get a more clear idea of exactly who your readers are and what they are interested, so you can provide your readers the best content.
2. Amazon Associates
Another valuable tool you can use to learn more about your “real” readers is Amazon’s affiliate program: Amazon Associates.
Through Amazon Associates, you can promote any product on Amazon and earn a commission.
You earn a commission on products you promote AND any other Amazon product people purchase within 24 hours after clicking your affiliate link. This has awesome monetary potential, but it also provides super valuable demographic information about your readers.
Amazon gives you a list of all the products people buy when they click your link, whether it was one you promoted or not.
This tells you if they’re buying your competitor’s book, what other books they’re interested in, and what other products in general they’re buying.
This can give you valuable insight of what your readers are interested in, so you can tweak your book ideas, blog article topics, the tone or voice you use or products to review based on what your readers’ buying habits tell you they really want to know about.
3. Google Analytics
The third free tool that you can use to learn more about your readers is Google Analytics, a free service you can attach to your own website to track information about the actions of your visitors.
Google Analytics can give you demographic information about those who visit your site, such as age, gender and interest categories. My favorite information to gather on this tool though is the behavior of people on your site.
Here’s aspecific example of how I’ve used this free tool to improve my website by giving readers what they want to learn about.
Google Analytics helped me turn a good article with good traffic into one that’s now been read over 58,000 times.
You see, I wrote an article with a long list of websites that would promote an author’s book for free.
Through Google Analytics, I could see this post was bringing in a lot of traffic, but I also learned some readers were finding my article after typing in keywords like “paid book promotion sites.”
This gave me valuable new information that people were looking for free and paid book promotion sites, so I researched and added a list of paid book promotion sites to my post. After that, this article’s traffic exploded!
Not only were more people finding my article, but people were staying on my post longer, and clicking through to more pages on my website.
Because you can see which pages your visitors clicked on once on your site, you can figure out what is keeping your readers engaged on your site, so you can mimic the good stuff.
You can also learn which page they were on when they left your site, telling you what is “meh” to your readers, leaving them disinterested and leaving your site.
Ultimately, Google Analytics can help you discover the psychographics of your readers, so you can best write and market to your real audience.
Know Who You’re Writing For
When you better understand exactly who you’re writing for, what they’re interested in, and what they’re not interested, you can create the most valuable content.
And it doesn’t take a big marketing or advertising budget to do this, all three of these tools can give you a solid foundation of discovering who your readers are for free.
Knowing this will help keep the fans you currently have happy and help you grow your reader list exponentially.
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